Job Search Tips for Prospective Teachers

A big part of the job search process is knowing where to look and how to look for teaching positions.

Wafa Hozien, Ph.D.

Dr. Wafa Hozien has served in numerous roles for over 20 years in PK12 education. Presently she teaches graduate students in the Educational Leadership Department at Central Michigan University. She researches on issues affecting educational equity, practices and opportunity, including curriculum and assessment with a focus on minority student experiences in public schools. Dr. Hozien can be reached at: Hozie1w@cmich.edu

Where to Look

Local School District

The first place to start is your local school district’s website. There, you will find a listing of jobs that are available. Another place to look is the school’s bulletin board, usually in the main office or the teacher’s lounge.

Online Websites

The next place you should look is the Internet. Places like DIVERSITYinEd.com or your local job-finder websites will post career opportunities available the within local school districts. If you are looking to gain a unique experience out of state, try searching Reach Every Child at http://reacheverychild.com or Education America http://www.educationamerica.net/. These sites allow users to search for teaching jobs, sorted by state.

Local College

Another great place to search for a teaching job is at your local college. A lot of colleges will pay you to teach or tutor students on campus. Try doing an online search at your alma mater. You may be a shoe-in just because you graduated from there, and may have contacts that can help you land the job.

Word of Mouth

Getting a teaching job may be as easy as announcing your search on social media. Network with everyone you know – neighbors, former colleagues, friends, and former professors. Talk to everyone you never know who may have the connection that will get you in the door for an interview.

How to Look

Quick Tips

  • Look for a teaching job before school ends for the year. Jobs are usually posted a few months before the end of the school year.
  • Consider teaching courses or classes online.
  • If you already have your Master’s degree, try applying at your local Community College.
  • When all else fails and you can’t find a job teaching, you can always try to find a job at a local camp, daycare, or tutoring center.

Make the HR Rounds

  • This is time consuming, but you should visit the Human Resources websites of major school districts that you think you would like to work for. Do not be afraid of driving long distances for that first job. You can always transfer to a closer school.
  • Vist the Human Resource departments and/or recruiting departments of local school systems and universities to ask about available positions. Go into the school district and ask the secretary face to face, if possible. If there are no current vacancies, ask if you can submit your résumé to remain on file should future openings match your qualifications. Keep in mind that schools do the bulk of their hiring several months before the new school year starts.

Substitutes are Always Needed Here

  • Accept a substitute teaching position at the school of which you are focusing your job search. This will not only allow you to network at the school with fellow teachers and administrators, but it’ll allow you to meet some of the students you may be teaching. It is not unusual for substitute teachers who have made a strong bond with the students to be offered a full-time position when an opening comes up.
  • Be patient. Try to stay calm during the job search process. (This is probably going to be the hardest tip to follow.)
  • What you also have to keep in mind is that a lot of schools hand out their contracts around mid-March and they aren’t due back until mid-April, so when you’re first starting the job search, principals may not know whether or not they will have an opening. So you have to be patient and understand that a lot of the hiring happens right at the end.
  • That doesn’t mean you should wait to start your job search! Just don’t get too down on yourself if it takes longer than you thought to find a position.

Final advice

  • Get as much experience under your belt as possible, even if it is a volunteer opening as a Sunday School teacher or a camp counselor or an after school aide.
  • Work on building relationships with teachers that you work with and the principals of those schools.
  • Remember to enter every interview with confidence and be patient with your job search.
  • Be open to different locations and positions.