I want to back up a little this semester and talk a bit about my first years of teaching to encourage those of you who might be in that situation currently and provide a little nostalgia for my veteran teachers!
I’d like to roll the clock WAY back for you, let me take you before my art teaching career, to the beginning of my journey. I always knew that I would be doing something in the arts after high school. I thought about being an actress, then a vocalist, finally finding true passion in the arts. I have always valued creativity and I love the way that art can allow people to release and create something that they maybe didn’t think they could previously do. Thus, my clear choice was art education.
I had a typical college experience, the university taught me how to technically become an art teacher, but when it came to actually teaching…let’s just say that I think I can speak for many teachers of all fields when I say that I learned more in my semester of student teaching than I did in 4 years of school. They should really get teachers into the classroom sooner, I think, but that is a topic for another day…
Toward the end of my college career, I entered the completely foreign land of job searching! I got the suit (and/or borrowed one from my sister) and started sending out my resume. I interviewed at every possible opening that spring. It didn’t matter if it was somewhere I specifically wanted to teach; every interview was an opportunity to get some experience.
Maybe it has not been your experience, but I found that art teaching jobs were few and far between, although, there were some jobs that stayed open for a while due to the fact that the school was located in the middle of nowhere…which was undesirable, to say the least.
I finally did get a position after about a month and a half of searching at a small 3A school about 30 minutes south of where I was living. I was really excited, even if it wasn’t exactly what I was looking for, I’ve really enjoyed working there for the past 7 years.
So since this is the time of year that people might be job searching, I thought I might put my thoughts out there for best tips in an interview (even if my experience might be a little limited). Here we go:
- Be professional. I know that this is one that they always say, but it really makes a difference. Not only in the eyes of your potential employer, but also for you. If you feel the part, you will be more likely to act the part.
- Map out how to get there at least the day before. Not just the location on the map, but also which door and room that you need to meet at. I was almost late to my first interview because I didn’t know which building in which I was to be interviewed. I wandered around the wrong school for about 10 minutes before someone found me and helped me! I felt so silly!
- Know your strengths and come with visuals. I put together a little portfolio not only with my artwork, but also with student artwork that I had compiled from my student teaching.
- Lastly, be yourself! They want to know who they will be working with for the upcoming year, make sure that you don’t promise things that you can’t perform on or pretend that you are more or less than you are. Be truthful, but be confident.
I am sure that my list is not the most professional of lists that are available, but these are the things that I believe landed me my first position in teaching and I hope that you find them helpful!
Stay tuned for my next installment next week when I talk about how I prepared for that first year of teaching. I’ll discuss some dos and don’ts and what I learned along the way.
If you found this post helpful, leave a comment below, I would love to answer any questions that you have or even hear some of our stories (horror or success) when it comes to interviewing for a teaching position.