You May Not Know It, but You Have an Impressive Résumé

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October 14, 2019

In my new role this year, I have had the strange experience of having someone talk ABOUT me while I stand to the side and wait. It’s necessary to be introduced in these settings, but it can be … awkward, to say the least.
The first time this happened over the summer, the person read my official bio (which I wrote) out loud to a roomful of non-educators. I sat there, smiling, trying to keep my smile natural, as the presenter called my résumé “impressive.” I gave my remarks, and afterwards, a couple of other folks said it, too: “You have an impressive résumé.”
Teachers — I know you feel this with me — umm ... what? My “résumé” is ... teaching. Lots of stuff to lots of kids over lots of years. How is that impressive? (One side note: We teachers are a pretty humble bunch, which is part endearing, part irritating to non-teaching people.)
I remember trying to actually create a résumé a few years ago and thinking, “What in the world can I put on here that would in ANY WAY describe what I actually do?” Since then, I’ve had other teachers ask me the about that same overwhelming task. 
I did a little digging about résumés to try and narrow this down for us. A teacher résumé will look a little different from a business résumé. For example, be sure to highlight your awards, skills and technology acumen. Also, keep it short — two pages at the most. I found these tips pretty helpful. Use objective statements and bold headlines, like this piece recommends.
So I want to give all my educator friends a little advice. Take some time to write down all you’ve done: the classes and grades you’ve taught, the committees you’ve led or been a part of, the teams you’ve coached, clubs you’ve sponsored, concerts you’ve organized and conducted, mentorships you’ve taken on for little or no pay, professional development you’ve presented, conferences you’ve attended, school and/or community outreach projects you’ve coordinated, the awards you’ve received ... ALL OF IT. Write it down. 
Most importantly, go for it. No matter if you’re applying to write for an online publication, applying for your first teaching position, expanding to be an instructional coach or something in a different branch of education altogether, you are qualified, you are smart, and you should make it happen for yourself. You encourage your students to follow their dreams all the time — have the same excitement and belief in yourself.
Or better yet, type it and print it. Then have someone read it out loud in front of you, preferably someone who is not in education. 
You have an impressive résumé, my friend. Own it.

About Cara Lougheed: I am a white, cis-gender, non-disabled, married, middle class woman with 21 years of classroom experience in a suburban public school district. My pronouns are she/her/hers. Anything you find here is based on my perspective, but I acknowledge that perspective has been limited by my experiences, choices, biases (implicit & not) and the unearned privilege I have had in my life. I hope to learn and grow from my colleagues across the state in the coming months as your 2019-20 Michigan Teacher of the Year.
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