As a beginner in any field, employers tend to look for one quality in the new applicant: enthusiasm. Whether it is the enthusiasm of starting a new job, or the first day of your first job, this emotion is something employers tend to bank on. The driven mindset of new recruits has the tendency to get things done in the most effective and efficient manner possible. So when applying for a teaching position, make sure your enthusiasm for the job comes through.
Even though you might not have a lot of experience in the field of education, with a mid-career change, you are bound to have some experience in a different field. Practical, real-world experience in any field can make you a very suitable educator for that particular subject. For instance, if you have been doing research in the field of chemistry, it should not be difficult for you to teach the subject at the middle school or even high school level. Similarly, if you have been in a high level management position in a business, you might be able to teach the students a useful thing or two about business management. If you have real-world experience in any field, bank on it when applying for a teaching job.
Prove That You Are Up-to-Date:
Let’s assume you are switching to a teaching career in your forties. The education industry at this point in time is nothing like what you remember it to be. Schools have changed, teaching standards have been upgraded, newer technology is now used to aide everyday classroom learning and more attention is paid to the feedback received from students. You need to show the employer that you are completely on board with all the changes that have taken place in the field and are well aware of their importance.
Polish Your Teaching Skills:
Even though you know what you have to teach, you still need to work on the way you intend on teaching. Being knowledgeable on a particular subject does not mean that you will be good at imparting that knowledge as well. To be a good teacher, you need to learn a thing or two about communicating well with the students and explaining trivial concepts in ways they would actually understand. The idea is to prove that you won’t just ‘stand and deliver’, but you will sufficiently interact with the students and focus on getting the core concepts across.
Know That Things Will Be Different:
Having worked in the field does not mean you know it all. Part of your interview should focus on showing the employer that you know and understand that things will be different that they are in the professional world. You will now be trying to make students understand simple concepts that everyone around you at your job was expected to be well aware of already. Students will ask you to repeatedly explain the same things, and you would have to in different ways, without getting worked up or frustrated. These are the kind of things you need to make sure your potential employer gets from you during the interview. You need to show how open you are to growing, learning and developing your skill set to fit in the new setting.
Focus on One Subject:
More often than not, people going from a high-powered career to a teaching career do not give much thought to the direction they want their new career to take. It is not a very wise move to go without a plan – even if it seems unnecessary. Don’t go to the interview telling them to select you for whatever vacancy they have, regardless of the subject. A lot of people tend to do that in case of elementary school subjects. This gives the employer the impression that you are taking things too casually. By focusing on one subject and having a plan, you can show the potential employer that you have a well-formulated plan and a direction.
Know the Grade Levels:
Before heading for the interview, make sure you know what grade level you want to teach. Teaching middle school math is a vastly different matter than teaching high school math. You need to know the level of expertise you have and at what grade level would these be best applied. Once you have figured out the grade level you ideally want to teach, prepare your interview answers accordingly.
Ace the Test Session:
In most cases, the interview process will be followed by a test class session. Make sure you give this your best shot. A few key points that might help are:
Don’t lose your temper
Don’t get frustrated if students keep asking the same question – instead, try a different approach
Try and involve some interactive media in your session such as a presentation on Powerpoint
Take a discussion-based approach, rather than delivering a lecture
Don’t try to impress anyone, the students or the evaluators, just give it your best attempt
Getting a teaching job with no experience is not as easy as it might seem. You have to put in the right amount of effort and time to make this career-switch.