From Student Teacher to Teacher: Making the Second Cut Part II

Article excerpt

Part I of this two-part article, published in the March 204 issue, addressed five components of the employment process in order to "make the first cut" when seeking a teaching position. The purpose of this article (Part two) is to provide teacher candidates with the necessary skills to understand and navigate the application process and on up to the interview, and signing of the contract. The five components to be discussed in this article include the various stages of the employment process from: (1). The Position Search Process. (2). Application Process, (3). Preparing for the Interview, (4). Development of the Professional Portfolio, and (5). Employment Opportunities, and Resources.

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One of the least worries on a student teacher's mind during the student teaching experience is completing an application for a teaching position. Traditionally, during Student Teaching Seminar the focus of the "Employment Session," is on how to articulate one's educational philosophy, and on how to construct the cover letter and resume. At times a principals panel supports the session and if time allows a mock interview is also demonstrated. Less time or "no time" is spent in providing teacher candidates with examples of the various types of teaching applications or on the strategies needed to make the employment process more efficient and less frustrating. The following describes the various stages of the employment process: (1). The Position Search Process, (2). Application Process, (3). Preparing for the Interview, (4). Development of the Professional Portfolio, and (5). Employment Opportunities and Resources.

The Teaching Position Search Process

Career Services Office. One of the most effective ways in searching for teaching positions can be through the use of your local university's career services and placement office. They are the "Cent-Com" (Central Command) which gathers recent position vacancy notices from school districts throughout the United States. They also employ a professional staff who are ready to assist teacher candidates in their employment search prior to and after graduation. Depending on the management configuration they may be the depository for setting up the professional placement file as well. Some large institutions also have their own placement file services housed in their respective schools and colleges (School of Education, School of Nursing, etc.). For example, the credential analyst in some institutions sometimes house and manage the placement files for all credential candidates (teaching, counseling, educational administration, etc.). The career services office assists candidates in the employment search, constructing the cover letter and resume, providing opportunities for mock interviews, posting current notifications of employment positions and job fairs, sponsoring on campus career fairs and allowing school districts to conduct on-campus interviews, and career counseling. The career services office also acts as a referral agency that can further lead to other sources of assistance in the teaching employment process.

Professional Networking. A strategy that is very helpful in the search process is building and nurturing a network of professionals in the field of education. There is a saying "it's not what you know but who you know." That is, having strong qualifications is first priority, and being referred by particular individuals also helps. You want to begin networking at an early stage of the employment process. It can begin early during the student teaching phase, while taking credential methods courses and even during the field service or practicum experience. Many times classroom teachers are the first to know where and which teaching vacancies will become available. If possible, take the time to meet with the school Principal to discuss employment opportunities at the school or in the district. Many times school Principals recommend teacher candidates to one another in an effort to get the best teacher candidates first. …