Really needing help. . .(this is a little long, but I'm needing a lot of help/advice)

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by 2teach2love, Jul 18, 2014.

  1. 2teach2love

    2teach2love Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2014

    I'm in need of help here. Feeling a little crazy about how to write my cover letter and resume. Background: I'm a "nontraditional" (56 yr old) first year teacher. I started working toward a teaching degree in the early 80s. I got married, did not finish my degree (bad move). Fast forward, in 2000, I started substitute teaching a few days a weeks to supplement income. I knew I would be eventually moving out on my own and began working as a paraprofessional/classroom aide in a very large ESE classroom. After working there a while, I decided to go back and finish my degree, which I did this past May. Most of my schooling was paid for by grant money through an ESE program, so I have the obligation to work 4 years in ESE, in Florida. During my 8 years as a teacher's aide, I work about 6-1/2 years in ESE in some capacity. The last two years were in a general ed K and 1st grade.

    As part of my schooling, I had a 100 hour field experience in fifth grade (gen ed) and 100 hour field experience in HS Special ed. My student teaching was in a 3rd grade general ed class, which contained a couple of students doing RTIs.

    Thank you for listening this far.

    I knew there would be a few ESE openings in our district (a very small district), and I thought I would easily get one of them because I have a good reputation within the district, I had good grades, good references, etc. I messed up a little; I had no cover letter and waited a bit long to send a thank you. (inexperience) Still, both interviews that I had seemed to go very well. (one inclusion elementary teacher and one ESE teacher at the middle school, possibly a resource room) The elementary one has called to say they selected someone else. This discouraged me a little as this was where I did my student teaching. Still waiting to hear from the middle school who has "not yet made a decision."

    Now, I am realizing I need to be applying out of the district, and it is getting so close to the school year. My main problem is pulling together the cover letter and resume. I've been looking at jobs in a district that has about 15, which I would qualify for (Special Ed, elementary and m.s.) My bottom line trouble is I don't know how to present the experience I've have as a teacher's aide in a cohesive way that highlights transferrable skills that my future employer may be looking for. My subbing and 8-1/2 years as an aide I thought would be a great plus, but my experience has been spread out over K-5; how do I try for middle school? I'm certified, but not much experience with that level. Also, I have my reading endorsement. My dream job at this point would be reading and language arts. I am sorry this is so long and scattered, but I would appreciate any and all advice possible. Feeling very unsure of myself at this point, but trying to stay positive.
     
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  3. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Jul 18, 2014

    Does your university offer resume help? I would probably start there.

    If not, google sample teacher resumes and cover letters for inspiration. There are also a lot of them you could look at here. Just remember that copying is not OK (we've had people take them practically verbatim :down:).

    Or, if you can afford it, there are resume and cover letter services out there. I think some even guarantee success.
     
  4. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2014

    I think your resume should include all your experience, nothing much you need to worry about there. Read teachergroupie's advice on cover letters posted at the top of the job seekers page. I think you probably want two anecdotes, one showing a skill you want to highlight that happened with fifth graders and one showing a different skill that happened with high schoolers.

    Don't get stuck. This is the time to act. If you need help, post a draft cover letter here and get some feedback.

    Good luck!
     
  5. 2teach2love

    2teach2love Rookie

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    Jul 20, 2014

    Giraffe ~ Not sure about the University's help. I think a lot was covered in my Senior Seminar class, but I was reeling from the loss of my sister in Feb, so much of the last months of my training were blurry. I have looked at some of the online samples. Some are helpful, but some have the exact opposite of what people on here are advising. Even one of the "pay for" deals!! I've been reworking, mostly from the advice of teachers on these boards which is so helpful.

    Mathteachertobe: You're right about not getting stuck. Again, I appreciate your encouragement. I posted my reworked version on another thread, but will post it here, too, for any feedback. I think it's getting better, but still needs work.

    Dear Principal ________,

    I am very interested in learning more about the ESE Language Arts and Reading position at ______ Middle School.

    Over half of my 10 years experience working in the ________ School District has been spent working with children with a wide variety of special needs. I have been told many times by co-workers that I have an unusual amount of patience and understanding.

    I remember one 12-year old, “Andy,” who would become extremely angry when asked to participate in certain class activities. One day I saw his frustration building, and it suddenly occurred to me that the activities triggering this behavior involved fine motor skills. Realizing this, we were able to accommodate him by providing an adaptive pencil and one-on-one encouragement during these types of activities. This greatly reduced the incidence of his outbursts and resulted greater calmness and willingness to participate in activities involving fine motor skills.

    On another occasion, I was working in a high school reading/language arts class for students with high-incidence disabilities. I was teaching a unit on writing formal letters. The students decided that they would like to write letters to the President! They followed a format in which they were to begin by stating something positive about the administration, but they were also encouraged to voice concerns and ask questions. When the letters were properly formatted and ready to go, we sent them in one package with a note from the teacher. It was exciting seeing them learn important real-world skills, but the best part came when they received photos and replies from the Oval Office! To see their realization that they had a voice was one of my most rewarding classroom experiences.

    I’m excited to see the emphasis on values and the high student achievement evidenced in the ____ School System and at ____Middle School in particular. In addition, I truly appreciate the value placed on the arts. Most of all, I love that you have a school-wide Positive Behavior Support System in place.

    The experience I’ve gained from working in classrooms, with many veteran teachers, combined with my recent completion of a dual degree through The University of West Florida, makes me a promising choice for service at your school.

    I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience to further discuss my qualifications and the possibility of being a part of the caring community at ____ Middle School.

    Thank you for your time and consideration.

    Most Sincerely,
     
  6. Geauxtee

    Geauxtee Comrade

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    Jul 20, 2014

    You sound like you have a lot of experience working in a classroom, much more than many first year teachers.

    I think you are worried too much about what is "transferable" or now. Much of a teacher's aide experience is transferable already, so I would write the experience down in best possible light.

    I keep my cover letter very brief, but I make my resume very detailed and this seems to work well for me. I think your age is an asset especially in middle school.

    I read all the "for dummies" books in the library over resumes and cover letters and these helped :)
     

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