Cover Letters

-Look into what the position is about and put that in your cover letter
-Talk about how you have skills that relate to the position in which they are hiring for
-Be specific about the position you are applying for
-Try to keep the letter on the shorter side {get to the point} {people tend to read the first paragraph, skip the middle, and read the end}
-Use some "BUZZ" Words in the letter to grab the attention of the reader

Sample Cover Letters

Sample 1:

CoverLtr1.png

Sample 2:

CoverLtr3.png

Sample 3:

CoverLtr4.png

Some words of Advice

(from the art_education@yahoogroups.com list serv) Posted by Joyce, K-5 Art Specialist http://EvergreenArt .Birdsong. ORG "Except in times of scarcity, hiring is done based on relationship. Successful candidates have either subbed in a system and have their work known by someone on the committee, went to school with the art teacher in a neighboring school, or have a certificate from a committee member's alma mater. It's wise to spend time between jobs building relationships and networks. Sub teach, volunteer to shelve books in the library, offer to help during kindergarten classes - anything to share who you are with people. Practice what you'll say when people ask you about your background. Imagine that every word you say will end up in an interview file and impart what will make you sound competent, confident, and collaborative. Use your words carefully." "Even though your written pieces (resume, cover letter, portfolio, etc.,) are polished, ask a neutral English major type to go over them with a critical eye. Format matters less than focus. Is your goal clear and positively supported by your experience? Is there a balance between confidence and desire/hunger for a job? It's not necessarily fair, but even a single grammatical or formatting error can be the difference in an area without a teacher shortage. Grammar, spelling and vocabulary choice are crucial." "Ask for feedback. Many committees won't take the time or are advised not to share input with candidates, but you might find a kind soul who'll give you an idea of your strengths and weakness as an interviewee. Rather than asking, "What did I lack as an interviewee?" ask, "What parts of my interview went well and could be strengthened further?" If you find someone who's willing to be frank, listen to what *isn't* there. Consider a visit to your last university or program's office. Are there practice interviews happening? Is there someone with advisement experience who could critique your materials?" "Finally, be aware of the fact that principals search for many different things in staff. Sometimes a specific personality type is sought to balance strengths (or weaknesses) of team members. In my years in the business, I've been hired for being young and energetic (that was alooooooooooong time ago!) for my musical background, (which had nothing to do with my eventual fifth grade teaching job,) for having a last name from a specific language background (no, life is not always fair,) and (much more recent) simple life experience. There have been stretches with no "nibbles" at all and interviews where I know I did a solid job with no offer. " "If you have holes in your resume related to time between jobs, reframe the time to reflect something that will enhance your worth such as travel/museum study, language practice, or volunteer opportunities." "I offer one last observation: If you arrive a little early for your interview and have time to interact with children, secretary, or staff, assume that you're being observed carefully. In places where affect is important clues to a candidate's behavior with others is often a consideration."

Suggestions by Kate

1. Know all the recent buzz words and provide examples of personal experience with those topics. For example, differentiated instruction, classroom mangement, how you work with other teachers unifying art and the general classroom, how you integrated your arts program with the community (or how you plan to), multiple intelligences, TECHNOLOGY!

2. Bring an amazing lesson plan to help illustrate your philosophy of the above topics as you interview. This plan should include d.i.,
technology integration and multiple intelligence connections. Make sure it is standards based, list the standards.

3. Gain as much classroom experience as possible. I volunteered my time by emailing all art teachers in the district to see if they
needed a hand any day of the week for a few hours. I received a response from two teachers, one elementary and one high school. This
way I learned about their classroom management, organizing a classroom, working with students, project ideas...you name it. Your
name is now out there and the fact that you are willing to work for free to build your professional knowledge outshines all!

4. Sub. in several districts. Get to know your art teachers, drop a business card each time and a piece of candy when you leave expressing
how much you loved their classes and that you are willing to return. Also show your interest to the sub service you work through if that is
the case. If you want work, know their name and that you want to be top priority for the positions.

5. Get to know the community and who is influential in the school community. Home and school and PTO members are strong advocates for talented quality teachers like yourself! They usually want to hold fundraisers, sometimes art based ...you could help with that.

