Get a Job (Sha Na Na Na)
Principals Give Job Search Advice
Earlier this month a panel of eleven experienced principals gathered at UVEI to answer questions aspiring teachers had about some scary topics.
No, we're not talking about classroom management, curriculum, or state mandated tests. The frightening topic was finding a job: the application package, interview, and hiring process.
Although a lot of advice was specific to education, quite a few helpful nuggets were good advice for almost anyone seeking a job.
Jeff Valence, principal at Lyme Elementary School, had one of the most memorable pieces of advice, which could sound trite if the implication were not so important: be yourself. Finding the right workplace is akin to finding a spouse, said Valence. You want the relationship to be lasting. If you present yourself as someone you're not during the interview and you secure the job, it may not be a happy partnership.
Create a Digital Portfolio
Early in their careers, most experienced educators compiled a portfolio of exemplar lessons and units, student work, and other relevant information. These portfolios accompanied many teachers to interviews. Are they still relevant?
Most principals on the panel said that they’d prefer a digital portfolio. Those of us old enough to remember teaching before the digital age will recall that portfolios were often presented during the interview in binder form. Last week’s panel of administrators largely endorsed a digital version. Several noted that the portfolio is a chance to illustrate a candidate’s tech savvy. Try creating a Google site to display work. Keri Gelenian, Rivendell’s principal, said that if you do bring a physical portfolio, make sure you have a copy to leave with the committee.
Stellar Reference Letters
The panel agreed that the reference letters submitted should be the strongest reference letters; teachers should ask for four to five in order to submit the best three in an application package.
The references should not be generic. A generic-sounding letter is code for other principals. The code transmits the message that this person is not a great candidate, even though the letter will not state this explicitly.
Does your cover letter or resume contain spelling errors or silly typos? Prepare to be relegated to the bottom of the pile. Or even worse, to the recycle bin. In short: Enlist a trusted editor or risk rejection without consideration of substance.
Even though it’s only the end of January, jobs are popping up on School Spring. The Newton School in South Strafford is advertising a music teacher position, Hanover High School needs a photography teacher, starting in April, and Woodstock Elementary is looking for math teachers.
Have you updated your resume lately?