If you’ve recently completed your ECE program, or are so close to finishing, you can practically smell the aroma of fresh play-dough and chalk dust in the air. However, you’re probably wondering what comes next?
Along with your new ECE degree comes the exciting process of locating a teaching position at a school you’d like to teach and getting hired. This part of the process can be a bit daunting, especially since you lack experience in the classroom. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t get hired, as many school districts prefer to hire new teachers since new teacher positions start at the lower end of the pay scale.
While you might not have a ton of in-person classroom experience to speak of, it’s important to focus on any amount of experience you do have, along with providing excellent references to increase your chances of getting hired.
Beginning the Job Search
When first beginning your job search, it’s always a good idea to look in your local districts first to see if any of them are hiring teachers before expanding your search to include outside areas. Contact the places you are most interested in working at first, either by phone, email, or via their website to inquire if they are hiring. Don’t despair if they aren’t hiring at the moment because you might still be able to send in a resume for them to keep on file.
Networking is a crucial part of the hiring process, especially in today’s tech savvy world. Network opportunities can be found through social media (especially job-related sites such as LinkedIn), friends, families, and acquaintances, as well as professional organizations.
Join a Professional Teaching Organization
As a recent graduate, consider joining the student or associate programs of teacher unions, such as the National Education Association. There are also non-union groups that you can join for networking opportunities as well.
Sign Up for Volunteer Work
If you can, consider volunteering some of your time. Volunteer opportunities can take the place or fill in the gaps that come from not having any prior related job experience, which is a big plus for new grads from the ECE program who are looking to present an impressive resume.
Make sure you’re fully prepared and ready to go when you finally do get that first interview scheduled. Practice a mock interview with friends, family, or even a fellow classmate from your ECE program who is also job hunting and will appreciate the practice.
When preparing for the interview, have all of your materials printed and neatly assembled in a folder or portfolio, including your resume, cover letter, references, and samples of lesson plans. Speaking of resumes, make sure to include all of the job-related experiences and attributes you can think of, including any volunteer work or opportunities, substitute teaching, student teaching, etc.
Be Patient and Persistent
The job market is tough for everyone, so don’t get discouraged if you aren’t getting hired immediately. Instead, think of that extra time as an opportunity to practice your skills and gain some experience, such as substituting. Working as a substitute teacher, or even a teacher’s aide will help acquaint you with the school and classroom routines, as well as present an opportunity to get to know fellow teachers and administrators. When a position opens up, you will be in an ideal situation as you’ll already be familiar with the school policies and staff members.
Continue Your Education
As a teacher, it’s important to never stop learning, even long after completing your ECE program. Professional development is a great way to stay fresh and add to your virtual tool-belt of teaching strategies. If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher, and know you’d be a good fit for this career, don’t wait! It’s time to find an accredited program and earn your degree.
Athena Career Academy will help get you on the right path to an exciting and fulfilling career as an early childhood educator. We are invested in your success! Contact our admissions team today to learn more about our flexible class schedules and accredited degree programs.