On April 5th, we gave applicants to our teacher preparation programs an opportunity to discover Bank Street and meet members of our community. They got to meet various faculty and staff members, participate in model lessons, and hear from a group of current students and alumni. During the event, we asked the applicants to write down questions for our panelists and unfortunately ran out of time! Here, two members of our panel answer the questions that we were not able to get to:
1. Do recent graduates ever get head teacher jobs?
Shavon: Absolutely recent grads get head teaching jobs. Upon graduating from Bank Street I received my first head teaching job in an integrated preschool classroom (as a special ed teacher) in Harlem through the Cooke Center for Learning and Development. As I mentioned during the panel, Bank Street is to Education as Harvard is to Law. We are highly sought after in the education field. Your prior experience and ability to present your skills are also a major factor in getting a job. I used the Bank Street Job fair and online resources to find that position.
John: Yes! I’ve heard of many of our graduates getting head teacher jobs and a few I know personally, as well. I think many of them were able to find spots in private or charter schools, and some in public schools. It seems that networking through fieldwork placements can be a huge help in this area. Since you are either in one school for the year or 3 schools for extended periods, you can make a name for yourself and have a better chance at openings.
2. How do BSC graduates like working in public schools?
Shavon: I am not currently in a public school. However I do work in a Community Based Organization (Head Start/Early Learn ing Program). It is a good fit for me!
John: I think there is some hesitation about bringing progressive education into public schools which are often viewed as under-resourced or full of at-risk students. However, coursework here provides many strategies for all kinds of classrooms. You’ll also be happy to find very inspiring and dedicated public school teachers and students despite what popular media might have you believe otherwise.
3. What does Bank Street do to accommodate students who are already teachers?
Shavon: Is the person referring to student teaching or in general? If the student is referring to student teaching, then it all depends on your prior experience, what your position in your current teaching position is and what the state requires of you for certification. If you can use your current position then Bank Street allows it. If not then there is a summer option for Special Ed majors. For a more clear answer on a case by case basis, it is best to speak to the director of the individual program you are applying to.
John: Many who are already teaching may have certifications but not their masters degrees. Getting a specialization in literacy, for example, is one way you can expand your teaching range through Bank Street. I think the more obvious answer though is that the coursework and experience here will give you immediate and engaging activities to try in your classroom.
4. How do you balance working and being in graduate school?
Shavon: TIME MANAGEMENT!!!!!!!! I plan ahead with my teaching duties and my grad assignments. I also use all available time to get things done. For Example: My commute from Brooklyn to Bank Street was 1.5 hours. I would use that time to do my readings and begin drafting responses for my written assignments. I also used my daily planner religiously to help me stay on track. Lastly , if I could use my personal classroom or the children within to help me complete assignments, I did because it was convenient and helped me to apply my studies.
John: It’s not easy, but taking a look at the syllabus ahead of time and being very open with your professors about your work/personal commitments is a good start. Professors here are very understanding and non-punitive in nature. This isn’t to say that coursework is easy by any means, but professors are approachable and in almost all cases willing to extend assignment due dates or provide alternate ways of showing what you’ve learned.
5. What is the job hunt like?
Shavon: The job hunt for me was easy! Bank Street holds two job fairs in the spring. One for independent/private schools and one for public schools. I attended both and submitted my resume and cover letter to schools I was interested in. I also utilized the Bank Street online job postings. I then began to circulate my resume through email. I began this process in January and I had 4 offers for jobs by the end of April.
John: It’s a lot of form-filling-out, and my biggest tip at the moment (see the blog for more) is to have a few personal stories ready to tell, and rehearse them a bit. You never know how you will strike a chord with someone, and how important it is to make a human connection through opening up a bit in an interview.
6. What do you wish you would’ve known before entering the program?
Shavon: I wish I would have known more about scholarships and how to apply before I started Bank Street to save money and not have to take out so many loans.
John: I wish I had known more about how financial aid works, which is my own fault since you can easily email them with questions, drop by for a visit, schedule a consultation, or see their website for information.
There were also some really helpful tips that our panelists were able to offer during the event:
- Want to find out about inexpensive or free cultural things to do in the city?
Cool Culture is an organization that allows income-eligible families to experience many of NYC’s rich cultural institutions for free! As a teacher, Shavon was able to utilize these services. Many of our panel members also mentioned how your student ID card can get you into places for free, and sites like nycgo.com always has listings that are inexpensive or free.
- Health Insurance: If you are under the age of 26, it is beneficial to stay on your parents’ health insurance plan. OpenCUNY.org has a helpful list of services you can utilize that are low cost. John was able to utilize the Affordable Care Act during open enrollment to register for inexpensive health insurance. Enrollment should open again in the Fall, but it is possible you might still be eligible to apply if you have a qualifying life event.
- Panelist Katie Shea mentioned how she emailed schools that had Bank Street graduates on staff and asked to keep her in mind if positions became open. This worked well for her as she was offered multiple opportunities.
- Our alumni network has a national and global reach! Panelist Samantha Bedol will be moving out-of-state and Dean Virginia Roach talked to her about connecting with over 100 of our alumni who currently live in the city she will be moving to.
- Looking for housing? Many panel members mentioned our admitted student Facebook page as a way to find housing since postings are listed once in awhile. Our office also has a page that will help you navigate the apartment hunt in NYC.