Is Florida really THAT bad?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by waterfall, Dec 23, 2011.

  1. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    As far as location- I think I'd love it. I won't go on and on, but it essentially has everything I'm looking for as far as relocating. Warm, beach, lots of cities- close enough to reasonably fly home (west coast is just too far for me- plus I have to admit I think I'm more of an east coast person). However, I've always heard really bad things about their educational system. Even now when I tell people I'm thinking of looking in FL next year, they all give me a shocked look and proceed to tell me how "screwed up" the schools are there. I admittedly don't know much about specific cities and where the better schools might be, so I had posted on a city forum asking if there were any other teachers there. I got a bunch of responses back and even some PMs telling me "all the good teachers are leaving because they're being treated so badly by the school board, pay is terrible, no respect," etc. Many of these were from people who aren't even teachers themselves, and when the general public knows how bad things really are for teachers that makes me worried. I feel like a lot of the concerns they shared were true for Colorado (where I currently teach) as well.
    -Merit pay (we also have it, it is based on test scores, and we don't have funding to actually pay people for merit either)
    -No tenure
    -Low salary (I believe CO is actually 49th or 50th for teacher pay, and FL is a much cheaper place to live- so really I feel I have nowhere to go but up).
    -Mistreatment/lack of respect- I feel like these days any teacher would say that. Is there something especially bad about being in FL?

    Am I totally crazy for wanting to look there? For anyone that lives there, are there better places/cities within the state to look in? How realistic would it be for me to get a job as a special education teacher there?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't have any personal knowledge of the situation in Florida, but I do want to ask about your comment that Florida is a much cheaper place to live. It may be true that wherever you are now has a very high cost of living, but I'm not sure that Florida is a whole lot cheaper. I mean, it could be, but that doesn't seem right to me. Florida seems like it would be an expensive place to live. Where have you heard that it's a cheaper place to live?
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I live in an extremely wealthy part of CO- near the best ski resorts in the state. Cost of living is sky-high here. I live in affordable housing and my rent is 1200 a month for a one bedroom aparment. If I wanted to live in non-affordable housing (like regular apartments), I'd be paying over 2,000. The average cost of a house is one million. A small condo is 600k minimum. I make about 35k a year here, and we're taking cuts for next year as well. I've looked up rents in various cities in FL and they are much cheaper than that. The people on the forum actually did tell me it was cheaper there when I told them specifically where I was from, so that was confirmed. Money really doesn't concern me as long as I have enough to live on. I could go to Denver or Colorado Springs for a much cheaper cost of living, I'd like to get closer to a city, and I know special ed jobs are plentiful in both places. However, the truth is I really want to get out of colorado together. I don't think hopping around to various places looks good on a resume, so although I know I could get to a little better place like Denver, it seemed wise to me to try to get in where I really want to go first. I really want to live in one of the southern east coast states near the ocean. The problem is I hear bad things about the schools in all of them. I had a friend who was hired fairly easily in NC, but the place she worked for sounded downright horrible. She had 30 something kids on her caseload. I'm having trouble keeping up with 22 now. In my home state there is a law that special ed teachers can't have caseloads bigger than 16- so it's hard that other states don't have that. I didn't realize how rare it was. She ended up moving to VA this year.
     
  5. ilvoelv

    ilvoelv Rookie

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    Yes Florida is cheaper than many major cities.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 24, 2011

    I have no idea how education is in Florida.

    But it's a pretty big state. I would imagine the same is true there as most places, that things vary widely from one location to the next.

    As to teachers complaining: I suspect the same is true there as most places: people complain on forums a whole lot more than they sing the praises.
     
  7. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Florida has many problems, just like many other places.

    As for the educational system: Just remember, this state is populated by retirees who have already raised and educated their children. They are not interested in the education of the current children.

    We have a huge immigrant population. If you truly want to work in Florida, familiarize yourself with Caribbean island cultures - especially Cuba, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic.

    The pay stinks. No two ways about it. Living in the bigger areas (Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Orlando, etc) equals higher cost of living. When I worked in Palm Beach, my rent was $1050/mo for a one bedroom in a safe neighborhood (more than half my salary for the month). I now work in a much smaller district and pay $1100/mo for a three bedroom townhouse (with BF), but I took a 7K hit in income.

    Flrida is often called front runner in educational reform, but that's at the expense of trying new things and hoping they'll work. We are switching to the common core standards for next school year (GoodBYE NGSSS. I won't miss you). As far as actually being in the classroom, it completely depends on the district you work in. I like my school, but I suspect an awful lot of people wouldn't be able to handle the schedule (evidenced by the number of people who quit and call my school/district "insanity").

