It’s that time of year again. Its report card and parent-teacher interview time, but also for eligible to hire teachers without permanent contracts, long-term occasional teachers, and occasional teachers it’s about the time to re-apply to boards for hiring for the next year. It’s an important process because if we don’t do it properly and on time, our livelihood as teachers could be compromised the following year.
While the process of re-applying is not new to me, I still find it a little bit stressful because of the timing of it (coming off of the holidays, assessment/reporting) and the importance of being able to stand out and be up to date, and reflective of my accomplishments as an educator. After teaching all day, taking courses in the evenings, report writing during evenings and weekends, the gathering of materials for applying to boards ( which includes cover letters, resumes, references, OCT information, teacher-appraisals from pre-service teaching) it is a big undertaking, as is updating the information and properly uploading it as per the board’s format.
I understand the challenges that a lot of beginning (not-permanent) teachers go through this time of year, because I experience it myself. This is the time of year that I need to be acutely attuned to my students’ learning (their assessments, class room lessons, report-card writing, preparation for parent teacher interviews) and I also have to be concern myself with my own learning/accomplishments and securing future and more permanent (or at least, predictable) employment. Having been through this a few times, I am learning how to be smarter about keeping my professional portfolio up to date so that I am able to focus on my work in the classroom and my other commitments. I have gotten into the habit of updating my resume every couple of months, including more recent workshop experience, teaching experiences and taking away information that may be redundant or outdated so that I don’t have to sit and stare blankly at last year’s resume contemplating what to add. I also make it a point to contact my references to ask their permission and briefly discuss the work that they can comment on. I keep scanned copies of important teaching related information and cover letters for easy access and easy uploading.
While I don’t love the process and the timing of having to reapply to boards annually, I understand its function for being up to date and retaining people who are committed to becoming teachers. As a result of my learning how to manage and keep up to date with my professional profile, I have enjoyed the varied experiences of teaching in different grades and different classrooms, and I hope that other ‘new teachers’ find my tips helpful in making the hiring process a little less difficult.