Job Search Tips
Did you know...
You can get a job almost anywhere in the U.S. or abroad as a science, math, or comupter science teacher?
Looking for a teaching job? The resources below are a good place to start! They include tips, career events, interviews and panels all relating to finding and creating a career in education.
Join our mailing list to receive job postings, events and opportunities:
Looking for a job in Colorado?
Finding a job is about connections. Here at Teach@Mines we have connected with many of the districts in Colorado and across the U.S. so that you can more quickly and efficiently learn about available jobs in your subject area.
- Attend the T@M Teacher Career Fair – We offer a career fair each semester during the same week as the Mines Career Fair. District Talent Acquisition team members attend and share information on their district and their personal teaching story. Time at the end is provided to talk with individual districts and apply if desired. This event is designed to meet your needs early on when you’re still exploring the profession as well as the semester that you’re ready to find your first position.
- Follow the Teach@Mines email list – We post teaching jobs every week that have been sent to us. Most are in Colorado but we’ve had districts send us jobs from around the U.S. including Hawaii!
- Contact Wendy Adams – When you’re ready to find your first teaching position, reach out to Dr. Adams and she can send your resume to our connections at the districts you’re hoping to work at.
We can help you make the job search as painless as possible. Teachers from Mines are in high demand. We will help you locate several openings that fit your qualifications, but it does still take time to fill out the district application and participate in the interview process. Our teachers receive multiple offers and are then able to find the building that is the best fit for them personally.
Tips for Looking for Job Postings
- For Colorado Teacher jobs:
- Search for jobs on school districts websites – Ex: Search “Jeffco school district jobs”.
- Create a profile on district websites to be notified of new job postings.
Tips for Looking for an International Job
- Start your job search in November – most international schools start hiring then
- Attend the University of Northern Iowa has a job fair
- Use Search Associates – a website for finding international teaching jobs that will pair you with a counselor to help, not free but they almost guarantee you will find a job
- Pay for a membership for the International Schools Review – has honest reviews of what working at potential international schools will be like
- Check out the Department of Defense Education Activity website.
AAEE Job Search Handbook
The American Association for Employment Education (AAEE) creates this great Job Search Handbook for Educators. They collaborate to review and select articles, edit, and prepare a cohesive publication, specifically targeted to the education profession. Prepared annually, it’s relevancy and substantial focus make AAEE’s publication the premier job search handbook on university campuses across the country. If you are looking for resources or are curious about any of the topics below, you should have a copy of this handbook!
- The Demand of Educators
- Preparing for Your Future
- Resumes, Cover Letters, References, and Applications
- Networking and Social Media
- Preparing for Interviews and Job Fairs
- Exploring Employment Options
- Navigating Your First Year of Teaching
If you would like to receive the 2022 edition of the Job Search Handbook for Educators, please contact T@M Program Coordinator Allie Bolter at email@example.com.
ASPIRE - Alternative Teaching Licensure
With Suzanne Arnold (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q: What is ASPIRE?
A: ASPIRE an Alternative Licensure Program, and is the largest Alt-License designated agency in the state. We are a state-wide program, with over 300 teachers in our program right now, in 40-some school districts this year across the state. Our largest district is DPS (Denver Public Schools), and we have a whole bunch of charter networks. We are a rolling admissions program so that licensure can be available to everyone who applies, whenever they apply, and can do that because we are not a course-based program.
We have 11 specialized faculty members (mathematics, science, language, elementary, etc), each with a case-load of teachers they work with each year as their Alternative Licensure Instructo (Ali). This relationship is critical because we meet you where you’re at developmentally as a teacher – within your zone of proximal development.
There are four components:
1. Online guided explorations (curriculum)
2. Monthly video coaching and (COVID-allowing) in-field observations
3. Monthly PLC (discuss problems and practice, and methods of teaching your field)
4. One-on-one check in with your Ali every month to make sure that we’re meeting your needs
We do formative and summative assessments, it’s not a graded program. You get feedback, and you are working towards proficiency and competency, and you just keep working at it until you achieve the expectations for the different competencies to get a Colorado License.
Q: How do I get a job as a teacher?
