High School Teacher: Should I Relocate?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by Wisconsin Mark, May 11, 2009.

  1. Wisconsin Mark

    Wisconsin Mark Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    I would be very interested in opinions on my situation, so let me lay out the facts.
    (1) I teach high school English (and can also teach history/social studies, but would pursue that certification later). I hold a Master of Arts in Teaching from Boston University in English Education, jointly awarded by the School of Education and the Department of English; my GPA was 3.91. My Bachelor of Arts is from Yale University in American Studies; my GPA there was 3.65.
    (2) I have been working in corporate education here in Wisconsin for several years at good pay, but got laid off (with good severance) in January. Because of the severance, I have not started to draw down my unemployment benefit yet, but I am registered; I will start to use that benefit in July. I get the maximum Wisconsin benefit ($388.00/week). The unemployment benefit is portable, so I can still draw my payments if I relocate to another state to seek work.
    (3) My letters of recommendation and references are very good. I scored a perfect 200 on the Praxis II in English Language, Literature, and Composition/Content Knowledge. I’ve got some nice honors and recognitions on my resume.
    (4) Teaching hiring is at a standstill here in Wisconsin. It’s not just the economy; school-age populations are dropping, as they are throughout the upper Midwest. Districts are laying off teachers in sizable numbers.
    (5) I am an experienced substitute teacher and like subbing. Substitute teaching pays surprisingly well in Wisconsin, but for that very reason, it is a closed shop. Retired teachers are the only ones who ever get calls. (Compare that to New Jersey in the Nineties, when I was starting out; my phone rang off the hook every single day.)
    (6) I now hold licenses in secondary and middle-school English in three states: Texas (one-year), Florida (statement of eligibility), and North Carolina (SP 1 professional license). My best paper right now is North Carolina; that license (the last I obtained) would get me reciprocity in almost any other state.
    (7) In addition to working on getting those certifications, I have been applying for jobs all spring, through Teachers-Teachers, NCPublicSchools.org, Texas ESC Regions 10 and 11 (Dallas/Fort Worth) and Region 4 (Houston), individual district websites in all the states I’ve mentioned, and, for private school jobs, NAIS (where I apply for history/social studies positions as well as English positions). I monitor openings posted at Education America and Top School Jobs, and follow up on those as well. My job search parameters at TT, EA, TSJ, and NAIS include all the sun-belt states, not just the ones I’m currently certified in.
    (8) I have applied for 70 positions this spring. I have had some requests for additional information, which I always supply promptly. In the application process, I do exactly what I am told to do, and do not do what I am told not to do (make follow-up calls, for instance). I’m playing it by the book.
    (9) I have not had an interview yet, or even a phone call; just a few emails. It is tough out there this year. The district I am farthest along with is the New Orleans Recovery School District, where I’ve gone through a number of preliminary hoops and am told I’m fully eligible for hire.
    (10) I was scheduled to attend the teacher job fair for the Dallas/Fort Worth area on May 4, but it was canceled on April 30 because of the swine flu outbreak. I took a financial hit on that. I am looking at attending the Houston area fair on June 15 and 16.
    (11) I am single and childless, and only have one dependent, a cat. We are mobile on short notice! My apartment lease in Wisconsin, as it happens, terminates on July 31.
    (12) So the big question is: If I don’t have any specific positive job indications by early July, should I plan on relocating to one of the states where I’m licensed (most likely the Dallas/Fort Worth area in Texas)? The theory is that I could work my job search much more effectively “on the ground” than from a distance. I just don’t think that districts are even looking at out-of-state candidates right now, they probably have so many local ones. I could certainly sub to start, if subbing in Texas is more accessible than it is in Wisconsin, and could take a part-time job on weekends to help get by for the time being.
    (13) If any last-minute openings come up at the start of the school year or even a few weeks into it – which I know happens – districts are going to look for someone close at hand, not someone in Wisconsin.
    (14) At the moment, I have the money to complete the relocation; if I stay in Wisconsin, I might start to draw that money down, and I suspect that I won’t be making any real progress on the teaching job search as long as I stay here. Those are important considerations. The beginning of August is a quite feasible time for me to make the move.
    I welcome opinions and insights! Also happy to answer any questions.
     
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  3. palla

    palla Companion

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    May 11, 2009

    That is a good question, Mark. I don't know the job market in DFW, so I can't answer. I know English is harder than other subjects (math, for example), but you have the qualifications. The county where I live (Georgia) apparently has too many English teachers and is moving some to other areas in the fall, but I can't speak for the DFW area.

    I don't know what to suggest, but I wish you good luck in your search!!
     
  4. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    May 11, 2009

    Have you applied to any other areas in Louisiana other than New Orleans? Both the Baton rouge and Shreveport markets are open also. They both had to hire foreign teachers last year because there were not enough teachers.
     
  5. Wisconsin Mark

    Wisconsin Mark Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    I have not done that. I will follow up immediately -- thanks for the suggestion!

    I am very lucky to have maximum flexibility. I really could go anywhere, and the prospect doesn't faze me; I've moved often enough to get the hang of it.
     
  6. Wisconsin Mark

    Wisconsin Mark Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    That is interesting about Georgia. I see occasional Georgia English postings at Teachers-Teachers, but not too many.

    This year is very different than other years, I know. North Carolina and Florida had been recruiting aggressively up till now, but budget woes are putting a break on that. Texas is just a little less affected by the economic downturn, it seems.
     
  7. chemteach55

    chemteach55 Connoisseur

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    May 11, 2009

    Louisiana is also not affected as much by the economy. Baton Rouge and Shreveport probably do not pay as much as New Orleans but the cost of living in those areas is much lower then New Orleans.
     
  8. Wisconsin Mark

    Wisconsin Mark Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    Low cost of living is good. I deliberately haven't concentrated on California because the cost of living there is insane (and not just in the bigger cities).
     
  9. AMB

    AMB Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    This is a very tough year. I wish I could move so easily. (We have a house that we would lose a ton of money on. More money than a teaching salary.) If I could move as easily, I probably would.

    Good luck!
     
  10. Wisconsin Mark

    Wisconsin Mark Rookie

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    May 11, 2009

    I see you're in the Midwest, too. I'm curious, what state?
     

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