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  #1  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:07 PM
teachersk's Avatar
teachersk teachersk is offline
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Special Education Teacher
What to do... RIF/jobs/???

OK.... the A-Z forum is always a great place for advice.

Here is my situation:

I moved to NJ from Texas in August of 2008. I had a job at a private school for kids with autism, but I only stayed there for a year because I missed public school terribly.

I was hired at a public middle school to start an autism program. The program has grown and is incredibly successful. So successful, actually, that they keep giving me more and more kids. I started out with 5, now I have 7, next year I will have 9 (state cap for an autism class).

The kids are great, the parents are great, everything about the classroom is great. The thing that is NOT great is the admin. They are not supportive of very much. They continuously call the kids "the retarded kids." Likewise, the teachers treat the kids with the same attitudes. They don't want them in electives classes and I have to fight my butt off to get them in ANY classes outside of my own, even WITH a para and support. They just have a lot of backwards ways of doing things. I had a kid placed in my class with the intellectual disability label, and they just changed it to autism because you're not supposed to be ID and in an autism class. (?)

They missed 600 minutes of speech because the speech therapist broke her knee and was out on medical workers comp. They didn't replace the therapist for over two months. They said they'd only give speech to the kids whose "parents noticed."

I have really had to advocate and fight for the rights of the kids and the parents. The parents are all speak English as a Second Language OR are low income with minimal resources (single parents, grandparents raising babies, etc.) They don't know what they're entitled to and as a result they are getting taken advantage of.

At any rate, I got RIFed a month ago. They've told me, "You'll be fine, you'll be fine, nobody wants the severe autism class." However, we won't "officially" find out until June (end) whether we have a contract or not.... which makes me nervous.

I applied to several positions around town, and I got a call for an interview yesterday. It is for one of the most sought after school districts in the area (high salary, great resources, great reputation).

It's a high school job and I've never taught high school before... but the thought of it intrigues me. My main priority is preparing my kids to be successful adults - and independent members of society ( to the best of their abilities). That's why I think I'd love high school - I love communication, community trips, vocational skills, etc. - a lot of the things you focus on in high school.

The interview is next week.

Here's what I am wondering....

Does it look horrible to have

2006-2008 school in texas job
2008-2009 school in nj that was private and i left because I wanted public job
2009-2010 middle school in nj where i started successful autism program and was RIFed
2010-2011 high school in nj (or any other job)

I am wondering if it is in my best interest to just stick it out at my current job because I've built this wonderful program, the kids are great, parents are great, paras are great.... or if another opportunity presents itself-- should I go for it?

Will the current school be offended that I am applying elsewhere? (They can't be - they RIFed me, right??? )

I know that most likely I'd have a job in my current school next year, but am slightly concerned that I won't see a contract until June. I am fairly confident that I could get a position elsewhere (with my specialized training and certifications).

What do you think??? Look into the other jobs because I don't have a contract? Stay with current job because it'd be better to keep a two year stint on my resume instead of doing 2 yrs, 1 yr, 1 yr, 1 yr???

I'm concerned about staying because my current school just does not treat special ed very well. The kids OR the teachers. I know that I could stay and "fight" that - but I've fought the good fight and these people are OLD SCHOOL and not willing to change. If i do stay, the kids/paras/parents are so wonderful that it does kind of balance it out - but it still verrrrry tiring to be constantly fighting for the kids.

Part of me wants to take a job somewhere else to get them back for RIFing me. Haha. They would be INCREDIBLY upset to lose me, I know this for a fact. However, not upset enough that they'd just give me my contract now instead of June.

