General Advice on Job-Seeking

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by redtop, Jan 20, 2013.

  1. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Jan 20, 2013

    Related to another post I made... my wife is an experienced and very well-qualified French teacher. She has been teaching in Canada for 8 years, and is now looking for a job in the USA. She's open to any large metropolitan area on the East Coast.

    She hasn't had to interview in 8 years, has never gone through the job-looking process in the USA, and I can't be of much help. I'm an actuary, and the whole process is different when I look for jobs. My credentials are good anywhere in the world, and when a company is looking for an actuary, if they think I'm the best available candidate, they'll hire me, period.

    We are figuring out of course that every state has it's own stupid requirements, and we're somewhat resigned to going through a lot of that nonsense. For example, our first choice for her is Northern Virginia, but Virginia doesn't accept the Praxis, they have their own test, and she wouldn't have had to take it if she had taught in the USA for three years, but Canada doesn't count (I guess they can't tell the difference between Canada and Cameroon). So we plopped down $130, she killed off an afternoon, and got 95% of the questions right. Zzzzzzz.

    Enough venting, my question is, what advice does anyone have on getting a job beyond just being the best candidate? She's not desperate to take the 25% pay cut she'll have to take (or more!), we have a little bit of an attitude that if a school doesn't appreciate her qualifications and wants her, for example, to fly to the USA on a weekday for a preliminary interview when they don't even have positions open, that they can take their job and ***** it. She has really good credentials, and they should certainly meet her at least halfway. If she doesn't get a job this year, it won't kill us for her to stay in Canada for another year.

    But I'm sure there are things people can tell us that we don't know - since we've never gone through this process with teaching.

    Thanks in advance.
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Connoisseur

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    Jan 20, 2013

    Assuming she is looking in a public school district, I wouldn't be surprised if she does have to deal with a preliminary screening interview. Public schools are bureaucratic organizations, and they have hiring procedures that must be followed according to school board policy. She may be able to request a phone interview rather than having to fly in for the initial screening interview. When I was looking for out-of-state jobs, I was offered the chance to do the screening interview over the phone. I'd assume that they'd want to meet her in person for more advanced stages of interviewing, however. If she is looking into private schools, they may have more lenient interviewing and hiring procedures. Good luck to her!
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 20, 2013

    It's hard enough to transfer from one state to another...if you are already in the US, could she sub for a while while she gets her paperwork in order? It can take a while..And I do hope she has a better attitude than your posts convey.
     
  5. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Jan 20, 2013

    Replying to the above... of course she would expect a screening interview, but we'd expect them to do it on the phone.

    She is not in the US now. She is still living and working in Canada, so substitute teaching is not an option.

    And she has a great attitude about teaching. What neither of us had a great attitude about is people expecting her to k*** their a** for the privilege of taking a big pay cut. I don't work for companies that make me grovel to work for them, but once I get a job I give it 110%.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Red...most markets are highly competitive due to pay cuts, a glut of highly qualified teachers competing for a limited number of jobs, displaced teachers...as a member of the hiring committee in a highly competitive district, I can assure you that butt kissing and groveling doesn't work. What gets a candidate hired is being highly qualified, knowledgeable, passionate, flexibility, and a 'fit' for the needs of the school. As far as payscale, it's often dictated by contract, budget constraints, recent hiring decisions and a bit of administrator discretion. Your wife may not get credit for all her out of country teaching experience.
     
  7. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Jan 21, 2013

    We understand that she's going to take a pay cut, salary isn't our main issue.

    What we're not willing to do is have her fly to the USA for a screening interview, doubly so if there aren't even any specific openings.

    We don't expect her to be hired unless she is the best-qualified candidate for a position - but we think her credentials and experience are pretty strong.

    But I didn't post this to vent or show an attitude. I posted it for advice - seriously - on how to get an interview, and how to close the deal.
     
  8. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2013

    Is she legally able to work in the US? If not, that will be the first step.

    Request that interviews be done over the phone or via Skype.

    Apply for state teaching licenses in the state(s) where you want to live. Have these in hand before applying to districts within that state.
     
  9. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Jan 21, 2013

    She does have her US residency.

