Not all teaching jobs are created equal. The U.S. education system in general is a notoriously tough environment for a teacher eager for a lifelong, fulfilling career, and most districts offer abysmally poor pay and laughable resources for instilling necessary knowledge and skill in the next generation. In fact, some schools struggle to provide bathroom breaks, reliable temperature control and even clean drinking water to teachers, who may be responsible for classes of 30 or more students all day long.
However, there are some institutions that offer adequate compensation and sufficient resources to allow educators to thrive. New teachers who want to start their careers in a positive learning environment might try the following tips for finding and acquiring these envious positions.
Leverage Your Social Network
No matter how closely you watch the job boards, you will never know about every teaching opportunity without enlisting some help from your network. To start, you should reconnect with any schools and educators you learned from during your time pursuing a BA in Education Studies, informing them of your graduation, certification and availability for open positions. Next, you should tell friends and family about the teaching positions you are hopeful to obtain. You might also post an open call for help on your social media profiles, which will allow you to cast a wider net amongst distant relatives and acquaintances who might have connections in more advantageous school districts.
Substitute at Your Desired Institution
If you know where you want to work but you don’t have any connections there yet, you should spend a few months working as a substitute in that school district. Not only will subbing pay the bills until the right position opens up, but offering your skills as a substitute will allow you to form positive relationships with school administrators and staff. Then, when a teaching role does become available, they may be likely to offer it to you before allowing anyone else to apply.
Tailor Your Professional Profile
Teachers must draft resumes, just like any other professional, and like any other professional, the most important part of their resume is the professional profile, or the first few lines of the application document. Instead of wasting this critical space on your “objective,” you should grab attention by jumping immediately into your unique skills and strengths. You should be descriptive and creative in this portion of your resume, to distinguish yourself from the other applicants and compete more effectively for the best teaching jobs.
Curate an Interview Portfolio
Alongside a resume, teachers often submit a portfolio filled with examples of their previous lesson plans and class projects. As a new teacher, you will need to compile your portfolio from your experience of student teaching — which means you should go above and beyond during your student teaching years to work with teachers in creating high-quality classroom materials. You should keep your portfolio focused, including between six and eight diverse examples of excellence that showcases your skills suited to your ideal teaching position.
Increase Your Education Level
The best institutions to work for tend to know that their positions are in-demand, so administrators will consider only the most qualified teaching talent for their staff. Thus, you may need to return to school to pursue advanced degrees in education, like a master’s or even a PhD, to make yourself a viable candidate for roles in some institutions. However, before you devote another decade to higher education, you may want to communicate with your institutions of choice to determine whether these credentials are absolutely necessary for all teaching positions.
Be Willing to Relocate for a Better Job
The best teaching job in your current area might not be much better than the worst teaching job in your region — depending on where you live right now. If you want access to the highest pay and best perks in the education industry, you almost definitely need to relocate. You might consider moving to a more affluent town or neighborhood in your state, or — even better — you might pursue certification in one of the best states for teaching, such as Rhode Island, Connecticut or Massachusetts.
You are committed to a career as a teacher because you want to contribute to the success of the next generation — but you don’t want to suffer in the classroom every day of your career. By searching out the best teaching roles and perfecting your application materials, you can feel fulfilled by a teaching career for decades to come.
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