Where Are the Teaching Jobs? (page 3)
Because the market is continually changing, you need to take an active role in your job search. Sometimes, when a state or region's economy is in a slump, districts cut back on services that were not absolutely necessary. When this happens, districts often help already employed staff members become recertified so they can work in a specialty for which there is greater need. This results in fewer new jobs for new teachers.
To make yourself more marketable, write down the activities, classes, and electives that you've taught in the past. Or, make a separate list of activities, classes, and electives that you are interested in teaching. Create a master list you can pitch during an interview.
In its Occupational Outlook Handbook, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that growth is anticipated in the teaching field. The increase in the need for staff is projected from kindergarten through the secondary grades. Because some regions are instituting programs to improve early childhood education, such as offering full-day kindergarten and universal preschool, there will be many new jobs for preschool teachers; the expectation is that opportunities will be greater than the average for all occupations.
Student enrollment will drive the need for staff. Fast-growing states in the South and West—Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Georgia—will experience the largest enrollment increases and have the most job opening for teachers. Enrollments in the Midwest are expected to hold relatively steady, while those in the Northeast are expected to decline.
The job market for teachers varies widely among states and school districts. Some urban cities and rural areas have difficulty attracting enough teachers, so job prospects should continue to be better in these areas than in suburban districts. Teachers in some subjects—mathematics, science and bilingual education, foreign language, for example—seem to be in short supply. Qualified vocational teachers also are currently in demand in a variety of fields at both the middle school and secondary school levels. Areas that seem to be experiencing an oversupply of teachers, on the other hand, include general elementary education, physical education, and social studies. Teachers who are geographically mobile and who obtain licensure in more than one subject should have a distinct advantage in finding a job.
Teacher Sign-On Bonuses
If your area of specialization is in math, science, foreign languages, or special education, you are at a distinct advantage because of the nationwide shortage of teachers in these areas. Your job search will be more about getting the best deal for you than about the best deal for the school. After you research some schools and find ones that you feel would be a good fit, you may want to investigate the perks they offer to lure new teachers into their schools. For example, some schools are handing out generous signing bonuses if you sign a contract to teach at their school, while others are offering gift certificates or other incentives to hire the teachers who are in demand.
Job Search Square One
Before you jump into your job search, get organized and be prepared. Being organized will make this research (or any research you do in your work or in life) so much easier!
Your first step in preparing your search is to get a calendar and devote it exclusively to your job search. It can be a regular paper calendar, or you can use your desktop scheduling software, such as Microsoft Outlook. Or maybe you have a Personal Digital Assistant (PDA), such as a BlackBerry. All of these are good choices, provided that you really commit yourself to using one of them and sticking with it.
If you use a paper calendar, get one that shows at least one week at a time. The calendar should be big enough for you to write clearly your job search schedule as well as any dates or events you need to keep track of during your search. If using an electronic calendar, make sure that you fill in necessary information and set reminders. You may even use the Task List function, which acts as an online to-do list.
Next, buy a box of manila folders from any stationery or office supply store. You can keep all relevant information for each job stored in its own folder.
Everything from job listings to notes to business cards can be kept on hand for easy access. Using folders is a sure way to keep yourself organized when busy.
Most teacher job postings will have the same type of information, so you may want to make an information sheet for each job listing where you can fill in the blanks for basic information. Here is a list of the information you should have available to you, at a glance, on one sheet:
- name of the school
- title of the position
- contact name
- job description
- skills needed
- educational requirements
- address, e-mail, or fax number where your resume should be sent
- date the job was posted
- date you (will) apply
- place where you found the job
- additional notes about the job
Keep in mind that finding a job is a type of job. As part of your preparation for your job search, you need to set a schedule. How much time? Be reasonable. You aren't going to be able to spend eight hours every day looking for a job, but you should aim for at least one to two hours every day. This isn't a requirement, but it is a good guideline to follow in order to maximize your chances for finding the right job. After all, new positions become available every day, so be consistent. Taking a few days off from the job search could cost you a position you really want. Also, find out if certain listings useful in your search are updated on a regular schedule. It won't help to look in your local paper on Friday if new classified listings are printed on Thursday.
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