After winter break this year, we transferred my son to our local neighborhood school from a small private school he was attending in the town where I teach. He was having a hard time adjusting to the small school and making friends in a community where we didn't live. We decided having friends in our neighborhood was more important, so we moved him. After making that decision, we learned so much more about our neighborhood school. It's only 8 years old, so the buildings are new and up to date. They have AC and properly installed technology (Hello ceiling hung projectors!). We also learned that it is the only Arts-Integrated school in all of Hawaii and is ranked a Recognition school by the Hawaii Dept of Education. That's a pretty high honor around here! I couldn't believe all this amazingness was in our backyard and we didn't even know it! I even went to two different arts trainings on Oahu with teachers from this school and fell in love with them - they are just like me! Dedicated, organized, creative, and fun!
Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE my current school. I have met amazing teachers and there are amazing things going on. The principal is dedicated to student success and trusts teachers abilities. It's really refreshing to work in this atmosphere after coming from a K-12 school where the elementary was put on the back-burner and focus was on upper grades (testing). But the commute is killing me. And I miss working and living in the same community. The other day, I was walking down the path of my school after the last bell and realized I didn't know or recognize one single face in the sea of parents because I don't live here and I don't shop or hang out here. There is a disconnect and I don't like it. I want to make connections with parents and know them as people, not just so-and-so's mom. So, in February, I decided I would apply for a transfer.
My neighborhood school is a pretty sought-after school on the island for teachers, so I knew the competition would be hard. I needed to bring my "A game". The first thing I did was search for an updated resume. My current resume was tired and boring. This is an Arts-Integrated school, I need to show my creativity. So I headed to Etsy and searched for resume templates. I fell in love with the Roberta Nowack Resume and Cover Letter template from Pappermint on Etsy.
It comes in Word, but I was easily able to transfer to PowerPoint since Word makes my eye twitch. I really love the look of this: the splash of color on the side, the icons, the pretty font for my name. It comes with fonts, too! SO easy! My old resume was 2 pages, but I condensed all the info to fit on one. I had to make some hard choices as to what I wanted to include. In the end, this is what I came up with. I blocked out some personal information, but you get the idea.
I included a cover letter with my resume and application, as well. In the cover letter, I basically told the new principal about why we moved to Maui and what we were looking for in a community. I told her that I felt her school held the same values we did. I told her about the disconnect I felt in the community I was currently teaching and why I want to live and teach in the same area. I told her about myself as a teacher: my values, beliefs, and goals. The school is arts and technology focused, so I spoke about my competencies in those areas, as well.
As a transfer applicant in Hawaii, they were required to interview me, which I knew was the case. But I still wanted to wow them with my resume and cover letter. This helps them form an opinion of me before they meet me. To prepare for my interview, I created a portfolio to bring with. I used a clear-covered 3-prong folder and some plastic sleeves. I created a cover that matched everything, placed my cover letter and resume, 4 pages of pictures from my classroom, a copy of my teaching license, and two letters of recommendation from my previous principal on Lanai and my current Academic Coach. Here is what the cover and classroom photo pages looked like:
You can see I designed all the pages to match. I knew they used the Daily 5 and CAFE, which I love! So I made sure to showcase those aspects. The cute arrows are from Pretty Grafik Design on Etsy. At the end of my interview when they asked if I had questions, that's when I showed them my porfolio. I then left it with the principal as I left.
Later that day, I was thrilled to receive a call that they chose me for a 5th grade position! It will be a big stretch for me, moving from 1st to 5th, but I'm up for the challenge! My commute will go from 21 miles to 1. And my kids and I will all be at the same school, since my youngest will be starting kindergarten. I couldn't be happier! I think it will help us get to know more of our neighbors with kids and help us feel more settled in our new home and community. I can't wait. Until then, I'll be packing boxes and crying about leaving my new friends at my current school.
"Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end." Ain't that the truth, Semisonic?
Are you switching grades, transferring, or applying for new teaching jobs this year? Tell me all about it!