Job Opportunity - Not sure what to do

Discussion in 'General Education' started by K-5_teacherguy, May 26, 2017.

  1. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    May 26, 2017

    I just finished my second year of teaching, both in 5th grade. I am in a really nice, suburban district where each job opening gets hundreds of applicants. Unfortunately, I am unhappy at my school for a variety of reasons, the biggest one being I really don't enjoy 5th grade. The kids are basically middle schoolers, and I'm not crazy about dealing with the hormones. My current P has said repeatedly that he likes me in 5th, and thinks I'm too valuable there to move to a different grade. I have also been labeled as the teacher that can handle all the behavior problems, which has become tiring.

    Recently, a 2nd grade job opened up at the school where I student taught a couple years ago. The P at this school (who I really liked and would love to work for) contacted me and said she'd love for me to consider applying, and that I'd be the front runner. However, this is not in a district that is considered "nice." It is a lower achieving district, and I'd be taking a bit of a pay cut. Everyone is telling me it'd be a huge mistake to consider this job. But I really feel like it's the best move for me. I miss working with disadvantaged kids, in that Title 1 setting, and I really think I could make a difference. I know that ultimately I have to make this decision, but am I crazy for considering this? Is moving to a lower achieving district so unheard of? Thanks for reading and sorry this is so long!
     
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  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    May 26, 2017

    You're not crazy. I think you need to go with your gut.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I don't think it's unheard of. Last time I was job hunting I was hired two jobs on the same day, one in a very high achieving (wealthy) district and one in a low achieving/low SES district. For me, location was a main factor...I didn't want to live in the city that the wealthy district was in. Sometimes I do wonder what it would have been like though! I've only worked in title 1 schools.

    I did notice that you mentioned behavior and being tired of dealing with that. I guess you know what it's like if you student taught there, but I would imagine the behavior would be significantly worse in a low SES setting. In my position I work with multiple grade levels and I know that for whatever reason people think behavior/management is harder in intermediate, but that hasn't been my experience. We have multiple kids in the lower grades that are tearing up classrooms, violent with teachers and students, screaming all day long, etc. By the upper grades the students tend to have grown out of things like screaming all day long, violent kids have harsher consequences, and the very worst behaved students have often been placed into other programs by then. If school is still in session, maybe you can ask to observe/meet the team at the other school?

    The other thing that I would think about is if student achievement is in any way tied to your evaluation, teaching license, or pay in your state. If it is, you're obviously better off staying put. As for the pay cut, IMO money isn't everything...if you really want to switch schools and you can make the new salary work, that wouldn't be a major deciding factor for me.

    I do think good principals are hard to find and if you already know you like working for this P at the other school, that would be a huge bonus. I also understand what you're saying about feeling like you're making more of a "difference." I would just definitely do your homework before accepting a new position.
     
  5. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I'm leaving a nice suburban school with high test scores for a Title 1 school with lower test scores by choice. I learned where my heart really is and what I'm most passionate about. Also, it was just time to move on from my current school. However, I am getting a pretty sizable pay raise, so that part of the equation is different than yours. If the salary isn't hugely different, though, I wouldn't consider that a deal breaker at all.
     
  6. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    I feel like I know exactly what the climate is like. I should have mentioned that when I did my student teaching at this school, it was in 2nd grade. My cooperating teacher, who I had a great relationship with, would be one of my teammates.
     
  7. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    It sounds like you really want to apply for the job. If you can afford the pay decrease, I say go for it.
     
  8. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    May 27, 2017

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    How big is the pay cut?

    If you're going into it with eyes wide open and not some idea that the new school is going to be absolute perfection, I think that it might be a good move to at least apply and interview and see what that leads to.

    As mentioned above, low SES schools often come with a slew of special challenges, with behavior issues being at the forefront. What makes you think that the behavior issues you're facing now in 5th grade would be worse than what you'd face at the new school?
     
  10. sportsguy

    sportsguy Rookie

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    May 27, 2017

    I taught for 5 years in a Title I school. Every time I'd go to a county-wide professional development, I'd get looks because of where I taught. We had the lowest scores of any district in the county.

    Very few effective teachers are willing to teach at these schools. Burnout rate is high, in large part because principals always load up rosters of new teachers with IEPs, 504s, ELLs, etc.

    If you succeed with this population and administration sees test scores go up, you will be rewarded. During my first year at the school, ~30/150 of my students scored proficient on last year's state test. I ended the year with ~60 proficient students. I had high marks in my evaluation. The next year, I was given "accelerated" classes.

    I loved teaching there, because Title I schools have money for supplies, money for educational software, money for chrome books, money for small class sizes, money for professional development, money for tutoring. But, the cost of living was outrageous and I wanted to see if the grass was greener at a suburban school. I got a job at a "Blue Ribbon" school and was given the lowest kids, tons of IEPs/504s/ELLs. Here were the major differences.

