Entering the education field is an exciting, honorable move, but with budget and job cuts it can turn into a challenging task. The competition is high and openings fill fast, so it’s important to strategically plan your moves and get ahead in the game. Below are six tips to help you move to the head of the class.
1. Get Certified
Teachers who are certified have the upper hand in the job market, and can find opportunities in both public and private schools. Some employers are even willing to hire if your certification is merely in process, so ask around and learn your options.
2. Gain Experience
Next to certification, Experience is key in making yourself marketable as a teacher. Try to round out your experience, working both 1-1 and in groups, with a range of ages and settings. The more varied your experience the better your changes of placement.
3. Update Your Resume
When you’ve gotten your experience it’s time to make your resume shine. Take special care writing your goal statement and make sure it highlights your personality and unique identity as a teacher. When it comes to resume writing aesthetics are important- you want to include all relevant experience without overcrowding the page, making it appear overly dense or cluttered. Check out sites like TeachingResumes.org for examples and additional formatting ideas.
4. Find Your Specialty & Learn The Standards
Equally as important as having well-rounded experience is knowing your strengths. What age group are you most comfortable with? What subjects? Know what you have to offer and then learn the standards. Common Core Standards are being frequently employed by teachers and parents alike. Learn them, and be ready to show off your knowledge during the interview process.
5. Apply To Private Schools & Startups
Private schools are an especially good place to start teachers who are new to the field, still lacking proper certification for public agencies. Startup schools tend to make similar leniencies in regards to certification, and provide excellent opportunities to be a part of building and developing an institution from the ground-up. If you land one of these jobs the experience you gain will shine on your resume, and serve you for years to come.
Regardless of your amount of experience, it’s always in your best interest to volunteer. Perhaps you can only manage to volunteer time a few days out of the month… do it! Employers will see your pro-bono work as commendable, and as a sign you are looking to become employed as a teacher for the right reasons. If you come across as a passionate person who had a clearly defined mission, employers will have confidence in your ability to lead a class and serve as an effective role model for their students.
The tips mentioned here will help point you in the right direction, but ultimately your persistence and determination will land you the job. View every interaction with people in the education field as a networking opportunity. Take assistant teaching or substitute jobs whenever possible. Interview teachers you know and probe as to how they got their start. Put yourself out there, and sooner or later you’ll have a classroom of your very own!