A: This is a tricky question – every district is different, and it’s the chicken or the egg: when do I go get a job, what do I need to get the job, when should I apply? In order to answer those, we need to start at the beginning: you need to be considered “highly qualified”, and that happens in one of three ways:
1. Take a PRAXIS exam
2. Go through a transfer review and have 24 credit hours in the content area you are wanting to teach in
3. Have a degree
The first step is to become highly qualified, and determining which of those three pathways are going to work for you. At Mines, a lot of students graduate with an Engineering degree, and that doesn’t correlate to any pathway, even though you’ve had tons of math and tons of science. Typically, you’ll have to take a PRAXIS exam depending on the content area you were interested in teaching. If you have to take the exam, I suggest you go and take the exam as soon as you’re able to.
Then from there, you get a job and an alternative license. Typical Alternative Licensure Programs require you to have a “Letter of Offer ” from an employer, and a “Statement of Assurance”: a contractual agreement between you, the district or employing school and an Alternative Licensure Program like ASPIRE.
Q: Do you suggest that prospective students have a district already and then apply to ASPIRE, or should you apply to ASPIRE and then get a job?
A: It’s a chicken and egg question. From an Alternative License Programs perspective, it’s best to hold off on applying to aspire until you’ve attained a job.Then at that point, we take you and help you through the whole CDE process. From a district’s perspective, they want to know that you’ve been approved for an alt-license program, or that you’ve at least made that contact and know that they’re willing to take you. We will provide that for you.
We recommend getting in contact with ASPIRE first – feel free to email ASPIRE (here, or Suzanne directly here), and we can talk one-on-one and give some ideas on where and how to look for jobs. However, you should also be looking for jobs and applying, so that the process can begin promptly.
Q: Are alternative licenses applicable in any state, or just Colorado?
A: Once you are licensed in Colorado, you are only licensed in Colorado. However, you can typically transfer the license to another state, depending on that state’s requirements and application process. We here at ASPIRE have a lot of experience in navigating those waters for our folks, but there is a website you can go to that’s a reciprocity licensing website that will let you know for each state what you need to do to transfer your license.
Teaching Career Panel
Adams County School District 14 – email@example.com
Jefferson County Public Schools – Rebecca.Marques-Guerrero@jeffco.k12.co.us
St. Vrain Valley School District – firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: What’s your favorite thing to see in an interview with a prospective teacher?
St. Vrain: I guess one of my favorite things to see is when, if I didn’t look at the resume, that the person sounds like a more experienced teacher than maybe they really are. You have to know that when you’re applying for jobs, you are competing with people who have more experience. So you want to get as much experience as you can, do as many things as you can while in school or a program. I always tell student teachers: don’t give too much credit to your cooperating teacher; own some of the things you’ve had to do.
Adams14: Enthusiasm and some indicator of what your purpose is, or why you want to join that particular school. Remember that when you’re interviewing for a job, you’re interviewing for one job. Sometimes there’s a screening for a talent pool that we’re searching for – like all math teachers for any position in the school district. But I would say if you have an opportunity to really engage with whatever that one school’s focus is, that makes you stand out in comparison.
JeffCo: I really want an applicant to really know why they want to be a teacher, and be able to envision the things they would do that would help them feel fulfilled and help them bring something to student’s lives. All kids need to feel like you’re there for them, and when an applicant brings that to the table and can talk very clearly about what they would do to spark fire about science in all kids, that is what catches my attention.
Q: What do your interview processes look like?
St. Vrain: It will vary – different schools will do it different ways. Usually you start with the online or paper screening part, you then get sometimes a video interview screening. Then they’ll determine what candidates they want to bring forward to a committee; that can look very different – sometimes it’s a larger committee, sometimes it’s just a few teachers from the grade level of the position. Sometimes that’s it, sometimes it goes to another level – they may have you come in and teach a lesson, or they may give you a scenario and then evaluate your response.
Another thing is making sure that your social media is clean. Right now, you are laying the groundwork right now for whether or not you will be hired as a teacher, and if you are seen as a professional in any industry. So make sure that things that you have on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc are not things that are going to deter districts from wanting to hire you. The choices that you make now do matter. We check background, we fingerprint, all of those things. Be prepared to be professional now.
