Job Hunting Tips for Teachers

Between 40 and 50 percent of educators leave their job within the first five years of teaching, while nearly 10% leave before completing one whole year. The reasons for teachers leaving one school for another can vary significantly from typical employment concerns such as salary or location to more teacher-specific and intangible issues such as a lack of respect, according to The Atlantic magazine.

With such a high number teacher turnover every year, there are a lot of educators looking for new jobs and often many vacancies that school administrators need to fill.

There are dozens of techniques that can help educators find a new job regardless of if they’re recent graduates or long-time veterans. Learn more about the best ways to find better employment as an educator by examining where teachers are needed most, what techniques will give you the best chance of being hired, and what you should be wary of on the job hunt.

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Teacher Shortage Across the Country

Schools around the U.S. do not have all the teachers they need. There are shortages in the number of teachers for specific geographical locations as well as shortages for certain subjects across a wider region. The U.S. Department of Education collects data on all of the schools in the U.S. and reports the “teacher shortage areas” by state and compare the data to shortages from 25 years ago.

Although the Dept. of Education specifically notes that the data should not be viewed as an employment directory for a number of reasons – such as these areas of need may not have the budget to hire new educators – this information can be a powerful tool in looking for a new teaching career. This information can be used by teachers to find the geographic areas most in need of new educators; where young teachers may be more likely to find employment. It can even provide information about which concentrations are hiring, and how veteran teachers should adapt or continue their education to be most hirable.

The data can also show educators which regions are losing their teachers because of insufficient classroom support, bad pay, or licensing problems, The Washington Post explained. The data may tell a simple story of supply and demand, but digging deeper into analysis may yield helpful job hunt information.

Looking at the reasons for general teacher shortages across the country may also help. Fewer students are becoming teachers than in the past, with the number of education graduates dropping by almost 10,000 between 2004 and 2014, according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Philly.com reported that some of the main reasons that fewer students are going into teaching include small school budgets, increased testing, and reduced public respect.

Tips and Tricks For Landing a Teaching Job

In addition to looking at data to hone your job search and understand what the market is looking for, there are a number of steps that teachers can take to improve their chances to find a job.

  • Try Substitute Teaching: Young teachers may need to build up their references and experience in the classroom. Substitute teaching can be a great way to make contacts, gain experience, and could lead to a full-time position.
  • Build, Maintain, and Show Off Your Portfolio: From lesson plans and certificates to letters of recommendation: having a portfolio ready can make you a more hirable candidate, the National Education Association explains. Not only does a portfolio tell a prospective employer about organization skills, it can give a richer idea of who a teacher is than a plain resume. Portfolios are great for new teachers but can show off the experience and professionalism of a veteran as well.
  • Use Web Resources: From preparing your application information to looking at job postings, web resources give you a great chance to explore opportunities all over. Websites such as Teach.org, K-12Jobs.com, and SchoolSpring.com allow teachers to find the right open positions for them.
  • Research the School, the Town, and the State: The more information you know about the school environment, expected salary, and state curricula, the more ready you’ll be to know if you want to apply or answer a difficult interview question. Keep up this research in the interview by asking about the school and teaching philosophies.
  • Share Your Experience: There’s nothing administrators want more than experience. Whether you have camp counseling and student teaching hours under your belt or hundreds of graduated students, share relevant stories that illustrate your teaching methods.

Red Flags During the Hunt

Educators who are looking for a new job need to be on the lookout for warning signs that the job posting they’re excited about isn’t too good to be true. In addition to analyzing the reasons why a community may be experiencing a teacher shortage with the Dept. of Education data, teachers should know the common challenges of teaching. Many leave jobs after short periods of time because limited resources and after-hours work wear on them.

While hunting for a new job, teachers should ask difficult questions to get to the heart of what is expected of them, what the budget limitations are, and the level of academic success at the school. This may act as a red flag or at least a way to set realistic expectations. Bureaucracy, low wages, high stress, difficulty with administration, and testing are all common teacher issues, according to the Dept. of Education, so teachers should be sure to understand exactly what their jobs entail in and outside of the classroom.

The Ongoing Need For Educators

There are shortages in the number of teachers all across the United States, but there is no shortage of students in need of great educators. Whether a new teacher looking for your first job or an experienced educator ready for a change of scenery, starting and continuing a career in education can help countless students.

Use some of these tips and resources to find your optimal career in education.

1 Comment

  1. Jess

    August 15, 2016 at 11:00 am

    I’m a recent school counseling graduate and accepted a position shortly after I graduated. I wanted to stay in the district I worked in for four years, but I didn’t think there were going to be any positions available for me. I took a job outside of my district at a charter school. A week after accepting this position, a job from my district opened up and I didn’t take it. Since accepting my job, I have experienced all kinds of red flags. I have no support from my administrator despite stressing in the interview how important I thought that was. The work days for teachers at this school between 8.5- 9.5 hours compared to 7.5 hours at my previous district. The pay is significantly lower. There were many other red flags for me as well. My question is, what questions do I ask to find out about red flags during the interview process and how do I ask them? I like school counseling, but this isn’t where I want to work as a school counselor. I don’t want to go through this again where I find all the red flags after accepting a position.