    (1) Parent enablement of student behavior. Parents in affluent communities believe everything their child says. They aren't accustomed to their child lying to them, particularly in the middle grades. If the student told the parent that there's no homework, they believe them. When the student earns a zero for not doing their homework, they complain and these complaints persist until their students grade is the "B" they believe they're entitled to. I'm always getting e-mails and requests for meetings and have probably met with ~40 parents before/after school. Conversely, at my Title I school, I had almost no parent meetings/complaints.

    (2) Lack of collaboration. The teachers at my "Blue Ribbon" school are experienced. Half of the staff is within 10 years of retirement. They came to this school because it's an "easier" population of students to work with. They won't change their lesson plans, homework assignments, or how they deliver content. They use textbooks that are not aligned to the current standards and are 10+ years old. I came here thinking that a Blue Ribbon school would have excellent teachers that I could learn a lot from. Instead, what I saw was students who overcame bad teaching and curriculum to score well on state tests. Conversely, at a Title I school, most of the teachers are new, they want to talk to colleagues, they want to collaborate, and they're full of ideas. The issue being that because they're new to the profession, they don't know the content yet which hurts collaboration.

    (3) Expectations. What hurts the Blue Ribbon school that I work is the expectation that "we're going to be the best by doing what we've done for years". This leads to a department of teachers who teach from outdated textbooks in sequential order, who give homework assignments such as "pg 309 #2-28 even", who only teach through notebooks with no inquiry or project-based learning. At a Title I school, there's always a desire to improve student outcomes, and you're encouraged to try things in a classroom that aren't in a textbook.

    I resigned from my position at the Blue Ribbon school and am transferring back to a Title I school in August. I wouldn't recommend this for everyone, I am heading to a good situation where I am getting filtered out students.
     
  11. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    The pay cut is pretty much a non-issue to me. I would make the same amount in the new district as a 3rd year teacher as I did this year as a 2nd year teacher (I just wouldn't see the modest raise I'd get if I stayed where I am).

    I'm not sure that the behavior issues in 5th are worse, I just know that based on my subbing experience, as well as my student teaching (full time in 2nd grade), I prefer 2nd. Plus, my issue at my current school isn't the behavior issues, it's that the 4th grade teachers (who create the class lists) as well as my P are going out of their way to put all the behavior issues in my class because "he can handle it."
     
  12. sportsguy

    sportsguy Rookie

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    May 27, 2017

    Run.
     
  13. monkeyrun

    monkeyrun Rookie

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    Yeah, go where you're happy! I am in the middle of being at a place I don't like right now, and it just gets worse and worse. It's looking like I'm going to be back there next year and I'm already dreading it (and I'm not even done with this current year!).

    We all have different preferences, and that's a good thing! All grades, levels, subjects, types of schools, etc need teachers, so it's awesome we don't all like/want the same positions at the same places!

    Go for it, and if you do and get it, good luck!! I hope it's a great place for you!
     
  14. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    May 28, 2017

    This is exactly how I feel, and why I'm looking for a change. My summer vacation is one day old, and I'm already dreading having to go back in August. I don't know that making a change would fix everything, there would certainly be challenges at the new school, but it seems like it'd be worth it to try.

    I hope you get through the end of the year alright, and that you enjoy your summer!
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    How was the behavior at the school you student taught at and what grade did you student teach? I am would highly consider the move especially since your P will not change your grade. It's very unfair that they are loading behavior issues on you!

    I am still not a teacher but I don't think I would be happy in a wealthy school. In all of my placements, the schools I felt more comfortable and happy in were the low-income schools. I have a 3 year commitment to a low-income school and I hope I find a school with supportive admin.
     
  16. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    When I student taught at this school, it was in 2nd grade, and my former cooperating teacher would now be my teammate. The behavior was a little more challenging, but nothing I couldn't handle at the time or couldn't handle now (I have a lot of areas where I can improve as a teacher, but classroom management has been a strength).
     
  17. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Principal is key. You can do anything with anyone if you have a good principal. Go where the team fits. Kids are kids and you will love them wherever you land.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  18. Rita Espinal

    Rita Espinal New Member

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    Jun 1, 2017

    Not sure what you want to do? Your first step is to understand who you are and what you want – both from your work and your life. Here are some key points you can ask yourself to help decide on your next steps.

    Figure out your skills
    Skills employers are looking for
    Skills gained outside the workforce
     
  19. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    My suggestion would be to go with your gut feeling. You're basically saying the choices are: stay at a school where you're not completely happy or go with a school where you'll probably be happier, and pay is not really an issue. There is a huge difference between waking up in the morning and happy to go to work vs. dragging because you're dreading it, and not feeling any joy or excitement.
     
    bella84 likes this.
  20. K-5_teacherguy

    K-5_teacherguy Companion

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    This basically sums up how I feel. My gut says to give it a shot. I have an interview next week, and I can usually get a sense during an interview about whether or not it would be a good fit. I will go from there!
     
    bella84 likes this.

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