Teacher Transfer and Resume Tips!

After a year of being at my wonderful school on Maui, I'm transferring again! I know, I'm crazy.  My husband tells me everyday! My current school is 20 miles away from where we live and I have to drive on a curvy, and often dangerous 2 lane road to the other side of the island.  It's usually not a problem in the mornings, but the afternoons can take me over an hour to get home because of tourist and rush hour traffic.  And when it's whale season, people just stop in the middle of the road to watch spouts and breeches!

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! 

26 comments

  1. Congratulations on your new position! Your resume and portfolio turned out great! I'm moving from fifth to PreK, so I can totally relate!

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  2. I'm so excited for you and your new adventure!! I am also changing jobs this year and enjoyed updating my resume to stand out from the crowd. After 10 years in the classroom, I am excited for my new job as a school technology specialist at two elementary schools in my district. Yay for new adventures!!

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  3. Yey! So happy for you 😀 I agree that you made the right switch when putting family and community first. I also think you reminded us that public education can compete with the private sector in terms of quality It produces. Best of luck on your new chapter- I know it will be very fulfilling! (Love the resume, cover letter, and portfolio!)

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  4. I'm changing jobs this year too! I'm moving from 2nd grade in a public school to Pre-K and K in a private French immersion school. I'm nervous about the jump down, too! It's not quite as big, but it's still a jump. I guess that's part of being a teacher! (This is only my 2nd year!)

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  5. Love your resume, pictures and cover letter! Congrats on the new position!! :)

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  6. Your resume looks amazing...love the idea of including pics of your classroom. I'd love to see a close up of your reading focus wall. I'm thinking about doing one next year and would love to get some ideas of what you include!

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  7. Great tips! I am sending this post to my friend who just graduated college! I also have some great resume tips! It may be helpful so I will include the link- http://rothseri.com/2015/02/18/the-perfect-resume/

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  8. I am moving from full time teaching to subbing and "other" pursuits. We live in Arizona and will spend April-October in the cooler mountains and November-March in the warmer valley...not allowing me to keep a school year contract. Excited for the new adventure ahead! Looking forward to subbing at the 3 schools (along with new ones) where I have enjoyed teaching over the last 8 years.

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  9. I am moving from full time teaching to subbing and "other" pursuits. We live in Arizona and will spend April-October in the cooler mountains and November-March in the warmer valley...not allowing me to keep a school year contract. Excited for the new adventure ahead! Looking forward to subbing at the 3 schools (along with new ones) where I have enjoyed teaching over the last 8 years.

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  10. I transferred to a new county last year and had a fabulous time teaching first grade. Next year, I'm moving to third (which is the first state-tested grade in FL). I'm looking forward to the challenge, but a bit nervous for the testing. I guess I'll get to see firsthand what it's all about!

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  11. congrats on the new position! I was once moved from K to 4th! It was quite an adjustment. I am still jobless at the moment but I know God has a plan!

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  12. Congrats on the new job! Your portfolio looks FANTASTIC! I have taught 5th grade for many years - you will LOVE it. :)

    Jenny
    http://captainplan-it.blogspot.com/

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  13. I'm so glad I found your site! I just finished my first year as a full-time teacher, and I don't plan on staying at my current school forever. This post gave me so many ideas for updating my resume, and I never would have thought of creating a teaching portfolio. I always associate portfolios with designers and artists, but it seems to be a great tool for teachers as well! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Congratulations! I live 3 blocks form the school at teach at and when the weather is nice I can walk to work! My girls were at school with me for 9 years, K-8, they are in high school now with their daddy! You will love having your kiddos at school with you and being able to form connections with families in your neighborhood! Congrats!

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  15. Your resume looks amazing! I love the splash of color, but the fact that it still looks extremely professional and streamlined. I've always struggled with being an experienced teacher, but having to fit all of my information on 1-2 pages. I'm impressed you were able to do this! Congratulations on your new job!
    Katie
    I Want to be a Super Teacher

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  17. Thank you so much for sharing this! I love the resume and just purchased the same one to spice up my old resume. I too am sick of my long commute and would like to find something closer to home! Congrats on your new job!

    Bethany
    FabandFunin4th!

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  19. LOVE the "fresh" look that your resume has...Thank you for sharing!!!

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  20. Congratulations on your new position at a fabulous school! I hope you will enjoy teaching 5th! That would be a scary move for me - from 1st to 5th! Thanks for all the tips. I might want to transfer out of my school and closer to home one day. I love your resume and portfolio. They look SO professional!

    -Cher
    Mrs. Harrison's Hive

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  21. Hi! I just found your blog. Wondering if you have any insight on special education on the big island. We are considering the move but want to make sure there are resources for my son. My email is mmrudnick@yahoo.com. I would greatly appreciate any advice.

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    Keep the good work!!

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