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How To Show Employers Your Passion for Student Success

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I recently heard the 2014 Teacher of the Year for Pennsylvania, Anthony Grisillo (West Chester University, '96), comment to a group of student teachers, "You are not teaching physics!  You are teaching students physics!"  This statement helped put my message to future educators in context with the comments of our education employers on our Career Center's Employer Advisory Board.

When asked, "what are the top competencies (skills & experiences) that you look for your new hires?" one employer indicated "a passion for student success".  How would a teacher candidate express that quality?

  • Focus Job Search Materials and Interview Responses on (specific) Student Examples:  When preparing your cover letter don't just talk about how your strength may be your ability to impart your enthusiasm about learning with students and their caregivers. Instead give a specific example of how you strive to create and achieve that environment.  Be explicit in your responses and utilize a concise method to provide your articulate responses (please, reference the article "Behavioral Based Interview Question: How to Prepare for the Unexpected.")
  • Be inclusive:  Every person in a school is important to student success.  Remember to acknowledge administrative staff, instructional aides, custodians, librarians, etc.  How you speak about and treat others in a field experience or student teaching role will have an impact on how you are perceived by others including your students.  If you are a new teacher attending the faculty breakfast, make an effort to get to know everyone as much as possible.  Remember you are not an island!
  • Involvement in Out-of-the-Classroom Experiences:  Be willing to wear multiple hats.  Whether you step up to be an Assistant Softball Coach or Technology Coordinator for your elementary school building, principals and administration take notice of those educators who go above and beyond to help their students see the value of a holistic education.
  • Strategic Use of Electronic Resources for Social Media and Your Portfolio:  Maximize your use of LinkedIn as a professional resource to display pieces of your work (note: take advantage of LinkedIn's own resources: http://university.linkedin.com/linkedin-for-students.html).  Consider creating an electronic portfolio using Google docs, Weebly, or another site.  Think about following-up with a networking connection or even after an interview with a thank you note by linking to an electronic resource that visually shows your passion.  Always, always, always follow proper protocol for taking pictures of students and/or displaying their work!


Ashley Reichenbach, M.A.

Assistant Director, Twardowski Career Development Center

West Chester University of Pennsylvania |

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