It’s that time of year where all the new teachers fresh out of their programs scramble for their first teaching job. This process can seem overwhelming if not downright hopeless. The key to success in obtaining a job is nothing new: persistence, networking, and flexibility. Below are five suggestions for those new teachers attempting to find work.
1) Be willing to work out of state. Many new teachers have a specific location they want to work in. That’s great. We all do. However, in this profession, you must move towards the jobs. There are several districts hiring around the country even in this economic downturn. You can find employment rather quickly simply by being willing to relocate.
2) Activate your network. Talk to your college instructors. Talk to your student-teaching mentor. Talk to the higher-ups in the district. Let them know you’re looking for work. As a student teacher, you do not matter in the political hierarchy of the district. The district has no idea of your future plans. You need to let them know you would like a job. Who knows, maybe you’ll get lucky and a veteran will be retiring?
3) Speak with the principal. When working the phones, get the principal on the line. Principals usually have the most power in hiring decisions. I found my first job simply by calling the principal and letting him know I was looking for a job.
4) Say yes to extracurriculars. When you land that interview, be prepared to say yes to everything. Schools can easily find teachers. What they have difficulty finding is a teacher who’s also a good defensive coordinator for the football team. When they ask you if you’d like to coach or advise a club, say yes. As a beginning teacher you are not special, you are on the lowest level of the totem-poll. The education profession has become increasingly competitive and you need to be more than just a classroom educator.
5) When offered a job, say yes even if it’s not perfect. As a beginning teacher the most important thing is to get and maintain employment. If you’re hired to teach outside of your training, say yes and figure it out over the summer. As a new teacher you cannot afford to say no.
Good luck with the job hunt!