12/03/2019 by Carney Sandoe Staff | Landing the Job
Everything You Need to Know About Spanish and French Teacher Jobs
¿Quieres encontrar un trabajo de enseñanza de español? Cherchez-vous un emploi d'enseignant le français?
If you can understand either of those sentences and the answer is “yes,” then you've come to the right place! Here at Carney, Sandoe & Associates, we're preparing for the upcoming independent school hiring season. During these busy months, we'll be working with hundreds of schools across the country to help them find foreign language teachers.
Placement Associate Courtney Bardo and Placement Assistant Jake Atwood make up part of the foreign languages team at CS&A. While their work spans a number of modern languages (including Chinese, German, and Italian), the majority of their work is focused on helping Spanish and French teachers find new positions at schools that are the best fit for them.
To get job seekers ready for the hiring season, Courtney and Jake share everything you need to know about finding a foreign language teaching job.
What does the current market for Spanish and French foreign language teaching jobs look like?
Foreign languages have been and continue to be a high-demand area. As the world becomes more and more globalized, schools have continued to recognize the need to give their students the language skills to thrive across cultures and countries. In the last 10 years, we’ve also seen a growing trend of schools developing global-studies programs. As foreign language jobs remain in high supply, relatively, we believe that the trend towards global studies illustrates the underlying wisdom that language programs (which facilitate a globally-minded education) and language teachers continue to be valued and sought-after. At the same time, the proliferation of global studies demonstrates the growing opportunity of language teachers to fulfill the needs of schools working to foster better global citizens.
What experience and education are schools looking for when hiring teachers?
First, it's important to know that schools want to see candidates with subject matter expertise and require teachers to have bachelor’s degrees, preferably in their target language (although minors or extensive coursework in the target language may be acceptable). Advanced degrees are helpful but not always required. Many schools will offer financial support to teachers who wish to take classes towards earning an advanced degree. Second, in addition to content knowledge, schools are looking for candidates that have prior relevant teaching experience. For career changers and recent college graduates who might not have formal classroom experience, having experience working with children is key; the more experience these types of candidates have with kids (working at a summer camp, tutoring, etc.), the better. Lastly, the vast majority of the schools we work with do not require or look for teaching certifications.
What else stands out on a resume for a Spanish or French language teacher?
Schools love seeing that someone is a native speaker of the language they teach. Being able to speak and teach more than one language (even if you only feel comfortable teaching your second language at the beginner level) also makes you more versatile and desirable in the job market. Any experience outside of the U.S. will jump out on a resume, whether you lived overseas for 20 years or you’re a college senior who has just returned from studying abroad.
What tips can you share for a candidate making a campus visit?
It’s all about the five P’s: Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance (yes, “prior preparation” is redundant). The school is your audience and (potentially) your soon-to-be community. By the time you arrive on campus you should have a strong sense of what to expect from that audience: what the school values, how faculty and students at the school dress (website pictures are great for this one), and how the school is changing. If you know who you’ll be meeting with, look them up on LinkedIn and figure out what you might have in common. You can also always email us and we can share any information we have on the school or the folks involved in the hiring process.
You should develop a sense of how you can add value to the school. If the school has a significant sports program, and you’re a fanatic supporter of Arsenal, perhaps you could assistant coach one of the soccer teams. If the school has a notable Model UN club, and you were involved in Model UN at one point in your life, be ready to talk about how your experience will shape the experience of the Model UN students you will advise. Know yourself, know your school, and figure out what makes you the best candidate for the job.
Even though you're the interviewee, you should be using campus visits to make sure you can see yourself at that school. On finalist visits, make sure that the questions you prepare serve multiple purposes. These questions should show that you’ve done your research, but they should also functionally help you determine your interest in the job. A great tip is to write down some of the more challenging questions you want to ask so that you’re ready to ask them tactfully while also making sure the answers will help you gather whatever information you need to make a decision if you are offered a job.
What tips can you offer a candidate presenting a demo lesson on a school visit?
There are three keys to a great demo lesson: get the students engaged, teach a topic that you believe in—something that gets you excited, and connect your lesson to what students are already learning. The purpose of the demo lesson is to see how you interact with students—the school already believes you know the material if they’ve invited you on a campus visit. This is not the time for a 30–minute lecture. Work with students in the class and try to get them speaking with both with you and with each other. Use the demo as an opportunity to begin building long-term relationships with students like you would if you accepted a job at the school.
Choosing a lesson plan or topic that excites you helps you to better demonstrate the types of lessons and conversations that get you excited about teaching. This will give the school a better window into who you are and how you would fit into their community.
Finally, we suggest touching base with the teacher whose class you are teaching prior to your visit. Run the lesson plan or topic by them to see how it might connect to the material they’re engaging in every day. Remember that for the teacher whose class you’re in, you’re not just a French or Spanish language teaching candidate. You’re also a guest speaker enriching their class, and you can add a lot of value if you make connections between what you’re teaching and what the class is studying.
Any other trends or specifics related to foreign language teaching jobs that job seekers should know about?
Every year, some of our language candidates conduct their searches from outside the U.S. For those candidates, it is even more important to be accessible to schools given the challenges of interviewing across time zones and managing the logistics of a finalist campus visit. When a school is coordinating a virtual interview, the most successful candidates offer a wide range of available dates and times and are on-time for the phone call or Skype conversation. Similarly, the most successful overseas candidates respond to emails quickly (this is true for all candidates, but especially crucial for those overseas). Also, while not necessary, attending one of our Hiring Conferences can make an impact in the success of a job search for overseas candidates.
If you're looking for a foreign language teaching job or thinking about your next move, apply now to work with CS&A. It's our mission to find you a job you love at a school where you'll thrive. Our services are always free to job seekers. Learn more about foreign language teaching jobs here.
In addition to foreign languages, we fill roles in all other primary and secondary subject areas, as well as administrative and leadership roles, at K-12 private, independent schools worldwide.
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