Many school districts have cut teaching positions.
It has been hard to avoid hearing reports in both national and local media about cutbacks in public school district teaching staffs. Public school districts depend on real estate taxes for most of their revenues. Their traditional sources of revenue are shrinking at an alarming rate because real estate prices are off 20-30% in most parts of the country. In some states like California and Florida the drop is even more severe. Even with the usual kind of accounting manoeuvres such as delaying expenditures for maintenance projects and upgrades of systems and infrastructure, school districts still find themselves in the uncomfortable and extremely unpopular position of having to cut teaching positions.
As a result thousands more teachers are actively looking for jobs. The competition has intensified for the limited number of jobs available in both the public and private school sectors.
Colleges and universities have reduced their teaching staffs.
If you are tenured faculty, you still have a job in most cases. But many colleges and universities have reduced their teaching staffs wherever they can. Simply put, they are not hiring lecturers and professors, especially in the more traditional academic fields such as philosophy, classics and history.
As a result hundreds of university and college lecturers are looking for work in the K-12 education market.
Professionals making a career change.
Many professionals who have been laid off from their jobs in the corporate arena are looking at teaching as a possible alternative career. While the credentialling issues must be resolved, many of these people have skills and experience which makes them attractive to private schools. This further adds to the glut of jobseekers.
Many private schools are struggling to stay afloat.
Like the colleges and unversities private schools have generally experienced a drop off in donations as well as the value of their endowment funds, assuming, of course, that they had an endowment in the first place. Many schools survive on their tuition income giving them very little cushion against any financial shortfall.
Job search strategies for these tough times.
- Use Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to cast the net as widely as possible.
- Use ISED-L and ISEN for niche networking within the private school community.
- Join in the conversation. Don't just lurk. Don't flame either. Participate thoughtfully positioning yourself always as a colleague and a team player.
Look for jobs at the local, regional and national levels.
- Find out about local job openings by maintaining a list of private schools in your area. Use this site which has a zip code search facility to help you organize this task.
- Bookmark and visit the state and regional private school associations' websites frequently to check for any new job listings.
- The Klingenstein Job Bank is one of the best in the private school arena. Check it daily.
- The NAIS Annual Conference is also an important interviewing and hiring event. Employers want to meet you. They need to meet you. Plan to attend this event if you are serious about finding a teaching job in a private school.
Register with a teacher placement agency. Teacher placement agencies enjoy the confidence of private schools. When they send you for an interview, even though you will be one of several people being interviewed, at least you will have gotten a foot in the door. The rest is up to you.
This writer was unemployed once years ago. It was a terrifying experience. He also worked for a school which had severe financial problems. Being paid in cash is something he will never forget. The lesson which came out of these experiences is one which cannot be taught in college. It was a lesson in coping and handling a tough situation.
That's what you have to do. Cope with it. Handle it. Don't dwell on all the horrible, negative aspects of your situation. Make a list of everything which is good and positive. Look in the mirror every day and say "I am a good person and I will succeed." Then go out and find that job you are looking for. Don't stop or give up until you find it.
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