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Assessing "Fit"

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When applying for teaching positions it is important to remember that all school districts and all teaching positions are not created equal. It isn't just a matter of whether or not they are willing to hire you; it is about finding the right fit between you and the school/position.
So, how do you determine "fit"? Here are a few tips to consider:

*Does this district/school share your philosophy of education? If you haven't reflected on what your particular philosophy is, now is a great time to do so. It is a given that they will ask you this in the interview.

*Is the teaching position a fit for your teaching style?

*Don't forget to think "big picture". Does the community offer what you want in terms of lifestyle? Teachers put in a lot of hours, so it is important that you enjoy the community in which you live to help support an appropriate level of work/life balance that will lead to greater job satisfaction and decrease the likelihood of early burnout.

Determining "fit" can be done to a great extent prior to an interview by doing your research of the school and community. The interview is also an excellent way to find out more information that will help you in deciding if this is the job/school/community for you. Remember that the interview is a two-way street; they are interviewing you but you are also interviewing them. Be sure to phrase any of your questions in the most positive way possible.

Pamela Folger
Director, Career Center
Millikin University
Decatur, Illinois

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