Your self-inventory will help you know yourself, but you also need to know your potential employer and what the employer is looking for. There simply is no replacement for doing your homework to learn about the Ministry of Education, the board, the neighbourhood and the school to which you are applying.
What does the Ministry of Education expect of Ontario teachers?
It is very important that you have knowledge of the ministry’s plan for improving student achievement. Visit www.edu.gov.on.ca for information about ministry directions. In the Publications link, you will find a document entitled Reach Every Student – Energizing Ontario Education. This document outlines the ministry plan for publicly funded education and will provide you with an understanding of the priorities of school boards in Ontario.
There are many other important documents to be found here. They provide valuable information about strategies for literacy, numeracy, curricula, differentiating instruction and the Student Success initiative, to mention just a few. It is important to understand these documents to be successful during your interview and in the classroom.
What are boards looking for in teachers?
What do you know about the board’s mission statement? Does this board have a particular focus on character education, for example? Learning more about your target will guide your thinking about your potential contributions at all levels.
Consider your self-inventory from the perspective of a school board or principal, especially your job-related skills. How have you developed and demonstrated your knowledge of:
As you continue researching your target, keep going back to your self-inventory and reflecting on the ways in which your skills and qualities meet the needs of the mission statement of the board to which you are applying. Consider how your skills and qualities compliment the board’s specialized priorities and programs. When you see a specific job ad or posting, you can also refer to your self-inventory to determine how your skills and experiences meet the stated requirements of that job.
Advice from a Principal
It is admittedly challenging to adapt to a new culture, new school culture, and possibly, a new language in which to teach. However difficult it may be, try to focus on the assets that you bring to this system and persist. Here is some advice from a former principal.
“Do not feel that you have to apologize for your uniqueness. See it as an asset. The richness that you bring to the schools and school districts in Ontario is valued. Additional cultural experience and facility with languages other than the two official languages are definite assets. Always express yourself as a knowledgeable and committed professional.”