Tuesday, March 6, 2012

A talk with local Principal, Mr. W.

The presenter for today's class was a local high school principal, Mr. W. He was a great speaker and had some amazing insights for us future art educators. We had such a great conversation with him about interviewing, resumes and the job application process. He had some amazing advice! I wrote down almost everything he said because everything was so exciting and important. Talking with him today made me feel like there is actually a light at the end of the tunnel. For some reason, I had the "aha" moment of "I am actually going to be a real life teacher!", as if I hadn't known that before. Our class had a great conversation with Mr. W. I want to walk you through some of the important topics he covered and some secrets he let us in on!

Mr. W has been in education for 20 years. He has spend the last 9 years at his High School as the principal and athletic director. He began his career as a social studies teacher but eventually worked his way up to administration. While he was applying, he thought that the interviewing process would be exciting and fun. He has found that the opposite is true. He said interviewing is one of the hardest parts of his job!

Secrets and Tips:

1. Be nice to the secretary upon entering the office for an interview. Their opinion will be told to the administration, so a small conversation can go a long way! 

2. Be articulate. Be rehearsed but don't sound rehearsed!! 

3. Make sure your resume is grammatically correct. He is always surprised by the number of applications that are not well written. Spell Principal correctly. NOT Principle.  Those resumes automatically go into the reject pile.

4. Make sure to personalize your cover letter to the school you are applying to. He encourages using the same cover letter, but make sure to tweak personalized information. He has had applications that are addressed to the neighboring high school sent to him!

5. You will get noticed by your cover letter. Take the time to put yourself into the letter. Don't make it too long, but give the administration a snap shot of who you are. It is your place to explain why you are a good candidate.

6. Resume content is what will make you stand out from other applications. Anything relating to working with children or the arts is the most important. Things like volunteering, summer school programs, subbing, youth groups, and coaching are all important experiences. They are looking to see that your first love is working with children.  Also, putting your licensing information at the top of the resume will help them see what you can teach, and will often save them a step, which they like!

7. Letters of Recommendation should include the administration from your previous job or student teaching experience. Without the administration's letter, he assumes that you aren't credible enough for a nice letter from them. Also, only give the required amount of letters. Never give four letters if they only ask for three.

8. Sending attachments of your resume etc. can be a downfall. Always opt for sending a packet of your application materials. He said that there are many baby boomers and "old farts" in the administration departments of schools that are used to paper applications more than electronic ones. Play to their preferences and to the security of knowing that they will not lose all of your information if it is all neatly placed in an envelope!

9. Employers are looking for the general characteristics of a good person. If you are honest, hard working, responsible, reliable it will most likely come across in your application and the interview process. Take the time to give your voice to your materials!

10. It is okay to be nervous for the interview! They know you will be nervous, they understand, and they expect you to be prepared, even if you are nervous. If you are prepared, your nervousness will go away, or be overpowered by your love for teaching. 

I hope you enjoyed reading these little pieces of information, and checking out the little cartoons that I found online!

 Mr. W sure did have a lot to tell us! I'm so thankful to have the chance to hear his advice.

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