Job Search For Educators
Bridgewater State University has a strong foundation and rich history in educator preparation. Our students have the training and skills necessary to be successful in today's demanding, rewarding and ever expanding field. With this in mind, Career Services recognizes the unique job search needs of our education students. There are different timelines, complex testing requirements and unique supporting materials that are required. As a result, we have dedicated this page to help those in the education field navigate this complex process.
Whether you plan to work in public, private, alternative or collaborative schools, higher education or in a position utilizing teaching abilities, this web page will provide useful information, tips and resources that will help you to make thoughtful career decisions. If you have any further questions, contact our office for assistance and to schedule an appointment with a career counselor.
According to the U.S. Department of Labor, job opportunities for teachers will vary with the locality, grade level, and subject taught. Most job openings will result from the need to replace the large number of teachers who are expected to retire over the 2010 - 20 period. Job prospects should be better in inner cities and rural areas than in suburban districts. Teachers of English as a second language (ESL) and special education teachers are in short supply. Additional subject areas with the highest demand include: mathematics and science (especially chemistry and physics).
The most recent data on wages from May 2010 reported median annual wages of kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers ranged from $48,000 to $53,230: the lowest 10 percent earned less than $34,390; the top 10 percent earned more than $83,230.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2012-13 Edition, Kindergarten and Elementary School Teachers, on the Internet (visited June 19, 2012).
Conducting a job search can seem like a full-time job in and of itself. With this in mind, we have devised a timeline to help direct your job hunting priorities and activities during the course of the academic year.
August - October
Call or visit Career Services to schedule a Senior Recruiting Appointment
Develop a resume and have it critiqued by Career Services
Gather materials to create your teacher portfolio
Attend the Educator Licensure meeting presented by the College of Education during the semester you are student teaching
November - December
Call or visit Career Services to schedule a job search appointment with a career counselor and discuss your post-graduation plans
Create a list of (3-5) potential references or recommendation writers
Determine the geographic region and types of schools that you are interested in and then develop a list of school systems of interest
Begin networking for possible job openings with faculty, site supervisor, and at professional association gatherings
Call or visit Career Services to schedule a Senior Recruiting Appointment, if you have not already done so
Collect recommendation letters from references
Collect transcripts from current and undergraduate institutions
Consider applying for substitute positions at schools of your interest
February - March
Register for and attend the Career Workshops for Educators presented by Career Services
Register for and attend the panel and networking fair portions of the Education Career Fair hosted by Career Services
Register for and participate in the Practice Interview Program
Continue to search for job openings in multiple sources, follow-up with phone calls and thank you letters
Attend the MERC Education Career Fair (Massachusetts Education Recruiting Consortium) in Boston during April school vacation week
May - August
Revise resume and cover letter if necessary or schedule an appointment with a career counselor to review interviewing techniques
Continue applying to job openings, follow-up with phone calls and thank you letters and continue networking
If you are not getting any results, consider applying to substitute teacher openings or teacher assistant jobs to get your foot in the door. Anything relevant to teaching will help you start your career in education.
NOTE: Many school districts are under restricted budgets and do not finalize their budget until the summer. Therefore, many job openings will not be posted until that time. Keep track throughout the summer! School systems continue to hire into the beginning of the school year. Also at this time you may want to consider broadening your search criteria to include a wider range of school systems to yield more responses.
Your resume and cover letter are important tools that market your skills and experience to prospective employers. As an educator, it will be essential that both your resume and cover letter clearly communicate your qualifications. While it is important that your resume reflect your uniqueness, it is also important to follow some basic guidelines in resume development. Career Services presents a Resume and Cover Letter Writing workshop during the Career Workshops for Educators program that provides great tips and strategies for making your materials stand out amongst the crowd.
References are listed on a one page document that often accompanies your resume and cover letter. It is a simple list of three professionals who are willing to speak on your behalf. References are usually called once the employer has determined that you are a top candidate for the job. Letters of recommendation are prepared in advance and written by someone who values your skills and experiences, and believes you would be an excellent teacher candidate. You should ask for both references and letters of recommendation well in advance of applying to jobs.
What is an Educator Portfolio?
