Let's help the job hunters

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by Aliceacc, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2006

    A number of members here are still searching for jobs. How about this: those of us who have gotten jobs, even if only last week, take a minute to think of what you did or said or had that worked best for you. What was the clincher that got you your first teaching job? Let's see what we can come up with!!!

    For me, in 1980, it was my background in Speech and Debate. I competed in high school, and went to state and national finals (with laryngitis, but that's a story for another day!:eek: ) But my willingness to take on coaching responsibilities are probably what got me the job offers that first year. Sure, I know I'm a magnificent math teacher, and was probably pretty good as a novice. But so were lots of people. WHat I offered that they didn't was the willingness to give of my time after school.

    Other high needs areas in high school are the yearbook, the play, student government, sports....
     
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  3. TeacherKay9

    TeacherKay9 Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2006

    what you got out of a negative experience...

    When I got my most recent job, the interview seemed to keep coming back to the 5 years I spent teaching at a terrible inner-city school. I basically told the interview panel that although it was tough (which they knew through the county grapevine and one of the panel members had recently taught at that school) that I wouldn't change it because it gave me tons of opportunities/experience I wouldn't have gotten anywhere else. They also seemed to all jot things down on their interview notes sheet when I mentioned particular things like... that I'd read up on such and such on the state Department of Ed. website, that I'd had such and such staff development. Don't always assume that they will have time to carefully read your resume in minute detail. TELL them what you want them to know about yourself. They also seemed to like the idea that I usually handle discipline issues myself or by sending the student to a predetermined colleagues' room for time out and only to the office as a last resort. I suppose whatever will make their lives easier. I also tried to mention things that I thought other people in the building might not like doing, but i love to do - like being the school's website webmaster and doing the scheduling for the entire school. I guess find your niche and promote that. Hope this helps!:p
     
  4. WITeach

    WITeach Cohort

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    Jun 25, 2006

    I played up my ESL background. I also was very relaxed and treated it like a conversation between the panel and myself. I also found out that one of the interviewers had gone to my high school and that created a connection. :)

    I referenced my portfolio as much as I could. Then I was able to "show" what I could do, rather than just tell them.

    Good luck to all of you looking for jobs. I know how stressful and frustrating it can be.
     
  5. eastcoastkobe

    eastcoastkobe Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2006

    I'm having trouble translating my law enforcement experience into teaching resume bullets so I dont seem so fresh. Any suggestions?
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2006

    For starters, play it up in your resume. Experience in law enforcement means you're proably not incredibly intimidated by a mouthy 13 year old!!

    In terms of resume:
    - maintained order in times of high stress
    - reacted quickly and correctly to the unexpected
    - enforced a code of rules consistently and evenly
    - dealt with the public, conscious of maintaining the image of a professional
    - various presentations to schools, etc
    - prepared unbiased written reports to be used in court
    - testified in court, explaining complicated sequences of events to a jury who wasn't present when the events occurred
    - Did you ever have to train a new officer? Play up that training experience


    I don't know-- tell us more about the specifics of what you did
     
  7. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jun 25, 2006

    I am one of those Jobseekers. I still have yet to find a full time teaching position for the fall;however, I am feeling confident that I will get a few offers or at least interviews over the summer months. I have been out of the classroom for about 6 years now. It was a very rough first year that unfortunately left me with little on the postive side to speak of. What I did offer on my screening interview was honesty( with a spin) I spoke of my learning experience all those years ago and how perspective has changed. I am now wiser, and can anticipate more as a recycled new teacher. I come with the wisdom of experience. As I was relating my experiences, I had a very positive connection with the principal who didn't seem to mind what I had to say. I talked about how my current job working with disabled adults has allowed me to finish my MS, attend seminars on various topics, and ultimately hone my organizational skills. I am responsible for a caseload of 27 individiuals. It's funny, but I think I had to experience the bad to show me my areas of weakness. My current job has allowed me to improve. I feel much better about moving forward despite the years out of the classroom.
    I'm so happy to have found this board. Sometimes I feel like I've learned more here than in college. Experience is so much more valuable and I think school administrators like to hear that instead of textbook answers.
    Good Luck to all.
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Jun 26, 2006

    I didn't even have to INTERVIEW for either of my jobs. I started with the district as a sub, and I subbed mainly high school and middle school, although I'd take an elementary job when they were desperate. I subbed all but 5 days the entire year! My degree is in English, and it just happened that the year I subbed I did a six week maternity leave for one of the English teachers and right after that--maybe two weeks later--another English teacher was out on sick leave, and I finished the year for her, maybe 8-9 weeks. The following year they had an opening for half-time at the high school and one class at the middle school. They offered me the job on the spot because they'd already seen my work the previous year. And then, when that school changed scheduling and I was out of a job there, the middle school hired me without an interview. I finished my 13th year with the district in May.
     
  9. CyFair

    CyFair Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2006

    Great idea for a thread! I'm one of the job seekers, and I'm always looking for helpful tips.

