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What else should I be doing?
Old 07-13-2017, 06:06 AM
 
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Hi teachers:

I have been here before, this is my third year of teaching (LTS jobs only cobbled together). I have my license, and several certifications. I am older and changed my career, so that is a "disadvantage", although all profess to love my technology experience and background.

I go on interviews because I want a full time job. Subbing is not doing it for me. I need to make real money, and I cannot get my loan discharged without full time experience.

So, I went on a few interviews already. Dressed to the tee, polished, answered the questions, sent thank you email. Haven't heard anything. NADA.

What else could I be doing? I feel good about the interviews when I leave, and I have asked for feedback, and when I do get it, its usually that they hired someone else.

Anyway this is more of a vent, but I am frustrated! I am also trying to branch into other fields using my corporate experience. I mean, people have life expectancies of over 80 now. I am not even near that, so should I just go to pasture?

Thanks for listening!


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Just my Experience
Old 07-13-2017, 06:26 AM
 
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I interviewed at a school I loved, and wanted the job badly! I actually sent an e-mail thank you, and a thank you card. I also went back to the school to check in twice, and called regularly. This may not work for everyone, but my feeling was that it might help them decide in my favor. (They happily did hire me!)

My other advice is to be kind to the secretaries at the school. My secretary told me that the principal asked her about all of the candidates. His feeling was that how the candidates interacted with the secretary was their "real" selves. Keep on trying, and something good will happen. Good luck!!!
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Be yourself
Old 07-13-2017, 09:10 AM
 
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This may be stuff you already know/do, but here are my thoughts

When I sit on a interview committee, it usually comes down to 1) content knowledge and 2) natural, honest answers.

1) Obviously, when you're desperate for a teaching job, you may apply for anything you can legally teach, even if you don't feel confident in it. Do some research and learn about the content and best practices within that subject before the interview. You'd be surprised how many candidates say something like, "Well, I don't know how I would do that because I've never taught ___ before, but I would figure it out/do what the other teachers in that subject do." Show some initiative. "As you can see from my resume, I haven't had the chance to teach ___ yet, but I've done a lot of research and one thing I'm excited to try is___."

2) We are a very close-knit group, so we look for someone who we feel will fit in well. It's hard to make that judgement when a candidate it giving run-of-the-mill, rehearsed answers. I've found that some candidates get a question and immediately spout a rehearsed answer they think is the "right" answer, and others think for a second and give an honest answer. I know it feels like there should be a "right" answer, but often we don't have a specific answer in mind. Sometimes we ask questions about things we haven't figured out yet to see if the candidate could help us solve those problems! Authenticity is key!
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Old 07-13-2017, 09:40 AM
 
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I knew the former assistant superintendent of my local school district, and she once invited me to be on an interview committee. They were hiring an employee for the district office, a position that required a college degree (although a teaching degree wasn't necessary).

I'm not sure how helpful my experience on this committee (that included administrators and principals) will be for you, but it gave me a glimpse of their thought process.

It sounds like you're doing many things right, but I'll add some of the things I learned that day:

1. Check to see if the district has a long-range plan with a fancy title like "Going Forward 2030" or "Vision 2025." If the district does, get familiar with it. Also, learn as much as you can about the school and/or district. If you can work some of this into the conversation during the interview, it will earn you plenty of brownie points.

2. School districts jump from fad to fad, so try to find out what the current fad is. It might be visible thinking, differentiation, critical thinking, etc. If you can become acquainted with the latest fad (or popular education writer) and work it into the conversation, it will earn you more brownie points. Before I retired a number of years ago, Lee Canter and Harry Wong were all the rage, but I'm not sure if they're still popular.

3. If you're interviewing to replace a specific teacher who is retiring, do some quiet investigating to see if the teacher had a good relationship with administration. If so, contact that teacher and ask questions about the job.
If this isn't possible, try to contact other teachers who teach the same grade and/or subject and ask some general questions. I discovered that the administrators I was with were quite impressed when an applicant said she had contacted the retiring employee to learn more about the position. That earned her several brownie points.