Many education students know a portfolio to be an instrument to assess student growth or progress in the classroom. Portfolios are used to evaluate student achievements in the classroom an to show teacher performance. It is a comprehensive collection of your work that can include but is not limited to lesson plans, learning outcomes, student accomplishments and professional evaluations from your day-to-day work with students. This type of portfolio would be categorized as a WORKING PORTFOLIO.
More recently, another form of portfolio has become a beneficial and necessary tool for an educator's job search. This type of portfolio is called a SHOWCASE PORTFOLIO. This is a job search tool that highlights and illustrates your skills, experience, competencies and achievements in education. It is a small collection of the best and most current documents from your working portfolio. You personally make the selection based on choice and impressions of the potential employers who will be viewing the portfolio. It is an important form of communication between employer and job seeker.
The philosophy of education statement is an important piece in your portfolio. It may be requested by hiring personnel at schools to be included with a cover letter and resume. Your teaching philosophy should be thoughtful, organized and well written. The summary should be between 1-2 pages and should document and support your core educational principles. A sample outline might be to first state your objectives as a teacher. These need to be achievable through some form of assessment. Second, you will want to outline the methods by which you will achieve your teaching objectives. Third, you will need to have demonstrated evidence of your achievements. This may take the form of standardized assessments or evaluations. The final section of your statement should allude to the factors that motivate you to be in the teaching profession.
Some important considerations:
The statement should reflect your core values and beliefs in terms of teaching. Consider your thoughts regarding the nature of children, the purpose of education and how people learn, and the role of teacher.
As you develop your educational philosophy, think about completing the following statements: (adapted from the College of New Jersey Educational Philosophy Template)
I believe the purposes of education are...
I believe that students learn best when...
I believe that the following curriculum basics will contribute to the social, emotional, intellectual and physical development of my students...
I believe that a good learning environment is one in which...
I believe that all students have the following basic needs...
In order to further the growth and learning of my students, the above basic needs will be met in my classroom through...
I believe that teachers should have the following qualities...
Web Links for Creating an Educational Philosophy
The job search process in education can be long. Interviewing effectively will require you to understand that it is a PROCESS. Most likely, you will interview with many stakeholders including teachers, principals, and superintendents. Stamina, enthusiasm and professionalism are qualities that will help you succeed.
Be aware that different interviewers have different priorities related to the available job. Some interviewers will make assessments by asking you questions about your management of a classroom or philosophy of discipline. Others may want to understand your curriculum or instructional style. Still many today are asking behavioral based questions which require you to devise a strategy for a given scenario. Check out our Effective Interviewing Presentation from the Career Workshops for Educators series.
Tips For Successful Interviewing Preparation
1. Know yourself - strengths and weaknesses
2. Know your resume and portfolio
3. Know the interviewer and school system
4. Know the questions you have for the interviewer
5. Learn and practice sample interview questions in a mock interview
Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to your interview
Be energetic and enthusiastic; show your professionalism but remember to smile!
Support your answers by using examples
Relate your answers back to the job for which you are interviewing and explain how you plan to be successful
Always send a thank you note to all who interviewed you within 48 hours of the interview. This can be through the post office or email. Make notes of your impressions of the interview and the school. This is especially helpful when you have multiple interviews with different schools.
SAMPLE INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Questions asked by an interviewer:
1. Tell me about yourself.
2. Describe a challenging experience you faced during your student teaching.
3. Describe your teaching style.
4. What do you enjoy most about teaching?
5. What do you expect from your supervisor?
6. How do you engage a parent in the education of their child?
7. What is your philosophy of education?
8. How do you individualize your teaching?
9. Tell me how you incorporate technology into your teaching.
10. How do you handle discipline in the classroom?
11. Describe a child who had academic, emotional or social problems and tell me what you did to help him/her.
12. Why are you interested in our school/school system?
13. What makes you qualified for this position?
14. What is the most important topic in education today?
15. What other points would you like to make about your qualifications for this position which we have not covered?
A strong candidate asks good questions. Asking questions means you have given thought to the position for which you are interviewing. It is important to have your questions answered about the job, and the school/institution so you are better prepared to make a decision should you receive an offer.
