I have been a SAHM for four years now. While I am grateful and treasure this special once in a lifetime experience with my kids, I am ever mindful of the reality that the time is fast approaching when I will need to return to the workforce. I currently hold a BS degree in history. I also hold a valid Michigan teaching certificate. I live in Michigan, a state that seems to be competing with California for the state with the worst economy and job prospects in the nation. Given the current economic outlook in my state, it is the perfect time to be at home with my children.
Even though I’m at home, I still need to continue to grow professionally as an educator and expand my skill base. It is important that I continue to build my resume. When I am ready to re-enter the workforce, I need to be able to show potential employers that I did more than just stay at home. I need to be able to show that I used my time away from the classroom to continue to grow as an educator.
Please understand me. I’m certainly not minimizing the importance of being a SAHM. I happen to believe that what I do every day is one of the most important and challenging jobs I will ever have. I have learned to become organized, streamlined, efficient, thrifty, creative, and resourceful on a scale I could never have from teaching in a classroom. However true that may be, it is still important to continue to add marketable employment skills to my resume so that I am ready when the time comes to snag that interview or get that great teaching job.
So what can I do as a SAHM to pad my teaching resume with marketable teaching skills that are attractive to employers? Here are a few possibilities.
A great way to build your teaching resume is by attending professional development workshops and conferences. You can deduct any costs associated with attending conferences and workshops from your taxes as a business expense. No money to hire a babysitter? Invite grandma over for a special day with the kids or set up play dates with your children’s friends at their homes. You can repay the favor and have the play date at your house the next time. There are also numerous free and low cost professional development opportunities available. I recently attended a conference for parents and educators sponsored by a local university that was completely free and included sessions with topics on various aspects of parenting, teaching, homeschooling, and discipline. The conference counted as three professional development credits in my state, and at no cost to me. What could be better than a no cost way to build your teaching resume?
Help school children with their reading, work at the library, or tutor students. The possibilities are endless. Volunteer work in a school setting is what you should aim for here. Teachers are usually more than grateful to have an extra set of hands in the classroom. The benefit to you: another way to build your teaching resume. The benefit to them: a certified experienced teacher to lend a hand. This is a win-win situation for everyone, especially the kids.
Subbing is a great way to build your teaching resume. You don’t need to sub a lot, not even half time to benefit. One day a week is sufficient to be able to list that school district under the employment section of your resume. Since you get paid to sub you are technically an employee of the school district for which you are subbing. An added benefit: the school personnel get to know you and see what a great job you can do. This may just be a way to get your foot in the door when you are finally ready to seek out that teaching job.
Practicing teachers are always looking for more great ideas. I know I was when I was in the classroom. Writing educational articles for the internet or educational periodicals looks great on your resume and helps to keep your writing skills polished. Another great way to build your teaching resume is to submit lesson plans, ideas, tips, and self created materials to teaching magazines like the Mailbox. This can be a great option because you can use things you’ve compiled over your years of teaching. Your submissions may simply require a bit of tweaking to be print ready.
Become a Grant Writer
Writing educational grants is a great way to build your teaching resume and get more opportunities for your child’s school at the same time. Grant writing is not difficult. It will take a commitment of some of your time as you need to search out grant opportunities and then spend some time writing them according to specific requirements. The upside is that this can be done almost completely from home in your spare time. In most cases you do not need to be a teacher or school employee to write a grant. You may however need a contact liaison at the school. And it is always wise to get permission from the principal or other school authority before pursuing a grant on behalf of the school. Start by researching some possible educational grants your school may be interested in and compile a list. Then approach the teacher or principal with your ideas.
Partner with Your Child’s Teacher
Partnering with your child’s teacher can be an easy way to build your teaching resume. Volunteer to set up educational activities based on units being studied in the classroom, assist in the classroom, read with students, or to coordinate field trips. Become your child’s room parent. You’d be surprised how this simple volunteer opportunity can build your teaching resume with marketable skills and experience.
President Obama was right, it is the perfect time for a SAHM to go back to school. This is especially true if you want to build your teaching resume. Work towards your Master’s degree, get additional training in your content areas, or take classes to get additional endorsements on your teaching certificate.