I’m going to be honest with you. Getting a teaching job straight out of college is difficult. It took me 1 1/2 years of subbing before I landed one. If I had been willing to expand the areas I looked, it probably would have happened a lot sooner. Also, I refused to use connections I had to get a job. Well, everyone else used their connections, and in hindsight, I should have too. I was just a bit stubborn. So, my first suggestions are to cast your nets wide and far, and to use any and all connections possible.
As far as interviews go, it is likely that most college grads are giving very similar answers. All wonderful, but very similar. Find ways to make yourself stand out, and show your personality. At the end of the interview, if they ask if there is anything else you think they should know about you — make sure to take advantage of that. For example, when I interview I take that opportunity to discuss how I student taught abroad, have worked in special education, and how I use technology as a form of professional development (yes, I talk about Tumblr, they eat it up and is a big part of how I landed the job I have now). I talk about how those things make me a strong teacher and how I am always willing to share with others.
Bring a portfolio, and even if they do not directly ask to see it — open it up as you answer questions. Make sure you have questions to ask them. Research the district’s biggest struggles, and figure out what role you can play in helping out in that area. I also suggest bringing up any scholarly journal articles you’ve recently read if they pertain to a question you are asked. It shows you’re a life long learner, and that you always want to improve and stay current on teaching.
I’m not sure how familiar you are with Marzano’s framework, but it is a huge issue at my district. Our district uses questions directly from the observation tool in interviews, so you might want to read his book where he discusses different teaching strategies. I don’t always agree with Marzano, but you should know what the districts are working with — it will be how they evaluate you both as a candidate and a teacher if hired.
What has been going well:
I love my students, they love me. I love my assistant, she loves me. I am developing good relationships with families. Teaching is a joy with my class.
I was Staff Member of the week last week. The Literacy coach observed me, loved what I am doing, and asked me to share what I am doing at the next Literacy Meeting for all of the PreK people in the district.
What has me stressed:
I work for three separate entities in my teaching position - the school district, the prek organization, and the literacy organization. The requirements / expectations are different for all, and sometimes they conflict. It is hard to figure out how a district does things when you are new —- let alone 3 different groups.
I’m not sure how the Teacher Evaluations are going to affect Prek, because some of it doesn’t seem all that practical for this age group. However, if it is anything like what the upper grades are doing I might want to consider a new profession. It is all too much paperwork, I don’t know how they expect anyone to get that all done (and for the upper grades it is probably harder since more of their planning periods are taken for PLC’s than my planning periods are). I feel like they are unrealistic expectations for teachers and administrators. It frustrates me because I feel like politicians are for some reason trying to punish teachers. Teachers I know go above and beyond not only for the students in their class, but the students at our school as a whole. This is pretty much state-wide. Schools either had to adopt Marzano, or come up with their own system, but they only had 6 weeks to develop the system … so most of Florida took on the Marzano system. (I try not to vent directly about how things are run, so I may delete this part later).
What you can do for me?
If your school uses the Marzano framework can you please explain to me how it is working in your district and how you manage to get everything done. Does it make you want to just scream at someone also?