Keep these three job search tips in mind if you have not looked for a teaching job in a couple of years or are just beginning to think about a career move.
1. Be marketable.
The job market for teachers in boarding schools is generally competitive. Schools want the best possible candidate to work for them. As a result, dozens of candidates apply for available positions. So, what sets you apart from other candidates? Offering three or more of the following skills or credentials can position you for success in the boarding school employment market.
This TEDTalk offers some ideas for effective job searching.
Speak and teach a second language. Teachers who speak French, Spanish, and Mandarin are in much demand in any school. Add a degree and certifications in those subjects to your credentials, and you will be much more marketable.
Hold specialist certifications. An ESL certificate or a reading specialist certificate will virtually guarantee you employment for life at many schools. An ESL-certified teacher is an integral part of the teaching strategy and an essential element in a diverse community. Boarding schools attract an international clientele. Immersion in the English language is a factor in that decision. A reading specialist can effectively remediate reading and comprehension skills allowing the language arts teachers to focus on coursework. She also can provide extra help for ESL students.
Be an AP exam reader. If you are or have been an AP reader in Art History, Chinese Language and Culture, Environmental Science, European History, Government and Politics, Human Geography, Japanese Language and Culture, Music Theory, Spanish Language, Spanish Literature and World History, for example, you will be in demand. A prestigious never hurts.
Be willing to relocate. This is not always easy to do, but if you can accept an appointment that requires relocation, your marketability will improve significantly. For example, most boarding schools will require that you live on campus and be a dormitory supervisor or dorm parent.
Offer subjects that are in demand. This will vary from school to school, but it stands to reason that math and physics teachers will probably be in shorter supply than physical education teachers, for example. If you can teach to AP level or have IB teaching experience in your subject, that will increase your marketability too.
2. Consider Teaching Overseas
If you are a recent college graduate looking for a job, you probably have thought about teaching from time to time. We need teachers. We need talented teachers. In both public and private sectors. Both at home and abroad.
Abroad? Yes, there are plenty of teaching jobs overseas. Hundreds of private schools in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean constantly look for qualified teachers. Many of these are international schools whose students are English speaking. Why is that? Because places like Buenos Aires have large ex-pat communities. They usually insist on sending their children to a school with an American or English-style curriculum so they can fit in more easily back home when they finally return home.
You first have to decide in which country you want to work. Because you will need a visa to work in a foreign country, you should focus on one country or be overwhelmed by red tape and expenses. The U.S. Government has thousands of families posted overseas. In addition, the Department of State offers a helpful list of schools it has vetted. Contact schools on the list to see what vacancies exist. Email makes this part of the job search process easy and fast. You can also use a specialized employment site such as Teacherhorizons to find positions at international schools abroad.
Be patient with the process. If there is an opening and you are a good fit, expect to be interviewed by phone. In addition, plan to attend any job fairs scheduled in a major city near you.
The visa process gets underway when you are offered a position and have accepted it. More paperwork, photos, and appointments to obtain that important document follow. Once you have your visa, the school will send you a plane ticket and instructions on when and where to report.
This video stresses the importance of highlighting your abilities, not your experience.
3. Match Your Qualifications to the job
It sounds simple enough, but one of the most important things you must do when looking for a teaching job in a boarding school is to make sure your qualifications match the position's requirements. If you don't make that clear in your resume and cover letter, you might not even make the first cut when schools open and review your application.
This video offers tips for teaching.
Academic qualifications Do you have a master's degree? If you do, it should be in mathematics, not classics. If you have only earned a first degree, make sure it is an honors degree. A master's degree proves that you have done graduate work. Private schools like to see that.
Do you have a teacher's certificate from any U.S. state? Not having a teaching certificate probably won't keep you from getting the job, all things being equal, but understand that you will have to earn that certification as soon as possible. The school will most likely make that a condition of hiring you.
Specific subject teaching experience Have you taught the subject required at the Advanced Placement level? Most boarding schools want experienced teachers who know how to achieve success in their subject area. The school's reputation rides on your success or lack of it. Be able to demonstrate that you have solid achievements in teaching your subject at a high level successfully and effectively.
High school teaching experience Have you taught in a high school? If you have a college teaching or business background, you understand the need to inspire your students. However, high school students are not generally as mature as college students. On the other hand, students who go to boarding school attend because they want to learn.
Attitude Are you set in your ways and unwilling to change how you teach your subject? Or do you constantly seek out new ways of doing things? Moving with the times and learning new tricks are characteristics you must take care to list and point out in your resume. Boarding schools integrated technology into their classrooms years ago. Being a digital native is a prerequisite for most teaching positions in the 21st century.
Passion for your subject Do you live, breathe and constantly think about your subject? Not just in an intellectual way but in ways that will inspire young people and make them as passionate about your subject as you are.The fact that you can show young people that your subject is fun and exciting needs to be front and center in your resume.
Different learning styles Children learn in many different ways. Being flexible and patient enough to circle back and help a student who doesn't understand what you are teaching is critical. Schools will ask about that characteristic during your interview and look for evidence of your embracing this essential qualification when they review your application materials.
Social habits If you can't wait to leave the classroom and return to your apartment and your books, you probably won't fit into a boarding school community. But if you can blend your time with time well spent coaching a team or supervising an extracurricular activity, you will make a favorable impression on the school. The person who reads your application will be excited to learn that you are writing a book on lambda calculus at the same time as you are describing how much you love producing Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
Facility with technology Are you adept at using a whiteboard and a tablet and all the software that those tools use? Do you Moodle? Blog? Twitter? If you aren't and don't, you better get with the program fast. That's where teaching is these days. It's virtually electronic. (Pun intended.)
Once again, match your qualifications to the job offered. That is key to finding a new job.
Questions? Contact us on Facebook. @boardingschoolreview.