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It is Fall and I Don't Have a Teaching Job

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Over the last few weeks, I have been visited by many teaching candidates frustrated at their lack of success in finding a teaching job for this school year. This is not surprising given the tight job market. So, what can you do?

1. Last Minute Jobs
There are still teaching jobs available. Surprised? There are a variety of reasons. For example, student enrollment increases suddenly at the end of summer, teachers become ill or pregnant, or new teachers do something egregious and are let go. If any of these should happen, administrators may not go back to their applicant pools from months ago. Many may assume that you have gotten a job! Hence, September and October are a great months to not only scour the teaching job boards but to mail your resume directly to principals (they typically learn of openings first) or make some phone calls.
2. Substitute Teaching
Understand that many schools prefer to hire their full-time teachers from their substitute teaching pools. Substitute teachers are trained by the district and "know" the community/culture. September is a great month to apply for per diem substitute teaching positions. Applications are typically online but a phone call may put you ahead in the application process. Getting on 2-3 district's "sub lists" will increase your chances for getting a call to work on a daily basis. This also expands your network of "people you know."
3. The People You Know
Speaking of people you know, candidates often complain to me that they don't know anyone! Nothing could be farther from the truth! Teaching candidates have hundreds of training hours in the schools where they have met countless teachers, administrators, and parents. If you have not reached out to them recently, reach out to them again! Be honest and let them know you are still looking. Surprisingly, many of these people may assume you got a job because they have not heard from you!
4. Piecing it Together
Be open-minded about what related jobs exist and be willing to work hard! Piecing together several part-time jobs can be financially rewarding and will demonstrate significant work ethic. For instance, a recent candidate worked part-time tutoring students, substitute teaching, working at an after-school program for a non-profit, and waitressed. This fostered a positive attitude and kept her skills and resume fresh.

Suzanne Dagger
Director of Career Services
Hofstra University, Hempstead, NY

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