Teacher Job Search Tips

While looking for a permanent teacher job, stay active in the education industry by substitute teaching and by building contacts in the education industry.

Sub Your Way In

If there are no full-time, permanent teaching jobs in your area, and you are determined to work in that region, sub your way in. Most substitute teaching positions are listed on the same websites as the full-time teaching opportunities. In fact, notifying the school board that you are willing to sub may mean just checking a box on your application form that indicates you are willing to sub. If you have already filled out an application for teaching positions, contact the HR office and find out if you can amend your application to also include substitute teaching, or if there is an additional form you need to fill out.

When you get to the interview stage to be added to the teacher or sub inventory, do not tell the interviewers that you will use subbing to get to a full time position. You can indicate, if asked, that if you received the right full time teaching opportunity that you would be interested in the position.  There are two reasons for responding this way: first, you understand that a substitute teacher is temporary and needs to be available for the very short term; second, you are expressing that you could take on a longer contract, like a maternity or stress leave, should it become available.

Substitute teaching also gets you into contact with other teachers and principals who are can recommend you for full-time permanent contracts. It also helps you assess the more desirable placements for a permanent position.

Go to Where the Teachers Are

Conferences, professional development opportunities and networking with other teachers put you in same room with teachers who can recommend or refer prospective teachers to their principals. Many school boards put the final decision to hire into the hands of principals and superintendents, so meeting with them at professional events can help you in the job search.

Career Fairs

There are career fairs for teachers. A career fair is like a shopping mall of job opportunities, and a good career fair will include representatives from school boards, private schools in the area, as well as international opportunities. Career fairs put a job seeker into personal contact with human resources personnel who are responsible for screening resumes and who can answer questions about the application process, the interview process and the length of time it takes to get hired. They can also answer any questions a job seeker might have that are specific to her career background, such as what to do about gaps on the resume, how to become a certified teacher in a specific state and give labor market information for their school board, such as if the school board is currently experiencing a shortage of physical education teachers, for example.

Explore Other Teaching Opportunities

While waiting for an opportunity to become a K-12 school teacher, some teachers will explore other options. They will tutor in their field, or look for adult education opportunities based on their area of specialty or on their hobbies. Other teachers will opt to take a year abroad or look for work writing or evaluating curriculum. With the exception of the year abroad, these options leave the teacher ready to take a job instantly should one become available. It also keeps them in the education industry so all of their experience is still highly relevant to an education employer.