I am just so lost on what to do. Any advice would be appreciated.
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  #2  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:42 PM
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SCTeachInTX SCTeachInTX is offline
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Gosh, I feel for you. You are a good person, but anyone in education should not call a child retarded. That is so sad to me. Autistic kids are normally very bright and to treat them as if they are second class, well it is not fair. Having said that, I would not want to teach in a place that is in noncompliance with the law because when all is said and done, it will be YOU that takes the beating. These kids have rights, and they are being severely abused by not receiving the full services of special education. Do you want to continue to fight this incredible uphill battle, or go to a place where you are valued and your students are treated with respect. Yes, you have made a difference, and yes, could continue to make a difference. But, in the end, if you do not have the support of your administration, you could be liable. If it were me, the teacher part of me would feel bad for the kids, but the logical part of me would say, it is only going to get more difficult, the more I try to push for these kids rights, and if someone were to audit your program, it will be you that will get fired and perhaps even worse - lose your teaching credential. I would go on the interview and make a decision based on how I felt about the different position. Who knows, the point may be moot. But, I hope not, if you like it!
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  #3  
Old 05-19-2010, 06:52 PM
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swansong1 swansong1 is online now
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I agree with SCT. You are devoted to your students and you want what is best for them...but you come first. Go to the interview, see how it goes. If it sounds good and they offer you the job...take it. Your resume is perfectly explainable (new word?). You left private school for public school and then you were rifed. No one can fault you for looking for a job in this economy. As for the admin at your school...they should be hung by their toenails for allowing your students to be treated like that!
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  #4  
Old 05-19-2010, 07:16 PM
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leighbball leighbball is offline
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I agree with the others. Good luck!!! Getting an interview in NJ right now is impressive in itself
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  #5  
Old 05-20-2010, 05:04 AM
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teachersk teachersk is offline
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I guess one of the most frustrating things is to constantly be spinning my wheels to advocate for the kids. It takes so much energy that it's burning me out.

My mom said, "Maybe you're just not cut out to be an autism teacher." (Not meaning any harm...) -- BUT the thing is, it's not the AUTISM TEACHER part that is burning me out - it's the admin not being supportive, etc.

The way my school does it for electives is this: We decide on a class for the kids, and then ADMIN asks PERMISSION from the teacher for us (the AUT class) to be in it!!! The teachers 100% of the time say "no, I am not equipped to handle those students," and we don't get an elective class! That's how it works EVERY time. I can't change their attitudes.

I guess the thing I am worried about the most is having three 1-yr jobs during my time in NJ.

I understand that I can explain that in an interview (I didn't like private school, I got RIFed, etc.) - but when someone is just glancing at a resume and the candidate has three one year jobs??? Doesn't that look bad?

I am just wondering if it is worth the pain and heartache to stay there, just to have some consistency on the resume, then I would have 2 yrs (tx), 1 yr (priv. school), 2 yrs (nj sucky school).

Just seems so much more legit.

But then again, being at a place where they call the kids retarded is not exactly my dream job.
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Old 05-20-2010, 04:47 PM
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SCTeachInTX SCTeachInTX is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by teachersk View Post
I guess the thing I am worried about the most is having three 1-yr jobs during my time in NJ.

I understand that I can explain that in an interview (I didn't like private school, I got RIFed, etc.) - but when someone is just glancing at a resume and the candidate has three one year jobs??? Doesn't that look bad?

I am just wondering if it is worth the pain and heartache to stay there, just to have some consistency on the resume, then I would have 2 yrs (tx), 1 yr (priv. school), 2 yrs (nj sucky school).

Just seems so much more legit.

But then again, being at a place where they call the kids retarded is not exactly my dream job.
You cannot worry about that. You can explain that you were being let go due to budgetary reasons and leave it at that. Do not discuss the inappropriateness that you have encountered in this school. First of all, you never know who they know and will tell after the interview. Next, it COULD sound like sour grapes even though we all know that it is not. So, focus on the fact that you are being let go due to a deficit in the budget and let them know that this district's loss will be their gain. :-) Keep it positive and they may not even ask. And if it seems like a good fit - then GO FOR IT. It is time to be appreciated and get out of a situation where you could get into trouble for noncompliance with the law. All it takes is one audit, one savvy parent. Get out if you can. You deserve to have a job that you love coming to every single day, and not one where you feel beat down by admin.
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