Job Search Advice

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    Apr 7, 2018

    I am seeking a middle school math (5-8) position. Because of my scholarship, I have a two year commitment to a high needs school so I am looking for a position where over 50% of the students are economically disadvantaged.

    I recently had two interviews in public schools that went well. I have to go back for a demo lesson as well. My issue is that I would not want to relocate to this area and the schools in this town are state controlled. One is a charter public school and one is a public school. The second public school seemed very well resourced (new library, new computer lab, etc.) and they said that the class sizes are capped at 16. I would have one inclusion class that is about 25 kid with 3 teachers. (So this does not seem too bad at all.) This school seemed VERY focused on standardized test scores. The interviews seemed to go well but these are not jobs I would want to take unless it was a last resort, mainly because of the location. The school day is also one hour longer for both schools (7:30-3:30) and I don't think they pay is great. I'm not sure if I should accept one of these jobs if I receive one. If I did work here, I would probably look for another job after my first year.

    I would prefer jobs in the public schools in the towns in the areas that I am working in. I am currently student teaching in a large urban district. The salaries here are excellent and I would love to work in this district. However, I do not think it is easy to get a teaching job here. There are a few other towns in the area that I would prefer and would qualify for my scholarship but they haven't posted jobs yet. I am planning on emailing principals with my resume/cover letter this weekend. I have done a bunch of these already but haven't heard back. :( My program is telling me that they should post jobs in April/May and many teachers do not tell schools they are leaving until May.

    I also have a few weeks of student teaching left. I had to leave school early on Wednesday last week and take a whole day off on Friday to take my interviews. How do people generally balance student teaching and the job search/does anyone have any general advice for me? Thank you so much.
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    Apr 7, 2018

    I know that our school has just now gotten our budget and teacher allotment for next year. Unless someone leaves over the summer, we won't have any jobs available. Most years we don't have any openings. Other years we have several. Last year we hired two social studies teachers, which was very unusual. We don't have much turnover either, compared to other schools.

    We had an unusual situation this year. One of our teachers left Friday. We will be filling the position with a sub for the remainder of the year (about six weeks) and reorganizing to fill that position internally.

    I didn't even turn in applications until my student teaching placement was over I graduated the first weekend of May, and schools ended in late may. I did, however, know that they weren't any posted positions in the district. I ended up subbing for a year. It worked well for me since I worked all but 5 days in two different schools. I had two long-term positions in my area, which led to a job offer the following year when a position opened.

    As far as interviews, we never do them during the school day because the hiring committee consists of three teachers, two parents, an administrator, and usually some teachers in the department with the vacancy. We have to do do interviews in the evening to get all of those people free. I will tell you that we do ask people about their long-term plans, and we aren't very likely to take a person who will not be with us long term. We don't want to have that much turnover.

    Our school is in a high-poverty district. Approximately 70% of our kids qualify for free lunch. I've always worked in this district. We qualify for a lot of resources based on our demographics. Many people are surprised by that and assume that the high poverty schools have fewer resources that the affluent districts, but this isn't always the case.
     
  4. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Apr 7, 2018

    As a new teacher in search of work, you may need to make a few concessions, at least in the beginning to get things rolling. Principals rarely respond to emails or hard copies from eager teacher wannabes from outside their district. If the ideal job offer doesn't materialize, I would consider the following strategy: accept a job at the lower-paying, well-resourced public school and do everything possible to make yourself shine for 2-3 years. Then, if you decide to find a job closer to home, you'll hopefully have an advantage over the competition with your outstanding track record.

    Just curious - how far away is the district in which you recently interviewed? Over the years, my shortest commute was a five-minute walk to work. Unfortunately, I also drove 100 miles round-trip for over 20 years for my last job - the total distance driven was equivalent to the distance to the moon plus 15 trips around the entire planet! I did it for the salary. Do what you have to do to make it work and don't forget to pray in earnest.;)
     
  5. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    The district is about 40 minutes from where I live now. However, I am living in the city and I am relocating regardless. I was hoping to stay near the city next year because I do not know anyone in this area. This is not a huge deal but I'm not sure if I should take this job if offered. This school is also in a VERY high poverty district so I think there will be challenges in this area as well. It is one of the poorest cities in the country.
     
