Teacher-Speak: Using Academic Language in Your Job Search

Anna Quinzio-Zafran

Anna Quiznio-ZafranAnna Quinzio-Zafran, a National Board Certified Teacher, recently retired after 36 years with Coal City Community Unit #1 Schools from her roles as teacher and K–5 Language Arts Coordinator. She is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum and Instruction focusing on Teacher Education from Northern Illinois University.

A friend recently told me about a recent graduate who went to her first job interview. She was certified K−6 and had a K−6 Reading certification. As the Director of Human Resources asked her questions, she answered in generic or lay terms. He was looking for her to use words and phrases like tiered instruction, scaffolding, RTI, and leveled readers. He never heard any of those words, but she understood the concepts and was passionate about helping students learn to read. Did she get a job? No, not yet. First, he sent her to study a website that clearly and simply explained the concepts and terms she needed to be using and gave concrete examples and scenarios. Then he graciously worked with her informally. Finally, he pronounced her ready to interview with the principals in his district. She was very lucky. In the process of getting a job, she learned how to put into practice all the things she learned in college!

Are you afraid to use the terminology you’ve read in textbooks or written papers about or heard your professors use? Academic language is the language of power. Prospective employers are looking for candidates who present themselves professionally. While language use has increasingly become less formal socially, it remains important to express oneself in a more sophisticated way in professional settings.

Interview teams will be confident that an applicant can participate in discourse with coworkers and act as a good language model for students when that applicant displays a strong proficiency of academic language in his/her resume, cover letter, and interview. It is critical to your success to comfortably use the terminology of teachers when talking with teachers and administrators.

Join me March 14 at 3:00 PM Eastern for a webinar that will provide pointers on communicating effectively to make a good impression in your job search. You will learn:

  • What is meant by academic language.
  • How to learn the academic language interviewers want to hear.
  • How to become comfortable using academic language.
  • How to project professionalism in your résumé and interview.

This webinar will be a good basis for continuing your learning process in KDP Global’s Job Search Academy. Log in and read posts and contribute to the discussion or ask questions.

There are four webinars. Choose one or more. Find out how to qualify for a resume review. http://www.kdp.org/events/jobsearchsummit2015.php

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