Four easy tips to start your teaching career.
For any teacher, the first step to starting a successful teaching career is landing the right job.
I want to share with you 4 tips that helped me, in the hopes that it might help someone else out there begin the AMAZING journey we call teaching!
Don’t be afraid to make yourself known when starting a teaching career.
I completed my senior internship in my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida, where the beautiful live oaks are plentiful, and so are the colleges and universities. Because of the large number of graduates each year in Leon County, competition in the teaching market in that area is fierce.
And, because I graduated in the middle of the school year, I knew that getting a job would be extra challenging.
I had a week in between my last day of senior internship and the day I actually walked across the stage for graduation. In the meantime, I decided to take a much-needed break and drove to Orlando to visit my grandparents.
While there, I figured it couldn’t hurt to put in a few applications at area schools. I was hoping for a primary position, and not much was open, but I tried to stay optimistic. I figured even if it didn’t lead to starting a teaching career right away, I could make connections and get my name out there.
After submitting multiple online applications, I promptly called each of the schools that I applied to. I explained that I was a new teacher looking for employment and was only in town for a few days, so I would love to meet with the school’s administration if possible!
Almost every school said no… except for one.
One assistant principal got on the phone and told me she was impressed with my gumption and asked how soon I could arrive for an interview. We scheduled it for the following afternoon!
When beginning to apply for jobs, don’t hesitate to make yourself known!
Go to a job fair if one is available. Afterward, call or send letters thanking the principals for their time. They will be impressed that you went the extra step and it will set you apart from the crowd!
Dress for the job you want!
Because I had traveled down to visit grandparents, I didn’t exactly have an interview-ready outfit in my suitcase, so that afternoon, I went shopping.
When picking out an outfit for a teacher interview, keep your audience in mind.
Your future administration is looking for a nurturer of children’s minds, so as one of my favorite college professors used to say about work-wear, “Keep the club pumps at home!”
I personally ended up buying a pair of fitted black slacks, a pale pink blouse, and a gray cardigan that I wore with some chunky gold earrings and black ballet flats.
Choose something that makes you feel comfortable and confident! Your confidence will show through to your interviewers!
Be prepared for anything.
My next step was to head to Target. I bought white cardstock and nice black folders.
Having your resume displayed in a clean format is just another way to help you stand out from the crowd.
After printing my resume, I began to research the school I was applying for. I looked up school and staff population, the curriculum they used, and the names of the administration. I also called my dad, who regularly interviews future employees, to have him help me practice with mock interview questions we found online.
In addition, I prepared my own questions in advance.
Having relevant questions ready makes you seem more interested in the position.
Finally, I felt I had prepared enough to be successful in the interview.
Know that you have worked hard for this and that you have earned it!
During the interview, I tried my best to answer every question as professionally as I knew possible.
I had my favorite strategies and personal moments from my student teaching experience ready to go. If I didn’t know the answer to a question, I was honest and said so, especially being a new teacher. But I tried to make it clear that I was ready to learn and put my whole heart into the third-grade position they were offering. It wasn’t my first choice in grade level but I wanted to be flexible since I was just starting my teaching career.
After leaving the interview, I felt fairly confident. I got a call later that day that they appreciated my time but I was not what they were looking for.
Not every interview will lead to a job.
Don’t let a “no” bring you down! The time that you have already spent in school working on your degree and the many teaching hours that you have logged in your practicums and internships, means that you are ready to rock your own group of kiddos!
On the way back to my grandparent’s home, I passed a school I had applied to. I had already called and been told the administration did not have time, but I would be leaving for Tallahassee that day and I already had interview clothes on so, I thought it couldn’t hurt to at least stop in and personally hand the receptionist one of the extra resumes I had printed.
The principal was so surprised by my effort, she agreed to interview me right then and there. She informed me that they had a possible kindergarten position opening sometime soon due to an ill staff member. (The kindergarten class had had substitutes all semester long) The principal told me she would call if anything officially opened up. I thanked her for her time and headed to my grandparent’s house to pack.
As I finished loading the car, I received a call.
When the principal returned to her office, she found a letter of resignation from the kindergarten teacher in her email inbox. She asked if I would accept the position and come back to the school to tour my future classroom.
Dreams do come true!
I walked across the graduation stage 3 days later and started my teaching career just 2 days after that. Joining those 19 muchkin’s lives turned my life around forever.
Remember, interviewing is scary, but the reward of teaching is so worth it!
Have any more suggestions I can share with teachers trying to get a job? Message me @MyJuniorBurgers on Instagram! I would love to hear from you!