You’ll Never Get a Job

“You know there are no jobs in teaching.”

 

That’s what I’ve heard since I decided I wanted to go into education.

 

“You know there are no jobs in teaching.”

 

That’s what I hear from every relative at family BBQs, every friend who is trying to “go into business,” random strangers that pass me on the street, even from teachers themselves.
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“You know there are no jobs in teaching.”

 

First of all, just so we are all on the same page, I AM VERY MUCH AWARE THAT IT IS DIFFICULT TO BE A TEACHER! This is not news to me; however, this does not deter me from my choice. Second of all, why do you all have to rain on my parade? Nobody ever tells people in a Science stream that very few students get into medical school! Why do we all have to hate on teachers?

 

Anyways, I digress. This is the story about how I successfully became a teacher in a time of drought. (Spoiler alert: there are jobs in teaching as long as you take the proper steps)

 

 

Me graduating from Teacher's College: High School Musical Style
Me graduating from Teacher’s College: High School Musical Style

 

I always knew that I wanted to be a teacher… somewhere in the back of my mind the thought would just sit there and whisper at me from time to time “Hey Erica, you know you’re in the wrong stream at University, right?” When I finally gave into that little voice in my head, I was met with louder, and much more negative ones. Only these ones weren’t coming from inside my head. These ones were coming from everyone around me.

 

 

“You know there are no jobs in teaching.”
 
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It was discouraging to say the least. It was just a bunch of people telling you that you’re dream job is unachievable. And it wasn’t like I was trying to be a Princess or an actor, I just wanted to be an educator! Undeterred from the criticism, I applied to teacher’s college, and was accepted into the Faculty of Education at Western University.

 

This environment was mixed with anxiety, fear, happiness, open-mindedness, and intelligence – much like any leadership experience I had ever been a part of. I learned the importance of collaboration with my fellow teachers, I learned that effective communication comes from effective listening, and most of all, I learned to take advantage of every opportunity that came my way, and put myself out there even though it was scary to talk to professionals in my industry. In fact, I was fortunate enough to create a strong rapport with the principal at one of my practicum schools and he even helped me write my cover letter! Day, seized.

 

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After graduation, the voices of doubt turned into the yells of doubt. What was I doing at that moment? What steps was I taking to apply for jobs? Why didn’t I have a full time job yet? One thing I learned quickly is that everyone tries to be experts in something they know nothing about. Don’t let them tell you about the process that has nothing to do with their career. Keep sailing through the murky waters because you are the captain of your own life (and chances are, you probably are the best at navigating through it).

 

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When an Occasional Teaching position opened up for the York Region District School Board, I knew this was my chance to get my foot (and the rest of my body) in the door. I went onto the school board’s website, read their mission and philosophies backwards and forwards, and used key words from their site in my cover letter. One of the most important career lessons I learned was to cater the cover letter specifically to the job you are applying to – do your homework and don’t shy away from their unique vocabulary. This shows the company that you have taken the time to understand where you are working and what value you can bring. A month later, I received an email from HR that they wanted me for an interview. I couldn’t believe it!

 

I received amazing advice for interviewing before going in: recount a personal experience for every question they ask you. Anyone can give an answer to a question, it’s about giving your answer. Show that you can apply your skills.

 

After my interview, I waited patiently for a grueling four weeks until a finally received the email of my dreams congratulating me on making it onto the OT list! I couldn’t believe it! And after five months of teaching, I still pinch myself sometimes to make sure this isn’t a weirdly long dream. With my professional development skills, I changed the conversation from “you know there are no jobs in teaching” to “Wow! You must be the only one of your friends with a teaching job right now.” Through positive thinking, solid interview skills, and a kick-ass cover letter catered to the company, I banished the negative voices, and have been met with positivity from every facet of my life.

 

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