First year teacher, with questions before signing first contract

Discussion in 'General Education' started by kgquick118, May 15, 2018.

  1. kgquick118

    kgquick118 Rookie

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    May 15, 2018

    Ok, so I will be a first-year teacher going in to sign my contract for next year, I will be teaching science. I’ve never really signed a professional employment contract before and I don’t want to go into this blindly. First, I want to ask if I have any room to negotiate salary? I don’t think so since our state has a pre-determined salary schedule. I will be teaching science and science teachers are hard to come by so maybe I have some leverage? Probably not. Second, are things like health insurance and time off a given in the contract? Seems like they should be. Lastly, are there any documents I should take with me and what did you wish you knew before signing your first contract?
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    May 15, 2018

    It varies a lot by state, but here in Texas, the contract is usually just to protect the district and not so much for the individual teacher.

    Check the district website. They may offer stipends for hard to fill positions. A school calendar and information about insurance will probably be listed as well.
     
  4. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    May 15, 2018

    Most often you don't have much of a choice for contact terms. I have heard of it happening, but only for teachers who have taught for a while or are moving from a higher paying district to a lower paying one. Personally, I wouldn't try to negotiate. For the few times I've heard of in which teachers ask for a higher salary and get it, I've heard an equal number ask, get turned down, and then lose out on the job offer.

    The exception would be a private or charter school with no published pay scale. In that case, you really do have to advocate for yourself. But published pay scales are there specifically to avoid guessing about salary.
     
  5. cupcakequeen

    cupcakequeen Comrade

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    May 16, 2018

    I can't speak for every state, but in NC you would absolutely not be able to negotiate your salary. It is what it is. Here our contracts are kept very general. I happen to have a copy of my contract right by me since I just signed a new one. It basically says I am employed by XYZ board of education for a term of 4 years, and work for 10 months of the year. It says the board may but is not required to reemploy me at the end of the contract, I'm paid according to the state scale, I have to maintain a valid teaching license, perform all duties as assigned, and am entitled to insurance and earned leave (but nothing more specific) and then gives the terms for giving notice/terminating my contract.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 16, 2018

    Yeah, it is very rare to be in a position where you can negotiate your contract. They should share with your your salary and benefits as part of your job offer. If you've decided that those are good enough that you want to accept the job, then just sign the contract. Don't even ask about negotiation. This is all assuming that you are working at a regular public school. If it's private or charter, then you might want to ignore my advice and negotiate away.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 16, 2018

    My contract says very little. It basically says I am under contract with the school division and that I have a recurring renewal. It also states my resignation date, should I want to leave the division. Our salary is set by our collective agreement (union) so that is not negotiable. Insurance, leave, etc. is all in our collective agreement. Find out if you have a union, because that will dictate a lot.
     
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  8. kgquick118

    kgquick118 Rookie

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    May 18, 2018

    So I signed the contract. Quick question, is opting out of the state 401k plan seen as suspicious to the district? I need the money and know what I'm sacrificing.
     
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Not suspicious but often not allowed. Opting out isn’t allowed in my state.
     
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  10. kgquick118

    kgquick118 Rookie

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    May 19, 2018

    Well hopefully I'm allowed to contribute a minimal amount. I plan to live in another state after next school term.
     
  11. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    May 19, 2018

    I’m sure it varies by state, but, in my state, it’s mandated that 14.5% of your salary goes to retirement. Here, you’d have no choice in the matter. However, if you do leave the state retirement system, you are usually allowed to withdraw your funds at that time. So you could take them with you when you leave.
     
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  12. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    May 19, 2018

    You'll just take a hit when you do that! But I've done it now... twice.
    :)
     
  13. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    True. If you keep the money, you’ll pay taxes on it. If you roll it over into an IRA, though, then you will get a full refund. I’ve pulled money out of four accounts in the past - rolled over three of them and kept one.
     
  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    May 19, 2018

    :)
    I kept the money and used it to pay moving expenses. Moving back and forth across the country ain't cheap, especially if you do it more than once like I did. But I'm proud of myself as I've actually stayed in ONE spot for 2 years now!

    :rofl::celebrate:
     

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