    It's almost impossible to get her licensed in every state she might want to teach in. That would be at least a dozen states. I understand your point though. There will be states who will say "Based on your credentials, we believe that in a classroom you could walk on water. But we can't hire you because you didn't pass the "Pennsyltucky Comprehensive Writing Assessment Subpart On When To Use Red Pens And When To Use Blue." We're hoping that in states where they don't recognize her North Carolina license, sanity will prevail and they will at least let her interview pending some of the more nonsensical paperwork.
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2013

    The job market in most places is extremely competitive. She likely won't even be considered if she doesn't have a license in hand. Sorry.
     
  11. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2013

    Also, it seems like you have a really low opinion of the public education system, or at least the licensure aspect of it. Does your wife share these concerns? If so, she might want to stay in Canada. The licensing process is probably the least complicated aspect of teaching here in the US.
     
  12. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Jan 21, 2013

    I suggest she look into independent schools if she isn't licensed. In my experience they are much more willing to look at candidates from outside of the state and/or country.

    www.nais.org

    Yes, you'd likely still be looking at a pay cut, but work environment is usually very good w/smaller class sizes. Good luck!
     
  13. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 21, 2013

    No attitude there.
    Agreed.:yeahthat:
     
  14. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Jan 21, 2013

    George Mason University, in Virginia, has a page on Virginia teacher test requirements here: http://cehd.gmu.edu/teacher/test/. Virginia's subject matter tests are certainly Praxis II, and have been Praxis II for the last decade; she'll probably have taken the same test for North Carolina (though it's possible that Virginia requires a higher score to pass: states have some discretion here). The test for which you paid $130 is likelier to have been the computerized VCLA, which is a basic skills exam.
     
  15. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Jan 21, 2013

    I DO have a low opinion of the licensing system.

    My professional credential is good anywhere in the world. I just moved to Bermuda, and all I have to do is say I am a Fellow of the Casualty Actuarial Society, and I'm immediately qualified.

    My wife has two bachelors (one in French, one in education), a Masters, and eight years experience teaching French in a school system where French is taken seriously. I think it is remarkably obnoxious of a state to say "We won't even interview you until you have taken OUR exam. It's not that different from the state next door's exam, but it's OUR exam."

    Fine, require her to take the Praxis II. She took it and scored in what I think is about the 90th percentile. But let's look at a couple other things.

    Virginia requires her to take the VCLA - not the Praxis I - because she doesn't have three years' teaching experience in the USA. If she had taught in Mississippi she wouldn't have to take it, but apparently Ontario doesn't count.

    She has had her transcript "evaluated" by a company who has declared that yes, her bachelors degrees are indeed bachelors degrees and her masters is indeed a masters. But Virginia wants her to have it done by a different company, because the one North Carolina accepted isn't on THEIR list. I mean, she went to the University of Toronto, which is rated the 29th best university in the world, ahead of some Ivy League schools. She didn't go to Nairobi Community College.

    Now, maybe the world is crawling with people with better credentials than my wife's. If so, then God bless them, and the students they will teach, and the districts that hire them.

    But if there is some school out there that says "Well, we have two candidates. One scored a 189 on the Praxis II and one scored 163, our minimum passing grade - but the one who scored 189 hasn't submitted a certified translation of their high school diploma. So we'll hire the one who scored 163, after all, it's well below average, but it's passing." Then I feel bad for everybody, especially for the students.

    I'm fine with having requirements to start work. For example, Virginia requires you to take a child abuse recognition course. It's an online course, but you don't have to pass it before you're interviewed, just before you start work. I'm not fine with 50 different sets of requirements just so 50 states can all be different, when she is already licensed. And if I had kids going to school, I would want them to have the best **** teachers possible, not the ones who have taken the most nearly-identical tests.

    BTW, a comment on the Praxis II tests. I got a prep book, and I took the Elementary Education test and got 18 of the 24 multiple-guess questions right. What's so remarkable? Maybe the fact that I haven't seen the inside of an elementary school classroom in over 40 years. I don't have children, and in theory I should know nothing about elementary education. If the test is such that someone like me could pass the multiple-guess section (I'm assuming that 75% would pass, and yes, I'm sure I would crash and burn on the essay part) then does it really prove anything?

    Hey, is there anywhere to actually find out what percentile a 189 on the Praxis II French test is?
     
  16. ravinraven

    ravinraven Companion

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    Jan 21, 2013

    Education is the domain of the individual states (hey there, 10th Amendment!) and each has it's own standards and requirements. I attended graduate school in Virginia (only at the 43rd best teaching program in the US), but I would never presume to apply for a job there with only my Ohio license in hand - I would at least want the VCLA under my belt and have my Virginia license pending.

