Virginians - What has your experience been?

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by MetalTeacher, Oct 27, 2016.

  1. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Oct 27, 2016

    I'm from Virginia and want to stay here to teach as I hear it's one of the better states to teach in. Wondering what everyone's experience in their particular districts have been, what the culture of the schools you've found yourselves in are like. (I have ideas about where I want to end up of course, but I'm sure there's great places I haven't considered, or misconceptions I have about places I have.)
     
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  3. FrankFromFranklin

    FrankFromFranklin Rookie

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    Oct 28, 2016

    Hello! I am a first year teacher in southern Virginia. I teach high school World History. I can honestly say that I am not enjoying my experience here so far. The school I teach at is extremely small (380 students combined for all 4 grades). We also have a very weak administration where students do whatever they want and usually don't get in trouble for anything short of physical altercations.

    Also, the SOL tests are a major pain in the butt, especially because I only have 40 total students and we are one of the schools who just received accreditation and the pressure is on to keep that status.

    I am looking forward to seeking other opportunities throughout Virginia. I have never seen a school function like this, so I am not going to rule out teaching at another Virginia school.
     
  4. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Oct 28, 2016

    I'm sorry it hasn't been going well! Hopefully you find something you like more soon, or the situation improves.

    That's not an area I've looked into much. I've mostly been looking at Charlottesville and Albemarle County, and Williamsburg/James City County (but a couple parts of NOVA as well.)
     
  5. FrankFromFranklin

    FrankFromFranklin Rookie

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    Oct 28, 2016

    I would love to live in the Charlottesville area! Especially being a history teacher
     
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  6. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Oct 28, 2016

    My family lives in Fauquier County and my siblings all had great experiences in the public schools there. Apparently they pay well for the cost of living. Not as well as the wealthier districts a little closer to DC, though. They are about an hour from DC and it is a beautiful place to live. If I had to leave CA, that is where I would want to go!
     
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  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Oct 30, 2016

    My son is a first year teacher in Prince William County, and loves his new work family. He was hired late, though, so feels a little like an outsider because he missed most of orientation. As someone who once started mid year, I can relate to that feeling. As far as switching from NJ to VA, that has been smooth, with new coworkers warm and inviting. Pay seems about right for the area when compared with cost of living, but closer to DC would be too little to live comfortably. It is a great area for single, "I don't want to sit at home" teachers - lots going on. I know too far north for what you are looking for, but if others are considering VA, I would want them to know that the water is fine, and that northern section outside of DC seems to be interested in hiring in many subjects. The son is an ESL teacher, so no surprise that there are many Spanish and Chinese speaking residents. In other areas it is even more diverse. I did give my son a crash course in Southern Culture, coming from NJ. Someone moving north to work in VA wouldn't need that, but those coming from north of the Mason Dixon line might want to spend a little time learning about the culture/family life and structure before moving. The residents are mostly gracious, I am told, but my son was grateful for the head's up to prevent misunderstandings.
     
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  8. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Oct 30, 2016

    Fauquier has actually been on my "maybe" list. I was hesitant because it's part of NOVA and I know the cost of living can be higher up there. (Not as bad as Arlington or Alexandria, which are pretty much out for that reason.)

    Prince William is actually one I've thought about as well. Like Fauquier, I was hesitant because of its NOVA location but if it pays well for the cost of living then I will definitely look into it as well. I knew it had 12 high schools, which is definitely a plus for someone looking to teach high school! (And I'm from the Shenandoah Valley, so I definitely don't need to worry about understanding Southern culture, I'm already well-versed in that lol.)
     
  9. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Charlottesville is expensive and has many unsafe parts, even discounting the odd serial killer. Gang activity is an increasing problem. They are one of the few districts to specifically prefer, if not require, a masters, and their pay is in line with the region, but when you compare new teacher salary to the cost of living, be prepared to struggle.
     
  10. FrankFromFranklin

    FrankFromFranklin Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2016

    ah, that is good to know. thanks!
     
  11. msleep

    msleep Rookie

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    Oct 31, 2016

    Just to give you a heads up. Prince William County is completely different than Shenandoah Valley. And depending on where in the county you teach, your experience will range from uppity entitlement children to an inner city feel.
     
  12. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Sorry but I didn't read Virginians!!!! lmao I read something a LITTLE different. And that was even with my bifocals on.
     
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  13. Kelster95

    Kelster95 Companion

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    Nov 2, 2016

    I teach in central VA and it has schools in great areas and schools in not as great areas. You really need to research and see the area you are considering.
     
  14. christie

    christie Rookie

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    Neither Albemarle County nor Charlottesville City require a master's degree. Because UVA is located here, their teacher program is a 5-year master's and both divisions hire a lot of UVA grads, they probably do have a higher rate of master's degrees, but they're not required.

    The cost of living here in Albemarle or Charlottesville is higher than the surrounding counties. Many people, however, commute from Fluvanna (mostly Lake Monticello) to work in Albemarle & C'ville. The pay is, if I remember correctly, significantly higher in Alb & C'ville than Fluvanna.

    Gang activity is not an issue for most people living in Central VA. There are absolutely small pockets I'd avoid but I imagine that's true for most places.
     
  15. MLB711

    MLB711 Comrade

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    Nov 3, 2016

    I taught in a rural school in eastern VA and my experience was very similar to FrankFromFranklin. I do not see myself moving back to VA (both personal and professional). I have a friend whose husband teaches in Prince William and he loves it.
     
  16. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    Nov 4, 2016

    I have been doing other kinds of research into these areas as well, but I consider this part of it; the opinions of people who have already lived and worked in these areas are a valuable resource.

    I DO know that for my student teaching placement I'm requesting C-ville/Albemarle. It's closer than some of my university's "local" options (like parts of Rockingham and Page counties) because I don't live in the same town I go to school in, and is more in line with the kinds of schools I think I'd like to teach at.
     

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