Advantages of Experience: Job Hunting as a Veteran Teacher

Misty Hance
Misty Hance
Assistant School Principal; Ed.D. in School Leadership, Carson-Newman University, TN

It can be intimidating for a veteran teacher to return to the educational field after a few years out the classroom or after teaching at the same school for many years. However, being highly qualified with teaching experience makes you a valuable asset to school districts. Knowing how to seek new opportunities while sharing your unique skill set will help ease this intimidation and make the job search simpler.

Your Network

If you have been teaching for more than five years, chances are you have been to multiple professional development workshops where you have met other teachers. Perhaps you have been a member of an educational union or social media network connecting teachers and sharing experiences. If so, use this network of colleagues to announce your job search and seek assistance with sharing in your search. Some of these acquaintances may know of opportunities and be able to give you a good reference if you have established professional relationships in the past. In addition, you might reach out to peers or professors from your university that might know of possible job prospects.

Utilize Social Media

In the modern age of technology, it is imperative that anyone searching for a job use social media with discretion and professionalism. One misunderstood post and your educational career could come to a halt. However, there is value in using these sites while searching for a job. Here is a list of popular sites and how they can be used to assist in your quest for a new teaching position:

  • LinkedIn and Indeed – These are considered professional networking sites where you can post your resume and experience, locate open positions within your field, and connect with opportunities. Employers can recruit through these and other job specific sites, so you can gain quick connections across the nation.
  • Twitter – This social media site is used by many school districts to quickly share news and upcoming events in short, 280-maximum-character posts. Be sure and type in your keywords using hashtags (#) to narrow your search effectively.
  • Facebook – This is another social media site that can be used effectively in your job search. It is used best for locating school districts news feeds to search for job fairs and open positions.

When utilizing these sites, it is important to remember to keep your profile professional and updated. Remember that administrators will be viewing these to determine your possibilities for an interview or future career.

In addition to using social media for job searches, veteran teachers can also use these networks to stay abreast of educational news. Valid and reliable media sites can be used to learn about educational policy changes, new teaching strategies, and buzzwords to use within your interview to help demonstrate your current knowledge of educational trends.

Consider Relocation

Across the nation, many school districts are facing a shortage of teacher candidates. Some of the shortages are in specific areas, such as special education, while others are more widespread across all certifications. If you are willing and able to relocate, use this to your advantage. Some districts are enticing teachers to their area by providing extra incentives from sign-on bonuses to housing provided near the school. Another way of pursuing a career in a new setting is to be willing to seek a new certification while teaching. Many districts in need of particular positions are willing to let an experienced teacher teach while receiving training toward a new certification such as reading specialist or English as a Second Language instruction. This alternative certification is a great doorway to new opportunities if you are willing to try a new area of the educational field.

When considering relocation, it is also important to determine ahead of time if your specific state’s licensure is accepted in the new district. If it isn’t, ask if this district administrators are willing to allow you to teach while you meet the requirements for new licensure. Some may have this flexibility while others may have policies against such practices. Knowing this in advance can save you time and travel or provide you with time to advance your license.

Leverage You Experience in Interviews

If you have taught for five or more years, chances are you have used multiple teaching and behavior management strategies and been a part of a variety of educational scenarios. Use these to your advantage without dominating the interview. For example, when the administrator asks a question about your knowledge of assessments, detail the assessments you have you administered for progress monitoring and formal assessment. Be sure to share how you used data from these to differentiate lessons and drive your instruction.

If you are given the chance to present a teaching demonstration, this is your time to shine as a veteran teacher. You will most likely be more comfortable in front of an audience. Use this opportunity to show how you use small groups, differentiate instruction, and can manage a classroom while focusing on the learning of each student.

In addition, your years of experience have most likely given you opportunities to work on committees and lead trainings. Share ways you’ve collaborated with others within your school and district to make positive changes in your teaching philosophy and strategies. Promote yourself so that the administrator sees how you, a veteran teacher, have a lot of experience and knowledge to offer the new school and school district.

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