Adams14: I would echo that. It’s usually a very similar process, but is really building-dependent. One thing to consider is building your body of methods to support who you are – how you make yourself stand out with your student teaching or practical experiences. If you have the opportunity to record yourself conducting some form of lesson or something you’re really proud of, go ahead and do that and use it. We’re talking about a one to five minute video! Make sure you have the clearance to record, as sometimes school districts have restrictions on that.
JeffCo: First of all, don’t be worried if you’ve applied and a couple of weeks you still haven’t heard – that doesn’t mean nobody wants you. All schools are in different stages of being prepared to interview and take people on. As for the actual interview, in almost every district that I’m familiar with in Colorado you’re going to have a committee – it could be four people, it could be six people, it depends on the size of the school and it depends on the position you applied for. In general, be prepared and don’t be surprised. In some cases, they send you the questions ahead of time so you can be prepared and come on in. In others, you don’t know what they’re going to ask you until you walk in the door. One thing that would make you stand apart is, having a website on whatever platform is acceptable in that district, and start putting down things like lesson plans, letters to parents, how you give feedback to kids, projects, whatever is that you build to reach out to kids. If you can cultivate that, curate your items, and be able to say “yeah, check me out on this website”, that’s great – it gives people an idea of what it’s like to see you in action.
Q: How long do you usually have before you have to accept an offer? For example, if you’re trying to apply to several different school districts and you’re trying to weigh the best offer that you have, how long do you usually have to accept that offer?
St. Vrain: There’s going to be different answers from different people. The school wants to know that you want them too, right? If you start blowing them off, they might move onto another candidate. It’s going to vary. If you happen to be in a math or science position and their pool is very limited, they might give you some grace there since they don’t have a ton of options.
Adams14: The shorter the better. I would suggest that you reach out to the hiring manager for that position and be upfront and say “I have another interview coming up on Tuesday. Would you give me the grace of time in order to fulfill that next step?”, and they will either give you that time or be honest back and say “well, there is a runner-up that I need to get back to, and I don’t want to lose either of you so I’ll give you a time frame to get back to me”. Just recognize that it’s a two-way environment there, and everyone’s looking at the best interests for the school. I think being honest and upfront is really useful. Because when you’re dodgy about it, and then they find out later on, especially if you ghost them, then that’s it, you’re dropped, and then your name actually gets spread around in the pool to other principals in the district and could prevent you from being considered.
JeffCo: Just to clarify, it’s not a bad thing to apply to five different high schools in a district. Nobody thinks any less of you for doing that. It’s just when you hop from offer to offer and interview to interview, and you’re not upfront and have the grown-up conversation about what you want – I’ve rescinded offers on teachers.
Q: Why is there a shortage of math and science teachers? What are the benefits?
Adams14: Let’s talk about maximum earning potential, which is where a lot of people look at that and are chasing in their mind what they think is going to be a better career path. Now I will say, I’ve hired a lot of people who’ve come out of industry from science and math backgrounds that say “I’m getting killed with these 80 hour work weeks”, or “there’s too much stress”, or they’re starting a family and want to have time off with their kids. You know, you get 8-11 weeks of vacation on a teacher contract, in comparison to most other people who work in industry are lucky to have 2 weeks a year, and they’re really struggling and scraping together for a 3-4 day weekend here or there, competing with everyone else for Fourth of July, etc.
One of the largest benefits of teaching is the pension. Go ask any of your other friends that are working in another industry and ask them what their pension plan looks like. Unless they are working for a blue-chip company, they don’t have a pension and are independently saving that money. Your employer puts twice of what you put into your pension plan right now. PARA’s 21.5% for employer contributions, and employee is 10.75% – so that’s double. Every month, 10.75% of your pay is coming out and your employer is matching, doubling that.
JeffCo: So there’s also a good point about the type of teaching you want to do. If you want to do intervention math at the elementary level, the kind of math you’re doing at the elementary level is nothing compared to what’s going on here, right? You have to be the kind of person that’s fascinated by how the human brain learns numbers, and then you can do kindergarten through 9th grade easily. But if you leave here thinking “well my dream job would be to teach calculus”, absolutely it would, but just take a look at how many people graduate with calculus from 12th grade. Those numbers are really small – most high schools only carry at most a couple sections of calculus. So you know, when somebody gets that job, they’re not leaving until they retire. So maybe you should consider when you have experiences with kids: are you the kind of person who is amazed by how the human brain works with math and science? Because if you are, you can be happy at a lot of different grade levels. As opposed to: “I really want to only do physics and engineering, and I hope that NASA job is open next year when I graduate”. Teaching high school geometry might not be the best path for you.