If during your investigating, you discover that teachers have a contentious relationship with administration, I'd scratch this idea.

4. School districts today are in love with technology, so be prepared to discuss how you use (and will use) technology in your classroom.

5. Be confident during your interview, and appear to be very happy you're there. Realize that interviewers are often more uncomfortable than job applicants! Think about the interview as a friendly conversation, and be prepared to ask them some good questions about the job. You want them to think, "I really like this person and would feel comfortable with him or her as a part of our team."

6. Make sure there are no "you knows" or "ums" in your answers. This sank one of the applicants our committee interviewed (every one of her answers had several).

Good luck!
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Old 07-13-2017, 10:36 AM
 
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Keep trying. From my experience you will know within the day if they are going to hire you. Both times I got a new job within minutes of leaving the interview they called to offer me the job. I think when it happens it just happens. Sometimes it takes a long time... but it will happen and it will work out.

I don't think it's about you doing anything right or wrong. Sorry the best advice I have is to keep putting yourself out there and it will happen. When I got my first job out of college I went on about 100 interviews. It was one interview that worked and turned into a job.

You'll get there if you keep trying.. and then it will all be worth it. Sorry there is no magic answer. It sucks !

Good Luck!


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Old 07-13-2017, 11:13 AM
 
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I feel your pain. I've done 4 different interviews for 7 different positions and have yet to land a job. Three of the jobs I interviewed for was at the school I went to as a teen and student-taught. I think I'm not being hired because of my disability. All the schools I applied for and did interviews were all rural schools. It sucks!
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just wondering
Old 07-13-2017, 11:15 AM
 
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I'm wondering if you have any possibility of relocating. I'm not sure where you are, but there are states putting up billboards to recruit teachers.

In my state (Nevada), Las Vegas last year paid thousands of dollars in signing bonuses for teachers willing to go and teach. They had 600+ vacancies at the beginning of last school year, many of them were filled by long term subs and they were looking to replace them with contract teachers. Job opportunities are less robust in the Reno area and the rural counties are almost always looking for teachers. There are other places in the same boat as fewer people are training to become teachers these days.

You might do some research into openings in your surrounding states. You could work elsewhere for a few years and return to your desired area with experience to renew your job search. That might give you a leg up and income in the meantime. And you could fall in love with that area and those students.
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Old 07-13-2017, 11:41 AM
 
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Lots of good advice above. I will just add that in my district about 90% of the time, the person who gets hired knows someone. My former boss, a doctor, called his wife's cousin, who was the principal who ended up hiring me. So all that is just to say, find and use any connection you can, no matter how minor or irrelevant you think it may be. And also, know that it might not be anything you are doing wrong. Certainly you should reflect and ask for feedback, but don't beat yourself up.

Last edited by apple annie; 07-13-2017 at 12:32 PM..
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Something to keep in mind
Old 07-13-2017, 01:29 PM
 
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Many years ago, I was in your position. It is tough. More recently, my daughter has had this happen. One thing we learned, it isn't always about you. Sometimes the other candidates have a connection or even an intangible that the interviewer likes. At times, the job is already gone when you got there. A few years ago, my daughter had an interview in the summer and was supposed to prepare for a demo. We knew a couple people who had close ties to the school and they contacted the principal and vice principal with positive references (one of which was emailed to me so I know it was great). My daughter walked in and, before they spoke to her, said she didn't need to do the demo. Job must have been gone before she got there.

I just wanted you to know that you may be doing everything very well. It isn't always easy. Just don't give up!!!! Good luck!
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Thanks all
Old 07-13-2017, 01:43 PM
 
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I called the school, and asked the secretary about the job. She told me they were still interviewing. I connected with her and she remembered me.

I am also sending a note to the P. I didn't get the other names, so I guess its just as well. I reiterated to the sec that I am very excited about the job. Now it is in the hands of the committee.

