Job Hunter Guide for Music Teachers
by Edward M. Warnick
The music teaching job market should be approached scientifically, not haphazardly. First, you must have access to job opportunities. This is difficult in the public school sector since we have no central clearinghouse for advertising all public school music positions.
Determine the type of music teaching position that will best serve your professional and personal needs. Applying for a teaching position you are not prepared for simply because the salary is attractive can be extremely detrimental. Since music teachers are certified from kindergarten through grade 12, job opportunities present themselves in all facets of public school teaching general music, choral, strings, winds, marching bands, jazz ensembles.
Applying for teaching positions can be costly, time consuming, and frustrating. The teaching positions applied for should be compatible with your skills preparation, teaching experience, cultural preferences, geographical desires, and professional goals. Remember, self-esteem and attitude can be greatly influenced by where a teacher lives and works.
First, select the geographical area in which you desire to teach. The states in that area are where you will need to concentrate your effort in pursuing teaching positions. Write to the respective state departments of education and request a listing of names and addresses of the state school districts. In some cases there is a fee charged for the listings; however, the list is worth purchasing since it could take hours and days to acquire school district addresses plus the cost of retrieval. Many state lists give the size of the district, phone numbers, and names of administrators.
When applying for teaching positions do not send a form letter to a district. A typed personalized letter with the superintendent's or personnel director's title and name on it is the first impression the district receives of a candidate. Correct spelling, grammar, form, and content of the correspondence with school district administrators are imperative.
Your first letter seeking employment in a school district should be a simple and direct request for a teaching application. After the application is received, a complete resume, college transcript, application, and cover letter should be sent to the district. The cover letter should demonstrate formal writing abilities and specifically state your interest areas band, orchestra, chorus, or general music.
Your resume should be typed and organized to include the following: name; permanent address; phone number; educational degrees (place, degree, and date); teaching experience (place of employment, position, and length of employment); performance experience; professional recognition; community participation and honors; publications (submit several articles); list of references (name, title, and address); personal information (such as marital status or number of children, if you wish to include this data); and a statement of your philosophy of music education. The application should be cleanly typed and all questions answered. Returning incomplete applications is costly for a district and may result in a negative opinion toward the candidate's organizational abilities, not to mention the possibility of the application being ignored. Send only official transcripts with applications. Also include copies of state teaching certificates.
If you are sending placement file credentials from a university or employment agency, note this in the cover letter and indicate the approximate arrival date for the material. Complete the letter with a statement that you are available for an interview and look forward to visiting the district. You should ask for the district to acknowledge the receipt of your application. This will establish two-way communication and keep your name active in the minds of the personnel director or superintendent.