My warning is simple and very clear: if you are employed by a school (or would like to be) do not post anything on Facebook which could be misinterpreted by your present or future employer.
The issue is not freedom of speech. The issue is electronic media. It is everlasting.
Facebook posts can be shared. They can turn up on Google searches. They can be used against you by people who don't like you. Even when you supposedly didn't give them permission to do so.
So against this sobering backdrop, let's explore what's involved with Facebook.
1. "But my privacy settings were ultra-strict."
That's understandable. You only want to share your information with your friends and family. But remember: once you post something on Facebook, it's out there. It's no longer private. If one of your 'friends' decides to forward that photo of you hoisting a glass of champagne on your 30th birthday, that simple act of 'sharing' could cost you your job. It has done that for several teachers according to news reports which I found.
It's not just photos which can get you in trouble. It's your comments about your work or your students. If you want to self-destruct, then by all means post something like "My parents are arrogant snobs".
What is rebranding?
Rebranding sounds like something Proctor and Gamble might do with a tired soap brand. The product does a great job but it has lost the appeal it once had in the marketplace. Are you beginning to see how this might have some relevance to a private school teacher? Rebranding yourself as a dynamic teacher with vision, expertise in her subject and the skills to create excitement in the classroom will push your candidacy for the position you want to the front of the pack.
Remember: it's a fiercely competitive job market in the second decade of the 21st century. Schools have hundreds of highly qualified and experienced candidates from which to choose. Why should they look at you? Because the rebranded you seems fresh, relevant and, well, perfect for position they have open.
Who is a candidate for rebranding?
Unless you have an iron-clad signed and sealed contract with your school until you retire, you are going to need rebranding at some point in your career. Gone are the Mr. Chips days when you
1. It is presented in the format which we specified.
Following instructions is a trait most employers value. As a result, a simple thing like following the instructions for how to apply for the job opening at our school is going to speak volumes about you. We use a standardized application form at our school in order to comply with all sorts of legal requirements. So, if you use something other than the form we specify, your chances of making the first cut are fairly slim. Some schools will let you choose the application format. Others are very specific. Follow each school's instructions to the letter.
For example, this school wants you to apply via email in a format you choose. "Please send resume to firstname.lastname@example.org with “Journalism” in the subject line."
This school wants you to send a formal application via snail mail: "Candidates for all faculty positions should send a letter of interest, resume, a list of three references and academic transcripts"
Yet another school cautions applicants: "Please do not submit any documents in PDF format."
The important thing for you to remember is that each school is unique. It does things
Here are five things which you must do to prevent that non-renewal letter from being issued in the first place.
1. Show that you love teaching young people.
I mention this in the first slot because every now and then a school will hire a displaced college professor. What do I mean? Academia has been shedding jobs during this economic downturn. As a result hundreds of very well-degreed graduate students are looking at all their options. Teaching in a private school beats being unemployed. And the school is often only to happy to hire somebody who interviews well and looks terrific on paper. However, if you don't demonstrate your love for teaching young people, you could find yourself in a bad spot come contract renewal time.
The advantage which you have is that you probably have rock solid academic credentials, i.e., you went to a good university or two and graduated with top marks. That in itself makes you a good academic role model for your students. Schools like