I was natural, and even asked the questioner to repeat or clarify a few times. I really knew my stuff, so there is that. NerdGirl pointed out that sometimes its about chemistry and I cannot change this. I have no idea who I would be working with.


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Old 07-13-2017, 01:53 PM
 
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I just participated as part of an interview team for a few different positions. I can tell you, from my experience, that age really has nothing to do with it. Neither does degrees held, to be honest.

For us, it was a matter of choosing someone who not only answered the way we wanted them to (and boy, were there huge differences in the way people answered!!) but also who we could see being part of our team, being part of our school, working with our particular students. Sometimes it was their energy. We had people who answered perfectly fine, but they lacked the energy I was looking for in a partner, or some other intangible. For one job, we narrowed it down to 3 we liked, but I knew from the beginning which one 'felt' right for me. Turns out, everyone else agreed. The other 2 would have been just fine, but one really stood out to me. It was a feeling we got, even though on paper one or even both might have looked better.

I guess my point is, just keep trying. You'll find your perfect fit somewhere. And I don't know where you live, but where I am, there are more than 100 people applying for each position, so even if you're called in for an interview, it's a compliment since most aren't!
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Old 07-14-2017, 08:07 AM
 
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As the coordinator for reading/literacy at my school, I sit on interview panels for most of the classroom teaching positions and also for paraeducators. Here are a couple of tips that I didn't see mentioned as I scanned through the responses you got. For us, these 2 things have overcome differences in resume/experience.

1) Learn specifics about the school/have a specific answer for the "why do you want to work at our school" question. A generic or vague answer to this question is almost always mentioned when we talk about how interviews went. My school has a unique population that would make it SUPER easy to answer more specifically. When the answer is generic or the person being interviewed seems to know absolutely nothing about our school, it's a big negative. Even if all you know is a few things like what discipline policy they have, a major event they always do, etc., it shows you are interested in the school and not just "I'll take whatever job I can get".

2) Answer questions with specific examples from your teaching. Everyone (or most everyone) can give correct "teacher answers" to interview questions. Follow up your answer with a specific example to illustrate what you have done, or what you plan to do. If you get a question about what you would do to help a struggling student, give your answer and then share a brief story about a struggling student you have helped in the past (maintaining confidentiality of course). Sometimes questions don't lend themselves to elaborating, but if you do it as often as you can, it gives the interview panel more information about you and shows that you aren't just spewing out random teacher talk.
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Old 07-14-2017, 12:35 PM
 
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I agree that you need to try to connect with the interview panel. I have been told that I interview very well, and if I can land an interview I usually get an offer.

Like someone else suggested, use a personal story from experience, not just a canned answer. I am always myself and let the interviewers see my love for kids through my answers and stories.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:06 PM
 
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And here's my experience (from both sides):

-you can connect with the panel and still not get the job because the P clearly dislikes you (yep, had that happen in an interview).
-you can go in with specifics about the building and specific teaching examples and it's either not what they're looking for, not "right" or not what floats their boat.
-they already know who they're going to hire even if they love you (so many times I can't tell you)
-they want young and moldable (mostly the p, the team wants someone with experience so they don't have to hold someone's hand)
- the decision almost always comes down to the p (this has been my experience on both sides of the table-I have a great story about this one).
- it really is all about who you know
-they want someone cheap
-once school starts and they're desperate, swoop in and save the day. THAT'S when you'll get hired!!

If I sound jaded, I am.
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Old 07-14-2017, 01:34 PM
 
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Great advice so far. Every principal is different and will have different district mandates for hiring. I do want to again say that the unpleasant issue of age plays a part .If there is gray hair,facial wrinkles or poorly chosen,out of date clothing worn,you will not be hired by many principals. It is a reality many people don't want to think about but it is there in hiring within public school systems. If this is an issue for you,update your look even if it means a new hair style,whitened teeth and a new wardrobe. Good luck to you.
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Old 07-15-2017, 06:03 AM
 
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In my areas, getting a full-time job would be like striking gold. Due to budget cuts, our district barely hires anyone anymore. Even custodians and secretaries are doing the work of three employees. To get my job, I subbed for about four years in my district, including several LTS jobs. Before that, I had moved out of state and gotten some experience. I had started and not finished my master's. I stood out to the principal and volunteered a lot. I taught summer school programs, tutoring, and volunteered to help with a charity and the school play. I basically became a part of the school and known to all before I got hired. Now, there were some people who did get hired who were just out of college or in other districts. I suspect, those people "knew" someone. Our local districts rarely hired an unknown person.

