Why Am I Not Getting Hired as a Teacher?
Getting a job as a teacher can be tricky. Even when you’re doing everything right, you might still struggle to find the perfect position. It becomes easy to start doubting ourselves and wondering why am I not getting hired as a teacher?
Let’s see if this scenario sounds familiar: you’ve proofread your resume, your cover letter is polished, and your interview outfit is ready to go. You’re knocking interview questions out of the park, and you can’t wait to start working with students.
Somehow, though, the offers just aren’t coming in. You feel like you’re the perfect candidate, but your interviewers don’t seem to agree.
If this sounds like your experience, don’t despair. There are a few simple things you can do to increase your chances of success.
Job seekers often make common mistakes on the road to their dream position. Fix some of these errors, and you’ll find yourself in front of a classroom in no time.
Don’t let technicalities stand between you and the teaching job you want. Implement these tips so that you can get to the work that matters: shaping young minds and changing lives.
You Aren’t Showcasing Your Strengths
One reason you may not be getting hired as a teacher is you’re not showcasing your strengths. Most people struggle to show themselves in their best light. We shy away from behaviors that we perceive as self-promoting.
The goal of a job interview is to show your interviewers why you’re the perfect candidate. When a principal interviews a potential teacher, they want to know who they’re putting in the classroom. It’s essential to make it clear you have the skills interviewers want to see.
However, it’s just as important to showcase the things that set you apart from every other candidate.
To do that, you need to create a coherent narrative with your application. What skills and experiences do you want to showcase for potential employers?
Start by writing down what you consider your top three selling points. Then, consider how you can showcase those selling points.
Try to paint a picture. For example, if you’re great at creating exciting lesson plans, don’t just say that. Think of a work experience where you had to make lesson plans. Then, highlight how well your students responded in your description of that experience.
It’s essential to think about how your resume, cover letter, and interview support a unified narrative. Your resume creates the scaffolding of your story. Then, you get chances to share in more depth and detail in your cover letter and interview.
Most interview processes for teaching positions also involve sample lessons. A sample lesson is yet another chance to showcase skills.
Consider how you’ve presented yourself so far in the interview process. If you have a gift for making math fun and accessible, make sure you teach a lesson that demonstrates that.
Thoughtful self-presentation and a unified story go a long way. Remember, your interviewers only get a few chances to see your talents. Make sure you show yourself in the best light possible.
You Haven’t Found the Right Niche
Teaching, like anything else, is about specializing. Mastering pedagogy is an integral part of success. But it’s also essential to understand your strengths in terms of content.
If you haven’t already, take some time to think about your specialties as a teacher. Within your chosen content area, figure out which sub-specialties you excel in.
For example, if you want to become an ELA teacher, what important language arts component do you have an exceptional mastery over? Are you a great argumentative essay writer? Maybe you have an encyclopedic knowledge of every young adult novel published in the last ten years.
The farther you can drill down into your unique discipline, the better you’ll be able to set yourself apart from the crowd.
Similarly, it’s essential to think of your specialty from a pedagogical perspective, too. Are there student populations with whom you work particularly well? Why?
Is there a particular pedagogical framework with which you’re an expert? How do you implement it in your classroom? As always, make sure to have specific examples ready to back up your case.
Figuring out what teaching niche fits your skills, education, and experience best sets you up for success. Not only will it help you build a unique case for yourself as a job candidate, but it will also help you understand which jobs to apply for in the first place.
For example, if you understand your niche in content and teaching, you can look for positions that need your skill set.
Don’t waste time applying to jobs where you aren’t a good fit. Do some research and find out precisely what the school is looking for to see if you’re a match.
You Don’t Have the Right Experiences or Certifications
On the surface, knowing what certifications and experiences you need to land a teaching job should be simple. Some form of teaching certificate and past teaching experience, as well as a degree in teaching, should all be no-brainers.
The trouble is that schools don’t always work like that. It’s essential to understand a school’s hiring priorities. That way, you can know what preferred experiences and qualifications they’ll be firm on and which they’ll let slide.
For example, if a school needs a content specialist in a relatively unusual area, they might be willing to work around a lack of certification.
On the other hand, if a school needs an experienced teacher to manage a challenging group of students, a certification and a few years of teaching will probably be non-negotiable.
One of the best ways to understand the hiring priorities for a specific position is to ask. Most job posters consider it a good sign when a candidate is interested in the school and its needs.
Additionally, you can also review the posted job description in detail. Sometimes, job posters will say their most significant priorities and needs outright.
Next, make sure to note which experiences and certifications frequently come up as a priority. If you don’t have those qualifications, make a plan for seeking them out.
You’re Not Leveraging Your Network
We all know that old saying: it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. Old classmates and colleagues are a great source of knowledge regarding what jobs are out there.
Even better, it never hurts to have someone on the inside of an organization putting in a good word.
The idea of ‘leveraging your network’ might seem scary at first. But it’s as simple as letting people know your qualifications and goals.
For example, let’s say you’re a talented public speaker who wants to move from teaching science to teaching speech. None of your contacts will know you’re interested in openings for speech teachers unless you tell them.
There are a few ways to broadcast your interests and desire for work. One is to post on social media. Just make sure it won’t land you in hot water at your current job.
Another is to take a more personalized approach. Ask people if they’re willing to get coffee and share thoughts about career trajectories and teaching practices.
Alternatively, if you see a position you want and know someone who works at that school, contact them and ask if you can pick their brains.
It’s two birds with one stone. They’ll know you’re interested, and you’ll get a chance to gather some information about the position.
Don’t Give Up
Fundamentally, landing a job as a teacher is about persistence. But it’s also good to work smarter, not harder.
If you’re having trouble landing a job, the problem likely isn’t you. Far more often, the issues that sink job-seekers are errors in presentation and strategy.
Taking time to get clear on your strengths, assets, and goals can go a long way towards making you a stronger candidate. If you can craft a compelling, coherent narrative around yourself, you’re that much closer to showing employers your potential.
Similarly, it’s essential to understand what schools look for when hiring teachers. Ensure you have all of the experiences and certifications schools typically want.
Furthermore, try to find jobs where you’re a good fit. In many ways, finding a job is about finding the right fit for your experience, passions, and ambitions.
Finally, make sure to use your network to help you find and land positions. Let people know you’re looking. Ask questions and politely advocate for yourself.
Most people want to help their contacts. It looks great for them when they bring in the perfect candidate. And, besides, who knows what you’ll be able to do in return, down the line.
Bottom line: if you’re struggling to find your dream teaching job, don’t give up. The perfect position is just around the corner.
Meanwhile, you can use these simple tips to help place opportunities directly at your fingertips. You’ll find yourself in front of a classroom and working with students in no time.