Friday, May 25, 2012

Want to Teach in Another State?

Feeling adventurous, want to relocate, and/or teach in another state? Job applicants who live in smaller New England state can increase their opportunity by applying for jobs in several surrounding states.

To search for a job in another state, identify teacher recruitment or the state's department of education web sites, dates for the state's (or district) job fairs, and the state's certification requirements. 

1.  Visit different teacher recruitment web sites. Some teacher recruitment web sites work closely with districts in a particular region of the country. For instance, works closely with many schools and districts in New England region. Use job search engines for the states you would like to teach. Here are some examples:
ABC Teaching Jobs
If you want to teach in independent schools in another state, visit these web sites:
Carney, Sandoe and Associates
National Association of Independent Schools

See the last chapter in my book, The Guide to Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market for a more complete list of teacher recruitment websites.  

2.  Visit the department of education employment web site in the state you want to teach. Here are some examples:
North Carolina:

3.  Many teaching job fairs are scheduled for late winter and early spring.
Identify state or district job fairs the state where you want to teach. American Association for Employment in Education maintains a calendar of job fairs around the country.
And, use your web browser search engine and enter keywords such as “teaching job fairs” or “education career fairs” fairs and the name of the state.

4.  Learn about certification requirements in the state where you want to teach and "reciprocity.” Visit the state department of education educator licensure sites to learn about specific licensure requirements. You may need to pass the state’s standardized basic skills test, demonstrate subject area competence, and/or take additional courses for an educator license. Read the April 23, 2012 posting called "Want to Teach in Another State? Know the State’s Certification Requirements."  There is a link to a site called Certification Map <> that provides information about state certification requirements, average salaries, etc.

Start the teaching job search in another state early. The peak of hiring season for many districts and schools is February - April. Learn about the certification requirements in the state you want to teach. You may need to take a state licensure test to earn a teaching certificate required for the teaching job.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Planning Your Career as a Teacher

Clearly, economic conditions are affecting the demand for teachers. In some areas where the population is declining, districts are closing schools, increasing class sizes and paring their rosters. We know from educator supply and demand research (AAEE, Bureau of Labor/Statistics) that tight job markets exist in the Great Lakes and Northeast regions. Generally, job prospects are better in urban and rural areas than in suburban districts. There’s a surplus of elementary classroom, social studies, health and physical education teachers but a higher demand for special education, physics, chemistry, mathematics, bilingual education, and foreign language teachers.

We also know that numerous applicants are unable to win a teaching position because they are reluctant to search beyond the 50-mile radius of their home, university or college. Linda Kent Davis, director of Rhode Island College’s Career Development Center, asks students this question to help them consider their future: “Is my career goal to teach? Or is it to teach in Rhode Island? Because those are very different questions.” If you can’t leave your home, you’ll need to work harder to get your foot inside the door. Keep your doors open!

First Steps
Here are six actions you can take to increase your opportunity to win a teaching position when you graduate:

Identify your career objective – your dream job – teaching position, type of school/non-school organization, and geographic location.
Early in your college program, meet with your advisor and/or a career counselor. Begin by “mapping” your projected career path and what it will take to achieve success. Meet with your advisor(s) to plot out your college program and teacher education curriculum. Discuss the positions and types of schools, positions, and regions where you would like to teach when you graduate from your college or university.
-What does “achieving success” mean to you?
-What teaching position are you aiming for? Do you want to teach in a public, independent, religious education, and other non-school teaching position (e.g., out of school or after-school program, private tutor, personal trainer)? If so where?
-Can you teach in another part of the country or abroad for a year or two?

Learn about the educator supply and demand in different education fields and geographic regions. See AAEE Job Search Handbook for Educators and Bureau of Labor/Statistics Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook.

Create a profile at an online teacher recruitment site such as Check out job postings. Learn about the types of posted jobs, job qualifications, and geographic location. Learn about certification requirements in other states.

Develop a draft teaching job resume today. Self-assess: What are your strengths? Gaps in knowledge, skills experience? What experiences can you add? Update your resume every semester. (See “Compose a Resume and Cover Letter” in my book The Guide to Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market).

Learn about the teaching job search and hiring process. Read my book, The Guide to Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market and my blog: Learn to interview, create job application materials, and apply online. Make appointments with a counselor in your career center to fine-tune application materials.

