Questions from Readers: How did you get your new teaching job?


I thought I’d answer one of the reader questions from a few weeks back.

I should mention how frightening I find the prospect of having to know someone within a school system to even rate an interview. While I had relatively quick appointments in my last two teaching positions, I’ve come to realize that this is nowhere near the norm.

I don’t want to use the word “cronyism” because that’s not what it is exactly… but a teacher candidate has a distinct advantage if they know someone in the school district at which they’re interviewing. There are some school districts here in SW Ohio which are nigh untouchable unless you’ve got a brother or a cousin who’s already working there… and they got their job because your great aunt was a secretary for the superintendent and so on.

This happens in every profession I guess.

7 Responses to “Questions from Readers: How did you get your new teaching job?”

  1. I tell anyone who asks about getting a teaching job to volunteer as much as they can. People need to know who you are, see you in action and get a sense of how you operate. You have to pass the initial ‘sniff test’. Teaching requires a vast array of skills and the ability to think quickly on your feet, not to mention a wide range of background knowledge. If you are a known quantity your name will come up when a job opens and you stand a better chance of being recommended as a possible hire. Put in the time if you really want the teaching job because the competition is fierce!

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      This is a good point Paul and you’re totally right, especially in competitive districts.

      I want to offer another angle on what you’re saying, based on something I’ve observed in the last two years, just in case readers jump to a different conclusion than you’re laying down here. Volunteering is different from substitute teaching.

      On paper, subbing would be the perfect way to get yourself into the good graces of the powers that be at a school… and certainly, it might still be in some places. In the schools I’ve worked in/observed in over the past few years… subs are a precious commodity! I’ve seen people hesitate at giving substitute teachers permanent gigs because a district didn’t want to lose a good sub!

      That sounds crazy, but it’s true. I’ve seen great young subs do their time in classrooms and then go on to other districts to work.

  2. “This happens in every profession I guess.” I am a computer engineer and haven’t seen really seen this in my profession. I think it tends to happens more often in professions where more value is placed on seniority and/or the turn over rate is low.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Good points all, Andrew. I will say that my experiences reflect those of an English Language Arts teacher. There seems to be less turnover in ELA and even LESS in Social Studies… while the Math/SS job market seems wide open every year. Don’t even get me started about Special Education – you can basically pick and choose if your SpEd.

      • Congratulations on your new job by the way. Looking forward to a new year of comics. When do we find out what district you are headed to? I grew up in your neck of woods, maybe you’re in my old school system 🙂

  3. I just got my first school job last year, right out of grad school (I’m a librarian). I knew no one at the school before I interviewed. I even heard later that a librarian from the intermediate school had interviewed for the same job. I still can’t believe I got that job. It’s so rare in education. Some job changes happened in the system this year and I’ve noticed that most of those positions are being filled by relatives, friends, and people with an in like subs. Good ole nepotism.

    • Christopher Pearce Says:

      Good on you! I didn’t mention it but the job I’m leaving was something of a “walk in off the street” proposition. I had just moved to SW Ohio and literally knew no one, had no connections anywhere.

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