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TPE 13

Opportunity Knocks But Will it Find You!

There is little doubt that the way we look for jobs and find new employment opportunities has changed in the past twenty years. From searching in the Sunday paper for listings, to vetting postings via online search engines, finding an “opportunity” has become the needle in the haystack.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics70 percent of all jobs are found through networking.  Times have changed how we do things, and there is little doubt technology will only move the pendulum of change at a faster rate.

When I found my first teaching job in 1999, I was literally approached by a recruiter at a job fair in Los Angeles.  I had no classroom teaching experience, nor a credential,  just a Bachelors degree in English and Psychology. This type of opportunity is no longer viable for those who are looking to enter the teaching profession.  With the passage of NCLB (2001) all teachers must be highly qualified as deemed by completion of a credential program in order to be “eligible” to be a teacher of record. Jumping through all the hoops to become a new teacher means passing a multitude of standardized assessments, performance based tasks and clinical practice observations.

But regardless of your performance newly credentialed teachers are faced with another challenge finding a position. Herein lies the problem when all the candidates have the same qualifications how can you determine who will be best suited?  With schools and teachers under the microscope for student performance, administrators are not willing to risk hiring someone just because they look good on paper because the reality is they may not make the grade.  When schools don’t perform up to snuff not only do the students suffer but administration and staff are at risk of losing their job and being viewed as ineffective.

New teacher applicants  as well as experienced ones must look at the job market of teaching as how can I prove my success? What can I share that demonstrates how effective I can be?  The bottom line is If you are unable to move beyond a one-dimensional piece of paper that lists your qualifications, you may never secure an interview and a placement.  Candidates need to be and should be creating a digital presence.

So what is a newly credentialed teacher to do? It is time to put all your knowledge, skills and dispositions into digital practice.  Teacher created curriculum and student driven projects are on the digital rise.  From teachers flipping their classroom with streaming media to student-created projects that link the concrete to the abstract. Teachers must ask themselves: “Are you doing something beyond your classroom walls to demonstrate your knowledge, skills and expertise? Will listing your credentials, experiences and references on your resume be enough to demonstrate what you know and can accomplish?”

How you are perceived by others is no longer just a matter of listing your accomplishments. It may be a matter of what the employer finds when they type your name into a search engine…

As a society there is a dependency on the internet to find what we are looking, therefore will the internet be used to find out who we are? When we produce content we create a digital record of our achievements.  Teachers need to create a digital archive of their work now! Knowing what Web-tools you can use to share, demonstrate, and support your work is essential more than ever.  Don’t let this opportunity pass you by, I will be hosting a free webinar on using Web-tools to create a digital presence:




About Dr. Dickenson

I am an assistant professor of Teacher Education at National University in San Jose.


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