Stay current on industry changes to maintain job flexibility if and when you need it.
As a teacher, the job market can be a tough place. In a field where competition is high and landing your ideal placement takes patience, you won’t want to fall behind on shifts and general goings-on in the job market. If you do fall behind, you may miss out on opportunities or professional development that are critical to your career as an educator. Check out these tips to make sure you stay in the game:
Always be learning
Teachers do more than teach; they are also lifelong learners. New teaching methods and new curriculum content are just a couple of the items that need to be on teachers’ radars at all times. But you shouldn’t stop there. Maintaining your professional development is one of the best ways to stay relevant in a perpetually evolving field. For example, keeping up with learning technology is a great way to be prepared for a new job function, should schools choose to implement tech for students (as many already have).
Network with industry peers
You can learn a lot about the industry from others who are in it. Everyone you meet will have their own interests and teaching methods, and so they might also have different information to offer than what you’ve found on your own.
Conferences and other events are excellent opportunities to both learn and network, as described above. Plus, the content of conference programs tends to be as up-to-date as possible, so there’s a good chance you’ll discover some novel ideas regarding the job market.
Be solution oriented in all aspects
Unless you’re aiming to teach somewhere like California, where they are suffering a major teacher shortage, you’ll likely find yourself in a pretty saturated job applicant pool. You might even encounter societal problems like ageism. As such, it’s best to be prepared for challenges to gaining or transitioning employment, and practice how you will go about addressing them in a positive way.
Anticipate and champion change
Try to anticipate changes that are bound to happen down the line, whether it be next month or next year. It’s easier to do than you think; identify problems that can’t go unchecked and reason what the possible solutions are. Even if you don’t see problems in your current work environment, stay up-to-date on news from the school system at a higher level. You can also take a proactive approach and champion change when it’s needed. In doing so, you will demonstrate to your employer that you are driven and dedicated to make the learning experience better for students and teachers alike.
Get on the social media bandwagon
Social media platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter are perfect for getting industry-specific news in real-time. Join groups and connect with other professionals that can offer valuable information. Blogs are also a major part of the social media world, so subscribe to a few well-reputed education blogs.
Read, read, read!
This one may sound obvious, but nevertheless, it must be stated. Read everything. Read the news. Read the websites. And what’s more is that you’ll not only want to read thoroughly, you’ll also want to keep an eye out for specific things. For example, articles that address a teacher shortage may bury key details, like that the shortage is for specific kinds of teachers. Take note of the details to keep your job market knowledge sharp. Read the job boards, too, even if you aren’t looking for a job. Devote some time to checking out Gumtree in order to see what kinds of teaching positions are open and see where you sit as far as specificity in your industry.
Now, you may be thinking that this all sounds like a lot to add to an already overloaded teaching schedule. Keep in mind that none of these things need to take up excessive amounts of time, so long as you adhere to a reasonable schedule. Set aside an hour or two when you have some downtime, in order to absorb and process all the information. If you commute by public transit, you can even get some reading done on the way. With a little time management expertise (as teachers tend to excel at!), you should be able to easily accommodate some of these items into your schedule.