I had an opportunity recently to talk to a group of student teachers at a local university. The questions that they asked were general and typical of those that I've answered in the past. One question, however, was timely and I think worthy of sharing in this blog. What should teacher candidates be doing to maximize their job search process for teaching positions if they are graduating mid-year?
First, the obvious advice for a December graduate is, to be prepared to substitute teach in the spring semester. In this current economy, school districts have a deep pool of substitute teachers. Many districts, however, will make a special effort to hire their current student teachers as substitute teachers because of their knowledge of the students, curriculum and the community. The biggest hurdle in pursuing this will be to address the requirements around your state's certification/license process as interpreted by the district. Substitute teaching may open doors if you are selected for long-term assignments. Some could even roll into regular positions for the next school year.
Another possibility would be to find regular teaching positions for the second semester. While it is true that school districts typically look for experienced teachers in these positions, you may want to concentrate on the district that you student taught in. In their eyes, you have experience in their district. You may also want to consider applying for classified or classroom support positions. It has been my experience that many teacher assistants are able to demonstrate their skills as potentially successful teachers and are eventually hired as teachers.
Finally, do exploit the advantage that you have as a teacher candidate for the next school year. You have the luxury of having a whole semester to commit time to the job search process. Completing on-line applications, taking the Gallup TeacherInsight, applying for a teaching license, researching district websites and attending job fairs all take time. You have an advantage over those candidates who will need to do this while student teaching in the spring semester. You can be the job applicant who has all the ducks in a row as positions get posted.
The teacher recruitment process is cyclical and is exciting for the first timer. It is equally exciting and energizing for those of us who experience it annually. We are looking forward to hearing from you.
Human Resources Director
Aurora Public Schools