SchoolSpring Articles 2017-11-14T15:39:29+00:00
Teaching

Finding the Right Fit for a Teaching Position

We spend a lot of time and effort selecting clothes and shoes that make us look good and feel comfortable. When it fits great, you know it’s right. The same holds true for landing a teaching position. It has to be suited for your skills, interests and aspirations.

There are five vital elements that will help you determine if an opportunity matches your talents, and if the school district, school and administrative team. Finding that right fit puts you in the best position to flourish in your new job and make a difference with students.

5 elements for finding the right fit in a teaching position:

  1. Confidence – When shopping for an item of clothing, you gravitate to pieces that would look good on you, something that elevates your confidence and complements your personality. It should be the same when you’re surfing for a teaching job. Review the district’s website content. Explore the district’s information regarding students, teachers, community and staff information. Can you visualize yourself being part of that team? Will your skills, beliefs and talents align with the mission and vision of the district? Feeling confident about your choice is an important step toward a successful teaching career.
  2. Comparison – As you surf through district sites or interview with school personnel, pay close attention to these critical considerations: professional development, instructional models of expectation, benefits, longevity of employees, parental support and community involvement. Comparing and contrasting these areas will help you identify the potential best fits for you.
  3. Connection – The potential for positive relationships should be a major factor in selecting the right teaching position. When going through the interview process with various personnel, the connections you establish with HR and administrators is a good indicator of whether you will enjoy and be successful in the position.
  4. Position – As an applicant, you know your qualifications and what you’re looking for in a position. Prepare a plan A, B and C. Charting the comparative advantages and drawbacks of each option will help frame your decision-making. Just like trying on a coat, there might be several with similar fits, but the color or style will be the determine what works best for you.
  5. Growth Opportunity – Will you have room to develop and grow? If you’re still developing as a teacher, who wants to in a situation that’s constraining? You need an environment that gives you the room to continuously improve and advance. If the fit is too tight right from the start, you will burst at the seams in time.

Keeping these five elements in mind as you search will help you find your “right fit” job. Just remember, the time and effort you invest in analyzing your choices will pay off with a career that benefits you, your students, your school and your community.

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Teacher and Principal EPI

Teacher interview tips — from a former principal

Teacher candidates must diligently prepare for interviews. There’s no way around it.

Having conducted numerous interviews in principal and K-12 human resources roles, I know exactly how easily — and quickly — principals sniff out unprepared teacher candidates.

Here are a few steps you can take to ensure you’re ready to impress principals and secure a teaching role at the school of your dreams.

Do your homework before the interview

Understanding the school and district you’re applying to is key, and the further along the interview process you go, the more you need to know.

Before interviewing at the district level (your screening interview), visit the district’s website to inform yourself about the district demographics, goals, academic programs, student success, community, and more.

Before interviewing at the campus level, visit the campus website to learn about:

  • Campus demographics.
  • Grade level configuration.
  • Student success/academic performance for the campus and for the grade level/content area of the assignment for which you are interviewing.
  • Discipline management plan.
  • Faculty handbook. 

Understand what principals look for in teacher candidates

During your interview, the principal will try to determine your ability to be a successful teacher. This includes assessing content knowledge, your knowledge of instructional strategies/methodologies and your ability to provide specific examples (not just “buzzwords”), relevant experiences that would apply to the assignment — such as student teaching, substitute teaching, coaching, youth groups, camp counselor, tutoring, etc. — and your willingness to teach all students, specifically the school’s student population.

In no particular order of importance, other key competencies and areas of interest may include:

  • Ability to discuss/describe effective instruction.
  • Ability to discuss/describe how to assess student learning/mastery of objectives.
  • Teaching philosophy.
  • Ability to self-reflect and modify instruction and/or professional practices as needed.
  • Ability to create an exciting learning environment.
  • Characteristics such as confidence, adaptability, flexibility, risk-taking, leadership, and being a team player.
  • Effective classroom and discipline management strategies/techniques.
  • Planning for instruction, student engagement, and assessment.
  • Professional growth, willingness to learn, and ability to be a life-long learner.
  • Hard skills such as technical knowledge, expertise, and teaching skills.
  • Soft skills such as enthusiasm for teaching and a positive attitude about kids
  • Computer literacy.
  • Verbal and written communication skills.

Putting it all together

The final step is to think about your strengths and areas for improvement as they relate to the school’s and district’s goals, as well as what principals expect from teacher candidates.

Be prepared to articulate how your strengths can help accomplish important objectives and how you are actively addressing your areas for improvement.

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What is your digital presence?

Digital presence is a growing social and business trend with significant implications for prospective teachers. In fact, to market one’s talents to prospective employers, having and constantly updating this presence is an important part of the application process.

Online communication history and visual artifacts constitute a candidate’s brand. When an employer seeks information about a candidate, one of the first things the hiring agent does is to conduct an online search. This includes looking at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and other social networking outlets. So how a candidate establishes and markets her or his personal brand is critically important.

There’s no shortage of cautionary tales about social media failures, and to be quite honest, that is what many employers look for. If the candidate pool is strong, then discovering online missteps or lapses in judgment can narrow the field. Do not make it simple for the HR department to tank your candidacy due to past mistakes.

Remember, once on the internet, always on the internet. If you are actively searching for a job, look back at your posted pictures, text, tweets, etc. and, with an objective lens, ask yourself if they  portray the “best you.” If they don’t, change, hide or delete them and begin adding content that shows you in the best light.

Social Media

Next, consider what types of third-party content you share with others. Are you liking and sharing articles that are informative in nature? Do they demonstrate the qualities that you want to be known for? What are your passions? Do they come out in what a viewer sees? It is vitally important that you digital presence enables prospective employers to envision you as a future employee.

Marketing yourself for a job requires more than filling out an application and affixing a resume. It entails creating an online brand that rises above the crowd and gets you noticed. So review your media presence, change what could discount your candidacy and add what will enhance it. A strong digital presence can be your best shot at making positive, memorable first impressions with prospective employers.

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