The ABCs and 123s of Landing Your First Teaching Job

The ABCs and 123s of Landing Your First Teaching Job

You’ve finally graduated school and you’re done with all of your student teaching requirements.

Now, you’re finally ready to mold the minds of youth as a certified teacher. But, there’s only one thing standing in your way- you still need to find the perfect teaching job.

Even though there is a huge teacher shortage in the US right now, landing a teaching job can still be pretty hard, especially when you’re brand new to the field.

So, how do you land your first teaching gig? How do you convince the school system to which you are applying that you have what it takes to be a great teacher, despite being a newcomer?

Check out this guide to learn how to land your first job as a teacher.

Put Together an Awesome Portfolio

Some schools receive hundreds of applications for a single teaching position.

How can you make sure your teaching application stands out from the rest?

It all starts with creating an awesome portfolio. A portfolio is a lot more than just a three-ring binder filled with the work you did as a student-teacher. Your portfolio is a reflection of who you are as a teacher and what skills you have to fulfill a particular job.

So, you really need to make it stand out. Your portfolio should include the following materials:

  • Praxis results
  • Transcripts
  • Recommendations
  • Certifications
  • Student work from your student teaching days
  • Teaching philosophy statement
  • Unique lesson plans
  • Anything else that will help establish your unique qualifications

Also, make sure your portfolio is tailored to the specific job that you’re applying for. While it can be a lot of work, schools can definitely tell the difference between a generic portfolio and one that’s tailored to their specific school.

For example, if you’re applying for a co-teaching job, then you’re portfolio should include an example of a lesson you’re proud of in which you collaborated with another teacher.

Keep Your Skills Fresh 

Finding a lucrative full-time teaching job can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack.

Therefore, make sure you’re making the most of your time when you’re on your job hunt. Teach at a summer school or summer camp, substitute in the school district you want to work in, tutor kids at home, or volunteer as an ESL or GED teacher.

Not only will doing these things help keep your teaching skills fresh, but it will also demonstrate to future employers your commitment to the teaching field.

After you finish your teaching applications for the day, hit up job boards to find jobs in education that fit with your passions and skill set.

Don’t Wait For The Phone to Ring 

When trying to land your first teaching job, you can’t sit back complacently, waiting for the phone to ring after submitting your first application.

Instead, you need to be aggressive with your job hunt. Network constantly with friends and acquaintances-  a kind word from a friend or colleague to a school administrator can really go a long way. And, don’t be afraid to spread the word about your job hunt on social platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram.

Chances are, you know someone who’s a parent and can put in a good word for you at their kid’s school.

Also, try to do something each day that will make you more appealing as a candidate. Whether that be signing up for a volunteer gig, tweaking your resume, or adding to your portfolio.

And, after you apply for a job, don’t forget to follow up with the school. Trust us-, this won’t make you seem annoying, it will make you seem like you’re serious about getting the job.

Look for Regions That are Hiring 

The reason you haven’t landed your first teaching job yet may actually be very simple: it just may be that you’re living in an area that doesn’t have a lot of teaching vacancies.

So, if your life allows, consider relocating to an area that has a teacher shortage.

Some places that have huge shortages will even offer relocation assistance as an incentive to get teachers to move there.

While teacher needs vary greatly from region to region, in general, here are the states with the biggest shortages:

  • Hawaii
  • Arizona
  • Indiana
  • Washington
  • Nevada
  • California
  • South Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Alaska
  • Illinois
  • Florida
  • Connecticut
  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Texas
  • North Carolina

If any of the states on this list interests you, start looking into jobs out there. Just remember, there may be different teaching qualifications for the state you want to move to, so be sure to look into those as well.

Nail The Interview 

Finally, the phone rang and you got some great news: a school district wants to interview you for an open teaching position.

While this certainly is exciting, remember, you’re only halfway there- you still need to nail the interview.

The major key to nailing a teaching interview is to not be nervous. And in order to calm your nerves, you should make sure you go into that interview as prepared as possible.

Start by brushing up your portfolio. Then, learn everything you possibly can about the school district and school to which you are applying. Schools will want to know why you chose to apply to their school, so make sure you have a tailored answer about what you like about their system and why your teaching philosophy would fit in well there.

Are You Ready to Land Your First Job as a Teacher? 

As you can see, landing your first job as a teacher takes a lot of work and preparation. But, you’ve made it this far, so just remember to keep pushing and keep applying after that first ‘no’.