By: Caitlin Corrigan, DIVERSITY in Ed
Landing the teaching job of your dreams starts with setting some clear goals and intentions. Before you send out a single resume, take a moment to sit with yourself and get clear on your goals. Do you want just anyteaching job? Or, do you want an opportunity to find a teaching placement where you can be a valued part of a school community?
We’ve put together our most comprehensive job search guide yet to give you the inside scoop on how to leverage the tools of DIVERSITY in Ed’s Education Community Network to help you land the job you want at the school or district that feels like home. Read on to get the tips you need to formulate a detailed job search plan, and start envisioning yourself at the front of a classroom this fall!
Join the Network, Get the Job
If you’re reading this, you’re already an unofficial member of the DIVERSITY in Ed Education Community Network! But more than just a magazine, the network extends into digital spaces with the goal of connecting talented teacher candidates to schools looking to hire. If you haven’t checked out our online job board or virtual recruitment fair, then you’ve found your first step on your road to landing that perfect job.
Start with creating and uploading a resume to the job seeker site. When you register, you’ll have an opportunity to indicate your subject and grade level areas of interest, any certifications you currently hold, as well as optional info about your cultural background. Once you upload your resume, you’ll be instantly connected with schools and districts across the country who are actively looking to make their next hire. There are currently thousands of open positions on the job board, which means that schools are searching for qualified candidates right now. Are they searching for you?
Once you’ve joined the site as a job seeker, you can register for and participate in the virtual career fair and work to put your best foot forward with administrators from around the country, all from your home or college campus. For additional insights into schools looking to hire, be sure to check out our online archives, or pick up a print copy of DIVERSITY in Ed Magazine at one of the 450 universities and colleges where we distribute. Each issue is packed with advice for new teachers of color entering the job market, as well as interviews with nationally recognized educational leaders about their path into the classroom, and what they’re looking for in a new hire.
Digital Networking Done Right
Curious about what a virtual career fair can do for your job search? The DIVERSITY in Ed Virtual Teacher Recruitment Fair, which is scheduled for April 11, 2018, offers direct access and interaction with recruiters and hiring personnel who are actively seeking their next new hire. You can conduct on the spot video interviews during the event, and position yourself ahead of the pack of teacher candidates looking to find placements.
The schools and districts who plan to participate in the digital career fair are very committed to connecting and engaging with diverse teachers. They are hoping to interview and hire qualified teachers, both new graduates and those with some experience, and will come ready to connect with teachers from a range of cultural backgrounds. How can you best prepare for the fair? Get clear on some of your key assets, and get ready to position yourself as the best teacher to fill the position in their classroom and school community!
Interview Tips: Identifying Your Assets
Once you’ve put yourself out there by uploading a resume and engaging in both virtual and in-person job fairs, the next step is interviewing with several schools and/or districts. If you are searching for positions across the country, some of these interviews may be on the phone, while some may be in person, or over a video chat feature like Skype. No matter what the format, you should always take ample time to prepare thoroughly for an interview so you have the best chance possible of ending your search with plenty of quality job offers to choose from.
For starters, consider the assets that you bring to the table. If you’re a brand-new teacher, this may feel intimidating; after all, you won’t have had much experience beyond your student teaching placement! But remember that schools and districts are looking for fresh energy and perspectives, and that includes hiring teachers from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds. A 2017 report on recruiting and retaining teachers of color by the Education Trust noted that, in New York state alone, Black and Latino students make up 43 percent of student enrollment, but only 16 percent of teachers were Black and/or Latino.
The school administrators you want to work for are the ones who are actively looking to address this gap, and you can present yourself as the right candidate to help them ensure that their faculty better reflects the student community that they serve. In an interview setting, it’s totally appropriate to talk about your cultural background, and share ways in which your race and/or ethnicity have affected the lens through which you view the world, and your teaching practice. This kind of self-awareness is an excellent asset, and strong administrators will recognize that right away.
Interview Tips: Sharing Your Story
In an interview setting, you want to prepare not only examples of your professional strengths and academic skills, but also reflect upon ways that your unique identity can help you establish your footing as someone in the school that students can identify with, and/or learn from. While race or cultural background can seem like an “elephant in the room,” taking steps to actively address your background in an interview will demonstrate your self-awareness and ability to engage in meaningful conversations and become part of the community. A great example? If you wear a hijab, address this choice and share what it means to you so you can model what these conversations will look like with students and school community members.
Another way to prepare is to consider the common interview question: “Tell me about yourself.” While it can feel “safer” to leave race out of the equation, consider reflecting on the ways that your background has been shaped by other teachers of color or role models within your community, or perhaps how your background has influenced your decision to choose teaching as your profession. Be clear, passionate, and professional in your responses, and try practicing them beforehand with a friend so that you feel confident come interview time.
Staying Focused, Staying Positive
Entering the classroom as a new teacher of color is not an easy road, but it’s a path that offers ample opportunity to learn, grow, and directly influence the lives of young people. In the report by the Education Trust, teachers mentioned the obstacles they’ve encountered, including feeling isolated in their school communities, or not given the same level of trust as their white colleagues. Before accepting any position, be sure to talk to other teachers of color in the building about their experience, and/or ask the administrators about the supports and opportunities for professional peer support during the school year.
Finally, keep in mind that the earlier you start your search, the sooner you’ll start getting offers to choose from. By joining the DIVERSITY in Ed Network, you’ll put yourself in the path of schools and districts who want to build diversity within their faculty and offer opportunities to both new and experienced teachers of color.
Remember, your job search is not just about “getting a job,” it’s also about finding the right fit for your professional skills to shine in a place where you can feel at home and valued for who you truly are. And along the way? The DIVERSITY in Ed Education Community Network has your back! Connect with us today, and get started on your path to the classroom!