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Job Search Handbook

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Featuring Kristen (Cospito) DiBlasi '08

 

Position: 6th Grade Math Teacher
School: Fairview School District
Location: Erie, PA
Graduate School: SUNY Albany
Graduate Program: Literacy and Special Education

(Profiled: November 2011)

 

♦  How did you connect with this job opportunity?
♦  What attracted you to this position?
♦  What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
♦  What has been/was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
♦  How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
♦  What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
♦  What job search tips would you give to GCC students?

 

How did you connect with this job opportunity?
Upon graduation from GCC, I moved back home to NY and pursued a master’s degree in Literacy and Special Education at SUNY Albany. I completed my program in 2009, got married in early 2010, and then moved to Erie, PA to join my husbandwho was already in Erie attending LECOM as a medical student.

I researched several local school districts in Erie, and Fairview immediately stood out as being an excellent district. I sent my application in for an elementary opening, and was extremely disappointed when I received a letter that the position had been filled. I continued my job search elsewhere until I got a call over the summer. A middle-school math position had opened at Fairview Middle School, and because the district had kept my file on record, my application immediately surfaced due to my middle-school mathematics certification (I had a math/science emphasis at Grove City and got the add-on certification in middle school math). After that initial call from the principal, I went through several interviews, including a performance interview, and was hired a few weeks later.

 

What attracted you to this position?
I initially applied to Fairview School District because of its excellent reputation in Erie County as well as the district’s mission of, “Developing the whole student. Achieving excellence in academics, athletics, and the arts.”

After hearing about the middle-school math position, I was very excited about teaching in a middle-school setting and focusing on one content area. In addition, I was excited about being a part of two teams within the building (content-area and grade-level) and the opportunity to work with other talented professionals.

 

What are the most gratifying aspects of your job?
I currently have about 130 students, and the students are definitely the best part of my job. I love how not only do I get to teach my students, but I also learn something from them everyday. Middle-school students are funny!

I also am blessed to work with amazing faculty and staff members.

 

What was your biggest challenge as a first-year teacher?
Initially, my biggest challenge was putting all of the “pieces” together. I had a great education through both GCC and my graduate program and felt very prepared for my jobI envisioned my organized classroom, I anticipated creating routines and procedures, I knew the importance of communication with parents and families, and I understood how effective instruction was the keybut I was given a blank slate. Within a few days, I settled into a great routine, but it took a lot of time, thought, and preparation to create the classroom environment in which my students would be successful.

However, my job is never “finished.” The nature of being a teacher requires reflection. I am continually refining my teaching practices, as well as my classroom routines and procedures.

 

How did your time at GCC prepare you for the teaching field?
I could probably write pages about how Grove City prepared me to be an educator, but I’ll try and highlight the main ideas:
♦  I was given a solid education foundation with a Christian world view– understanding that the calling of a teacher goes beyond the classroom walls.
♦  I learned practical and current teaching practices in order to be an effective educator.
♦  I gained various and diverse teaching experiences through embedded and independent field experiences (rural, suburban, private, public, and international).

 

What advice would you give to a current pre-service teacher in order to better prepare for his or her future classroom?
♦  Take advantage of every opportunity to be in the classroom through field experiences.
♦    Attend professional development seminars and begin networking.
♦Get to know your professors – they are invaluable resources and they have a vested interest in your future.

 

What job search tips would you give to GCC students?
♦  Start early. Most districts will keep your file on record for a year. In my situation, it’s how I landed my job.
♦  Make a teaching portfolio—a working document to highlight your strengths as an educator, your philosophy of education and your teaching experiences. Not only will it be an interview requirement for many districts, but it will also help you prepare for interview questions because it is such a personal and reflective document.
♦  Do a mock interview with Mrs. Snyderit really helps you to prepare for job interviews.

 

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Education Career Services
Grove City College | 100 Campus Drive, Grove City, PA, 16127
PH: (724) 458-3397 |
2010 Education Career Services
Maintained By: Deb Snyder | Last Updated: January 2014