Today just keeps getting better! I received a phone call from a principal offering me an interview for a Long Term Occasional (LTO) teaching position. For any non-educators that might be reading this, it means that it is a temporary teaching contract for a specific position, usually to cover for things like a maternity leave. Getting an LTO would mean a temporary reprieve from the inconsistency of daily supply work, pay according to the salary grid, and experience that counts toward seniority with the board. For those of you currently in a similar position as myself (trying to land one of these sought-after positions), you are probably wondering what I did to get the interview (because we all know how difficult just getting to that stage is). Well, I can only speculate of course, but here are some things like likely played a big role in the process.

It started with a phone call from a teacher I supplied for last year. She infomed me that there was a posting at the school and thought she would just pass along the information in case I was interested. This certainly came as a surprise for me because although I supplied in her class, it certainly wasn't on a regular basis and I didn't realize I had made such an impression that she would even think to call me. It's amazing what a little networking (namely leaving a business card with every teacher and school you supply for) can lead to!

The next step was of course the application. I sprang to work on my cover letter and resume as soon as I hung up the phone. I adjusted some information in my resume, but I concentrated on my cover letter. I made sure to mention that I heard about the job from a teacher at the school. I addressed it to the specific school and principal, and researched the school. I tried to include information that spoke to the goals of the school and what I had learned in a recent AQ course. I addressed specific ways my experience, skills, and knowledge could be apllied in this job. I finished it off with a pleasant summary paragraph that mentioned some personal qualities. I also included a short, point-form list of other skills and experience that an employer may be interested in knowing about, but don't directly relate to the job (i.e. my Spec. Ed. qualifications, or my placement in Italy).

After sending off my application online, I brought up my board email account and sent a quick note to the principals I listed as references. I notified them of the position I had applied for and also said that I hoped they would be contacted for a reference. Now employers usually only check references after interviewing candidates, but by informing my references about my application, there is a good chance that they may put in a good word for me with their colleague. Plus, it gives them a "heads up" if in fact I get an interview so they can prepare what they want to say. Often interviews come up with short notice, so contacting your references beforehand gives references extra notice, and it can avoid problems if, for example, they are unavailable (I would then have time to gather additional references).

From there, it's just a waiting game. It's frowned upon to follow up on your application for teaching positions. With hundreds of applicants for each posting, it's not a surprise that the board and schools can't handle all those phone calls! You also never hear a word unless you are selected for an interview, so after I send off an application, I quickly forget about it because that's usually as far as things go. This time I lucked out and received that all-important interview call back! Wish me luck tomorrow when I finally have a chance to show myself off :)

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