Preparing to Teach in Texas
You have officially earned all of your college hours, finished student teaching, and finally graduated with degree in hand, and now the job hunt begins. Applying for teaching jobs is exhausting, frustrating, and sometimes feels never ending. It can feel like there are thousands of applicants applying for the same position and you may feel like you are stuck. The key to landing that “first” teaching job requires a few different things.
Research of School Districts or Organizations
Knowing what you as the teacher want in a school district and school is very important to applying for jobs. I have worked in 4 separate school districts and have been apart of many schools. Each district and school offers a wide variety of experience, and demographic to work with. It is important to know what you want going into your application process. Some of you might be knew to the area and some might not be familiar with the schools in your specific area or may want to work in an area according to what they offer.
Top 10 Best School Districts in Texas
Here is a Top 10 list of best school districts to work for in Texas to help you navigate where you might want to apply.
- Carroll ISD, Southlake, TX
- Eanes ISD, Austin, TX
- Lovejoy ISD, Fairview, TX
- Highland Park ISD (University Park, TX) Dallas, TX
- Coppell ISD, Coppell, TX
- Lake Travis ISD. Austin, TX
- Allen ISD, Allen, TX
- Friendswood ISD, Houston, TX
- Plano ISD, Plano, TX
- Round Rock ISD, Roundrock, TX
“The Texas Education Agency 2018 Accountability Manual describes the methodology used by the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to award district and campus accountability ratings and how the four metrics used in this study to rank the academic performance of DFW school districts were derived.
The first of these metrics, the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) score is the scaled score of all STAAR assessments administered to district students during the 2017-2018 school year. The Advance Placement / International Baccalaureate (AP/IB) and the SAT and ACT college admission tests metrics are the number of students meeting college-ready criteria specified in the Texas Success Initiative (TSI), a state-legislated program to improve student success in college.”
Teacher Job Fairs
Each one of these school districts and thousands more will usually hold Job Fairs for hopeful employees. Utilize these Job fairs, the more contacts you have the better when starting the application process. Most job fairs will be beginning at the end of April, early May to the beginning of June. When attending make sure you dress professional, and bring a lot of copies of your resume to handout to the personnel of the different school districts. It makes a huge difference when someone can place a face to the resume.
The relationships and contacts you make during student teaching are very important. Don’t be afraid to rely on those connections during your job hunt. If the schools you did your student teaching at, does not have any job openings in your specific teaching area, they will for sure have a contact of their own that they can recommend you to.
The Application process
The first thing you want to do is to make sure you have a good resume. Those that are newly graduates may not have a lot to add to a resume that would be appealing to school districts. Having your student teaching information on your resume along with great references will greatly increase your chances of an administrator not by passing your resume all together. Also use your college mentors as help when writing your first professional resume. They know the school districts and can help you add content to your resume that will help you stand out.
Application – Applying to Become a Teacher
Now that you have an idea of where you want to apply, your resume and references, you can start applying. Most school districts have their application online. You can usually find them by going to the school district website and clicking the employment tab. The nice thing about the applications being online in Texas is that most school districts use the same application system. This means you can upload one application and apply to thousands of jobs by just the click of a button.
There is nothing more nerve racking then walking into your first couple of job interviews. Practicing with someone such as your student teaching mentor or an old teacher will greatly help you to be able topinpoint interview weaknesses and turn those weaknesses into strengths. The more you practice speaking in front of people and answering questions on the fly the better prepared you will be.
Make sure you research the school’s website before you go into your interview, know what their goal is and know the kind of campus they are. This can help give you a better sense of the type of answers they may be looking for in your interview. Research key words that administrators like when talking about teaching and don’t be afraid to use those in your interview, such as: cultivate an engagingclassroom, create rigorouslesson plans to increase student engagement.
Dress to impress. There is nothing worse than showing up anywhere and being underdressed. It is always better to dress to impress. I always recommend a blazer jacket for both ladies and gentlemen. Ladies, a conservative dress or pant suit with a blouse. Gentlemen, suit, jacket, button-up shirt, and a tie. Some inexpensive clothing stores that are great to shop at for business clothes are, H&M, Old Navy, Gap, Banana Republic Factory Store, and Nordstrom Rack. You can find some really great pieces that are super affordable. I walked into my very first job interview wearing a women’s suit. It was hotter than anything outside but I was dressing to impress not for my own comfort. First impressions are very important and can make a difference in getting a call back.
Accepting a Teaching Position
You have made it through the hardest part of the job process, research, applications, job fairs, interviews, and you finally got a job offer. Some of you may get multiple offers and some may only get a single offer. When accepting a position, you need to make sure that you are on board with what you are being asked to teach, how many sections, and the pay. There are some jobs that require an additional certification, and you may not have that yet. Some districts will hire you with the understanding that you will get that certification during the first year of teaching.
Know what you want before you accept any position and don’t be afraid to say no thank you. Those that only received on offer. Don’t worry. That will not be the only offer you ever receive. Use that job opportunity as a stepping stone to learn, grow, and become a better teacher. You very first job may not be the job you want forever, but it can sure provide some of the best learning opportunities you can get.
Each year you teach, you learn a lot about yourself, about teaching and about how the process works. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there, be uncomfortable, try something new, you never know by doing that you may find yourself with more opportunities than you know what to do with. Grow, get better, ask for help, and never stop learning.
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