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10 essential tips to land that first teaching job

Updated: Mar 5

You are in luck this week I was able to have Dr. Josh Weaver come into a practicum class as a guest speaker and share what he looks for in a teaching candidate. I want to share some of those nuggets of awesomeness with you! Let’s jump right in. Dr. Weaver started his talk by explaining the importance of the 3 Rs.

The three Rs - rigor, relevance, and relationships.

These are three important factors in teaching, but the most important is the relationships you create with students, faculty, staff, parents, and the community. You need rigor in your lessons but still reach students where they are. Lastly, it would be best if you were relevant to students. Use teachable moments or events happening worldwide and bring them into your classroom. Reach students using technology in new and interesting ways to engage and motivate them in the classroom.

10. Proofread your application! Nowadays, most applications are turned in online using an online application system; very rarely are they turned in via paper and pencil. But no matter how you turn in your application, have someone proofread it. I don’t care if you are the best writer in your class. Have someone review your online application. This is your first impression, your first handshake with a district – so make it a good one! It may also be a good idea to read your application aloud so you can get a feel for how it sounds and make edits as needed.

9. Don’t start every sentence with I… Districts are looking for team players, when you start your cover letter with, “I did this, and I did that”. It could come across that you are in this just for YOU. So, take a note here please consider using terms like “We did this, we accomplished this goal or my co-op and I did this, etc”, You get the point. It’s okay to talk about yourself and highlight what you have done, but frame it in a way that shows you have a collaborative spirit and play nice with others.

8. Balance Yes, it can be hard to balance it all, but when it comes to a resume or digital presence, we are looking for balance. When an employer looks at what you have been doing during your college career, yes, they want to see a good GPA, but that is not the end-all and end-all. Admins want to see a balance between academics, extracurricular activities, outreach, professional development, etc. So, showcase what makes you more than your GPA in your resume, cover letter, and digital presence (through your social media or a digital portfolio). Remember to keep the professional public.

7. Suit up! Even though the first round interview is usually 20 minutes, you still need to suit up! Challenge accepted make sure that you are lookin’ good for that first round interview. During that first round interview, show who you are and why you want to be an educator of excellence.

6. Focus! During a second-round interview, we focused on content, content, content. This interview will probably include content-specific teachers to chime in on the interview process. If you are a special education teaching candidate, make sure you know the knitty gritties of the IEP process but add to it. For example, you could say (and do this), “when I conduct an IEP I would like to edit the IEP as we go during the meeting to truly show how an IEP is a collaborative process between the school and families.” This shows that you get the big picture of an IEP – having everyone on the same page about a student and helping the student become independent and successful.

5. I want to find you online. - YES, my friends, an administrator will be googling you and finding information about YOU! So you want them to find a positive, professional presence. Leave breadcrumbs of awesomeness online about you - from your digital portfolio to Instagram, Twitter, Linked In, etc. Keep your professional information public and your personal information private. Do you want to learn more about this then, my friends you have to check out EduMagic: A Guide for Preservice Teachers.

4. Superheroes unite! - You will never be as famous as you are in the town of the school where you work (unless you become internet famous). So what does this mean? This means that in the eyes of those children you teach everyday you are a superhero you are famous! So embrace it and be a mentor wherever you go. Set a good example; you are someone’s role model!

3. Just say no to the sage on stage - during the third-round interview, show the team what you know, but don’t be that sage on the stage. Don’t be afraid to get the students working in groups to demonstrate those 4C’s (communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking). Try to differentiate instruction for students. But friends please don’t be the one standing up there delivering content for the 20 minute lesson. Yes, you can deliver bits of content, but be sure to mix it up with think pair shares, group work, and truly engage the students in learning.

2. Highlight your experiences - OK first let’s get this out of the way - you are not JUST a preservice teacher. You have so much to offer a classroom and a district. You may not have years of experience, but that doesn’t mean you have nothing to offer. You have ideas, experiences, thoughts, and innovative ways to teach concepts - so highlight those! Share what you did and how you will impact their school. Show it and let it shine!

1. Gold star example - OK true story the first-round interview may not look at your digital portfolio but this third and final round yes! Please use that to your advantage. If you can answer an interview question with an example and point to that example in your digital portfolio showing that idea - then boom! That is the secret sauce if you can show what you did through video, images, links, etc. that is powerful! My friends use your digital portfolio to show what you can do and what you can bring to a classroom.

So, let’s recap:

· Proofread your application (might as well add to that resume, cover letter, digital portfolio)

· Don’t start every sentence with “I…”

· Balance

· Suit up!

· Focus on the content during the second round

· Be found online. Let the positive professional presence shine through.

· Don’t be the sage on the stage during the teaching demonstration

· Highlight your experiences you have them! Show them off!

· Gold star example – point to your digital portfolio to showcase an example!

Comment below with some advice that you have for that first teaching job!

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