St. Vrain: We as educators have done a really poor job over the last several decades of recruiting math and science people. And here’s why: decades ago, we could count on, and we got real complacent on the fact that we could count on teacher’s kids being teachers. And we didn’t have to do a whole lot of recruiting – we just knew there was going to be this natural pipeline. And then, all these myth-buster types of things started happening – people started delivering the messages that you can’t make as much money in education, and if you want to go into engineering you can make a ton more money, and all these things.
In education, we haven’t done a real good job of busting those myths and talking about the really great things about being a math or science teacher. And one of them is retirement benefits. It’s hard to talk about retirement when you’re at this stage, but let me put it very plainly: you could work another job and have to save and save and save, put it in an IRA, or a 401K, etc. Or, you have a pension. A pension in education is a gold-mine, because when you retire you’re going to know exactly how much money you’re going to get every single month for the rest of your life – it will not end. That’s a huge, huge benefit of teaching.
There’s also all kinds of benefits in terms of the quality of life, the making a difference in kids life, there’s all kinds of things – the work schedule, the calendar. Those types of things are great too, but even our own teachers, when they see someone really good at math or science, what’s the first thing they tell them “you should be an engineer”, instead of saying “you’d be a really great math or science teacher”. We automatically start pointing them at this math or engineering – which might be a great path for them, but it is not the only path for them. Being a math or science teacher is a great path, and it’s very rewarding.
Q: How do I apply for jobs in your district? Is there a website?
St. Vrain: So it is a website where you can begin an application now and there’s a section where you can select positions of interest. Then when jobs do come up, you log back in and select those jobs specifically and apply.
JeffCo: You can also establish a general application in Jeffco. That’s probably true for most districts. Once you have an account, you can always go in and edit – change your mind, change the grade level, etc. Some districts might send you job posting reminders or it might be up to you to go back and check. In districts like Jeffco, you get matched with a partner and we help you find the job you’re interested in. We also provide online workshops to help you develop and refine your resume, to help develop and refine your cover letters, and to help you prepare for interviews with practice questions – whether you’re going to go work for Jeffco or for another district. We just want people to find the best match – we’ll match teachers to stay forever, and that’s what we need.
Adams14: The other thing is that most school districts in this area use one or two online application programs. So once you’ve created a generic profile on one of those two platforms, you can actually transfer it to the other website or job platform. The only things that don’t typically transfer are letters of interest, and are a couple other things that are specific to that school (like customized questions). So once you establish yourself on those platforms you set to apply to a lot of jobs.
Q: What are key things that you are looking for in an application or resume?
St Vrain: Think about the important information a principal or hiring manager are going to want to see. First of all, they’re going to want to know if you are qualified for what you’re applying for – so make sure your licensure stuff is up there, and make sure that you have accurate contact info. In general, I believe resumes should be easy to read. So at first glance, if you see more black than white, you have too much on there. A resume should be a snapshot of your experiences. The narrative stuff should be in the cover letter. Your experiences are also important. Don’t assume, especially when you’re starting out, don’t assume that because you were a manager at Starbucks that that’s not relevant to education. Put that on there. It’s still experience, and if that’s the only job you’ve had before teaching we’re still going to want to contact your employer.
Adams14: Always try to put your references. It’s questionable to have “references available upon request” because if you’re not willing to share those with me right away, I wonder “why wouldn’t you?”. The only exception is if you have a job and your current employer doesn’t know that you are searching for another job. At that point, that is actually something you communicate in the application process – there’s a box that asks “Can we contact this employer” and you can say yes or no, and an explanation. And most school districts honor that.
If you have any personal hobbies or talents, or experience that coil be used for a club or enrichment activity, include that too. Middle schools, for example, really like to have after school activities or clubs, and there’s always some kind of club or enrichment activity that the principal wants to include. It could be something they’ve never done before that you bring, that would be a good addition to their school. The goal is to help build school culture, help students build purpose at the school, and engage in their community. The same thing happens at High Schools – coaches or summer camp experiences, or hobbies or talents. Think about what you have to offer that will help a program develop into something more.