How can I explain this gap on my cover letter?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Birdie86, Mar 31, 2015.

  1. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    Mar 31, 2015

    Hello everyone, I am new to the forum and need some advice. I received my degree in elementary ed. in 2011, but I did not get my teaching certification (EC-6 in Texas) until last year. This was because a year before I graduated I lost my mother who was literally my best friend. I pushed my way through student teaching to graduation, and after that I just needed time to myself to grieve and heal and it just took me a lot longer than I anticipated. During this time I remained in the field by substitute teaching, that way I could go at my own pace but still maintain my knowledge and skills, etc. I did this while slowly prepping to take the cert. exam. I'm fine now and I'm working as a full time pre-k teacher at a private center, wanting to get into a district. How can I explain this briefly in a cover letter to explain the gap between obtaining my degree and my certification while being professional and it not hurting my chances? Would simply noting (but not necessarily elaborating on) a "tragic family event" as the cause be bad? Or is that even too personal? I'm so worried I could say the wrong thing and this could hurt me.
     
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  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    If you were subbing in the interim I wouldn't really consider it a gap? Unless you just mean the gap between graduation and certification?
    I wouldn't worry about it too much, tbh. Put your experience on your resume as it happened, and if someone is concerned about it in an interview they'll ask and you can tell them there was a death in the family.
     
  4. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    Yes it is just a gap between my degree and when I got my certification. Typically people get their cert. directly after, but in this case I did not and someone mentioned to me that it could possibly be concerning to a principal when reviewing my resume. Would others of you agree with that it could be as well?
     
  5. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    You don't necessarily have to list when you obtained your certification. What matters is that you have it now, and you kept yourself in education since you graduated by subbing.

    If you want to address anything in your cover letter you can say something along the lines of...after graduation I bgan to substitute teach between xx and xx to develop my teaching skills...while sub teaching I learned...
     
  6. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    Well on my resume I have that I obtained my cert. in 2014 to show that it is active and for how long it has been, since they do expire. I guess perhaps I didn't need to put that? I just assumed I needed to. Also it shows the date if they actually look up my certification.

    Perhaps maybe it wouldn't be concerning after all given that I didn't just drop off the map, but instead remained in the field? I could see how that may be curious though as to why I didn't get it sooner.
     
  7. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    You don't have to put the date, if you don't want to. Lots of teachers don't pursue their certification when they graduate.

    I had a friend that delayed her getting hers because she went on a 2 year spritual journey. She's teaching now so she didn't have a problem.
     
  8. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    Bunnie, do you know if she mentioned anything about her delay and what she did during that time? Now I'm thinking I should maybe just not mention it at all in my cover letter.
     
  9. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Not sure. Personally, I wouldn't mention it.

    See if any other posters agree with me though. Maybe someone else has been through something similar or interviewed someone with a similar situation.
     
  10. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    So what do you guys think? Is it something you would mention, and would you be concerned about landing an interview without mentioning it, or not?
     
  11. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I certainly wouldn't put it in the cover letter. If you feel the need to mention it, most applications have a section where you get to tell them more about yourself. That would be the place to simply state that a death in the family threw you off your projected course, but even though you have grown through your experience as a sub, you are now ready and eager to be a full time teacher. If there isn't a place in the application, let this one ride until it is questioned in an interview. I don't believe that gap will keep from getting an interview, IMO. Good luck!
     
  12. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    I waited 10yrs to get the certification....(these things are expensive) I think you're worrying to much.
     
  13. Birdie86

    Birdie86 Rookie

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    I think so too! I was never concerned about it until it was brought up to me by one person that it could possibly be concerning. From the looks of it, most people tend to say it's not a big deal, so I think I'll just leave it out.

    Now, I did attempt to take the exam a couple times during that gap of time, and unfortunately I did fail them. One was right after student teaching (no test prep - just thought i'd give it a shot while I was at it), and the other was in the midst of my "time off" and I know that I rushed test prep...again got too confident and didn't spend enough time in certain content areas. I passed multiple practice exams so I figured I would be okay. Didn't pass until the third time. Do any of you think this could be an issue for me too?
     
  14. justwanttoteach

    justwanttoteach Cohort

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    No...employers don't look at the number of times it was taken...I failed a few times..and I have been ok. Don't sweat the small stuff...
     
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I heard recently that putting too many dates on your resume was too old-school.
     
  16. Mommy1982

    Mommy1982 Rookie

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    I graduated the same year as you, but obtained my certification that year too. I subbed I handful of times my first year out of grad school and wasn't able to get a full time teaching job. I've been home ever since as a stay at home mom with my kids. I don't sub either, so I haven't been in a classroom in years. I don't even explain the gap in my employments, degrees, etc on my cover letter. I was considering teaching this year (but decided to stay home again) so sent my resume out and I had no problem getting numerous principal contact me for interviews. You also don't need to put your date of graduation either. I don't.

    But, in my state, there was a also a hiring restriction on hiring new teachers with my certification for years, (it just got lifted last summer), so I'm sure the pricipals comes across a zillion resumes with large gaps in them and pretty much know the reason why.
     
  17. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    I wouldn't mention it either. Play up your experience, strength and goals.
    I had a ten year gap from leaving the legal profession (stayed home with my daughters) and entering education.
     

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