George Lucas Educational Foundation
Professional Learning

Finding a New and Better Job in Education

To find a more fulfilling job in education, clarify your goals and skills, network with other educators, strengthen your resume, and fully understand any position being offered.

May 6, 2016
Photo credit: ©Hero Images/500px

As school year winds down, it's time to reflect upon the past year. For many educators, this is also a time to consider the future and whether they want to start next year in the same position. If this describes how you're feeling right now, perhaps you want to:

  • Teach a different subject area.
  • Teach a different grade level.
  • Teach at a different school.
  • Move into another role, such as instructional specialist.
  • Become a school administrator.

This is also the time of year that many positions in education are opening up, providing an opportunity for change. And a change in positions can provide a spark of renewed vigor. This is not a decision to take lightly, however. Finding the position that fits your passion and skill set can empower you to be your best. And of course, your students need you to be your best.

In this post, we'll take a quick look at some things to consider if you're thinking about switching positions.

What Are Your Goals?

Writing down your personal and professional goals can be a daunting task. There are many things to consider:

  • Do you enjoy going to work?
  • Do you feel that you have the autonomy to be a leader?
  • Does your skill set allow you to excel in your current role?
  • Do you feel that you have a positive impact on students?
  • Are you satisfied with your salary?
  • How much time are you spending doing work?

Do Your Research

I know many educators who have switched positions and are now in love with their new job. On the other hand, I know many educators who have switched positions and regret it. Before making your decision, do some research. Talk to others who have transitioned into a similar role. Read blogs and articles written by educators in these positions. Be sure to consider the following:

  • What skill set is needed for this new position? Do you possess these skills?
  • What are the daily roles and responsibilities for the new position?
  • What are some of the obstacles that you'll face?
  • What will your new salary be?
  • How much time will it take you to do this job well?
  • Are there any jobs available at schools where you'd consider working?
  • Who will be your boss? Does this person share your vision or give you the autonomy to pursue it?

Search, Network, and Connect

Once you decide that you'd like to pursue a new position, it's time to start looking for job openings. The end of the school year is the best time for this, as administrators are finding out who will be leaving and what positions they'll need to fill or add for next year.

Here are some of the ways to learn about job openings:

  • Look for internal postings within your district.
  • Search state-specific sites that list jobs in education.
  • Connect with other educators on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Social networking is a great way to hear about job opportunities as well as to talk to other educators in a similar role.
  • Utilize the power of LinkedIn, which is becoming a popular place for educators to post resumes and search for job openings. There are over three million active LinkedIn users who are primary and secondary educators, and this number continues to grow.

Strengthen Your Resume

Be sure to put time and effort into your resume! Whether you're using an online profile-building tool or creating a traditional resume, make a point of showcasing any accomplishments, professional development, or skills that you have. It's important to show that you're qualified for the position that you want, but in today's world, it's also important to showcase other skills, such as the ability to:

  • Implement technology tools to improve student learning.
  • Empower students to create, critique, and analyze.
  • Build rapport and create a culture of learning.
  • Connect with educators on social media. The professional development this provides is amazing.
  • Connect with administrators on social media. Finding an administrator who shares your passion is an excellent way to hear about a job opportunity.
  • Connect your classroom with the community.
  • Help students develop 21st-century skills such as communication, collaboration, and critical and creative thinking.

Reimagine Your Interview

The point of this post isn't to help you simply "get a job." You're looking for your dream job in education, which will allow you to perform at your best. You deserve to be doing work about which you're passionate, because your students will win, too. The following are some tips for an interview:

  • While you're the one being interviewed, remember that you're also interviewing the school.
  • Be honest. If the vision that you share doesn't land you the job, it's likely not a good fit.
  • Find out about your would-be boss' vision. Does it align with yours?
  • Ask about all the roles and responsibilities associated with the new position.
  • Showcase your passion for education and your willingness for professional development.
  • Showcase your ability to work together with colleagues.

Accepting a Job

Before you accept a job, make sure to ask how or if your years of experience, certifications, or credits will be honored. Find out where you'll start on the district's salary scale. Make sure that you clearly understand any expectations that go along with the job.

It's no secret that there's a high burnout rate in education. If you're unhappy in your current position, consider finding another role in education to pique your interest and ignite your passion. Change is often difficult, but remember that it's possible and can be deeply rewarding.

Please share your own thoughts and experiences in the comments section of this post.

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