If you have ever attended a teacher job fair then you know how depressing the experience can be. Thousands of teachers all in one place all with the same goal in mind. . . getting a teaching job!
Unfortunately, despite the rumors, the fact is teaching jobs are extremely difficult to secure these days. As one quickly discovers at any teacher job fair there are literally thousands of teachers searching for very few jobs. In fact, at the Lee County teacher job fair in Florida just a couple of years ago the county was not offering a single social studies contract in the entire county. And, just last year at the Great Florida Teach-in, I witnessed teacher after teacher walk into the Tampa Convention Center with the hopes of getting a teaching job only to walk out depressed and despondent with no possible prospects.
However, teacher job fairs are NOT a waste of time. The trick is to NOT think you are going to walk out of a teacher job fair with a signed contract, but rather think of the job fair as an opportunity to make contacts that may very likely pay off in long run. You see, what happens at many of these countywide teacher job fairs is that the county does not know exactly how many positions are going to be available. So instead of hiring too many teachers, they hire too few or in some cases none at all. However, as teachers retire, transfer etc. teaching jobs will open up and those teachers who made an impression at the teacher job fair are the ones who will get called.
So how is it possible for a teacher to stand out at a teacher job fair amongst thousands of other teachers?
This is not an easy thing to do. . . hundreds of teachers must stand in line for hours just to talk to someone for 3 minutes.
The key is to leave something with each person you interview with so they can remember you. There are several ways teachers do this. . . the most common is to leave your resume, philosophy statement, and/or cover letter, but these are things everyone does and what you want to do is do something that stands out, something different, something that NOT every other teacher there is doing.
What you want to do is leave a professionally designed “teacher brochure". This is not some “cute" brochure with clipart pictures all over it. Instead you want to create a very professional looking tri-fold “about me" brochure. You will want to highlight important aspects of your resume, teaching philosophy, add professional pictures, and some quotes from your letters of recommendation. Of course, make sure to use quality brochure paper and professional printing.
By handing each interviewer a professional looking brochure you will make yourself stand out as well as give them something physical to hold on to with your contact information.
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