  6. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    You mentioned that the school is "state controlled". I'm not sure what that implies, but once worked at a consent decree school in the poorest and most dangerous neighborhoods in San Francisco - a private security guard watched over the teacher's cars locked behind a chainlink fence. [In the late 1970's the San Francisco NAACP sued the SFUSD for maintaining severely segregated schools. The federal District Court ordered the SFUSD to adopt a consent decree that mandated the desegregation of the public schools.] This school was under a court order to shape up and was run by an authoritarian principal who was extremely strict with students and staff. Teachers were required to keep all detailed lesson plans (template provided by principal) in a 2-inch ringed binder and had to adhere to a rigid school policy that covered everything imaginable. As I recall, there were few smiles among the staff members who always seemed to be on edge. Thinking back, it wasn't a very pleasant place to work.

    I believe you are quite justified in having second thoughts about working at the school in question.
     
  7. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Apr 7, 2018

    If I remember correctly you're in MA and my district just posted for a 6th grade math position in the greater Metro Boston area. The posting school has a 51% economically disadvantaged and 70% high needs student population, but it's also a very challenging school as a teacher to work in which I think will be the case in any school with this population. I don't have the ability to message you though for more info.

    If I had to guess, you're going to have a hard time job hunting this year. There are not many districts that have that kind of student population who also pay well. The applicant pool is very strong in MA so if you get any offers straight out of undergrad I would highly recommend you take it and stay more than one year. My P was telling our staff that in two days they already had 100 applicants for one of our open positions. I wasn't going to accept my first teaching job because I didn't like the grade level, but when they called to offer it to me I took it because I realized I couldn't be picky when it was the only offer I was getting. I may not have cared for those first two years but I realize now that that job helped launch me into teaching and gave me what I needed to get the job I actually wanted.

    I'd also suggest keeping a close eye on BPS. They post all summer long and definitely meet these criteria. Job hunting can be so discouraging. I wish you the best of luck. And if you still don't have an offer by August, keep in mind every district here scrambles in the last days of August to fill positions teachers left last minute.
     
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  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    Apr 8, 2018

    Hi, can I message you for more info? I believe I applied to the job you are referring to on SchoolSpring. I am also very interested in working for BPS, but my job search with BPS has been discouraging. I'm doing my student teaching in BPS. I applied to many jobs but I've only heard from one. The demo I had with this school didn't go well. I'm also a BPS priority candidate but I'm not even sure what that means.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
  9. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Don't get discouraged yet! It's a good thing that you've heard from any school so far. My first year looking I got no interviews till August and even then it was only for aide positions. Schools right now know they have teachers leaving, but first open positions up to current staff to move grades/classrooms and teachers on leave still have a couple weeks to give their intent so the schools arent ready to interview yet. Most interviewing doesnt start till after April vacation, so it's good that you're already getting some nibbles and practice interviewing skills. And it's good to be a priority candidate with BPS- it just means you filled out their application early enough to give them time to check it so when the jobs got posted your name shows closer to the top rather than closer to the bottom with those they havent checked yet. Most schools have two periods when they are posting positions- April and August. BPS has postings everyday so it can feel more encouraging. I wasnt invited to interview with BPS till the first week of Sept after I got my M.Ed. but if you student taught with BPS you got some connections. Give it time.

    Knowing you're so close I'm sure you did apply for the position I am thinking of and I'm really curious if we attended the same university. I also think I may know the district where you interviewed and if it's the one I'm thinking of (north of the city?) be very careful. I live in a neighboring town and hate to even drive through this city at night. They have extremely high teacher turnover and I'm not at all surprised they jumped on your application.
     
