Help w/ application strategy plz - I am a unique applicant!

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by abat_jour, Jun 18, 2014.

  1. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jun 18, 2014

    My plan is to MAIL or FAX the REQUESTED application materials to every district in every state which accepts the PA credential, create an online portfolio and put a link in my cover letter. Additionally, here is the risque part, I am going to create a "mini-portfolio" called Supplementary material and include it in my mailings. It will be my teacher action research poster, lesson plan w/ supervisor review, and 1 example of student work.

    What do you think? Tips, suggestions, corrections? Id love to hear them. Thanks :D
     
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  3. FaithDriven

    FaithDriven Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2014

    Hi there, I don't think your gpa and the time you took to graduate will hinder your job search. I am from CA so I may have a different perspective, but it seems that a lot of people would know that UC Berkley is an awesome school. You've had a lot of experiences that I'm sure will help you in the classroom. I started my bachelors at a CSU in 2000 and did not finish until 2009 (also because of many things along the way). I thought Edjoin allowed you to submit a letter explaining why your gpa was lower, but I could be wrong. Since you don't mind applying out of state, I doubt you will have problems. I am applying out of state, to Texas and I have had no problems getting interviews, especially lately. I've had 3 this week and several before that. Not one of the interviewers have asked about my gpa or why it took me so long to graduate. I think what matters most is where you're at now. Good luck :)
     
  4. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Jun 19, 2014

    If you sparkle during the interview with a positive attitude and professional demeanor no one is going to nitpick about your GPA. As a social studies teacher, your experiences with Americorp and travel are bonuses. And your age of 27 is the PERFECT time to be a new teacher. You have life experience with more maturity than a 24 year old, yet you are still very young and energetic.
     
  5. Merc

    Merc Rookie

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    Jun 19, 2014

    I was in the same boat! I was 27, with a 2.9 gpa (3.4 in my History coursework) and looking to become a Social Studies teacher in NJ (which is nearly impossible during the best of times) during the start of the Great Recession. A huge selling point for me was my experience. I had travelled the world after college and spent 4 years building up my resume working for corporate America. In every interview I stressed how I used my background in History to achieve in the corporate America and how I would help students develop the skills to do the same. It was a great selling point, especially against new grads who didn't have any real work experience.

    Five years later and I am still teaching. Def stress the life/work experiences you have, they make you unique compared to the competition. Be exciting, sell yourself as a global citizen. Don't be afraid to email principals and department heads directly. I secured four interviews that way. Take advantage of your UC Berkeley Alumni network.
     
  6. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jun 20, 2014

    Thanks everyone. Merc your experience sounds professional and skill related...my long trajectory was very has big gaps...I did do a lot of work for cooperative housing and had a lot of responsibilities. I will look into alumni network...most of alumni in my area are doctors.

    I just sent out of slew of apps. Cover letters are killing me; don't know what to say.
     
  7. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 21, 2014

    Um. Instead of fixating on how cooperative housing etc. isn't relevant to anything - yes, I know how tempting that is - try using the good brain Cal admitted you for to come up with ways that your experience IS relevant. Think econ. Think social issues. And so on.
     
  8. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jun 21, 2014

    Thanks... I hope the degree has merit. I am not great at selling myself and I don't want to come off as a braggy liberal or something. In reality, my freshman year classes were far more rigorous and challenging than grad school. It is difficult to explain how amazing the school is in terms of experiences/opportunities/intellectual pursuits. My grad school is considered top in Ed, but was pretty ridiculous on so many levels (but that is another thread).

    Additionally I am using Cal to comment on strong support on the empowering nature of ed. I did a lot of educational outreach with recent immigrants over the years. Plus, it is such a cosmopolitan global community-you are literally living with the most diverse bunch of people in America. By two best friends were ex-airforce guy who left the ExUSSR in 1991 and a recently immigrated woman from Pakistan. All the states willing to accept my certification are experiencing demographic expansion, particularly with "new" ethnic groups. My challenge is to "sell" my experience working in diverse groups.


    Does anyone scrutinize transcripts or are they just proof of your degree and school?

    Thanks for the advice. My cover letters suck. I just have no idea of the mindset of the people reading it.
     
  9. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Jun 21, 2014

    Your GPA is of very little interest to most hiring committees. Hopefully you're wrong about your cover letters. They are really the key to landing interviews. Make sure you get your passion for teaching across in yours. There are lots of cover letter threads, check them out and think about what you have to offer that isn't currently reflected in your letter.
     
  10. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jun 21, 2014

    thank you! in the past 12 hours of reading this site for a bit, I have concluded that you are right. I was so hoping it would be portfolios and such.
     
  11. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jun 21, 2014

    You missed my point slightly, abat. It's not about whether the degree has merit. It's that it's up to you to make the case.

    In any event, the role of a cover letter isn't to close the sale, but to open the door.
     
  12. abat_jour

    abat_jour Companion

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    Jun 21, 2014

    I understand maybe in theory but in practice I find these things difficult. I am a poor self-promoter and learned during my prep program that self-PR is very important. crucial. I want to use the degree as a symbol to extrapolate from. I have great recs, tests scores, lesson plans (I think...) but how to condense it and broadcast it? From your posts, I see the cover letter is the holy grail. I am working on some and will post in new thread. Really, I'd like to know what the person hiring is looking for - enthusiasm, dependability, avant-garde strategies...
     
  13. MissD59

    MissD59 Comrade

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    Jun 22, 2014

    Unless your GPA is downright horrific, they won't care. My undergrad degree is in Psychology and Art History, and sure I list it on there, but it doesn't really come up unless someone brings up the school I attended.

    I worked at Disney in Guest Relations. While that probably sounds completely irrelevant beyond working with children, it really was great practice for parent teacher conferences ;) (Guest Relations is often where people go when they have problem, so I have encountered MANY angry parents literally screaming in my face). It's also where guests with disabilities go for accommodations, and we helped them get the most out of their experience and determined which accessibility options would work for them, so it was kind of like differentiation in that sense, plus I was able to work with different kinds of assistive technology.

    See what I did there? You need to think of how you can spin your prior experience to be an asset for the classroom.

    We all know that Berkeley is a great school. I live in NY and went to school in Boston, I know all about it. You don't need to defend that in any way. Chances are a prospective employer is just going to note that you went there and be impressed. Your transcripts are pretty much to verify that you have your degree and to determine step pay if that exists in your area, not to scrutinize your grades up and down.

    I went to undergrad at Northeastern in Boston, which certainly isn't as good as your alma mater. My GPA was a 2.9, but my MS GPA for Elementary Education was a 3.98. My undergrad GPA isn't ever discussed.

    I also don't think that it's necessary to put all that stuff in your initial mailings. I include my resume and cover letter, that is it. I do have a website, and a link to my website in the top of all of my letterhead with the rest of my contact information. A principal mentioned during an interview last week that she took a look at it. I think that is the way to go because if they are inclined to look, they will do so on their own and the link is there for them to browse. Otherwise, they are bogged down with paperwork right off the bat.
     

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