How to Obtain Your Dream Teaching Job.

If you are passionate about helping children succeed in school and have ever considered being a teacher, now is a good time to set out a plan of action to make your dream job a reality.

Taking some time to get a strategy in place first can help you make solid, informed decisions leading to professional success. Consider the following:

Narrow Down Your Interests

Volunteering at local schools can help you narrow down your interests. Teachers in elementary schools typically teach many subjects, while in middle and high schools, teachers are more confined to a subject area like English or science. If you already hold a degree in English for instance, it would take less time for you to earn your teaching certificate and master’s degree in reading than it would in another area like science.

If you enjoy working with younger children, then a master’s degree in elementary education might be a good career path. In either event, volunteering and substitute teaching can help you gain experience while pursuing your degree online through a regionally accredited college or university.

Do Your Homework When Comparing Schools

When comparing schools or school systems in which to work, it is sometimes helpful to get a holistic view of the community. Schools often have events like plays, sporting events and musical performances which are open to the public. These events are great opportunities to get to know the school and to get a general "feel" of the community. With the flexibility of online learning, professionals can spend evenings and weekends taking classes. This frees up their time to volunteer or substitute teach at a variety of schools to compare communities before narrowing down the job search.

Gathering all the Details

Preparing the best résumé possible means you need to organize your experience and education in the way that best fits the job description. Also, take the time to prepare a unique cover letter for each position or school you are applying for. If you have done volunteer work at a school where you are applying, send a set of application materials directly to the principal at the school, as well as to the human resources department. Use the cover letter to explicitly detail your experience and career goals if you are still in the process of earning a degree, or are applying for a teacher’s aide position, but want to achieve certification.

Remember to use strong details on your résumé and in your cover letter. If you tutored a child for instance, don’t just say "his grades improved," use a more detailed approach, such as, "his grades went up from a D to a B+ in four subject areas." Using details in your résumé can demonstrate your competence to a potential employer.

Ace the Interview

Know the job description inside out and tailor your answers to meet the needs of the job. While it is hard to feel relaxed during an interview, it is important, especially for a teacher’s interview, to let your personality shine through. Be sure to prepare questions you have about the position ahead of time and ask them during the interview. Keep your answers relatively short and on topic. Remember to breath and focus on your goal. If possible, practice with a friend ahead of time.

After the Interview

When an employer is required to make a choice between candidates, small details can make a big difference. Within one week of the interview, send a detailed thank you letter indicating how much you appreciated the opportunity to learn more about the school and the job opening. In your letter, reiterate specific ways your skills match the job description. This piece of business etiquette is important to help seal the deal, and could be the factor that makes you stand out above the other candidates.

If you’ve been relishing the thought of becoming a teacher, your dream job may be closer than you think. With a solid plan of action and a little groundwork, you will realize that you can turn your dream into a rewarding and satisfying reality.

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