    Years ago, when I got my first teaching job, the principal was very tough on me during the interview. He was trying to get me flustered, saying things like, "That's not the answer I was looking for," or "Are you sure about that?" But the more he badgered me, the calmer I became. I figured he must want to see how I deal with pressure. When he would hit me with a tough question, I would take my time and give a thoughtful response. He contradicted me a couple of times, and I just smiled and held my ground. At the end of the interview, he told me was very impressed with me and believed I would make an excellent teacher. Then he offered me the position on the spot.

    So for me that was the key -- I didn't have all the "right" answers, but I remained calm and confident.
     
  10. adria

    adria Comrade

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    Jun 26, 2006

    I verbally expressed myself to the principal that I am capable of doing the job. I made myself look like an expert of my subject area. I asked questions, I demonstrated that I am a team player and willing to learn new things. I was persistent, I emailed the principal making her aware that I was the person for the job.....thank you letters. Most of all, I most give God the praise because through Him all things are possible.

    Take care
     
  11. goopp

    goopp Devotee

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    Jun 26, 2006

    Great thread! I can't wait to post what I did to get my new job. The one I should be interviewing for any day now...how's that for positive thinking?!?
     
  12. bamafan

    bamafan Rookie

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    Jun 26, 2006

    Well to be perfectly honest, our school system is not about what you know it is about who you know. If you don't have an "inside track" with the superintendent or a school board member then you are pretty much up the creek. It is all about politics here. If you aren't in the clique then you don't get a job. I was one of the lucky ones.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Well, maybe not totally lucky--- how did you get to know the right people??
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    You're right, many times, it does depend on WHO you know to climb up successfully. I'm interested as well. How did you get to know a board member and/or the super? Do you have a friend or relative who works for the district & can give you all the good gossip or the inside track & they introduced you? Is the district small where everybody pretty much knows everybody? Did you start as a sub or something & made sure you got noticed by everyone?

    This is good info for all us jobseekers to know as well. How does an outsider applying to a new district they know nothing about get in w/ the "right" people w/i the district?
     
  15. bamafan

    bamafan Rookie

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    Just to be honest, one political party pretty much controls the school system and it just happens that my family are members of that political party. Also, we have an elected superintendent and I worked on his re-relection campaign which virtually guaranteed me a job since "luckily" for me he won.
     
  16. sofiluv

    sofiluv Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2006

    Awesome thread, I'm a current job seeker and I appreciate the feedback and insight!
     
  17. kathy2215

    kathy2215 Companion

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    Jun 27, 2006

    I too am one of the job seekers. I can do well at an interview, but need to know how to get more interviews. Maybe it is my resume, I dunno
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 28, 2006

    Kathy, have you posted your cover letter here? (sorry, it's early and I'm too lazy to look:sorry: ) In my opinion that's the key: getting the administrators to even look at the resume. They receive so many, all from "team players" who are qualified. What sets yours apart from the pack?
     
  19. baylee924

    baylee924 Rookie

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    Jun 28, 2006

    "It's not what you know, it's WHO you know," is exactly how it is here where I live. I think it must be a southern thing. And unfortunately, I don't have the same politics as our super (who everyone in the school district refers to as "the queen." That is the only reason I did not get my job offered to me again this year; the super's neice just graduated and wanted to try Middle School language arts. Guess who wasn't tenured?
     
  20. allisonbeth

    allisonbeth Comrade

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    Jun 28, 2006

    I just wanted to chime in. Make sure you know the school. I got my first job purely due to research. I talked to teachers, parents, students, and anyone else who was remotely involved in the school. I went to sporting events, parades, and meetings at the school. I walked around the town a few times and noticed the "hang outs"- I ate at the local pizza shop. I looked at census reports and read copies of the local newspaper. I found/read copies of the last 3 years of school board minutes. (By the way, this does take time...I lived almost an hour away but I figured it would be worth the trips.)

    When I went on family leave and needed to interview for someone to take my position, I was amazed at the number of candidates who came in knowing nothing about the school. The ones who obviously did their research stood out.
     
  21. kathy2215

    kathy2215 Companion

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    how do i do that
     
  22. nasimi77

    nasimi77 Groupie

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    I think an important thing in an interview is to truly show your love of teaching through to the principal, or to whomever is interviewing you. I think Aliceacc said in a thread once it's not so much what you said but how you said it. Did an essence of who you are really shine through and make an impression? I think those things are important. I just recently got hired and I think it was a lot of things (God, big time) and also right timing. However, my interest in the school also helped. This may sound funny, but in ways looking for work is like looking for a spouse. Sometimes you meet the right person, but at the wrong time. You can be the greatest teacher in the world, but you just might be the wrong match for that particular school at that time, or it's just not a good fit. But, there is a school out there with staff and principal who will see your potential! The best thing to do is stay positive, be strong in who you are as a person and a teacher, and keep applying to as many places as possible, even if they are not hiring. I'm sorry, I know some of this may sound repetetive, but I just don't want people to get down. I understand how easy it is to get there. You have to keep focused towards the prize.

    Peace,

    N77
     
  23. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Great advice! and I love the spouse analogy it's very true.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 29, 2006


    Well, I'll grant you that it's difficult here, where you're applying to 100 or more schools.

    But once that interview call comes in, hit the internet. Go to the school's website, and read it word for word. Find out how the kids did on the English and Social Studies Regents, since that's what you want to teach. Find out what activities they offer, etc.
     

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