5 ways teachers can network for jobs
If you’re looking to land your first teaching job or move from your current position to one in a more desirable school district, it’s not enough to hone your interview skills, says Alfonso Alva, an instructor in the master’s in education programs at the University of Phoenix Main Campus.
“Long gone are the days when you could just nail an interview and get a job,” he says. “Today, it’s all about networking.”
Here are five things you can do to meet the right people to help your career:
Take advantage of faculty members.
While you’re working on your teaching degree, be assertive, ask questions and get to know your instructors, Alva advises. “Many college faculty are former school administrators and have connections that could prove very helpful,” he says.
“Principals from my former school community are always asking me to make recommendations for my most outstanding student candidates,” the former school principal adds. “They are always on the hunt to find the rising stars.”
Make contacts while student teaching.
It’s important to know that as a student teacher in a classroom, you’re literally auditioning for a job, Alva says. In that role, he says, “you need to demonstrate the very motivated, high-energy disposition of a great future educator, someone who is able to communicate effectively with teachers and children and parents. You’re really networking with the entire community.”
In addition, principals today want to hire teachers who can help students perform well on standardized tests. If you’re skilled at that, your supervising teacher can tell administrators.
Join professional organizations.
If you’re a teacher who’d like to move to another school, network with educators who work in your discipline by joining relevant associations and attending local conferences.
“Keep it specific to subject and grade level,” Alva says. For instance, math teachers might join the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics. Or, if you’re a general K–5 teacher, you could join an elementary school teacher association in your state or region.
Substitute in a desirable district.
If you find a school you’d like to work in, try becoming a substitute in that district and get to know the faculty. “When you are a well-regarded substitute who performs well at a school, administrators may want to hire you permanently,” says R. Lewis Cordell, a middle school teacher and education instructor at the San Diego Campus.
Teach during the summer.
Another way to expand your network beyond your community is to teach at one of the accelerated-learning summer camp programs offered to kids around the country.
“Educational camps like Quantum Learning [Network], which are run on Ivy League campuses, as well as at Stanford, are known for employing highly engaged faculty [members],” Cordell says. “While you’re there, you’ll be receiving excellent instructional strategies from camp directors, as well as networking with high-powered educators.”
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