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Landing a Teaching Career with a Geography Degree: Tips and Strategies

February 20, 2023 · 6 min read

Getting a job as a teacher with a degree in geography can be a competitive process, but with the right preparation and strategy, it can be a fulfilling and rewarding career. In this article, we'll provide you with tips on how to get hired as a teacher with a degree in geography, as well as a job description to give you a better understanding of what the role entails.

Job Description

A geography teacher is responsible for teaching students about the physical and human features of the world and the relationships between them. They typically work at the middle school or high school level and are responsible for creating and delivering lessons, grading assignments, and managing a classroom. In addition to teaching, they may also serve as a mentor to students and participate in school events and activities.

Required Skills for a Geography Teacher

  • Knowledge of geography: A comprehensive understanding of geography, including physical geography, human geography, and cartography, is essential for a geography teacher. This includes knowledge of different regions, countries, and cultural groups, as well as an understanding of geography as a field of study.
  • Communication skills: Effective communication skills are essential for a geography teacher, as they are responsible for delivering complex information in a clear and accessible way to students. This includes the ability to present information through lectures, discussions, and other teaching methods, as well as the ability to answer questions and provide feedback to students.
  • Classroom management: A geography teacher must have the ability to manage a classroom effectively, creating a positive learning environment for students and maintaining discipline. This includes the ability to set clear expectations for student behavior and to manage behavior issues as they arise.
  • Technology skills: Geography teachers must be comfortable using technology in the classroom, including interactive maps, GIS software, and other tools used to teach geography.
  • Adaptability: The geography curriculum and teaching methods are constantly evolving, and a geography teacher must be adaptable and willing to change their approach as needed. This includes being open to new technologies and teaching methods, as well as the ability to incorporate new ideas and theories into their teaching.
  • Creative thinking: A geography teacher must be creative and innovative in their approach to teaching, developing engaging and interactive lessons that keep students interested and motivated.
  • Patience and empathy: Geography teachers must be patient and understanding with their students, recognizing that everyone learns at a different pace and with different learning styles. They must also be empathetic, understanding the challenges that students face and working to support them as they learn.
  • Planning and organizational skills: A geography teacher must be able to plan and organize their teaching, creating lesson plans and assessment materials that align with state standards and curriculum requirements. They must also be able to manage their time effectively, balancing the demands of teaching with administrative tasks and other responsibilities.

Job Outlook

The job outlook for geography teachers is positive, with growth in demand for K-12 teachers expected to continue in the coming years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of high school teachers is projected to grow 5% from 2021 to 2031, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. This demand is largely driven by an increasing enrollment in K-12 schools, as well as a need to replace retiring teachers.

Tips for getting hired

1. Build your resume: Your resume is often the first impression you make on potential employers, so it's important to make sure it's strong and showcases your skills and experience. Make sure to highlight your education, including your degree in geography and any related courses or certifications. Additionally, include any teaching experience you have, such as student teaching, tutoring, or substitute teaching.

2. Get certified: In many states, you'll need to obtain a teaching certification in order to work as a teacher. The certification process typically involves taking and passing a certification exam, as well as completing a teacher training program. Make sure to research the specific requirements for your state, as they can vary.

3. Network: Networking is an important aspect of finding a job in any field, and teaching is no exception. Attend education conferences, join teacher organizations, and connect with other teachers and educators in your community. You never know when a connection may lead to an opportunity.

4. Utilize job sites: There are a number of job sites that list open teaching positions, including those specifically for geography teachers. 

5. Prepare for interviews: When you're called for an interview, make sure you're well-prepared. Research the school and district, review the job description, and have examples of how you can contribute to the school and its students ready.

6. Get involved in professional development opportunities: Professional development opportunities, such as workshops and conferences, can help you expand your skills and knowledge, as well as keep you up-to-date on the latest teaching methods and best practices in the field. Consider attending a conference specifically focused on geography education to network with other geography teachers and learn about new resources and teaching strategies.

National Council for Geographic Education (NCGE) is a professional organization for geography educators at all levels. It provides resources, training, and support for geography teachers, and offers opportunities for networking and professional development.

7. Showcase your enthusiasm for geography: In addition to your education and teaching experience, potential employers want to see that you're passionate about geography and excited about sharing that passion with your students. Consider getting involved in local geography organizations or participating in geography competitions to demonstrate your commitment to the subject matter.

8. Consider alternative paths: While traditional public schools are one option for finding a job as a geography teacher, there are many other paths to consider, such as private schools, charter schools, and online schools. Consider exploring all of your options to find the best fit for you and your goals.

9. Stay up-to-date on current events and developments: As a geography teacher, you'll be expected to have a good understanding of current events and developments around the world. Make an effort to stay informed by reading news articles, watching documentaries, and following relevant websites and social media accounts.

American Association of Geographers (AAG) is the largest professional organization for geographers in the world. It provides information on the latest research and trends in geography, as well as opportunities for networking and professional development.

10. Offer to do guest speaking engagements: Consider offering to speak at local schools, community organizations, or youth groups about geography and related topics. This can help you build your reputation as an expert in the field and potentially lead to job opportunities.

By following these tips and being proactive in your job search, you can increase your chances of finding the perfect job as a geography teacher. Good luck!

by Yevheniia Osmakova

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