On Teaching Job Applications 

I went into “application mode” yesterday.  It’s a weird mental zone teachers must enter to fill out their pages and pages of job applications.  Adults in other professions, give me some perspective.  Do job applications in other fields come with an average of 12 essay questions attached?  (That’s a literal number, not an exaggeration.)  In addition to the standard questions about training, work history, and individual strengths and weaknesses, do you have to elaborate on things like educational philosophies, disciplinary and instructional strategies, and hypothetical interpersonal situations for pages at a time?  Or are teachers alone in this?  And of course, the questions are just different enough that I can’t simply copy and paste answers between one application and another.  I shudder to think of the number of hours of my life I’ve spent simply on job application essay questions.

The crazy thing is that I’m not really looking for a job.  If I were, I should have launched into this mode months ago.  I should have been checking job websites daily, keeping tabs on all the area schools and associations that could lead to employment.  I haven’t, and I’m totally cool with that.  And yet I spent most of yesterday afternoon/evening writing e-mails, creating a writing sample, refreshing reference lists, and updating not one, but two different online employment profiles.  Weird, huh.

It started with a letter I got in the mail related to one particular association membership.  I logged in to my profile out of curiosity, and one thing led to another.  I e-mailed administrators about my employment eligibility (I thought my membership in that particular organization had lapsed, but the letter I’d gotten made me think that maybe it hadn’t yet?)  I did actually apply for one job, too.  It’s an online position, something I could do from home.  I’ll explain more if anything ever comes of it.  Oh, and it’s completely unrelated to the organization that sent me the letter.  I just knew about the opening and was in the zone, so why not?

Odds are, though, I’ll still simply be a stay-at-home mom next year.  I’m open to the idea of teaching again if the right opportunity comes along, but I don’t really have any plans otherwise.  I’m not sure why I snapped into “application mode” yesterday.  Once I start, it’s hard to stop, maybe?  Or maybe God has plans in store and He needed me to get those profiles up to date for some reason?  I don’t know.  All I know is that from 3pm to 8pm, that’s almost all I did yesterday (with short breaks for dinner and baby care).

Whatever does or doesn’t come of it, it did get me thinking about the nature of teacher applications and how much writing goes into them.  It’s like we have to answer the interview questions before we actually get to the interview.  I am seriously curious.  Is this normal to the rest of the professional world?

And to my aspiring teacher readers, because I know I have a few, consider yourselves warned.  🙂

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11 thoughts on “On Teaching Job Applications 

  1. as a college student majoring in elementary education this is a little daunting, but you do what you gotta do! I always like to read about other people’s experiences and perspectives related to being a teacher

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    • Don’t worry too much. If you plan on working in public schools, many times you only have to fill out one application for the whole district, rather than individual schools. Online profiles are actually a wonderful thing. Time consuming at first, but not too hard to maintain, and they get your info to a lot of schools at once. I’ve just moved a lot, so I keep filling them out for each new place!

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  2. Eek! I’m actually really worried about applying for jobs after I graduate from my program. I just was accepted in April and I only just recieved my field experience placement so maybe it’s a little premature but that doesn’t help the fear! Any advice for an aspiring English teacher?

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    • In terms of applying for jobs, the best thing I’ve learned is that it’s not about being the most impressive, smartest, etc. Administrators are looking for someone who’s the right fit for that particular position and environment. So don’t focus so much on trying to say the right things to sound super impressive – rather, do everything you can to give them the best sense of who you are as a unique individual and what you can provide to their schools. That way, if you don’t get the job, you know it’s not a matter of “I’m not good enough”; it’s just a matter of not being the right match.

      Also, going into your field experience placements is the perfect time to network, network, network!! Get to know the teachers and administrators you work with well. They’re a great source of advice, and they might be able to help you find work later (even years down the road, in my case!). If nothing else, the teachers you work with in college may be the people you’ll ask to write your first letters of recommendation, so it’s best to build good professional relationships with them in any case.

      Good luck! Let me know if you have any other questions!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh man… I’m studying to be a teacher, and I’m kind of nervous now!
    Regardless, good luck with the applications. I hope something good comes of them. 🙂

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  4. This part was one I dreaded. Also disliked being evaluated. Most evaluations were a waste. One person who rarely taught giving me pointers on how to teach. I was pretty good in the classroom and honed my skills. Yet I endured the process because we had to.

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    • Yeah, a few states have that. It is nice, but my experience has been that most schools or districts still have their own questions they want answered, too. Plus, I apply to a lot of private schools and organizations, which all have their own separate things going on.

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