Sally Rushmore edits the New Teacher Advocate. She formerly taught secondary science and computer applications at a community college.
Where will you be spending the holidays? Most college students go home or go visit friends or family for the holidays, and it’s a great time to enjoy lots of talk and catching up. If you are a senior, remember you will be looking for a job for next fall starting in about 3−4 months. Seeing people you don’t see every day is a great opportunity to network and let them know you are looking for a job. Did you know that more than 70% of teaching jobs are found through networking?
Not sure what to do or say? Here’s a quick guide:
- Be sure to connect with as many people as you can over the vacation, either by phone or in person.
- Always carry a method for taking notes—pen and paper, smart phone with a notes area, or whatever works for you to be able to find the information later.
- Feel free to lead the conversation by asking where they are working or when they are graduating and what they plan to do.
- Often people will ask you if you are student teaching or will be graduating in the spring. If they don’t, you need to bring it up. If they do, that’s a great time to let them know what you need from them:
- Tell them that you will be student teaching, graduating, and looking for a teaching position.
- Tell them what grade or subject area you will be qualified to teach.
- Ask them if they know anyone who is a teacher or principal or works in a school system. Everyone knows someone who works in a school system!
- Ask them to keep their eyes and ears open for any positions in whatever you want to teach.
- Ask if they will tell everyone they know in a school system that you are looking.
- Ask if you can send them a résumé they can print and share and get their email address.
- Thank them and let them know you’ll keep in touch.
- If you are talking to someone who teaches or works in a building or district you’d really like to teach in, be sure to ask that person to let you know as soon as she/he hears about any retirements or teachers not returning after a maternity leave. Ask questions about the atmosphere in the building, the demographics of the building, how the principal is to work for, and other things you will need to know.
- Keep a list of everyone you talk with, where they work, and their email address (phone number is also helpful).
- When you get your résumé ready, you will have a list of people to send it to!
And speaking of getting a résumé ready, you’ll need to learn what to put on that résumé and what to do after that. So don’t forget to ask for a book or two for the holidays. Kappa Delta Pi has some books you will need:
- The ABC’s of Job-Hunting for Teachers: An A−Z Guide to Landing the Perfect Job by Mary C. Clement. This award-winning guide covers the basic steps of an important process—from A for Applications through I for Interview to Y for You’re Hired, this alphabetical guide helps you land the perfect job,
- The ABC’s of Classroom Management: An A−Z Sampler for Designing Your Learning Community by Pamela A. Kramer Ertel and Madeline Kovarik. The authors provide a list of common classroom problems and offer practical suggestions on how to handle each problem. The suggestions presented are practical, useful, and can be utilized by both novice and veteran teachers.