  10. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    ^
    I am having trouble sending a PM but once I figure it out, I will PM you to talk more. Thank you so much for the help.
     
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  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    This is very true--even within my own district.

    We have schools in my district that are in great communities: parents are well-educated, homes are beautiful, and students come to school with the tools for success (for the most part). These schools, however, receive zero (or very minimal) Title I funding.

    Then there are schools like the one I work at: same district...other side of the tracks. Most parents don't work, about 80% of our kids are ELs, and about 98% of our children receive free/reduced lunch. We receive an abundance of State and Federal funds! In fact, this year--we have more money than we know what to do with (the deadline is April 15th). Students don't come to school with basic supplies (crayons, pencils, paper, etc.) because we provide all of it. Heck, we even provide backpacks for anyone who doesn't have one on the first day. As far as teachers are concerned, we are 1:1 (Chromebooks) in each classroom and every single technology device (SMARTboard, teacher laptop and Chromebook, LCD projector/document camera) is made available. You want me to place an order for Lakeshore? Sure, we've got money for that! Some of the major drawbacks of working here, though, are that we have zero parental involvement, students live in gang-ridden/high crime neighborhoods, and we can't leave work after dark and/or we must go to our cars with another adult (escort needed).

    In my nearly 13 years in this district, I've yet to work at one of the non-Title I schools. I think it would be interesting! And quite different!
     
  12. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Having worked at both ends of the spectrum, I can attest that both Title 1 and non-Title 1 schools have their challenges. I once accepted a principalship at an exclusive 4-8 school with an endowment of almost $1 million dollars. Although it was free of any of the problems you describe, the unscrupulous nature of the superintendent made my job a living hell that I regret accepting to this day. Be careful what you wish for! Things are not always what they appear to be in education.
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2018
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  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    When I said the thought of working at a non-Title I school is interesting, I didn’t mean I am actually interested! Haha! :)

    I have no say in where I’m placed (in my district, administrators normally stay at a site for 3-8 years until they’re moved to another school). Because of my background (bilingual Mexican-American male), I see them (the powers that be) keeping me at schools with high EL populations. At least, that’s been my experience these past 13 years.
     
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  14. whizkid

    whizkid Companion

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    Oh yes, I know the feeling!
     
  15. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    So I just got an offer from the charter school that expires next Tuesday. I have no idea what to do! :(
     
  16. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    If I were in your shoes, I wouldn't take the charter job. That's me, though.
     
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  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    "Failing" schools often rely on standardized testing as a way to get them out of whatever trouble they're in. You said that this school is state-controlled, which probably means that the school was taken over by the state due to consistently low test scores. Usually schools are given an opportunity to raise scores in order to regain their autonomy. At least, that's what I've seen in my own state. I wouldn't be too afraid of an emphasis on standardized testing, as long as most other things about the school seemed decent.
     
  18. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I can't add anything to this because it's 100% true.
     
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  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    Can you say more about why? Both the public and charter school job have an extra hour added to the day for a stipend of $4,000. My salary at both would be $48,000. I'm conflicted because I would work for the charter school location in Boston, but they will not hire teachers without several years of experience. :( I'm also worried that I'll turn down this offer and I won't get another one.
     
  20. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    For the most part, I don't think that charter schools are a good place to work. I'm sure that there are some exceptions here and there, but it seems like most charters have policies that would make it challenging to work for one. Friends of mine who have worked in charters have complained about long hours, being expected to be basically "on call" to respond to parent concerns all the time, having lots of additional duties (for which they are usually not compensated), not having much in the way of materials or equipment, etc. Unless I knew for absolute certain, because a trusted friend or colleague worked for the same charter school, I would assume that it's more likely than not that a charter school would be not great.
     
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  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Devotee

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    ^
    This is what I am worried about with charters. I really hope more public school positions come up because I am getting nervous.
     

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