What is the best way to get a job teaching in PA?
If a principal is really interested in you but does not have a teaching position, they may offer you an aide or assistant position. It may be a good idea to take the position. I know many teachers who started out as a paraprofessional (an aide or assistant) and were then hired for the next opening at my school. It also gets your foot in the door. You can always resign from the a para position if you find a teaching position in another school–the principal will understand and can become a useful reference.
I teach third grade… and have been on some interview committees before. By the time interviewing comes around, we have a LOT of good candidates to choose from. A few tips that might help you–
1. Don’t go too traditional (aka boring) on your cover letter. Be sure you have a catchy introduction sentence…. be sure you describe your philosophy and what you can do for them…. use bold face letters and highlight key words….. use a bulleted list in your cover letter (perhaps in describing your philosophy) to make yourself stand out… add color to the letterhead….. Principals and HR will be sorting through a hundred cover letters for a single opening– you need to stand out among the sea of white papers. Do something to catch their eye and then they will actually stop to read your cover letter.
2. After you’ve applied for a job through the HR office, be sure the PRINCIPALS ofthe schools you want to work at get a paper copy of your resume. Generally principals (not HR) have direct control over who is hired. So, print out a paper copy of your resume, walk into a school, briefly introduce yourself to the principal, and leave a copy of your resume.
3. Kind of related to #2– network. Like it or not, truth is principals like to interview people they “know.” So walk into schools and introduce yourself…. if you introduce yourself to a principal and he/she likes you, you will be MUCH more likely to get an interview. You don’t need to “know” a principal super well to get an interview– but by introducing yourself you are going to stand out in their mind and leave them wanting to know more about you. He/she can easily request your formal application from HR and set up an interview.
Here’s an article that kind of backs up what I’m saying.. it kind of illustrates the difference between applying to district HR offices versus going directly to schools (aka principals). http://www.epinions.com/content_1659609220
hope this helps a little…. There’s also a good eBook that you might find useful. It’s “Guide to Getting a Teaching Job” http://www.iwantateachingjob.com It has lots of information about how to find unadvertised openings for teaching jobs, how to make sure your cover letter and resume are up to par, 50 sample interview questions and answers for teachers, interview tips, etc. Maybe the book can give you some helpful tips.
It WILL take a lot of hard work on your part to get a job in PA… especially if you’re looking in the suburbs….. but if you’re a good candidate and present yourself well…. and if you put a lot of hardwork into your job search, you should do well….. Good luck to you.
Also, go to www.PA-educator.net where you can create a profile and schools can look for you and you can look for schools that have openings. Good luck!
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