Questions asked by the candidate:
1. What curriculum materials does your school system use?
2. What challenges do you or your school face?
3. What is your philosophy of education?
4. Can you detail the level of parent involvement at this school?
5. What percentage of students have IEPs?
6. What type of support services are available for students?
7. What type of professional development have you had for educators?
8. What is your supervision style?
9. What are the department goals in the next couple years?
10. What technology resources are available to me?
11. What is the student/teacher ratio at this school?
Other sample questions may be found on the following links:
Networking with other professionals in your desired field is advantageous and necessary in a competitive job market like education. According to researchers, almost two-thirds of the jobs available to candidates are acquired through networking and personal sources, not job postings. Joining a professional association is a great start to being informed about your field and getting first word on job vacancies. Take advantage of your student teaching and internship and get to know colleagues. Connecting with the principal at your school may also open doors for you come job search time.
The Department of Education in most states will provide via their website a list of all public and charter schools in the state. In Massachusetts, district and individual school profiles are available for the entire state. Massachusetts also has a directory of private, collaborative and special education schools. MCAS results are provided and ranked by school performance. It is wise to check out any information related to the district/school where you will be interviewing. Other sources of information include local papers; many of which are available online.
Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education - offers a wide variety of services for educators including job search and professional development features.
U.S. Charter Schools - get information on charter schools nationally.
National Public School and School District Locator - Information on public schools and school districts in the U.S.
Being informed on trends in the education industry is also important as you begin interviewing. Here are a few sites that may give you general information regarding trends and an overview of the industry.National Center for Education Statistics - a division of U.S. Department of Education that keeps track of educational statistics
EducationWorld - great resources on lesson planning, technology, and professional development
National Education Association - provides great information on current issues in education.
Ed.Gov U.S. Department of Education - U.S. Department of Education main site, full of education information
U.S. Department of Labor - the Occupational Outlook Handbook online, a must when doing career or industry research
Salary.com - Find out what your education and work experience is worth
Peterson's Guide to K-12 Private Schools
Association of Boarding Schools - Schools online, presented by the Association of Boarding School
American Montessori Society - listings of American Montessori Society Accredited schools
Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure - This site includes the MTEL registration bulletin, test objectives, and test information booklets, as well as information about registering for the MTEL online.
State Certification Requirements - provides the most updated licensure requirements for all 50 states.
Teacher Certification Degrees - Learn now to become a certified teacher in each of the 50 states.
www.nbpts.org - will link you to information on becoming a National Board Certified Teacher
Be on the lookout for education recruitment programs specifically for education job seekers. Here are a few that are sponsored by the Career Services Office:
Spring is the time when many schools recruit for the upcoming academic year (beginning in either August or September). The web has an abundance of sites with job listings. Here are some of our favorites:
Alternative Teaching Opportunities
Beyond the traditional public and private school classrooms, there are many opportunities to teach. Check out this sampling of programs that provide wonderful experience for new teachers. Many offer stipends, living arrangements, and may give you an educational award to help pay for grad school.
Teach For America - Help eliminate educational inequality by teaching in a low income community for two years.
Peace Corps - Become an Education Volunteer and introduce innovative teaching methodologies, encourage critical thinking in the classroom while teaching across the world.
City Year - As tutors, mentors and role models, the diverse young leaders in City Year help children stay in school and on track, and transform schools and communities.
AmeriCorps - Tutor and mentor a disadvantaged youth, fight illiteracy, or teach computer skills. AmeriCorps members address critical needs in communities all across America.
Jumpstart - This organization brings college students and community volunteers together with preschool children in low-income communities for a full school year of individualized mentoring and tutoring.
Massachusetts Institute for New Teachers or MINT is an alternative program to initial certification for prospective teachers who do not have a background in teacher preparation.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain through its Education Office at the Embassy of Spain in U.S. are implementing a program of collaboration to promote the study of the Spanish language and cultures in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and foster knowledge and appreciation of both cultures.
Check out Massachusetts teacher resources at Massachusetts Teacher Association.
Additional web resources:
RubiStar - A tool for creating rubrics
National Education Resources
English International (Teaching the English Language Overseas)
www.ncei.com - information about alternative teacher certification
www.nytimes.com/learning/general/navigator/teachers.html - information on becoming a teacher, learning theories, education news etc.
www.vincentcurtis.com - the oldest free guide to independent schools, summer programs and camps
Higher Education & Student Affairs Resources
NASPA (Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education)
ACPA (College Student Educators International)
Last Modified: November 6, 2012