This week’s reading was an excellent resource for questions that teachers straight out of college might have. My mom is a teacher, so I knew about how pay could go up and what sorts of things could contribute to a higher salary. However, everyone knows that you don’t become a teacher to own a private jet.
Those of us who attended Appalachian State University are very lucky. We have been at an institution know for producing great teachers (many of the teachers who graduated are now National Board certified). The school has placed high standards on us and put us through rigorous training in order to be better candidates for school systems. There are some changes that should be made with certain subject areas, yes, but overall this school has an amazing education program.
I’m sure that a lot of new teachers would love to hear this story about climbing up the ladder and gaining more money, but I was more interested in what would get me hired in the first place. Yes, I would like to earn as much as I can to be financially secure but when you go into teaching, it isn’t for the money.
He gives three main areas that are valuable to future employers: 1) academic preparation in the content disciplines; 2) pedagogical knowledge and skills; 3) field experience. The most important of these, he stresses is the academic preparation. I firmly believe that Appalachian has prepared me well in all three areas (though true field experience didn’t come until my senior year, it was still valuable). Other qualities that he says are important are how you come off and whether or not you have a true passion for the subject. If you come off as snobby or arrogant, then employers may think twice about hiring you. If you only chose history because you kind of liked the 1920s in high school then you are going to have a rough time. Teaching takes passion and enthusiasm. There is no way around that. Nobody wants Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
The Interviews (Duh Duh Duh!!!). Pyne provides a very in-depth look into the interview process, which especially for me, is very much appreciated. It varies by district and the needs of the school but the most important thing is to be confident in what you know. The interview process may be rigorous and it may be intimidating (especially if you are faced with a committee) but if you know your stuff and you know that this is what you were meant to do, they will see that.
The last thing Pyne touches on are research opportunities and continuing education. Pyne lists many resources that will be helpful in continuing your education, expanding your knowledge, and developing more skills. I think, for me personally, one of the things that I get really excited about is professional development. I love learning new things about what I am going to be teaching and new ways to teach it. It makes me happy (maybe I’m weird).
With all of that said, to any future teacher or teacher straight out of college looking for a job: you can do it!!!