Reply To: I am dying to get my first teaching job, but …
jholcom3 , to answer your question, you can’t be anyone but yourself. You may be petite and softspoken, but perhaps you’re exactly what they’re looking for! Make sure to speak up during the interview and make eye contact. Also, make sure that you ask your questions about the position, as well. Interviews go both ways. Are you interested in a secondary position? I know lots of female band directors, so I know that they DO exist.
As to the question of the one thing that I would know as a music ed grad is what is your teaching sequence going to be? This took me several years to develop with Elementary Music, and I remember how late I would stay up my first year wondering what on earth I was going to teach the next day! It was so stressful; if you get your position early enough in the year, I would spend your summer getting that taken care of. I taught one year of MS Band, and that was much easier to get going. The method book I used was very helpful.
rmcritc: If you end up teaching something you’re not comfortable with, then spend every outside moment you can getting familiar with it. Again, when I taught band, I never had done it before, so I spent a few days during the summer playing instruments, making sure I could play a basic Bb scale and knew alternate fingerings. I still had to brush up throughout the year.
Regarding the questions about how to get an interview: while looking for my first position, I had LOTS of interviews. In my state, we have all openings posted on the DoE site, and I applied for everything I was certified for. I was surprised because I thought that principals would want experience, but with all of the budget cuts going on, they will usually go for first or second year teachers for the position. When I found my position at my current school, I again applied for everything, but only had 2 interviews, and I think it was because I was in my 5th year of teaching. Good Luck!