Navigating the Job FairPosted by John Kuckens in Graduate Admissions on Mar 11, 2014
I attended Bank Street's public and charter school job fair last Wednesday. I hadn't been to one since starting classes here last year but now I wish I had! Although there's no "hiring on the spot," it is great to meet people from schools and to hear about what they are doing with their classrooms. I will not be totally finished with coursework by this spring so I am not quite ripe for a head teacher spot, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to practice interview skills and work my network a little. I had my blog readers in mind as I participated (of course), and hopefully any questions or concerns you might have I can answer in this post!
"Where is it?"
Just walk directly into Bank Street's main lobby and you can’t miss it. I signed in and hung my coat, then browsed the conveniently provided list of schools. The job fair encompassed the main lobby, auditorium, CDR, and the room next to the CDR. Because of where I live I was mostly interested in schools that are in Brooklyn, so I took a few minutes to figure out where their tables were. It was so interesting to see the different types of schools represented and their mission statements, so I was glad the Brooklyn schools were spread out.
“Who is it you talk to?”
Several of the tables had school principals, some had teachers representing the schools, and some had school recruiters. All were very friendly.
“What do you say?”
Introduce yourself and let them know what program of study you are in, then ask a few questions about their school. You might ask “Which grades are at your school?," “How long has your school been open?," or “Why did you come to Bank St. to look for candidates?” After some time, either they or you will mention what positions they are looking to fill. I expressed interest in what they had to say and clearly asked them if they were looking for literacy intervention teachers (my personal Bank Street program track and goal). If I had any friends placed at their school for field work or teachers I once worked with there I mentioned their names to see if any conversation sparked from it. It’s a small world - a school from Connecticut, where I went to high school and later worked, had a representative who knew a principal I once worked for.
“What kinds of positions do people seem to be looking for?”
Many of the charter schools I spoke with are just starting out, and only have grades K-2 or K-3. They were looking for classroom teachers, mostly. Other schools seemed to also be looking for classroom teachers as well. Many schools (charter or public) seemed interested in people with additional special education background or certification.
“What did you put on your resume?”
While I usually have different resumes depending on the job, I broke with this and tried to make my resume somewhat generalized. I left a blank spot for position sought at the top, and then after the conversation with the representative, filled that part in with a pen. Not all of the schools had exactly what I was looking for, but it’s good to be flexible and see how you might fit in anyway. Before handing it in, I also marked with a highlighting pen relevant experiences. For example, if we wound up talking about my undergrad college (Wheaton, go Lyons!), I highlighted that so the person would perhaps remember me when looking through resumes later.
“Were the charter schools traditional or progressive?”
Most of the schools there, I believe, were progressively minded. Others were not, or at least made no promises of progressively minded programming. However, a progressive educator in a traditional school could, with the right mindset, still do some amazing things for their students. Keep an open mind and also realize that traditional style schools feel they are doing what’s best and are committed to their students.
“But I missed the job fair... now what?”
3 things: A good place to start is the Career Services page, for general information and upcoming events. Contact Susan Levine, our excellent director of career services as well. The new CareerConnect website will also be rolling out in the coming weeks (open to Bank Street students and alumni).