6. Also, do some research before you interview. Know the districts mission statement and drop those ideas throughout the interview. I
used a quote from the superintendent I found on the district website and said how I related to this philosophy by blah.......They were
impressed.

Best of luck to you. I hope you found some helpful words of advice here. Take it from me, my salary just rocketed $20,000 from doing all
the above! Woo hooo!!!

Get your name out there!
Kate

Ideas from Brandy

I think others have made excellent points about jobs being already filled before the hiring process, there being too many applicants for
too few positions, and just the dumb luck of the whole process. My husband was a manager for many years, and one of his jobs was
to hire people. You may have already read this stuff on the internet or just know it, but here's some of his tips from his perspective-

-Desperation reeks like day old cigarette smoke, so walk in *knowing* this is not the last job on Earth. You don't need this job; they need you to fill it! (make that your mantra)

- Interview the interviewers. (It knocks the desperation right off a person :) Ask what their benefits are or inquire about retirement plans. Only make this one or two questions. You don't want to come off like you're only in it for the extras, but letting them know you're comparing their job opportunity to others is a healthy attitude.

- Don't talk about anything negative- your health, your old boss, trying to find parking on the way in.

-Don't talk about your family. In Va., it is illegal for an employer to ask about your family life- like martial stasis, kids, etc., but if you bring up, they can ask. So don't bring up your family. It will more often then not count against you. My husband didn't care if people had kids, but one of the other bosses always tried to avoid people with kids because he believed the child/ren would get sick and then he'd lose his worker for that shift. Between two possible candidates he always wanted the single, childless worker. :( Have you thought about other opportunities for your skills? I don't how big the place you live is, but there are lots of private art teaching positions where I live. I made my own as well. I teach art to other homeschoolers twice a week in five different classes. I generally have about 45 students throughout the year and I make a small amount, but if I wanted to really work at it, I could make nearly what the private school teachers here make just teaching art at all the galleries, museums, and homeschooling co-ops where I live. Put out fliers or information about giving art lessons at a library, your own home if you can accommodate it, or try a gallery that does not yet have classes if you can't find any positions that needs filling. It can be slow at first, but it snowballs through personal recommendations quickly. Good luck! Regards, Brandy

Posted by: "Marcia" marciadotcom@yahoo.com marciadotcom

Sat Aug 9, 2008 9:26 am (PDT)

Some things that I *think* may have helped me was
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    • a portfolio filled with lesson examples and photos of kids' work. When a question was asked at the interview, I would flip to a lesson that demonstrated what they were asking and showed the photos and talked about how that lesson showed "differentiation" or whatever they were asking about.
    • I wrote out answers to every question I might possibly be asked. I practiced them, because I know that coming up with concise answers on the spot is not one of my strengths.
    • At this point I have several years of experience, but when I was going into interviews with 0 years of experience, I had other volunteer jobs that involved working with children and art--- several vacation bible schools, reading program at the library, volunteer art classes, unpaid "internship" as an assistant once a week in an art teacher's classroom (that I set up on my own). If you really can't spare the time to volunteer than look at how you're using your working time. You *could* get a part-time job as a camp counselor or after-school supervisor a few hours per week. Since art teaching jobs are so competitive in certain areas I really think you need something to set you apart.
    • Professional development--- do you attend state or national art conferences, local workshops, etc? Put them on your resume and talk it up about how beneficial they are. Get involved and volunteer for your state organization. I can guarantee they are always looking for people to help out at conferences or whatever.
    • I think above all, your enthusiasm and dedication for teaching art needs to shine above everything else. Schools want positive, happy, hard-working and passionate teachers, right? So, show them that you are EXCITED for the opportunity to interview, that you LOVE working with kids, etc. Never be negative about anything in an interview, be willing to show them you will go above and beyond.
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Advice from our alumni:

"I recommend creating a small Rubbermaid bin with basic art materials (white paper, scissors, crayons, glue, markers, pencils) to take to an interview in case you have to teach that same day. Two interviews I went on said art supplies would be provided, and they weren't. I was resourceful, but I don't think they were testing my resourcefulness. I think schools are more interested in HOW you teach vs. WHAT you teach in an interview, but having basic materials gives you one less thing to worry about."

- Kelly Koble, 2007 Art Ed. Grad