Exploring Your Professional Options Near and Far
The anxiety and anticipation that accompanies a recent graduate or an experienced educator looking for a fresh start in a new teaching position can sometimes be overwhelming. Mix in the emotional ties to family, friends, and significant others and it is often challenging to relocate and accept a teaching position far away.
Making the decision to stay or go is dependent on the teacher. While it is a difficult decision, many factors influence the final call.
Should I stay?
- What is the job market like in the area around your hometown?
Is the market saturated with teachers looking for jobs? If you live in a competitive area you may want to consider all of your options, not just the traditional public school. Consider private schools, charter schools, cyber schools, and learning centers.
- What qualifications set you apart from the rest?
If you are continually subbing in a school or cannot find an opportunity to move into a full-time job, consider ways to make yourself more marketable. Perhaps you can work towards obtaining a higher degree or an additional certification area.
- Are you connected to any educational entities that may increase your chances for an interview?
If you have a connection, whether it is a brother, cousin, aunt, neighbor or friend, use them to promote you!
Or, should I go?
- Have you done your research on the educational entity you plan to move to?
If you are willing to move away from your hometown, you are going to be very marketable in a number of areas that are experiencing teacher shortages. Before you commit to moving away, be sure to research the school community where you plan to live and work. Ask questions before you move and make this major life change. Examine the schools and student populations where you are going to teach. Get a feel for what you are getting into and inquire about what resources are available in your school and community.
Whether teaching experience is gained locally in a variety of settings outside of the traditional public school, as a substitute teacher, or gained after relocating to an area in need of teachers, the opportunity to gain valuable experiences makes you more marketable and may create the perfect opportunity to transition into a leadership role or closer to home.
Matthew J. Erickson, Ed.D.
Assistant Professor - Special Education Department
Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania