You’re in need of a teaching job … now.
With time, patience, and an open mindset, you have several options.
Whether you’re a first-time teacher job-seeker or a seasoned educator looking for a fresh teaching job, implement these tried-and-true solutions so that you’re one step closer to finding a teaching job.
I Can’t Find a Teaching Job! What Should I Do?
1. Be Realistic.
Be honest with yourself.
Are you putting forth your best efforts in the teaching job hunt? Here are a few things to consider…
- Is your resume well-written? Are there zero typos; valid information; and recent, relevant work history customized to the particular position for which you’re applying?
- How are your interviewing skills? Do you say “um” and “like” too often? Do you talk around a question?
- Any gaps in your resume? If so, be able to explain them eloquently and thoroughly.
- Have you done your research? During an interview, it needs to come across that you’ve done your homework about the school.
- Do you ask questions during the interview that are easily answered elsewhere, like on the school’s website?
- Are you dressing to impress? Clothes should be neat, clean, and appropriate for the occasion.
- Do you make eye contact during the interview and greet everyone on the committee upon arrival and not just the principal? This shows respect and puts every individual of the committee on equal footing. You never know who gets the final say in your decision.
Solution: Have one or several people you trust critique these areas for you.
Take the feedback, reflect on it, and then create an action plan to improve. Afterwards, have those same people reevaluate you. Do a mock interview with them.
2. Obtain In-Demand Certifications.
Some teaching areas are saturated, making it hard to get a foot in the door.
Generally speaking, saturated teaching certifications include elementary education, social studies, p.e, history, and English.
There are exceptions to the rule, but in general, individuals looking for employment in these subjects may have a harder time finding employment than those in more in-demand fields.
Solution: Obtain one or two in-demand teaching credentials to make yourself more competitive.
Consider bilingual education, high school math/science, or special education.
Research which certifications are in-demand in your area, and take those licensing tests.
3. Start in a Private School.
Public schools have relatively high standards when it comes to licensing requirements for teachers.
Private schools, on the other hand, don’t have to follow such state laws regarding licensing and are usually more flexible in their requirements for teacher candidates.
They may use other methods to measure your “worth” as a teacher candidate. This is great news because you can sell yourself in creative ways.
Because of this, it could be easier to get your foot in the door at a private school.
The flip side to private schools is that they often pay much less compared to public schools, but this isn’t always the case.
Solution: Do your research on all of the private schools in your area.
While the pay may be less, don’t rule out private schools. You may land a position in one, really love it, and end up staying for a long time.
4. Make Connections.
Are you on LinkedIn?
Solution: Spruce up your profile, and become active on the site.
Look for contacts, networks, and stay connected with people in teaching circles. You never know who’ll come across your profile.
In the meantime, reach out to former colleagues or recruiters who may be able to help you find teaching positions.
Additionally, attend a few teacher job fairs. Hand out your resume, and speak with as many principals as possible.
A few days later, email those principals thanking them for their time.
Gently mention that you’re open to continuing the conversation regarding employment at their school and that you look forward to their response.
5. Work in “Less Desirable” Areas.
Teachers love to say that teaching is their “passion”. But let’s face it … that passion is often conditional.
Coincidentally, at-risk schools in tough areas often get skipped over by “passionate” teacher candidates.
Whether we admit it or not, there are schools that are harder to place good teachers in because of demographics… schools with lots of discipline problems and high teacher turnover.
Suburban schools in “well-off” neighborhoods where the students generally come from structured homes don’t have trouble finding teachers.
Those schools can be more selective in regards to teaching candidates.
Solution: Target the “tougher” schools.
This route may be a smoother transition into a teaching position than applying to “well-off” schools which receive a ton of applicants.
6. Email Principals Directly.
Some principals don’t like when you email them directly, but others don’t mind.
Many times, filling out long, boredom-inducing online job applications just doesn’t cut it.
Solution: Send your online application, and then wait it out for a week or two before emailing a principal directly.
You’ll be ignored by those who don’t like receiving emails, but depending on how well you craft your email, expect to receive maybe one response out of every 10 to 15 emails sent.
7. Move Abroad.
Teaching abroad at U.S embassy-supported international schools could be a great option if you plan ahead and do some serious research.
These schools pay relatively well, hire native English-speaking teachers, and provide housing.
Many teachers go abroad to teach in these schools and then decide to never to return to their native countries due to the great working conditions in international schools.
Solution: Don’t shrug off this option.
It’s a real possibility that could change your life in the most incredible way.
8. Be Willing to Relocate.
The U.S is a huge country, and not all states are the same when it comes to teacher demand.
There could be a range of demands within a state too, so do some research.
Moving is inconvenient, yes, but if you can land a great teaching job in another state or city, why not consider it?
Solution: Start by conducting research. See what’s available in other cities within and outside of your state.
9. Start as a Paraprofessional.
Consider working as a paraprofessional.
The pay is very low compared to teachers, but you’ll have an opportunity to network with teachers and principals once you’re in the position.
Solution: If you’re okay with being a teacher’s assistant, apply.
Be enthusiastic about the possibility of working with the school in this position, but be upfront about the goal of having your own classroom one day.
This way, the hiring committee is aware that you are excited about the present position but interested in future teaching options.
10. Become a Substitute Teacher.
Substitute teaching is a great way to get your foot in the door.
It generally pays decently, and similar to the paraprofessional position, you have opportunities to network/connect with teachers and administrators once you’re in.
An additional positive with substitute teaching is that you get exposed to a variety of school experiences.
This will help you narrow down your teaching likes and dislikes as it relates to grade levels and teaching subjects.
Solution: Apply to sub at a few different schools or districts.
Put forth your best work effort once hired, and you’ll soon be noticed.
Wrapping Up – Can’t Find a Teaching Job? Here’s What You Should Do
If you can’t find a teaching job, you now have some practical ideas of what you should do next.
All the best in your job search