Teacher Career Fairs: Should You Bring Your Fishing Pole?

Sound ridiculous? Hope so. Yet, that’s what happened at a teacher job fair several years ago when a teacher candidate, with an apparent affinity for fishing, brought his fishing pole into the job fair, fully extended, with an index card on the hook stating, “Fishing for a Job.”

Fishing on Kalunkijärvi, Käylä near Ruka

Memorable? Yes.

Recommended? Probably not.

If you are an Education major who is graduating this semester and seeking a teaching job, attend a teacher job fair to diversify your job search strategies and to sharpen your interpersonal and interview skills. A job fair is a great opportunity for visibility, especially if you make a good impression in person, and even more so if your in-person impression is better than your on-paper impression.

In keeping with the blog post from two weeks ago, you may have to extend your geographic boundaries to consider employment in a location that may not be your first choice in order to help you secure your first professional job. Think of relocation as a great opportunity for your personal and professional growth.

In chronological order, here are several upcoming teacher job fairs in Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin:

Multicultural Career Fair
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
Noon to 4:00pm
UW-Whitewater (University Center, Hamilton Room)
Cost = Free
While this fair consists mainly of companies and corporations, several school districts have registered to attend, including the School District of Holmen, Milwaukee Public Schools and Verona Area School District. The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County has also registered to attend.

Mid-America Educator’s Job Fair
Monday, February 27, 2012
10:00am to 3:00pm
Northern Illinois University (Convocation Center) – DeKalb, IL
Cost = $10 for non-NIU candidates
NIU students/grads are eligible to attend at 9:00 am, whereas all other students/grads are eligible to attend beginning at 10:00 am. Schools/districts from Arizona, California, Georgia, Kansas, Maryland, Texas and Honduras have registered to attend this fair. Review each district’s profile to determine their anticipated vacancies.

Lake County Education Job Fair
Saturday, March 10, 2012
8:00am to Noon
Adlai Stevenson High School – Lincolnshire, IL
Cost = Free in Advance Online; $5 at the Door
At the time of this post, 16 school districts from the Chicagoland area had registered to attend this fair.

University of Northern Iowa (UNI) Teacher Job Fair
Saturday, March 24, 2012
8:00am to 5:00pm
University of Northern Iowa – Cedar Falls, IA
Cost = Free
School districts from Arizona, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, and Wyoming have registered to attend this event.

Southeastern Wisconsin Teacher Recruitment Fair
Saturday, April 21, 2012
8:00am to 1:00pm
South Milwaukee High School – South Milwaukee, WI
Cost = $15 in Advance Online
Typically, about 12-15 school districts from the Milwaukee area attend this event. Districts are yet to be announced. Preregistered candidates can enter the job fair at 8:00 am, whereas onsite registrants cannot enter until 10:00 am.

Wisconsin Educational Recruitment Fair
Monday, April 23, 2012
2:00pm to 7:00pm
Monona Terrace – Madison, WI
Cost = $5 for students/grad from sponsoring Wisconsin colleges/universities
The name of this event is a misnomer in that the fair is not limited to Wisconsin school districts. At the time of this post, districts from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin had registered to attend. In the past, districts from Alaska, Arizona, California, Georgia and Nevada have also attended. Click on ‘Candidates,’ ‘District Recruiters’ and then on the District name to reveal the district’s areas of recruitment interest. Registration, via WECAN, begins in March.

Take time to review the information for each fair carefully, because each event has nuances. Also, go back to the fair websites periodically, and especially as the event draws near, for any changes to the list of participating districts and their recruitment intent. Finally, arrive early, bring your professional image, pleasant demeanor and enthusiasm, teaching experience and knowledge, and plenty of resumes – and leave your fishing pole at home.

Photo by Heather Sunderland