A first step to becoming a teacher in Illinois is finding job openings. The following sites include hundreds of job openings across Illinois at dozens of school districts:
Illinois State Board of Education—www.isbe.state.il.us/certification/default.htm
Careers at Chicago Public Schools—www.cps-humanresources.org/Careers/career_index.asp
Illinois Education Job Bank—www.illinoiseducationjobbank.org/JobSearch/JobSearch.aspx
Once you get your first interview, you can increase your chances of getting a great job as an educator if you know what schools look for in teaching candidates. Most employers are looking for teachers with:
Knowledge—You’re presenting yourself as an expert in the subjects you wish to teach, so be sure to convey this expertise to your employer both before and during the interview. An English teacher who sends in a cover letter with errors or has poor grammar during the interview does not inspire confidence in his teaching abilities.
Experience—The more experience a teacher has, the better prepared he will be to handle the challenges of today’s classrooms. But actual classroom time isn’t the only experience employers are looking for, either. Any time you spend with children or youth counts, including volunteer positions. Mention any networking with educators you’ve experienced, as well as any reading or research you’ve done on educational subjects.
Motivation—Employers can tell the difference between teachers who want a job just to collect a paycheck and those who are truly motivated to inspire students to learn. Create a portfolio of your work as a teacher, including tests, projects, and lesson plans. Mention any training, reading, or research you’ve done on educational best practices. If you’re currently earning an advanced degree or have other professional training in the works, make sure prospective employers know that. These are all signs you see teaching as a calling and not just a job.
Your interview is your foot in the door at a school; use that chance to show employers you possess the qualities of a competent educator. And with some time and perseverance, you’re almost certain to be offered a great teaching job.
Last Updated: 06/26/2014