Landing Your First Teaching Contract

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by JCarchy, May 31, 2007.

  1. JCarchy

    JCarchy Rookie

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    May 31, 2007

    Teachers and Adminstrators:

    How important is it to be "known" in a school district in order to get that first, all-important teaching contract offer? I have heard many, many people state that one should always "try out" the district, and work as a substitute so that the newbie can get to know the teachers, and the teachers and admin folks can get to know the new, hungry teacher.

    But I have talked to more than a few retired teachers and a number of current teachers who claim subbing in a district just does not matter. They claim there is virtually no connection between "being known" in a district or at a school, and getting a first job offer.

    What do all of you think? I am most interested in hearing from people that work in admin, or may be involved in personnel decisions.

    Thanks; appreciate your help.

    jc
     
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  3. Miss W

    Miss W Phenom

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    May 31, 2007

    I'd have to disagree, but it could depend on the district. I know our staff also likes to "try out" new teachers when they're substitutes. Our grade level works very closely together, even though there are 12 of us. I did my student teaching and a semester of subbing here before I was hired. All districts are different. In ones that have many applicants, being known positively can be a big help.
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    May 31, 2007

    I think it depends on the school.
     
  5. mrduck12

    mrduck12 Companion

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    There is a distinct danger in being valued as a sub. I have learned that lesson the hard way. If a district values your skills as a sub and good subs are hard to come by, well.....not a good situation.
     
  6. Thespis

    Thespis Rookie

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    It always helps to know somebody who can vouch for you. I'm not sure if subbing is the way to go. In our district (at least at the high school level), I haven't met any subs who were trying to get a full-time job teaching. Most are subbing because they can pick the days that they work or they're retired.
     
  7. JCarchy

    JCarchy Rookie

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    Jun 6, 2007

    So, in summary, being a known quantity may be important, depending on the school; teams of teachers in the grammar school grades find some value in knowing prospective teachers ahead of time; and having someone "vouch" for you can help land your first teaching assignment.

    These are all pretty good observations, but I have to wonder what our letters of reference are for if we also need to be vouched. And is there not a huge difference between teaching teams that focus on 2nd or 3rd grade (for instance), and someone who wants to teach science at the high school or middle school levels?

    Is there a regional difference in hiring practices that we are not accounting for? Is California different? Is the 'good 'ol boy network' more important in some regions than others?

    Are there any administrators or school district personnel officers that can offer a different view?

    I am very interested in hearing "the other side of the story" because the application process (to become a teacher) is long and daunting, the education and credentialing takes years, the state doesn't want to certify us until we've proven ourselves by taking standardized tests, and when we get our first payroll position, it is a contract for nine months, with no guarantee for a second year.

    Still waiting to hear your stories....

    jc
     
  8. EnglishMiss

    EnglishMiss Rookie

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    Well, if you want to hear stories... I graduated in December and was subbing for a semester in my hometown while I was job-hunting. I knew I wanted to leave the state and applied to something like 40 districts, I think. I did a couple phone interviews to far-away (and somewhat personally less-desirable) districts, none of which panned out, then I got the interview for my current district and knew I REALLY wanted to be here. So I drove here, it was only my second in-person interview, and I didn't know a soul in the district, but I guess the application/references/interview worked for me!
     
  9. creativemonster

    creativemonster Comrade

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    Jun 8, 2007

    I subbed before I got my credential and ended up at a school outside the area I subbed in but what it did for me is show me several schools, the differences (and there are many) and what I want in the school I work for. I recommend it but don't expect it to lead to a full time position (although it could).
     
  10. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that in the more competitive districts it's definitely better to be known to those who might hire you. Most people I know who've landed jobs in these sorts of districts have done so by either a) being a good substitute the year before, or b) word of mouth.

    In my district, however, it really isn't about who you know. My district (in urban Las Vegas) is huge and there's always a shortage of teachers. I'm reasonably certain that they'll hire just about anybody with appropriate credentials and no criminal background.
     
  11. JCarchy

    JCarchy Rookie

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    Jun 12, 2007

    Yikes. Teaching Latin. And in Las Vegas. Your district location is quite different than mine, and your specialty is way different. I guess it is my personal situation that has me worried-- I live in a town in Santa Barbara County, and I want to teach in the town that I live in. I'm not trying to get a credential and then will teach anywhere-- I'm trying to get my credential so I can make a career change and then teach in my home town.

    In sum, my market is only one district, and I am concerned that the hiring process will somehow shut me out. Should I sub? But if I sub full time I have to quit my current (lucrative) civil servant position. Should I push the district for a Teaching Intern slot? So far the people in the district personnel office have not been helpful or supportive about 'emergency credentials' or intern positions. And if I spend time and money to complete my credential requirements, what do I do if there is no position for me in my home district?

    I know, I know; becoming a teacher never has much in the way of guarantees, but I at least wanted to see what you others thought about the "sub before you teach" argument.

    Any other views? I don't really want to move to Vegas to teach, even with my clean criminal record.

    jc
     
  12. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 12, 2007

    But Vegas is so much fun! =)

    I get it about wanting to stay in your hometown. There's a part of me that would have loved to have been able to stay in my hometown. It's the perfect city, after all--Fargo, ND! The problems for me were many, though:

    To obtain a North Dakota teaching license, one must basically jump through a bazillion hoops (give or take a couple). I was already licensed in the state where I got my graduate degree, but that wasn't enough. To get licensed in ND I would have had to take extra classes, get like 6 original signatures all on the same document (Really? Yes. I was supposed to mail this one original document back and forth to my 6 different teacher ed advisers, all of whom lived out of state). And even student teach again in-state! Plus I had to pay like a bazillion dollars just to even get the initial packet mailed to me! It was crazy, and I remember thinking that this was a lot of work to be doing to work in the lowest paying state in the whole country.

    The other issue for me was that Latin, although hugely popular in other places, was not in danger of breaking enrollment records in the Fargo Public Schools. They had a couple of Latin teachers already, both of whom were reasonably young and not likely to move anywhere else. So the odds of me getting to teach nothing but Latin? Slim to none. Even the odds of me getting a half and half assignment weren't looking so great.

    For me to be able to teach the subject I love, I had to consider relocating. I looked at it as an adventure. My husband and I sat down on many nights and talked about our dream locations in terms of weather, proximity to family, and reputations for being good to teachers. We made a list of our ideal places and went from there. I emailed my resume like mad to dozens of schools in those states, and I got really excited whenever a new place would call me back. In the end, we decided that Vegas was the perfect place for us. The school seemed (and turned out to be!) wonderful, we were in the Southwest (top of our list), we were in a big city (kind of scary, but a new experience for us), and, best of all, I finally had a real job!

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that you should definitely do whatever it takes to land a job where you live, but be open to the possibility of moving.

    If I were in your shoes and trying to decide between subbing or not, I would contact a few principals and ask them whether they prefer hiring subs or from outside the district.
     

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