Consider every interaction with professional educators in your field placements as an interview. Principals/teachers know principals/teachers who are looking to hire highly qualified job applicants. Get to know your clinical instructor and other school personnel. Dress professionally. Smile a lot. Send thank you letters to your clinical instructor.

Develop "The Unique Factor" During Your Teacher Education Program

Develop knowledge, skills, and experiences beyond the required teacher education courses. Add to your resume. Employers will notice your dedication, hard-work, and constant learning. You can distinguish yourself from other job applicants by adding knowledge, skills, and experience during the academic year and summer. Consider these eight opportunities:

Add endorsements to your teacher education program. Expand your job opportunities for “higher demand” teaching positions. Know requirements for certification in other states.

Work as a teacher assistant, camp counselor, and/or substitute teacher.

Volunteer in a classroom, tutor students and/or work in after-school programs in communities where you hope to teach. Serve as a coach of a youth sport.

Practice motivating and leading others. Become an active member and/or officer in education-related student organizations.

Attend education conferences and workshops related to diversity, differentiated instruction, English Language Learners, Common Core standards and assessment, classroom management, and instructional technology.

Develop proficiency in education-related skills (e.g., second language, instructional technology). Improve your ability to speak to adult audiences. Take public speaking courses.

Attend education job fairs. Visit your career center to learn more about job fairs in the region.

Enroll in study abroad programs for personal growth and new perspectives. Study Abroad and National Student Exchange are great opportunities to learn AND earn credit towards your degree and "see the world" at the same time.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Interviewing for Teaching Jobs - Smart Practice Makes Perfect

Smart practice makes perfect!

This past week I worked with 20 education students during a one-credit course designed to improve students’ ability to win a teaching position. Most students who take this course intend to graduate in one or two semesters before applying for jobs.

During the course, students prepare for a mock job interview by developing a cover letter and resume for a “fake” job posting for an urban district teaching position. Students are interviewed individually by a team of 4-5 panelists that include education faculty, career center staff, and K-12 educators. Students dress professionally and apply "interview etiquette." When they enter the room for the interview, they greet each of interviewer with a smile, eye contact, and a hand shake. Next, they sit down and respond to 5-10 questions designed to uncover knowledge of teaching and subject, dispositions, excellence and achievement, critical thinking, and oral language. Then, interviewers provide balanced feedback. I video record each student's interview performance and feedback.

After the interview, students review their video at home. They reflect on their performance and feedback from the panel of interviewers. They explain their strengths, areas to improve, and action steps to improve their performance.

One student reported after the course: I learned that I possess many strengths that I never realized I had. I was able to see that I have the knowledge, understanding, and dispositions necessary to obtain a teaching position. I was able to communicate using the appropriate educational language that future employers would expect to hear. The feedback from the panelists reinforces the notion that I have valuable ideas that are well respected. As a result, my confidence level has been elevated. Panelists explained that I was very reserved during the interview. I had no idea how flat my personality came across in the interview. In my mind, I was making eye contact, smiling at the appropriate times, and minimizing my overactive hand movements.

She will graduate in May 2012 and can fine-tune her performance before her first real job interview.

Typically, students are nervous going into the mock job interview. They have little or no experience interviewing for teaching jobs. But, soon after this practice interview, they recognize the benefits and think it should be required part of their education program.

The interviewers provide excellent feedback to the students. Here are some of their recommendations:

1. Knowledge of Teaching

a. Demonstrate knowledge of teaching and educational issues that are relevant to the school. Before the interview, research the school/district and state department of education initiatives. Read the web sites and visit the school, classrooms, and community agencies. Attend school board meeting and read the minutes.

b. Communicate thinking about hot topics such as differentiated instruction, ELL students, students with special learning needs, inclusion, Response to Intervention (RTI), research-based teaching strategies, Common Core standards, using data to raise student and school achievement, engaging families and communities, and the state mandated teacher evaluation system.

2. Oral Communication

a. Pause momentarily before responding rather than jumping right into the response. This gives you some time to organize a response. Observe interviews of effective speakers such as President Bill Clinton. Notice how he intentionally pauses a couple of seconds before responding to a question.

b. When responding to an open-ended question, develop three ideas well and provide specific examples based on your practical teaching experience, rather than rattle off a long list of things you know. If you don't know the answer, don't try to answer it poorly. Turn your response into a goal for professional learning.

c. Your primary goal for the interview is to connect personally with the interviewers. Your interviewers are trying to determine Are a good fit for the school and district? Are you someone with whom I can work 182 days each year?


