From Teachers of Color 
Say “Yes” Before Being AskedMore often we are hearing new graduates express concern that with the national budget cuts the job market for teachers has become very competitive and that their dream job may be no more than a dream. They are also concerned that if they are fortunate enough to get a job, they will be expected to do additional tasks along with classroom teaching.

New teachers seem to think that wearing many hats is a result of the state of the economy, but it’s not unusual for administrators to ask teachers to perform extra duties.

Prospective teachers are encouraged to ask about expectations during the interview. This might alleviate some of the anxiety early on.

Cast a Wide Net

The larger the geographic area you are willing to explore, the more opportunities are available to you. You must focus on your strengths and provide specific examples of the attributes you have that schools want.  You’ll have this information once you’ve completed your research on school districts.

The New vs. The Old

Prospective teachers and experienced teachers are all worried with the uncertainty of how budgets dictate the HR hiring. Although school administrators are influenced by their budget, they do not compromise when it comes down to hiring the most qualified teacher to go into the classroom. They all agree that hiring the teacher who will provide the best education for the students is the ultimate goal.

It is necessary for candidates to set themselves apart from one another by showing results from their work and teaching experience. Tell how your ideas were incorporated into a curriculum during your student teaching. Tell how you plan to align yourself with the school district’s standards.

Good communication of your experience and skills will certainly demonstrate your ability to interact and connect with your students. The better your present yourself as the caring and competent team player that you are, the more you’ll stand out from the rest. Make sure that your references describe those attributes as well.

The bottom-line is that you will work hard for all students.

Information to Gather on a School District

  • Demographics of the district – geographic boundaries, size of the district, student enrollment, class size, grade levels served, number of teachers employed.
  • Mission statement.
  • Districtwide goals and plans for the future.
  • Instructional programs and learning objectives for its students.
  • Professional development programs.
  • Student achievement in reading, math and science.
  • Special honors or recognition by state or federal agencies for academic excellence.
  • Key personnel.
  • Parent involvement.
  • Mentoring programs for new teachers.
  • Teacher union involvement and professional organizations.
  • District challenges (e.g. budget constraints, staff reductions, meeting learning standards, physical plant).
  • Salary schedule.
  • Residency requirement.

How to Research a School District

  • Conduct internet research for information about the school district, administrators and community.
  • Contact the National Public School Locator for  information on public schools and school districts in the country. Web address is
  • Contact your State Education Department for demographic data and related information.
  • Go to the district office and request school district fact sheets, calendar of events, board meeting schedule and related data.
  • Drive through the district in effort to learn more about the students’ socio-economic environments and available resources such as libraries.
  • Schedule an appointment to visit a school. Talk with teachers and administrators.
  • Attend PTA meetings, school board meetings and school related activities within the district.
  • Talk with parents of children who attend school in the district.

This article originally appeared in our partner publication, Teachers of Color Magazine ( and appears here by permission.  Please do not reproduce further without obtaining permission from the source.