Teaching children may be called one of the most rewarding jobs in the world, but it's not always an easy task to land a job as a K-12 teacher. Sure, you may have the shiny resume to work with, the excellent grades, and the character references, but getting the job might not always be that simple.
Working with children is not an easy task. While these may be the most delightful creatures on the earth for a few hours, many times they can turn into the worst gremlins you've ever come across. Unless you have the patience and the sense of humor that it takes to stay in the field, a job as a K-12 teacher may prove to be challenging. Here are a few things you should keep in mind when you're looking for a K-12 teaching job.
- Prepare yourself emotionally for the career of teaching high-energy and possibly temperamental children. You would need lots of energy and patience to keep up with some kids, while you may need to be very gentle with others. If you think that you might end up screaming at the top of your lungs to get a classroom of screaming 10-year-olds under control, this might be a sign that you should think twice about the job. Perhaps you should teach older youths instead. If you don't have the patience to rein in teenage rebellion, maybe you should stick to younger kids. If you simply love teaching but would prefer to have reasonable, intelligent discussions, consider sticking to college or university teaching.
- Make sure you have a natural love for children. If you have that touch to calm a 6 year old's hysterics, and can do that day in and day out without batting an eyelash, congratulations, you probably have what it takes. Teaching children is all about the love for them, more than the love for the job.
- Make sure you have a history of being very loving towards the unlovely and the unlovable. In a K-12 teaching post, you will definitely encounter children who have problems. More than the screaming spoiled brats, you may face depressed 9 year olds who are facing adversities too big for their age, or high schoolers trying to find their place in the world.
- Prepare to spot the diamonds in the rough. Quite a lot of good minds have gone to waste because of teachers who focus on what was unlovable in their students. Among these neglected or troubled youths, there may well be future scientists, leaders, businessmen, and who knows, even presidents. Many an inspiring story has been told of a successful life being made simply because of a teacher giving a child a chance to shine, no matter how unsightly and bedraggled he may have been. Prepare to be the sandpaper to whittle the rough wood into a beautiful sculpture in the children you have a chance to meet and train.
When you have these traits in place, prepare your resumé. Highlight your strengths, and make sure that these would catch the eye of the Human Resources staff or the principal. Sift through Yahoo HotJobs, Monster, Craigslist, or the other job boards for the job posting that describes your ideal work situation, and apply for your K-12 teaching job. Brush up on your presentation and lecturing skills. Wow your panel in your demo teaching session, and you can land that job as a K-12 teacher. Finally, when you've landed the job, you can go on and inspire kids to learn.