Be yourself.

Be confident. If you have made it to the interview, they're already interested in you.

Build connections by relating to the needs of your employer and school community. For instance, when interviewers ask if you have any questions, convey some knowledge about the school before you pose the questions: I noticed on your website that X% of students are below proficiency in problem-solving in mathematics. What strategies have you been using? How are they working so far?

d. Give eye contact to all of the interviewers – not just the person asking the question. Smile. Have a sense of humor. Tell brief stories they will remember. Be professional, but don't take yourself too seriously.

3. Other Tips:

a. Bring a notepad and use it to outline quickly a response to a more complex question. Interviewers will recognize your thoughtful, organized approach.

b. Use a notepad to record information about the school/district provided by interviewers. Recording notes conveys to the interviewers that you are listening and sincerely interested in the information.

c. Use a teaching portfolio to present additional evidence. But, don’t pass the binder around unless they request it. Most interviewers don’t want to examine a teaching portfolio during the interview. Instead, they want to focus attention on what you are saying. During a response, open the teaching portfolio to the relevant section and point to the evidence. You don’t need to take pages out of the binder. This will draw the interviewers attention to the evidence. They will recognize your organization and self-assessment.

d. Do you use an iPad? If interviewing in a room where people are sitting close together, use an iPad to present “a photo story” about your teaching. Tell the story using visual images. Include interesting photos of students and you working together, easy to interpret graphs, results of pre-and post assessment, and items produced to enhance learning (e.g., graphic organizers, manipulatives, images of technical resources). This may distinguish you from other candidates.

Smart practice makes perfect! You can improve your interview performance by learning about the teaching job interview and what interviewers assess, and practicing - BEFORE it really counts. Know your strengths and learn from your mistakes. And, read the chapter "Preparing for Interviews" in my book The Guide to Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market. There are 30+ interview questions with responses of what to say and not to say and many tips for successful teaching job interviews.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Presentation at Concordia College - New York

You can read an article about a recent presentation to the Class of 2012 education students at Concordia College New York in Bronxville, NY.

Author and Career Expert Speaks to Students

Professor Macgregor Kniseley, Ed.D., author of The Guide to Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market, spoke to Class of '12 education students on challenges for the nation's newly-certified teachers. See more at

Johanna Perry, Director of Concordia College’s Career Development Center wrote

Professor MacGregor Kniseley made excellent points for Concordia College future educators and has very good advice for students gearing up to apply for teaching positions. Dr. Kniseley’s presentation would be of benefit to any education department, as well as students from other disciplines in order to help them navigate the job market during a very challenging time.

Rosemary Osso, Career Development Coordinator added,

Dr. Kniseley provided valuable advice on organizing and networking that I am now implementing when I mentor and advise students.

Contact me if you’re interested in a presentation, workshop, or course at your college or university. Email me at

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Teaching Job Search Conference

On December 3, the director of Career Development Services (CDC) and I are conducting a "teacher job search conference" for 75 student teachers and their college supervisors.

Conference Schedule
8:15 - 8:45 AM Check-in
8:45 - 9:00 AM Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:00-10:00 AM Panel Discussion
10:00-10:15 AM Break - Refreshments
10:15 – 11:30 AM Interactive Workshops – Session 1
11:30-11:45 AM Break - Refreshments
11:45-1:00 PM Interactive Workshops – Session 2
1:05-1:15 PM Closing Remarks, Evaluation, Raffle - Win a College Diploma Frame!

The panel discussion includes six panelists (e.g., three employers, three successful job applicants), and a moderator (CDC director). They will share information about current and future market conditions – educator supply and demand; nature of job applications; the hiring process – important selection factors, job postings, time tables, submitting applications, interviewing, demonstration lessons; and advice for winning a full-time teaching job.

Participants select two of four 75-minute interactive workshops. Three staff from the CDC and I will conduct the workshops. There are pre-conference assignments (e.g., develop drafts of resume, cover letter, component of a hiring portfolio, a story to tell for an interview). Participants bring the completed assignments to the conference workshops. My practical book, The Guide to Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market assists participants in developing the materials.

Here are the titles of the workshops:
I. Winning Interviews – Talk Your Way Into a Job!
II. Remarkable Résumés
III. Your Cover Letter as Personal Envoy
IV. Hiring Portfolios. It’s More than a Container of Evidence!