My district has hired second career teachers before. I know one was in her 50s, so I don't see any ageism. Really, even in my undergrad they told us how different it would be to get hired. It was no secret due to the high number of teaching colleges in this area. Some people had more success than others, many others had to move or stayed here to sub.

I wouldn't give up yet. There are also adult, cyber, prison, alternative, special needs, and museum "teaching" jobs that might be something you could look into.
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Old 07-17-2017, 10:39 AM
 
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Any advice for me? I'm in a wheelchair. I bring a packet describing myself, the adaptive tools I use to teach, and my teaching philosophy. I leave it with them. I've yet to be hired and most districts so far, have treated me, okay, but I feel as though as soon I roll in I'm not being given serious consideration.
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Old 07-18-2017, 01:40 PM
 
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I have been subbing for a number of Years.
I also was a Football Special Teams Coach for 14 + years at a City High School
This year I Opened the year on a Math/Science 6th grade Vacancy,
This was a new overflow class for 6th graders.....the other class had 40 + kids.
They were an extreme challenge, did this for about 10 weeks.
They then had a Vacancy for English/Language Arts, the person they hired had to leave for personal reasons.....I then did the English/Language Arts for 8 weeks with the same kids, I also covered planning for an extremely difficult 8th Grade Language Arts/.
I was fortunate enough to be able to transition the New 6th Grade English/LA Teacher into place
I next did a long-term ELL for the ELL Teacher who worked in the same building and at another school.
I invited the District ELL Facilitator to come in and do a couple of Guest Lessons for us
Next I did a 7th Grade Math/Science for a 7th Grade Teacher in the same building with extremely challenging kids for about 6 to 7 weeks
Finally I did a long term for a 6th Grade Math/Science Teacher in the same building for another 11 weeks to end the Year-his classes were equally challenging save the AP Math/Science Core in the PM.
I did Parent Conferences, attended Staff Meetings, and 6th Grade State MAPS Testing.
We also met with the State Math Facilitator Weekly.
The year was the ultimate trial of endurance and roller-coaster ride.
Most of the long-terms were either Vacancy or the Regular Teaching taking Medical Leave.
I definitely have a deep appreciation for the challenges Teachers face.
I ended the year by going with the person they hired for the 6th grade Team and a partner Teacher to Moab Utah, as a catharsis.
Teaching is the Ultimate Challenge but the connections run deep with staff and students
My only nugget would be: Understand the Student Culture at the School you interview at; What are their backgrounds ? What is their reading comprehension level? How will you handle misbehaviors large and small? Thank you all for allowing me to serve.................
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Good Luck!
Old 07-19-2017, 08:02 AM
 
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^^^ Wow! What a roller coaster ride of a year! At least you gained TONS of experience!

I know the feeling! I was terrified of not finding a job after I graduated. I was a long term sub at a school, and was able to get a full time position. Even though I was long-term subbing, I most certainly was not guaranteed the position. I think one thing that helped me was that I brought a portfolio into my interview. Although I had not yet had my own classroom, I took pictures from the internet (with proper credit, of course) and designed what my ideal classroom would look like. This made me look organized and that I had a plan.

Good luck!
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Great idea!
Old 07-20-2017, 07:40 AM
 
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I have accepted that I did not get this job, but thats how the ball bounces. I did all of the above, and still nothing.

I have a teacher portfolio, and will bring it next time. I haven't used it in a while.

Thanks!

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