Advice needed: finding your first teaching job
In the words of Johnny Cash, I hear the train a comin’ it’s rollin’ ’round the bend. But in my case I’m not singing the blues about being stuck in Folsom Prison, but rather finding my first ‘real’ teaching job.
I’m six months out from graduating and all of a sudden the prospect of job hunting has gotten a lot more real.
The most obvious thing I need to do to help my job search is to pass my course. But there are literally hundreds of students across the country at the end of the year who will graduate with their freshly minted teaching qualifications eager to find work as a primary school teacher. Not all of these students will find work.
Recently I’ve heard a lot about the tightness of the New Zealand employment market even for teachers. My mother, who has many of years of teaching experience, applied for a job a few months ago where there were over 60 applicants for one position. Stories like this keep student teachers wide awake at 3 in the morning wondering WILL I EVER GET A JOB?
I’m a bit worried as my institution is in a completely different city from the one I am living in so the connections between the schools in the area I’m living and the varsity are pretty much non-existent. Also I imagine some might be put off by the fact that my diploma online via the distance option. Especially when there is a university offering the same course literally down the road from where I live.
But I’m trying to see this as a negative rather than a positive as not being from the local university is, as one of my friends in the PR business would say, a unique selling point. Now I just need to put my unique selling points down into CV form and hope there’s a primary school out there who has need for a maths loving, Korean speaking, computer geek on staff as a Beginning Teacher in 2012.
I’m guessing that teaching isn’t very different from other professions, in that when you have dozens of applicants for one position connections are a way to at least get your foot in the door for an interview. When you are a student teacher your connections are quite limited. The ideal scenario for student teachers is that they get a job offer from one of the schools they go on teaching experience with. However I will only have two (long) practicums during my course, at schools which may or may not need a teacher at the end of the year.
So rather than sit in my room freaking out, I’ve decided to put my holiday to use doing the following:
- Attend events like Net Hui and Edu Camp to meet people working in education. Ulearn would be awesome, but unfortunately well out of my price range.
- Arrange visits to schools I am interested in working for next year. I’ve already met with the principals of two schools, got another two in the works.
- Write my teaching CV.
- Get referees to put on my teaching CV.
- Draft key skill paragraphs that I can put into cover letters.
- Collect necessary paperwork for my Teacher’s Council registration (already sent away for my Korean police certificate).
I know I am a little bit ahead of hiring season for 2012 but I think that getting my face out and start meeting people rather than waiting until positions are advertised. Likewise getting CVs, cover letters, paperwork togoether is an easier task to accomplish when not under the pressure of time.
So this post officially marks the beginning of Operation Job Search.
Yes this post probably reads like
I’m asking for work a desperate cry for help. But I’m working on being pro-active about asking for advice and guidance. :)
So twitter followers, blog readers and random lurkers I have some questions:
What advice would you give Beginning Teachers looking for their first jobs?
If you’ve ever been on a hiring panel, what qualities or skills do you look for in Beginning Teachers?
Is there anything else I can add to my ‘to do’ list to help my chances?
Edited to add thanks to @sumich for this link.