By Keely Lake
First, consider where in the K-12 spectrum you may wish to teach. Latin is taught at the high school level and at the middle, elementary, and primary levels.
There are several avenues a job candidate should pursue to find a teaching position at the K-12 level. The first is to register with the placement service at your college or university and to attend the job fairs they hold. Find out if your college, university, or department keeps a standard dossier for job seekers. If so, utilize this service.
Lists of public schools are sometimes available from state boards and departments of education. The more cooperative ones may even share a list of schools teaching particular subjects such as Latin. You should also register with the individual school boards of the districts in which you are interested. Do not hesitate to send letters of inquiry to schools that have not yet announced a vacancy. Such letters are often put on file and are consulted when, as is common, positions become available with little warning. Many charter schools include Latin in their curriculum, so they are another potential source for a job.
Private schools will require a different approach but should not be ignored as they very often include Latin in their curriculum. Religiously affiliated schools often teach Latin and the nature of the school affects hiring practices. Independent Christian and Jewish schools, for example, typically do their own hiring. Catholic schools are often administered through the school board of the local diocese, while those run by individual religious orders should be contacted individually. Similarly, independent schools that have no religious affiliation often have strong Latin programs and do their hiring independently. Lists of such schools are available online. Search using terms such as "independent schools" and "directory."
Job placement services can help with your search as well.
- The American Classical League operates a free, national job placement service that allows you to contact schools with openings directly. It also allows you to see where Latin teaching jobs tend to appear each year.
- Many independent schools post job listings through the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) and their state-level organizations. These websites are helpful in locating open positions for Latin teaching positions.
- Also, a number of web-based services will also help in your search. One such popular program SchoolSpring, but an Internet search using the key words "search teacher position," will return many other possibilities.
- Services exist that will help you find a job in a private school. One such popular agency is Carney Sandoe; another is the Southern Teachers Agency. Others may be found by searching for "private school" and "job placement." Note that such agencies may charge a fee to the school, but their services should be free for the applicant.
Increasingly, as the college and university job market tightens, more PhDs think of teaching at the K-12 level, with the majority of candidates choosing to investigate the middle and high school workplace. Such candidates need to address several issues:
- Some candidates think of such an experience as a “second choice,” reached only in desperation. To the contrary, teaching at this level can be extremely rewarding and challenging, on both a personal and intellectual level. Many high schools—especially the more prestigious private schools—actively recruit PhDs and, quite often, pay them handsomely. Sometimes these positions include coaching or responsibilities in student housing, duties which allow teachers to get to know students beyond the classroom walls.
- Performance counts more than vita entries at this level. Be prepared to prove to prospective employers (some of whom are suspicious of PhDs) that teaching is your first priority and that you have an interest in pre-collegiate students. Provide student evaluations and, when possible, reports by experienced teachers who have observed you teach.
- Be prepared to engage in further training. Some schools will accept you provisionally but require you to obtain state certification within a specified time. Each US state has its own certification requirements. See the SCS resource on state certification requirements. Having some knowledge of the pedagogies of oral Latin may also be expected and will certainly enrich your teaching at any level.
- Pedagogical training in a doctoral program can be useful to someone deciding to opt for K-12 teaching, and training specific to the age group to be taught is necessary to build a strong teaching candidate profile. Again, time spent on such training will be applicable to any level with reflection on the pedagogies explored.
The American Classical League organizes an annual summer institute and offers a wealth of resources for established and prospective K-12 teachers. The National Committee for Latin and Greek also provides useful resources for the teaching of Latin at all levels. An ever-increasing number of elementary and middle schools have Latin programs and The American Classical League houses a committee specifically designed to support these teachers as well as those who teach subjects such as mythology or ancient civilizations at these levels. Excellence through Classics provides teaching packets, the Primanewsletter, the National Mythology Exam, and many other services.