Greetings from Katie

Photo credit: Shawn Kornegay
Photo credit: Shawn Kornegay

Eighth-semester undergraduate at Neag blogs about her experiences through UConn Welcome Mat

Hi all, Katie  – the Lodewick Visitor Center’s (LVC) graduate student here.  With the spring semester off to a speedy start, I find myself busy as always with classes, my internship at Goodwin Elementary School, and my job here at the LVC, and … wait for it … my job search for an elementary teaching position! I can’t believe that I’ll be graduating from the Neag School of Education with a master’s degree in just a few short months.

And so my job search begins. With the massive amounts of snow we’ve been getting here, I’ve spent my snow days capitalizing on the extra time to prepare my application materials. From resumes, to cover letters, to my portfolio, to monitoring local websites for position postings – I’ve been doing it all.

When I started putting together my application materials at the beginning of winter break, I was a tad overwhelmed with everything I had to do (not to mention the stress of wanting so badly to find a full-time teaching position for the start of next school year in this economy). I’m determined to be fully prepared for interviews. Considering school districts won’t necessarily know if they will have any openings until later on this spring or even the summer, I am super obsessive about planning and like to be ahead of the game.

With that being said, my experiences with my job search thus far have been both stressful and exciting.  Of course I want everything to be perfect. My supervisor spoke with me a lot over winter break about my upcoming job search, and a lot of the advice she gave me has been reiterated by both professionals in the field and my current professors and mentors.

So far, I’ve been able to develop a relative timeline for monitoring open positions through the Connecticut Education Association and the Hartford Courant classified advertisements, rough drafts of my résumé, a general cover letter and my portfolio. I sure am happy that I saved a lot of lesson plans and student work samples from when I student taught, because I am finding that I will most likely have to cut down the amount of samples I include in my portfolio, rather than scramble to find more. Better to have too much than too little.

The nice thing about being a UConn student in the Neag School of Education is that the resources are endless. My advisor, Doug, has been a phenomenal support service throughout my entire UConn experience, and he will continue to guide me through both my inquiry project and the job search process. Also, UConn’s Neag School of Education is providing various workshops for the master’s students throughout the spring semester. The workshops, “The Certification Process,” and “Resume Writing and Interviewing,” should be helpful. There is also an Education Career Fair on April 6 , where I’ll get to meet and possibly interview with various school district representatives throughout the state of Connecticut. It looks like I’ll have a busy few months ahead of me.

In the meantime, I will be spending a lot of my free time avidly checking the Connecticut Education Association website for job postings, visiting UConn’s Career Services to hammer out the perfect résumé and cover letter, and networking with professionals in the field whom I’ve had the opportunity to work with over the past few years as a Neag student. Just this past weekend I purchased my first interviewing suits – one black and one gray – so that I can even look my best as I try to find the perfect job.

I know that being nervous and anxious about this process is expected, but I’m also ready for the possibility of rejection and knowing that I may not ace every interview. The best advice so far that I’ve received regarding the job search process is that I will be “interviewing” the school districts to see if they are the best fit for me just as much as they will be interviewing me to see if I’m the best fit for them; it’s a reciprocal process! If I’m able to keep this outlook throughout the process, then I don’t think I will be disappointed in knowing that when I do land my very first teaching position, it will be because I wanted that position just as much as that school district wanted ME for the position.

Wish me luck!

UConn Welcome Mat is a blog posted through the University of Connecticut’s Lodewick Visitors Center. Designed to provide prospective and current students information about the daily lives of select UConn undergraduate students, it allows readers a glimpse into the personal interests and academic and social activities of those living the Husky experience.