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I am not a big fan of flaming the fire with more bad news, but I have to call it as I see it.  This is a horrible time to looking for a job as a teacher, regardless of your speciality/certification. I have been receiving emails from across the country about aspiring teachers having trouble landing jobs. It’s almost everywhere.

The problem is in the uncertainty.  Districts and states are in a holding pattern, waiting to see how budgets will shake out and how the federal stimulus package will impact funding.  By mid-May we should start to see school districts begin moving on hiring.

What do I do then?

I outline three themes in my book to getting your teaching  job:  organize, network, and diversify yourself from other job seekers.  Here are just a few suggestions:

Organize

  • Track your network (of persons that may assist in you getting a job) and the frequency of communication you have with them.
  • Schedule your future job seeking opportunities, visiting prospective schools and job fairs.
  • Track your applications statuses to schools/districts.

Network

  • Email friends and make use of network sites, such as LinkedIn to let them know you are looking for a teaching job
  • Attend job fairs and make friendly (not annoying) contact with hiring principals after the event.

Diversify

  • Volunteer in community organizations and political organizations.  It is no secret that teachers and principals are highly active and visible in community service.  Join and volunteer in various organizations, allow you to develop new skills, freshen up your resume, help others, and expand your network.

Good luck!

Eric

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In my teacher education program, I remember from one class  I was handed over 60 articles on 20 different topics.  There were 20 students in my class, and we each had to prepare a presentation on one of those 20 topics, and provide the rest of the class at least 3 other research articles.  I almost collapsed under the information overload.   

What was I going to do?  Many of my peers simple used the trash to meet their organizational needs—disposing of anything that seemed superfluous.  But, the information my peers presented was useful, and I knew that at some point in my teaching career I might need it.  The problem was I didn’t have an effective organizational strategy. I was all over the place, like the information I was gathering.  I had a few articles in one class folder, some saved in another class folder, and even more scattered among floppy disks.

An effective organization strategy can save you a lot of future frustration.

First, develop a filing system.  An electronic system will allow you to save all you information indefinitely in one location.  Complete all your work on your computer, and try to get all your information (research papers, etc.) electronically, via email or compact disc.

Your filing system should work for you.  Remember to organize with purpose. If you are more likely to recall an article by its topic, you might want to group your articles, research, observations, etc by the topic rather than in class folders.  A physical system of file folders should mirror your electronic system, so you can easily access information in either place. 

Here are a few organizational strategies for your computer and/or physical folders:

  • Create class folders.  Once you complete work for a particular class, save the material in its corresponding folder
  • Manage the information based on themes.  Perhaps you have written about the approach of student journaling in several classes.  Instead of saving each piece of work in each separate class folder, it might be easier to save all works regarding journaling in one folder named “Journaling.”
  • Develop folders based on your teacher education activities.  For instance, you might want to save all your classroom observation in one folder regardless if you had to complete them for several classes.

 

Resource Links

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

Organizational Tips from a Middle School Teacher

Organizational Tips for Teachers #2 – Keep an Inbox

Student Teacher Topics

I have a file folder for each student that I keep in an “in-box” on my desk. If a student is absent when worksheets, etc. are passed out, I just put a copy in the student’s folder right away. I also put graded work for absentees in the folder. Saves time looking for the papers they need.
I put a little green dot in the upper right corner of my master copy of all worksheets, tests, etc. That way I don’t get paranoid about giving out my last copy. The one with the green circle is always one I keep.

– Betty Ann

I teach 8th grade.  Here are some things that are invaluable
to me.

1. Three-ringed binders. I put each unit in a binder. If I 
have transparencies, CDs, DVDs, etc, they are all put in it 
too, along with the lesson plans and objectives for that 
unit.


2. Hanging files.  I have one for each student.  That’s where 
ALL corrected work goes. Either at the end of the week or 
whenever the files start to bulge, I remind the students to 
take home their work or it’s getting recycled.


3. Keep detailed lesson plans on the computer.  If something 
needs tweaking, it’s much easier to edit.


4. Try and get copies made at least a week ahead of time. I
have a shelf that is labeled for each of my three preps. 
Right now I have the rest of this week’s papers, along with 
all of next week’s copies. If I have an emergency absence,
it’s a lot easier for my sub. 


5. Make sure you have a sub folder. I also have a one week 
reading lesson plan and a three day language arts lesson 
plan. I have many grammar review sheets along with a sticky 
note with sketchy directions.

Above all, (this is for 8th grade) don’t feel you need to 
grade everything. Some things can be done just for practice, 
others for a grade. Some things can be self-corrected by the 
students.  And some things NEED to be graded by the teacher. 
In grammar, I grade very little.  I grade their writing.  But most of the grammar sheets and assignments are self-
corrected. I grade the assessments.

Just a few of my ideas.

-Karen