    Getting licensed in 12 different states would cost an arm and a leg. My Ohio license was $200, additional endorsements $25 each, and my Praxis II Social Studies and Principles of Teaching and Learning exams were about $200 together.

    It may seem like a bunch of silly, bureaucratic clap-trap, but them's the rules. If it's too much time, effort, or money, I'm sure there are many oft-of-work language teachers in those states willing to do whatever it takes to find a position.

    Edit: They list the average range on your score report, but not the percentile of your score.
     
  17. HeartDrama

    HeartDrama Connoisseur

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    Jan 21, 2013

    I think her best bet is to choose ONE state and focus on obtaining her license/credential there. That or consider schools that don't require a credential such as independent/private/charter. Looking for jobs in 12 states with no credential, as you've already experienced, is just going to lead to frustration.
     
  18. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    Jan 22, 2013

    I'm not going to pronounce that my wife is the best French teacher in the known universe.

    But I will pronounce that if there is some district that knows she is more qualified, but prefers to hire someone else because they have the right signatures on the right forms, rather than hiring my wife and saying "OK, by the time you start work, you have to have all your paperwork in order" - then I feel sorry for the students.

    As it happens, she got a bad score on the Praxis I and a good score on the VCLA. (I think she just didn't take the Praxis I seriously, she took it when she was tired. She is retaking it this weekend. On the VCLA, she doesn't have her score yet, but she got 100% of the multiple-guess questions right on the reading and 91% on the writing.) But let's say she had gotten a good score on the Praxis and had not taken the VCLA. The sane thing would have been for Virginia to say "OK, we will interview you, we will hire you, but before you start work you have to pass the VCLA - looking at your (good) Praxis scores, we're confident that won't be a problem."

    I feel like the states just think it's unfathomable that someone would want to teach in a different state, or actually conduct a nationwide job search. It's like they don't look at teachers as highly qualified professionals, and they want the very most qualified one they can fnd. I've worked in about 8 different states and one foreign country, and interviewed over the years in about 8 more.

    I'll bet Target doesn't get a lot of out-of-state applicants either.
     
  19. ravinraven

    ravinraven Companion

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    Jan 22, 2013

    To quote my father's favorite saying, "It is what it is."

    I presently work in insurance. Every state has it's own particular rules and regulations - I can't use my Ohio license in Kentucky. I am completely ignorant as to how things are done in that state (ex. we don't have privatized worker's compensation in Ohio, so I'd be totally at a loss of how worker's compensation policies work). That makes me unqualified for a job in Kentucky. It would take a licensing course and an exam to get my license. A pain in the butt and super expensive, but it's what I would have to do.

    Going into a job interview without a license in that state is still going in unprepared. I don't know too many interviewers in education or otherwise who would accept, "Well I don't have the proper credentials, but I can get them sometime in the near future" as an answer to whether you are qualified for the job or not.
     
  20. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jan 22, 2013

    Education is not Target. Nor is it an actuarial firm.

    Hooray for you passing a Praxis test...it doesn't make you a teacher any more than the year I spent working for an actuary make me qualified to judge YOUR profession.

    You've gotten honest advice about your wife's prospects as an out of country applicant. It's a tough market for highly qualified and experienced teachers in state, in country. It's going to be harder for your wife. :sorry:

    .
     
  21. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    Jan 23, 2013

    I don't know about other states, but Ohio doesn't even accept Praxis tests for the foreign language certification/license anymore, and my guess would be this trend will be taking place in other states as well since we're in the proficiency movement - I was licensed last year and took the ACTFL oral and written language proficiency exams, which is basically a proctored interview over the phone and a proctored written exam, mostly essays.

    Also, remember it's not always about WHAT you know but WHO you know, and as czacza said teachers in this country and living in the states they want to teach in are having a rough time.

    And a final note...this is hard, but teachers of the French language are not as highly sought after in the US these days, and a lot of French programs are sadly being cut. I'm not saying it's impossible as there are some openings, but there are a lot of applicants and many postings also ask for a second or even third language, such as Spanish, to make the job full time. This is why I recommended looking into private schools first, as you're more likely to find full time French teacher openings who are willing to look at candidates outside the US there. I agree that it's a huge advantage that your wife is teaching French in a community where French is spoken, and many good schools will hopefully look favorably on that as well as her experience.
     

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