I’m not yet a teacher but am researching the possibilities. I’m thinking about teaching history at a private school … What i would like to know is, what are the pitfalls? Is there a great deal of red tape? Do incoming teachers have to kowtow to the upper echelons or is it more egalitarian? How does the hiring process work and what are they looking for? What can i do now, as I’m still in school, to make myself a more attractive candidate?
I believe that the answers to these questions all depend on the specific school you end up teaching in. The last question you asked is the key. “What can I do now … to make myself a more attractive candidate?”
Some things you can do include:
Get out of the classroom and get into the classrooms
You don’t learn nearly as much about teaching by sitting in a class as you do by observing and actually teaching classes. Start tutoring middle school and high school students. Tutor in history since that’s what you want to do, but also tutor in any other subject area you might be competent in. I suggest tutoring middle school students as well, because I wanted to grow up and be a professional orchestra conductor until I started teaching sixth graders. Then I fell in love with teaching middle school band. Expand your horizons. That also gives you a larger depth to your resume. That’s a good thing.
Find out how a certain teacher keeps the class quiet as they entire the classroom. “We set the rules up from the beginning” is not enough of an answer. HOW do you establish the rules? Ask questions and keep digging. You will know you have enough information when you’ve been teaching for about 10 years and almost feel like you’re starting to know what you’re doing. I would identify as many possible scenarios (entering the class, asking to use the restroom, fire drill, interruptions, etc.) and figure out how you specifically want those situations to unfold. From there, formulate a behavioral script that the students are expected to follow. Then figure out how to eloquently articulate that script to high school students.
The single best way you can beef up your resume is to have leadership experience. Clerk at Chevron is not going to look as good as Historian for Alpha Beta Gamma, Sigma Delta Chapter. Unless, of course Alpha Beta Gamma is in the news for hazing or something else. Or start your own business. Erin’s Housekeeping Service. That shows initiative, foresight, and leadership. Plus, it’s great experience for your life down the road.
Also, keep this in mind. It may seem sacrilegious coming on an education website, but the secret is….
NOBODY CARES ABOUT YOUR GRADES EXCEPT FOR YOU AND YOUR MOM
That being said, be wise and studious. Don’t waste a semester failing a class. But don’t worry about that as much as your own skills that are being developed through the three above ways.