There's lots of reasons someone would be looking for a job. Maybe you’re fresh out of school and looking for your first teaching position. Perhaps you're an experienced teacher looking to make a change. No matter what your reason is, looking for a new job takes a lot of effort. Finding a teaching job is no different.
Here are a few of the most common questions and answers to help with the process of finding a teaching job.
When is the best time to look for a teaching job?
Spring is by far the best time to begin finding a teaching job. Teachers are turning in their letters of intention and districts and administrators are finalizing numbers for staffing for the next school year. Enrollment projections are being made and schools are zeroing in on just how many students to expect for next year. It is also the time of year that the biggest budget allocation is made for staffing.
How do teaching positions become available?
There are lots of reasons for teaching positions to open up. For example, current teachers may be looking for a new school because their current environment isn’t a good fit, their commute is too long, or they don’t get along with their coworkers or administration.
Others may be looking for a fresh start in a different environment. Or maybe they’re moving, retiring or leaving the profession altogether.
In addition, positions often come up as enrollment in a district increases. More families moving in equals more teaching positions available.
Where should I even begin finding a teaching job?
The old fashioned way of finding a teaching job may be a good first step: networking. Use your human connections to find out about job openings. Talk to any teachers, school staff members, or college professors you know to see if they have any insider information about open positions.
Ask people in your neighborhood who have kids at the local school if they have heard about anybody retiring or leaving.
Go to all recruiting events sponsored by school districts and universities and make an impression by speaking directly with administrators or school representatives.
Even in this impersonal age of the digital job search, making a personal connection can make a difference.
But what if I don’t have any personal connections?
Let your teacher friends and family know that you are looking. Ask them to keep an eye and an ear out for you.
Keep an eye on social media. Many teachers have made connections and found tips about job openings through social media. You never know when a friend of a friend will drop a hot tip.
Be sure to “like” and follow local school districts and/or your desired schools on Facebook and Instagram. Visit school’s public web pages for news, particularly if you have your heart set on a certain school or area.
How does the application process usually work?
These days most school districts list all job openings and handle the entire application process on their website.
Be aware that applying online is generally a lengthy and time consuming process. Not only will you fill out all of the application information, you will need to upload transcripts, resumes, cover letters, letters of recommendation and sometimes work samples.
In addition, some districts require you to take a personality assessment and submit an online interview.
Once your information is in the system, you can apply for specific openings. Your information will be automatically reviewed and if you meet the criteria you will be called in for an interview. Much depends on how many applicants apply.
How can I make my application stand out?
Although it’s difficult to make your credentials stand out with such an impersonal system, it’s not impossible. Make sure that any supplementary documents you upload are top quality and unique.
Choose the people you ask for recommendations very carefully. A teacher you have actually worked with on a daily basis may hold more weight than a college professor that observed you a couple times.
Make your resume and cover letter pop by consulting with a professional service that can help you prepare outstanding documents.
What if, after all my hard work, I don’t get a position?
Hopefully that won't happen. But if you find the school year rapidly approaching with no luck finding a teaching job, you may have to come up with a plan B.
Consider substitute teaching for a while. Subbing gives you access into buildings on a temporary basis and is a great way to get to know teachers and administrators as well as get a feel for different schools’ environments.
Apply for paraprofessional positions. Although these positions don’t pay as much as teaching positions, they are again a great way for you to gain valuable experience and get your foot in the door.
Job hunting is hard and that’s just a universal truth. Remember to go easy on yourself. Devote a certain number of hours per day to the search and then move on to something else. Try not to obsess over what is happening on the other end. Do the best you can and then let it go. Chances are you’ll end up exactly where you’re meant to be.