Youâ€™re licensed to teach! Now what?
1. Plan ahead â€” start looking for a job yesterday. It may sound crazy, but experts advise starting your job search 12 months before you want to be greeting students at your classroom door. Identify school districts where you want to work and check their web sites weekly to see what openings they have. If your area isnâ€™t in high demand these days (elementary education majors, this means you!), think about increasing your marketability by adding coursework in the hot areas of math, science, or special education. Other good additions: reading, English as a second language, and Spanish.
When youâ€™re looking for a job, you should expect to look one month for every $10K you expect to make.
2. Network â€” and by that we mean talk to real people, face-to-face. Your college professors, your supervising teacher, and the principal in the building where you student taught are all people to get to know. Let them know youâ€™re looking for a teaching job. Join professional organizations (like PLT!) and attend education conferences. Talk to other educators about your job hunt. Spread the word far and wide. Print professional business cards with your email address and phone number (donâ€™t forget to record a professional voicemail message) and hand them out. (PLT members, log in to download and print a business card for your job hunt!) Then keep in touch. Be memorable but not annoying. Follow up with a short email or phone call to thank the people youâ€™ve met for their time and to reinforce your interest in a teaching position. Be brief but gracious. And donâ€™t forget to check your email and voicemail regularly. You never know when it might pay off.
3. Broaden your horizons â€” literally â€” and explore teaching overseas. If youâ€™re a new college graduate, chances are that youâ€™ll never be as free as you are now to live abroad. (Think family commitments, mortgages, and other adult responsibilities that accumulate the older you get.) Travel guru Arthur Frommer reported in early 2011 that exchange rates for the British pound and euro were improving, and the dollar-to-yuan conversion still favors U.S. travelers. This is great news for job seekers, since the Chinese school system needs English teachers at all levels. (You donâ€™t need to be able to speak Chinese or Mandarin.) Search ESL Jobs in China and ESL Employment to find jobs.
Get more expert advice
â€śHow to Find Teaching Jobsâ€ť Webinar (45 min.) â€” Get insider information on job search strategies and tips on networking like a pro.
Presenter: Cathy Stephens, Director of Educational Certification & Career Services, Whitworth University