Monday, October 22, 2012

Transitions in Life

I am a week behind on my blog!!

Today I presented at the Illinois Principal Association's, Principal Professional Conference in Peoria, Illinois. I drove down to Peoria on Friday, and stayed with a friend for the weekend. I lived in Peoria for 3 years when I first got out of college, and landed my first job in Peoria Public Schools. It was an interesting and nostalgic weekend, I went to take a picture of the first home that we owned, which looked like the size of a doghouse now! I was so excited to move into that house, as I was pregnant with our first child at the time. I saw three of my cousins who live in Peoria and we had so much fun just talking about how much fun we had as kids growing up and what was happening in our lives now.

It was ironic as I looked at all these firsts, that I have now just just completed my first year of retirement. Where did the time go? When I looked out into the group of attendees at my session for my presentation today, I noticed most of them were 30-45 years old. The age of education is changing, meaning that the Baby Boomers like me are moving out of teaching and administration and these younger administrators have new thoughts, new values, new visions, and new goals. Working with them, both teaching at the university level and in discussions, is so exciting to me!! They have some different perspectives, but their passion for education, learning and kids seem to be the same as mine. Still!! I asked them to share their transitions today during my presentation, and they shared: now an empty nester; new home, new baby and new job; and a 51 year old principal shared he was the father of a 23-month-old child. NOW THAT IS A TRANSITION!!!

Transition is a natural thing that we go through over and over in our lives. Changing and growing from the first breathe we take until our last breath. Some of those transitions are fun and exciting, some are painful and difficult, some we can control and some we have no control over at all.

Change happens externally, a new program or a new process; transition happens internally, how we adapt to the change or the new situation. Many times it is the painful or difficult transitions that take our time and attention. We need to focus on moving forward with change and being aware of the transitions that we are experiencing.

Accept the changes. Embrace the negative feelings that might arise from the changes you are facing. But then move forward to accepting those changes and building a support system that will assist you in moving forward positively. This will be the first day of change!!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What Does YOUR Facebook Page look like?

My daughter is a personnel recruiter for an IT company and the other day she suggested that college kids or anyone else trying to find a job, should adjust their Facebook page. Many employers are doing their due diligence and checking social media sites for prospective employees for information that may be considered in the hiring process. Here are some tips:

1. Make sure that your cover and profile photos are appropriate. Recruiters and employers today are checking your page! "A survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that the top reason employers reject candidates is for posting inappropriate photographs."

2. Watch what you put on your social media pages about alcohol or drug use. How you acted at a bachelor or bachelorette party, might have potential employers misjudge you for the workplace.

3. Make sure that you have an appropriate e-mail address. is not the email that you want your potential boss or employer contacting you at.

4. You may not want to "like" pages that show your political affiliation or your opinion on various social or religious issues.

5. Control who sees your social media pages. You may not be able to delete those crazy photos you posted from Las Vegas, but you CAN control who views them through your privacy settings. Make sure that you have the settings right!

Social media, such as LinkedIn can be beneficial for job hunting and making professional connections. Professional discussion boards can also highlight your strengths for potential employers. So, be careful with Facebook!!!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Don't Give Up!! Keep Pursuing Your Dream!!

You have just finished college, earned a Bachelor's Degree in Education and are looking for a teaching position. You have taught for a few years, and now have relocated to a new area, city or state and are looking for a teaching position. You graduated with a Bachelor's degree in another degree area besides Education and now have completed your Master's in Education and are looking for a teaching position. No matter what your story is, finding a teaching position in this economy is difficult. Schools are increasing class size, eliminating classrooms, reducing staff and looking for the least expensive teacher to hire.

Talking to principals who are posting vacancies on the online sites, they receive an average of 800 applications for any one position. Can you imagine reviewing or sorting through applications to find the 8-10 candidates that you would like to interview for the first round? How can you make your application stand out? How do you continue to pursue a teaching position AFTER the school year has started? How do try to get yourself noticed in a school?

1. Make sure that your cover letter is connected to the goals of the school or district. In your cover letter, you do not need to reiterate your education, student teaching experiences or how much you love teaching. Your cover letter should outline the goals of the school and how these match your goals and what you can contribute to the school. Your experiences with PLCs, unit development, assessments, student data and the common core would be areas that you should highlight in your cover letter. THOSE are the experiences that principals want.

2. Your resume should outline your professional competencies-- your strengths, what you can do very well. Make a bulleted list: establishing procedures and routines in the classroom? collaborative team work? work with the common core? use of student data to differentiate instruction?

3. Your resume should outline your work experience. Again highlight the experiences that you had in either a teaching position or student teaching. It is not necessary to say, "developed science units on electricity and energy." It would develop more interest to the reader to see, "developed science units identifying essential outcomes for student mastery and designing assessments."

4. Tailor your resume to the teaching vacancy. You should tweak your resume if you pursuing a kindergarten position vs. a 2nd grade position vs. a fifth grade position. There are different literacy competencies that principals would be looking for dependent on the grade level.

5. SUBSTITUTE teach. Get out and get in those schools and sub!!! That is how you get to know the school or district, get to know the goals of a school or district, get to know the teachers and staff, and get to know the curriculum. If teachers see your professionalism, they will request you. They want a sub who can follow their plans and that will continue the learning in their classroom.

6. Know what is going on in education. Professional Learning Communities, Common Core Standards, in IL, the new teacher evaluation process, balanced literacy, formative and summative assessment, collaborative work with a team, are some of the buzz words that you need to understand and be able to talk about. Can you?? Look at the IL state website,, read my weekly blog on and check out my Facebook page, The Teacher Guru, for the most up-to-date educational issues.

7. Keep checking the vacancies!! I am so excited that one of my clients just got a teaching position this week, the last week of September!! Schools/districts have vacancies that occur during the year for a variety of reasons: maternity leaves, medical leaves, and increase in state or federal grant funds, to name a few. So check those vacancies every day!!!