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Get a WL Teaching Job - #1 Land an Interview

I am about to graduate, how do I get a real world language teaching job!?!?

If you new graduates are anything like I was, you are spending your last semester of school Googling things like "how to write a cover letter," "what to wear to a teaching interview," & "how to prepare to teach a interview Spanish lesson." Now I have been on both sides of the interview process. 

  • I have learned the hard way what it is like to be the "2nd choice" multiple times in a row. 
  • I have learned that waiting a week to her back after an interview is the longest seven days of your life. 
  • I have learned that interviews literally make be sick to my stomach. 

I plan to share what I learned the hard way about how to (hopefully!) get the language teaching job you are hoping for. As I started this post it became pretty long, so it will be a 2 part series. *Update - you can find part 2 here.


Part 1 - Land an Interview

Step #1 - Scan these documents to be ready for job opening 

  • Cover Letter  (personalize for each school)
  • Updated Teaching Resume
  • University Transcripts  (order 1 official & scan)
  • Teaching License
  • 3 Letters of Recommendation  
    • 1 should be from cooperating teacher if 1st job - ask for general letter before you leave student teaching placement
    • 1 current/most recent principal
    • 1 other - boss, professor, coworker, supervisor, principal etc. 
Make sure you highlight what makes YOU stand out as a world language educator. If you do not have full time teaching experience, focus on your semester living abroad, long-term volunteer program with children, or what you learned substitute teaching in an inner city school. I am not going to lie, zero years experience is the biggest strike you can have as a teacher since everyone wants a "seasoned" teacher. To fight this, it is imperative that you make a professional first impression, without any errors in your documents. Finally, you need to show how you see yourself in this job and community long-term, since no one wants a flaky new teacher who leaves after year one. 

Step #2 - Complete Common online applications for city, state or region (Ex. teachiowa.gov for Iowa)

  • All of the documents above are usually uploaded to this site. 
  • Many districts are moving to completely online hiring, so having these general applications ready to go allow you to then "apply" with 1 click when a job opens up. 

Step #3 - Apply for specific jobs

  • Check teaching sites almost everyday starting after the new year 
    • The first of the year is when schools in my area start posting jobs, but they really get moving in the Spring. 
    • Check both large teaching sites, as well as websites for specific districts you are interested in. 
    • Having human contacts are even better! Ask friends in the school systems if they know if any potential openings in their district. It is true that it is all about WHO you know. 
  • Apply right away when you see an opening you are interested in. Some schools unofficially offer jobs to the best candidates even before the closing date for applications. 
**Even though many districts have a common online application, I have found it helpful to ALSO email the documents above to specific building principals where there are opening stating that you have filled out their common application, are interested in the position, and would love to speak with them at their earliest convenience. Some may frown on this, but it never hurts to try! I once had a building principal immediately call and set up an interview after he received my email, while the central office emailed days later just thanking me for applying, not even realizing I already had an interview set up. Many principals would love to have a say and this helps to prevent your online application just getting lost or overlooked. 

Now that you (hopefully) have an interview, up next Part 2 - Prepare for the Interview!

**Note: I am not an administrator or HR person, so if you have better advice please share in the comments!**

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