Alright, alright, alright! You found a teaching position you would like to apply for, thanks to the handy edition of “Happy Hunger Games! | The Job Hunt“. Now, all you have to do is fill out an application that explains who you are in detail, and let it absorb your whole personality, and display your teaching style, and your amazing sense of humor, and your ability to care for ALL students, and display your interests, and list all of your experiences, and … and … and you as a human being!
If this wasn’t difficult enough, you need to understand the jargon as well. What does it mean to be fully certified? What kind of experience do I have? Does student teaching count as a full year’s experience? What about subbing?
Are you screaming yet?
Here is an application broken down:
The first thing about applying for a teaching position is not wasting your time. If you already filled out an application on applitrack before, IMPORT IT! This can be done by selecting “Import Materials” on the right hand of the screen. It will have you log in and then select which application you would like to import the information from. This saves a lot of time and brain power.
This portion is where one selects the jobs that are currently available. You can select multiple openings and then your application will apply to all selected.
This portion is where one selects a job that may open up. Meaning, if you are interested in only middle school mathematic positions, you can select this position. Then when it becomes available, your application will be submitted.
Do not be light on this portion. Even if you are including your resume, still list your experiences and the job details that correspond to each position! If your student teaching and substitute teaching combined make up a year’s time, you better you say you have one year’s experience! Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished.
A lot of applications ask if you are highly qualified or deemed highly qualified by a district or principal. Since I have yet to be employed by a district, I figured this meant I was automatically not highly qualified because I have not been observed as such. THIS IS WRONG! After stalking the MDE website, I finally found a reasonable definition.
“HIGHLY QUALIFIED” MEANS: The teacher holds at least a bachelor’s degree and is certified, endorsed, or authorized to teach the subject, and has one of the following:
• Major in the content/subject (or equivalent of 30 semester credit hours); or
• Passed a rigorous state test in the content/subject; or
• Completed a state approved High Objective Uniform State Standards of Evaluation
• Holds National Board Certification in the content/subject.
It says you must hold ONE of the following. If you have a subject endorsement on your bachelor’s degree – you are Highly Qualified to teach that subject. BOOM!
Specifically in Michigan:
HIGHLY QUALIFIED TEACHERS IN MICHIGAN: All elementary certified teachers who have taken and passed the Elementary Education #83 or #103 Michigan Test for Teacher Certification (MTTC) are considered Highly Qualified for grades K-5 (all subjects) and grades 6-8 (self-contained settings only).
All middle (6-8) and secondary (9-12) certified teachers who have taken and passed the MTTC for the endorsements listed on their certificates are considered Highly Qualified in those areas.
All middle and secondary certified teachers who hold a major in their endorsement area are considered Highly Qualified for that content/subject.
So check off that Highly Qualified option – YOU EARNED IT!
Under the Highly Qualified section, it usually asks you how you are highly qualified for your subject with a drop down menu. The options you can choose are:
- State Content Test/Praxis/NTE
- If you have NO IDEA what the “Praxis” is or what “NTE” is don’t worry, I researched for you. The Praxis and NTE are state tests that are needed to become fully certified in most states. However, in Michigan, we used the “MTTCs” or our state test. If you took some sort of test for your subject and you got an email saying you passed – SELECT THIS BOX!
- Undergraduate Major:
- Basically select this is you majored in this subject. At most universities, in order to be certified, you MUST pass the state test in your major. I am not sure whether or not there is an advantage of selecting “State Content Test” over this one, but if you passed the test, I would say so.
These are the only two options that would qualify for a teacher who is looking for his/her first gig. The others refer to continuing education or whether your endorsement came from a graduate degree.
In this section, there are usually two questions and they are usually the same two questions.
1. “Describe the skills or attributes you believe are necessary to be an outstanding teacher.”
2. “How would you address a wide range of skills and abilities in your classroom?”
Now since these are usually the same two questions throughout many applications, I highly recommend thoughtfully thinking out your answers and documenting them in a word document. Once you put your hard work into answering these questions once, all you have to do is copy and paste every time you see these questions. Seems like a no-brainer, but it also allows you to quickly revise if your answer changes overtime.
With references, schools want at least three listed. If you are struggling with increasing your number of references, think about the people that have observed you teach. Also think about the order. Your references should be listed from who you would want this school to contact first. This also gives you an opportunity to import a letter of recommendation from each reference – which is a GREAT idea.
This is not required on most applications, but you should import as many materials as you can. For me, I have saved all of my documents so I can reuse cover letters if applying to the same district, I have saved introduction letters so I can reuse them in similar positions, and I keep a PDF version of my teaching certificate and college transcripts to easily upload. The more you put into an application, your more dedicated you display yourself.
This is where you are able to brag about yourself in less than a paragraph. They do not want your whole story, they just want to know why you stand out over other people applying for the same position.
There might be a part of your application where you have additional questions to answer. These questions may vary but these are the ones that I have seen:
- Why did you become a teacher?
- What qualities make a “superior” elementary/middle/high-school teacher? How will we observe them in you?
- How will you incorporate technology to enhance student learning in your classroom?
- How will a student know that you expect them to learn in your classroom and that you will support them to meet that expectation?
- Describe the role that relationships play in a classroom? How will you establish relationships with your students?
- What are your areas of expertise and interest? What will that mean for students in your classroom?
- What role will classroom assessment play in instruction in your classroom?
- What experiences have you had that would make you a good candidate to work with high-risk population?
- Describe your experiences in working in a team situation? Share the positives and the negatives of that experience.
- Describe a time when you tried something and it didn’t work. How did you respond?
- What is the role of the teacher in the total school environment?
These are always good to answer because they will more than likely come up in an interview.
Once you fill out a teacher survey, you may be able to import it to multiple applications. These are not often used on applications, but if there is – it is just a series of questions that try to determine your personality. One thing I made a mistake on is that it is timed. Make sure you complete this process without any distractions. Without even realizing it, a question timed out on me and I was unable to answer it.
This portion lists any part of the application you may have missed. This gives you a chance to check your work. It also lets you print out a PDF of your application to keep for your records, or proof-read your work in paper form before submitting.
After you submit, you should receive a confirmation email.
The good thing about these applications are that they are rather similar to one another. Once you get the hang of filling them out, the process becomes smoother. You get the hang of it and they become less stressful.
If you ever come in doubt if something applies to you and your experience, just select it. In my book, I would rather select something that I am quite not qualified to do, get an interview, and then explain my idea of how I WILL BECOME qualified. Rather than not select something because I am unsure if I do or do not, then actually qualify, but not get an interview.
Good luck out there, future educators!
Like the Wildcats, we are all in this together.
Look for: “interVIEWS | The Job Hunt“. Part 3 of this saga!