If you are reader of this blog, work in a Career Development Center or supervise student teachers, and interested in bringing a similar conference to your college or university, please email me (! I'd be glad to talk about the design of the conference and share the feedback from my colleagues and student teachers! Also, I can share my experience of teaching a more intensive one-credit course that prepares students for the job search.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mastering the Demonstration Lesson

Schools and districts use demonstration lessons to judge a job applicant's knowledge of effective teaching, classroom management, and professional behavior. You can win (or lose) a job based on your performance during a demonstration lesson, so careful preparation is key. You can view my article and two brief videos related to planning demonstration lessons and understanding what employers evaluate during a demonstration lesson by clicking on the following url:

Scroll down to New Teacher Survival Guide.

Click on “Job Hunt” column.

Click on “Planning an effective demo lesson.”

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Profile of a Job Seeker: Application and Interviewing

A May 2011 graduate shared her experiences of winning a special education (severe and profound) teaching job in an elementary school. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education and teaching concentration in special education.

Here are her responses to questions related to the application and hiring process experience:

What was the application and hiring process?

I submitted an application towards the end of my third student teaching placement (February 2011). The paper application packet included a cover letter, a résumé, transcript, Praxis test scores, three letters of recommendation, and copies of my certifications. The application was not for a specific position or subbing. I wanted to be sure they had my information on file in case a position opened that I was qualified for. I continued to make follow up calls to human resources to keep up with posted openings as well as jobs that may not have been posted. The district invited me to an interview at the end of June. I interviewed on July 5. This was the only interview in the hiring process. The interview did not include written essays, a demonstration lesson or proctored writing sample.

Tell me about the interview for the position.

The interview lasted 45-60 minutes. I interviewed with the assistant special education director and the school principal in the school principal’s office.

The interview began with these questions:

“What are your strengths?”

“What is an area of weakness for you?”

“What experience do you have that qualifies you for this position?”

Since I completed all three of my student teaching experiences in this district, many questions were based on situations encountered during student teaching and included interactions with parents.

Towards the end of the interview, the assistant special education director asked if I had any questions for him. I asked “How will the district work their mentor program with the new State Department of Education induction program where mentors from the state meet with Step 1 teachers? “Will I get a teacher as a mentor from the school department?” Although he did not have an answer for me at that moment, I learned later that I would only have a mentor from the State Department of Education.

Did you use a hiring portfolio during the interview? If so, how did you use it?

Yes, I used my hiring portfolio (printed binder). I referenced my portfolio throughout the interview. The assistant special education director also looked through my portfolio during the interview. Before leaving the interview, I provided each of the interviewers a folder with a CD e-portfolio, my résumé and cover letter.

What worked particularly well for you during the interview or other aspect of the hiring process?

I felt over-prepared. Before the interview, I worked with a teacher from another district who has sat on many teaching job interview committees. We developed questions and detailed answers to typical interview questions. We worked together for almost four hours. We created a study sheet and role-played. She provided feedback on my practice interviews and helped me understand what worked well and what I could improve. Overall, I understood my material and I was up-to-date on current State Department of Education evaluations and policy. I knew specific “buzz” words that pertained to the district. I knew teaching strategies used in the district’s special education program.

Was there anything you wished you had said/done during the interview or other aspect of the hiring process?

No. To show my capabilities, I brought other work samples created for other severe/profound classrooms where I have worked previously. I explained the materials and why they were created for those specific students. I felt confident in my answers, my portfolio and my materials.

What advice do you have for those who are applying for teaching jobs?

Go into an interview feeling over-prepared. I had so much more confidence going into this interview than I felt in previous interviews. Know the position you are applying for so you are able to tailor your portfolio for that position. It is crucial to do your research. Scour the school and district website, know the population, meet with people who may know “inside” information about the district. And, use those “buzz” words throughout your interview. Show what you know about the school and district. It’s not only impressive but also demonstrates that you prepared well and that you did your homework. Also, don’t be afraid to sell yourself. Explain every experience you may have had in your field and use those experiences as examples to demonstrate what you know and what you have learned.

How did the course and guide “Winning a Teaching Position in Any Job Market” help you?

I truly feel the course helped me to win this teaching position and gain more experience in my field. I was able to develop professional materials such as my résumé, cover letter and, hiring portfolio. My physical portfolio (printed binder) wowed every interview committee member with whom I have had the pleasure of meeting. I received quite a few compliments on the CD e-portfolios that I provided to interview committee members before I left the interview.