JSU’s education majors were granted a unique opportunity on February 2015. It was the students, not potential employers, who presented themselves for judgment at the Reverse Education Fair.
At the JSU Reverse Career Fair, education majors, undergraduate and graduate students set up booths demonstrating their lesson plans, qualifications and areas of expertise.
The hope is to catch the eye of potential employers as they wander by, earning an interview or perhaps even a position teaching at a nearby school.
While many people may find this intimidating, the initial unease fades as prospective employers come up to speak, asking about lesson plans and expertise, all while getting to know the student at the booth.
“I like it. I was a little reluctant to come at first, but I met a few principals and I understand that they are just people. I was even offered the opportunity of an interview, which I didn’t expect,” said Brad Easley, an English Language Arts major. Easley will be graduating in May.
“It’s kind of intimidating at first, because you’re the one representing yourself and presenting yourself,” said Casey Jones, a Social Sciences major and graduate student in Secondary Education, “But it’s also very helpful because you get to show the full package of you and what you have to offer.”
For the students who are seeking a career in their chosen field, the Reverse Career Fair is a unique opportunity.
“I think it’s beneficial for us future teachers. Like a job interview, but not a job interview,” said Jordan Walker, a Secondary Ed/Early Childhood major.
The students were not the only ones who were impressed. Just ask Michael Turner, principal of Leeds High School, “I love the set up in terms of the Reverse Career Fair. I like how teachers are able to set up and show their strengths. It’s one thing to say what you’re looking for, but the opportunity to see what they have to offer is also important.”
The fair is a definite change from the norm, in which potential employers set up booths in an attempt to recruit new blood.
When asked of its origins, Becca Turner, Director of Career services at JSU, said, “It was a collaborative effort between Secondary Education, Career Services and Dean John Hammett.”
Despite all of the work that goes into making the Reverse Career Fair a reality, those involved in organizing it couldn’t be happier.
Professor Ray Hammett, Supervisor of Teacher Candidates, said, “Oh, it’s an unbelievable experience, and for the students. We have students who graduated in December and some who graduated in May. The Reverse Career Fair allows them to display their skills.”
Overall the Fair has been a rousing success. “I know that at least two teacher candidates were hired full time as a result of the fair,” said Turner, “We are most proud of our Reverse Career Fair because it allows us to capitalize on the synergy with the College of Education and Professional Studies, the students and the school systems that participate.”