By Teachers, For Teachers
Whether you have known you’ve wanted to become a teacher for years or you are just figuring this out, it is essential that you take the time to gain some experience working with children to get a teaching job. You may be working hard to complete your college degree with your eyes solely focused on the end result – to get a teaching job. However, in order to get to that end result and get a teaching job of your dreams, you will need to gain some experience along the way. Here are a few ways that can help you obtain the practice you need.
Day cares are one of the best (and easiest) ways to gain some experience working with children. Some states will even hire workers as young as 18 years old, so you can gain some experience right out of the gate after high school. A day care allows you to gain some practice working with children of all ages, from birth to elementary school age. Many day cares offer an after-school program, where the siblings come for after care. This is another great opportunity for you to work with children who are school-aged.
After-school programs are designed to provide a safe and educational environment for children whose parents are still at work, and are unable to pick them up from school. Many programs provide students with tutoring, homework help, and educational activities to help pass the time. Working in this type of environment will give you the opportunity to gain experience working with school-aged children. You will gain experience teaching educational activities and games, learning how to tutor and help students with their homework, and learning how to deal with behavior issues -- all of the things that will help you to become an effective teacher.
Many prospective teachers have played a sport at one point in their life or another. If you have any experience with sports or cheerleading, you can become a coach. Coaching provides you with the leaderships skills that you will need in order to become a teacher. It not only teaches you how to just work with children, but it teaches you how to motivate them, encourage them, and show them how they can work together as a team. These are all qualities that you will need in order to be an effective teacher.
Tutoring is a great way to gain the experience you need to help children learn. If you are going to school to specialize in math, then tutoring children in math is a great way to develop and maintain your subject knowledge. It also enables you to cultivate an interpersonal relationship with your student, which means you will develop the skills that are required to maintain a dialogue with the students that you will be teaching someday.
If you are in college and still have yet to get your certification to become a teacher, you can work at a summer school. Many colleges encourage prospective teachers to work during the summer months so they can gain even more experience before they graduate. Many schools even offer a stipend for college students to be the assistant to the teacher in summer school. Some schools even offer a “Head teacher” summer school position for the after care program at the summer school. This is where you would not be the assistant, but rather the head teacher for the extended activities portion of the class that is provided after the summer school class.
Once you have the required degree and/or certification needed, you can substitute teach. This is where you will really gain the experience you need to become a teacher. If you thought that you gained it while student teaching, you haven’t seen anything yet. As a substitute teacher you are solely in charge of the classroom, there is no one there to bail you out when things get rough (and they will). This is the place that you will have to rely on your knowledge and skills, and really put them to the test. Employers love to see that you have experience in a classroom by yourself. Taking a few months to substitute teach while you go on interviews is the best way to gain the experience that you need to put on your resume.
To ensure that you gain the experience needed to land that teaching job of your dreams, and ensure that you are ready for this position, take advantage of any and all opportunities that come your way when it pertains to working with children.
Do you have any more tips on how to gain experience to get a teaching job? Please share your ideas in the comment section below, we would love to hear what you have to say.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyward. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.