Last Friday afternoon, Sonoma State students had the opportunity to meet with representatives from 42 different school districts from around California at the Educator Job Fair. The fair was an opportunity for students, who are close to graduating from the School of Education at Sonoma State, to start networking with employers for possible teaching opportunities after college.
Students who still have some time before their graduation were also able to participate in the event. Members of the Student California Teachers Association (SCTA) who helped with the organization of the fair, were able to get a taste of what the experience might be like for them in a year or two.
Freshmen Megan Riley and Rachel Mackey were both present for the job fair to represent the booth for SCTA student club and answer any immediate questions about the association. Both students joined the SCTA club their first semester at Sonoma State and immediately became involved.
“We have a leadership team within the club that volunteers to table at any event related to education,” said Riley. “We are tabling to get people to involved in the club and learn about what we do for the community.”
The club volunteers in events around the community including Read Across America and craft making for Teacher Appreciation Day. Students can also attend teacher conferences where they learn more about their potential future careers.
“The conferences are an opportunity to learn about what it is to be a teacher and about the common core subjects that we will be teaching,” said Mackey. “All of these events are an opportunity for us to go out there and meet the teachers and their students to show that we care.”
Paula Lane, an associate professor affiliated with Literacy Studies and Elementary Education, was involved in supervising and advising student teachers to prepare them for the job fair.
“I am so proud of them,” said Lane, “Everyone is dressed up so professionally with their resumes ready to go.”
She said that this event is one of the first opportunities for students to learn how to act in an interview and how to sell yourself and your skill set to possible employers.
“This event is a wonderful introduction to job possibilities in and around Northern California,” said Lane, “It gives students a chance to sell themselves in their interviews with representatives from different districts.”
Lane said that for many students, there isn’t much standing between graduation and employment. After the students of the School of Education pass the Reading Instruction Competence Assessment (RICA), they are eligible for employment. With the market for teaching jobs starting to open up due to current educators retirement, there are a lot of openings for student teachers close to graduation. Events like these give students the opportunity to engage with employers in a comfortable setting on a familiar campus, rather than in an unfamiliar interview setting.
Representatives from different school districts set up booths in the Student Center Ballroom from 1 to 6 p.m. to meet and interview with students. The employers present at the job fair came from a variety of areas of California. There were entire school districts, individual public schools, charter schools as well as the Tri-Valley Learning Corporation and the Yolo County Office of Education. The diversity of the job opportunities and locations gave students the opportunity to explore all possible career paths depending on what they are interested in.