As your journey comes to an end as a student-teacher and you are finalising the last bits and pieces of your WIL experience and degree, your mind will eagerly start to wander to where you will obtain the perfect teaching job. There are countless options and avenues that you can take, but there are a few things you need to consider and know to be able to determine which are the best places for you to find teaching jobs and to decide which school you want to work at.
There are several options when it comes to searching online for a teaching position. For example, you can look at teaching-focused websites. These types of teaching job websites help both the hirer – by providing a page where schools from all over the country can post their job vacancies – and the applicant, by filtering the educational job postings on the larger job search websites like Indeed.com for example.
It is important to remember that you need to stand out from the crowd to land your dream job. Make sure you have evidence of your skills. Developing a portfolio of evidence of your practice allows employers to witness your skills. Seeing is believing. Without much teaching experience to discuss at interviews – as it goes for all student-teachers – you will need to dazzle interviewers with your attitude, zest for life and of course your portfolio. Gather your certifications, recommendations, work from your WIL experience, teaching philosophy, lesson plans and anything else that will back you up. Your portfolio needs to be treated as sacred, as this reflects your professionalism and attention to detail. Keeping a digital portfolio shows that you have the needed ICT skills that teachers require. Yet, having a physical portfolio on hand during an interview shows that you have prepared well.
It is of the utmost importance to choose the right school and decide where you want to start your career. Location may seem like an aspect you would want to consider. However, so many teachers compromise on distance (either selecting schools closer or further away than they had originally intended) because they like a school. It is all about boundaries and what works for you. Do you want to be closer to not get frustrated in traffic, or do you want to teach further away from where your personal life is? Think about what makes you tick and try and map that on to how a school operates when you think of the size of school you want to apply at. In a smaller school, for example, you are less likely to have a department of five or six teachers that you have to share your planning with. Depending on the type of person you are this can be a positive or a negative thing.
Schools are also very different in how they structure their support networks for teachers. For some, it is all about the compulsory team-building activities and for others, there is less compulsory support and more networks and interventions if and when they are needed. Make sure you ask a lot of questions on your interview day to suss out how things are done in that particular school. When a particular school has multiple job openings, carefully consider why this may be. Is it because the teacher who left were unhappy? Is it because of a new headmaster and how processes are now working and that the staff is not on-board with this? Is it just a coincidence that a lot of teachers want to make a change all at once? Never assume any of the above, do your research and talk to the staff and headmaster if you are thinking of applying.
Tailor you CV to fit the job you are applying for. Make sure that you ask yourself the cliché question where you see yourself in five years. From there you can really figure out if you want to go mainstream or focus on teaching certain groups of students with disabilities etc. Finding a teaching job where you will be happy isn’t easy, and it might take a few attempts before you find the right fit, however, take a chance and be yourself. Principals appreciate authenticity from their staff members.