As mentioned in the previous post, how do you, as a student teacher, stand out from other job seekers?

Imagine you are the hiring principal.  You have an open high school Social Studies position and you have narrowed down to two highly qualified (and very similar looking) candidates:

Candidate A: She is a recent graduate from a teacher preparation program.  She interviewed well and had a great portfolio that illustrated her pedagogy and professional growth.  She is certified to teach Social Studies.

Candidate B: She also is a graduate from a reputable teaching program.  She interviewed well and also had a fantastic portfolio full of lesson plans and student work.  She is certified to teach Social Studies and English Language Language Learners (ELL).

Examining both of these highly qualified candidates, which one would you choose?  The principal would hire Candidate BCandidate B is a greater asset to the school because she can teach Social Studies and, if necessary, teach ELL Social Studies.  She would be a fantastic resource, especially if the school’s student demographics are trending toward ELL students.  

Evaluate your own situation.  Which candidate would you typify, A or B

Take a moment and answer these questions:

  • Are you specializing in special education and/or ELL?
  • Are you a male seeking an elementary teaching position?
  • Are you going into a discipline that is in high demand, i.e. science and math?
  • Have you done anything to set yourself apart from other job seekers? 

If you have answered “no” I would highly suggest taking additional courses to improve your chances of being hired in the school of your choice.  Moreover, strive to get enough courses to become certified in that new area.  There is no doubt that it’s additional work, but it will pay off.  For one, not only would you be broadening your educational credentials, you will become a better teacher.  From personal experience, I learned a great deal from the additional ESL courses I took.  With 10-20% of my students being ESL, I have been able to better meet their social and learning needs because of my coursework.  Also, having additional certification opens more doors of opportunities.  Perhaps in 2-3 years of teaching you become fatigued and you need a change.  By having that additional certification allows you to pursue new teaching opportunities, perhaps even within the same school.  Lastly, the additional coursework may increase your income by pushing you up in the pay schedule once you begin teaching.  Of course, this will differ from state to state and district to district.



Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job