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What should I do with this year to increase my chances of teaching next year?
August 15, 2012 9:49 AM   Subscribe

I am just finishing up a phd. I'll be defending in September, getting the actual degree in October (I hope). I'd like to get a job teaching English in a private high school, but obviously I'd be applying for the following school year, not the year that's about to start. So what should I be doing this year? I need to support myself, of course, but I'd like to do so in a way that will make me more attractive to schools. I already sub at one school, and am planning on trying to get on the sub lists for some other schools. But is there anything else? What are some short-term or part-time means of employment that school administrators would like to see on my resume?
posted by Ragged Richard to Work & Money (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Have you had any experience as an adviser to kids in this age range, or as a coach/adult volunteer in a youth organization? You already have the teaching stuff, but a big part of high school teaching is in relationship-building and convincing a bunch of 14-19 year-olds to give up their spare time to paint banners (or whatever.) This will also demonstrate that you're really interested, and not just in it for the money.
posted by SMPA at 10:02 AM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actual state certification in your subject area.
Coach sports.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:05 AM on August 15, 2012


Thirding the idea of getting some experience with skills you could use with the kids outside the classroom (coaching sports, mentoring debate team, volunteer for Big Brothers /Sisters, etc).
posted by WeekendJen at 10:39 AM on August 15, 2012


SAT/ACT/College Essay tutoring literally as much as you can.

Parents pay for private high schools with the hopes that their kids will then get into top-tier colleges.

Demonstrating that you can help the students/the parents/the school achieve this goal will be huge for your resume.

And the fact that you're just graduating with doctorate means that getting students to sign up should be absolutely not a problem. Not to mention that if you're in an area with any kind of affluence, you can easily expect to charge $$$$. Seriously consider this.
posted by lobbyist at 10:40 AM on August 15, 2012


Contact administrators at local private high schools and ask, "I'll be defending in September, getting the actual degree in October (I hope). I'd like to get a job teaching English in a private high school next year. I'm not applying for a job - obviously, you don't even know if you'll be hiring then - but can you suggest what I should do to best prepare myself for teaching at your type of school? I need to support myself, of course, but I'd like to do so in a way that will make me better prepared to teach at the high school level. I already sub at one school, and am planning on trying to get on the sub lists for some other schools. But is there anything else?"
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:44 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Seconding state certification in your subject area and adding basic CPR / first aid certification--which may be a job requirement if, say, you wind up at a private school that involves you in an after-school care program.
posted by Monsieur Caution at 10:51 AM on August 15, 2012


How much experience have you gotten teaching? I've had friends who got their Master's + certification in teaching, went to teaching high school English, and then discovered they hated actually being a teacher (bureaucracy, parents, etc.) Get as much teaching experience as you can, subbing and beyond. Seconding the SAT tutor thing. IIRC community colleges are frequently hiring part-time professors to teach remedial English 101, etc.
posted by nicebookrack at 11:18 AM on August 15, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actual state certification in your subject area.

In my experience many US private schools don't care about this (or, at least, that's my experience from California; other states may be different), so I'm not sure it's worth your time getting one unless it's very easy. Nor do they care about teaching qualifications that much; they want you to be a good teacher and kind and friendly, but they're not that stuck on a qualifications in teaching. Coaching experience is good, though it doesn't need to be a sport: can you help out a debating team? Or a writing club? Do you have a subsidiary skill, be it ever so obscure, that you can burnish and teach? I taught at a private high school for 3 years and taught a very obscure language to a few students who took it on top of other classes. The school liked it because it made their students stand out in college apps; the students liked it because it was their fun class and something that they could take nowhere else. And I would never have thought that language would have been a selling point in an employment application ever. Additionally if you can show connections in organisations that would be suitable for high schools children to volunteer in that also helps: most private schools have well-developed programmes in this area, but they're always interested in expanding and changing.

Teaching part time at a college/university is not a bad thing if you can get it, even if the pay is terrible or the hours are strange: private schools are businesses and they like to say to parents 'our new teacher x taught at college level' especially if that college might be somewhere the students would apply.

(I'm a former PhD who taught at a private high school for several years and loved it; I left because I had an offer I couldn't refuse, but I would have been happy staying there.)
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:09 PM on August 15, 2012 [2 favorites]


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