Teacher for Hire! Tips from my Experience Searching for my Forever Home

Monday, July 10, 2017
Teacher job search and interview tips
I am one of those unfortunate teachers who has not yet found their "forever home". I have been teaching for 6 years now, and I have taught in 4 different schools. I taught for about 3 years in my first school, and then I have been to a new school every year.

When I interview, it is getting a little awkward. Thankfully, there is a darn good reason for having left each school, and I make sure to get a recommendation from the principal each time! The reasons range from truly awful principal, embezzlement and fraud, just not being a good fit (and wanting to return to high school) and the newest (the one I am currently looking to leave) is because they did not represent themselves accurately when I was hired. I assumed, and this was my fault, that they had certain benefits in place, which they did not! Rough surprise...

So this post is for all the other teachers, looking for our forever homes. This post is for all the other teachers looking to leave a bad situation and worrying about how their resume will look. This post is for the teachers who have found their forever home, so that they can get a glimpse into the life of a nomad teacher.

If you are also looking for a new position, or are a new teacher, here are some helpful tips from a "seasoned pro"!
**Please understand that these tips are not for everyone! I teach science for middle and high school grades in a city that has a crazy high number of charter schools, so I can interview in many different places. I am also lucky enough to have a partner who makes the majority of our income- my income is usually sent to daycare, fun spending, home repair and savings/retirement. We CAN live without my income, the only problem is that money would get tight (and I might go crazy from being stuck with my own little ones all day!) **

1) Don't go for the first offer, just because they made it. Schools are almost always hiring-I interviewed with the public school district here, and did not hear back until literally a week before school started. I wish I had held out for that position! I took an earlier offer because I was afraid of being without a job.

2) Don't be afraid to negotiate! Know what you are worth- research the salaries in your area and plan accordingly. I have negotiated my salary every year, usually up around $3000-5000.You will seem more knowledgeable and experienced, and I swear the principals I did this with seem to respect me more as an expert in my field.

3) Know what benefits you want and ask about them! Do not be shy about asking in the first or second interview- don't wait until you have signed a contract to realize that they do not pay into the state teachers retirement fund, or that you only have 5 sick days (and you expected 10)! If I had known this ahead of time- it would have been a no-go! Now I jokingly, but really, ask about them in the first interview! (obviously, this depends on how the interview is going...)

4) BE HONEST! If they are asking you about things that you are not interested in, or in activities you would not be willing to do- be polite, but be honest! Lots of schools have asked about teachers doing after school activities, so I tell them what I would like to do or join. Science club- cool! Mathematics and Robotic Club- nope!

5) Ask about the school day- how many classes, what does a typical teacher schedule look like, and extra activities (hall monitor, before or after school monitor, sitting in the lunch room). All these little things will eat your time during the day, and it is better to be prepared upfront. This can go into pro/con lists when you are deciding! Trust me, the difference between being expected to be at a post at 7:15 and just in you room by 7:30 is huge!

and finally
6) Be yourself! I am an odd, slightly abrupt and weird kind of person! I tend to say what I am thinking, without a whole lot of filter. I find that principals either love me at first sight or do not. I have become really okay with that! If they do not like me for who I am in an interview, then we probably will not work well together, and that makes for a rough school year. Or they love me and the interview turns into a 2 hour talk and an offer on the spot (that drives my husband nuts!lol)

Just remember- you are an awesome and unique person who is willing (and able) to teach little humans! This is a special gift; not everyone can-or should-do this!  We should make sure that we are being compensated and have found the best position for us. So go forth and interview boldly!

Do you have any tips you would add to this list? Are you still searching for your forever home? Comment below!


  1. I love that you get to look around for your perfect home. I live where there is a surplus of teachers, and you are lucky to get hired. That's why I became an Early Childhood Educator instead. Only problem is that I don't get to choose my school or classroom, the principal decides where I am going :( Wish I had more freedom to ask these questions and find my perfect fit! Good for you for knowing what you want and going for it!

  2. Great tips. I think these will be helpful for teachers looking for their first job or a new job.