Posted in Miscellaneous

How To Build a Resume As An Undergrad

A few year ago, I had a class assignment to write a resume based on my current work experience. Needless to say, my lack of a degree as well as my limited professional experience made my resume rather sparse. It was then that I realized that the best time to prepare for my future job as a teacher was now—during my undergraduate experience. This blog is dedicated to ideas for part-time jobs that could potentially look good on a future teacher’s resume.
It goes without saying that those who wish to teach high school need to have some experience working with teenagers. There are plenty of opportunities to do this as an undergraduate. During my first summer vacation, I worked as a counselor for Especially for Youth. This is a week-long church summer camp dedicated to helping teenagers grow spiritually. Each week, I was assigned to supervise a new group of ten to fifteen young men as they went about the camp’s activities. Additionally, I taught several classes throughout the week to these teenagers regarding spiritual development and scripture study. These experiences taught me about how teenagers learn and how they work with their peers. This is crucial knowledge for teachers, since they dedicate a vast majority of their time trying to figure out how to facilitate and personalize student learning. While it is true that working as a camp counselor is no substitute for actually teaching a class of 30 students, it is a good part-time job that gives some important insight into working with youth.

While working for summer camps is a nice way to fill those lazy summer vacations with productivity, many undergraduates ask, “What can I do to gain good work experience during the academic year?” In answer to this, I turn to working as a Resident Assistant (RA). At BYU, the on-campus, single student housing is dedicated to first year students—many of whom have been out of high school for a matter of months. As an RA, I was assigned as the supervisor of an entire building of eighteen-year-old college freshmen. My jobs included various administrative jobs such as locking the building at night and helping residents observe visiting hours.

These administrative duties, however, were just a small part of my responsibilities. Most of my time was filled by giving advice to these freshmen students, many of whom were living away from home for the first time. I facilitated their transition into college life by acting as a mentor. From this experience, I learned about giving academic advice to students since that was what most residents came to seek my advice about. In a similar fashion, teachers are expected to meet with struggling students and try different ways to foster learning. Teachers are also expected to act as mentors to their students—giving advice for academic success when it is warranted. Admittedly, working as an RA is still a bit detached from teaching in that there aren’t formal lessons involved in the job. With this being said, working as an RA is a great way to develop leadership and mentor skills needed as a teacher.

The final part-time experience I have had in preparation for teaching is working as a teaching assistant. Unlike working at a summer camp or as an RA, working as a teaching assistant for a professor can give prospective teachers actual experience teaching in a classroom. As many undergraduates have probably noted, teaching assistants working with specific professors doing odd jobs such as grading papers, emailing students, and—depending on the professor—teaching lectures. Some positions, such as teaching assistants associated with American Heritage, are actually assigned their own classes to teach in lieu of a professor. Obviously, this is a part-time job that resembles high school teaching better than most. One of the only differences between working as a teaching assistant and working as a full-time teacher are the students. Teaching assistants typically teach other college students while public school teachers work with teenagers. While it is true that there are differences between college and high school students, what teaching assistants gain from their experience are the skills of leading real classroom discussions, grading assignments, and ensuring classroom management.  Regardless of the grade level, these three skills are critical for any good teacher.

I recognize that there are other part-time job opportunities that would look good on a resume. I would like to hear from you. What jobs have you had that helped prepare you for teaching?

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