How to Get a Job in Teaching in 7 Easy Steps!

The people I meet who want to become teachers always ask me how they become teachers if they didn't get an education degree. I always tell them how to get a job in teaching in 7 easy steps. Yes, for me, I write my steps down because there are only a few necessary steps to take. Once you are a certified teacher in your state, you can get a job anywhere in your state and the steps are then shortened to simple networking, researching, and interviewing as any other career.

If you have a teaching or education degree, then you don't have to go through the 7 steps I outline here. The 7 steps to quickly and efficiently get a teaching job:

Step #1: Join an alternative certification program.

You must choose an alternative certification program. It's called "alternative" because it is an alternative to the certification path education majors took in college. If you graduate with a BA in Education, you are an official teacher in your state granted that you took the state exam and did your student teaching, and secured the degree requirements.

If you get a BA in English, for example, you probably have the right knowledge to acquire a high school English teaching position, but you will need to go through an alternative certification program.

Step #2: Get Experience in Teaching in any way you can.

When I was getting experience, I worked with underprivileged children, I substitute taught during college, I was a paid tutor for children in the neighborhood, I taught English to immigrants, and I participated in church groups. You basically need the experience to offer during the teaching interview. If you are a candidate that has never officially "taught" in the schools, how can you stand out? You really need to impress the principal with the help, teaching, tutoring, training, customer service you've done in your other jobs.

In this case, volunteering and paid teaching and tutoring can help you out, so don't discount volunteer tutoring or teaching. I got my first teaching job because they wanted an ESL teacher (English as a Second Language), and I had several years of experience teaching English to adults a few hours a month. I had the experience and they hired me. Get the experience, put it on your resume, and make it a selling point on the interview.

Step #3: Choose the subject you want to teach

You may decide during your experiences that you really like working with a certain age group or that you enjoy one subject more than another. Your alternative certification program representative should assist you in picking your subject areas by looking at your college coursework.

If you are eligible to teach a high-needs area such as bilingual, ESL, special education, or high school math and science, consider becoming certified to teach those areas. These teachers usually receive a stipend and have the reward of teaching the area they enjoy most. You can continue to take extra exams to become certified in additional areas.

Step #4: Be visible when networking with schools

Those doing the job search do themselves a disservice when they don't interact with the schools. Schools are not big corporations. They do best with one-on-one relationships, so they must see you and like you in order to give YOU the job.

By getting experience as a substitute teacher or volunteer, many schools will get to know you immediately and see what you are capable of as a worker. When secretaries can always count on you to show up early and do what's necessary to get the job done, they will let others know.

I received several job offers simply because administrators remembered the work I did and how I always showed up early. Let principals see you and you have a better shot than someone they've never met and don't know.

Step #5: Before the interview, always research the school

You need to know the needs of a school before you interview with them. An inner-city school will not necessarily have the same issues as a blue-ribbon school in the suburbs that wins academic awards every year. Do the research online. Look at the district's website to see the demographics of students, the standardized scores every year, what kind of households make up the school, what sports and programs are offered, and so forth.

By preparing your research ahead of time, you really can structure your responses to fill the basic needs of that school. You will impress the principal by showing them you've already done your homework and are prepared to answer the needs of their school.

Step #6: Practice the Interview Questions with a Partner

In the teaching world, the interview is one of the direct tickets to getting a job in teaching. Make sure you practice the most commonly asked teacher interview questions with a partner who will give you constructive feedback. Make sure you nail that interview by wearing a professional suit and delivering a 1-2 minute response per question.

Step #7: Accept the Job Offer and Review the Job Contract

Do not accept any job unless you fully understand it. Know who and what you are teaching. I've heard horror stories of teachers quitting after a few weeks because they were misinformed or they didn't read the contract. Getting a teaching job should be a celebratory time. Just make sure you know the details. That's it! You should be a teacher by now. Go out and celebrate all of the hard, yet easy steps you had to follow to landing that teaching job.

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