    Also, the east cost is cheaper than the west coast, but you'll also be paying much more by living on the coast then you would living inland. Of course, living inland is unbearable during the summer because you don't have the ocean breeze.

    Florida is not warm. Florida is hot. There is high humidity, and wet heat is absolutely disgusting. "Hot" starts in April and doesn't end until mid-October. Heat indexes over 100 are normal. The high for Christmas Day is 85 in my area.

    Get used to storms. Thunderstorms, lightening storms, rainstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes. When you look for a place to live, make sure you aren't in a flood zone. One good rainstorm floods certain areas fairly quickly. And insurance. Even if you don't buy a house, there's a hurricane tax on your car insurance. And while you may never actually experience a hurricane, the cost of simply being prepared for one is considerable.

    Annnnnnd... I've lived in Florida almost all of my life. I'm ready to leave - mostly because I find the summers debilitating. If you have questions about certain areas, feel free to PM me. I live in South FL but have also lived in North FL.

    ETA: BUGS. Lizards. Yuck. Also: I think a lot of people who warn about Florida are really just trying to tell you this: Moving to FL is is not like taking a life-long vacation in FL. A great many people move here, thinking that "Life is a beach" and they're disappointed when they find it's not. It's regular life in super-hot mode.
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Yes. This. Exactly. I was born in Miami-Dade county and lived there most of my life. I will never move back. In addition to everything that was said, may I also add that the crime rate is quite high in the major cities, and car insurances in Miami is one of the most expensive in the country. I pay less now for and entire 6 month policy than I did per month in Miami.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    I think Florida and Texas must be the same state... (at least the Gulf Coast part of Texas). :)
     
  10. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I know teachers in Seminole and Orange county. Both live in Winter Springs and both love it. Of course they have many of the complaints that you listed. But you're not coming from a union protection state so you know the pitfalls. It's not perfect. It's 1 1/2 hour to Coca Beach from Winter Springs. It rains everyday in the summer in the afternoon.(for a little while) ( I often spend 4-6 weeks in the summer in Florida) and yep, it's hot. I still say you should come to Mississippi (3 1/2 hours away from the beach) LOL. Oh, and for what it's worth my friend from florida is coming to spend the summer with me in Ms. so I won't be in Florida this summer. And both teachers say to stay away from Miami Dade if possilbe.
     
  11. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Waterfall, I grew up in SC. It's warm, the schools in *some* areas are quite good (Some of Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, Columbia/Lexington) and it's got some really appealing small cities.

    When I visited Florida, I was amazed at the heat. Amazed. We drove 80mph on the way to the airport once and with the windows open the blowing air was hot enough to make me sweat. Seriously. It's crazy, crazy hot there.

    The Florida teachers on AtoZ have seemed pretty frustrated for a long time. When you started to say you are thinking of a move to Florida I shook my head like all your friends. It just sounds like folks are having a rough time down there.

    Have you considered looking at private schools? You might have a lower caseload (smaller schools) and though the pay *might* be lower (at my school it is not) the support might be just as good or even better. Our academic support counselor is one of the most beloved people at our school - she's the object of a ton of admiration, gratitude, and respect.
     
  12. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Thanks! I know it's hot- I actually enjoy hot weather. I'm being totally honest when I say I honestly would be perfectly happy never seeing another snowflake in my life. Ohio is humid in the summer too- I used to work outside all day and some summers 105-110 with humidity 85-95% was the norm in southern OH. It honestly doesn't bother me. I've also been in Florida at some point most summers of my life and I've never thought anything of the heat. The humidity thing is better here in CO, but I absolutely can't stand that it's actually cold at night in the summer! It's summer- it's supposed to be hot! I will take humidity over being cold in the summer any time. It can also snow in June and August here, and "regular snow" is September-May. This coming from a person who hated winter before I got here. I'd take a thunderstorm over a blizzard any day. We often have blizzards with more than two feet of snow, zero visibility, -30 degree weather, interstate is closed, wrecks on every corner- yet we are expected to come to school no matter what. Snow days don't exist in my district. They've never had one. Last year a bus wrecked and some kids were injured, although luckily everyone ended up okay- and that didn't make them think twice at all. Teachers routinely get in wrecks on the way to school, and they couldn't care less. Most kids at my school are immigrants so I'm used to that. I don't have an ESL license though which I've heard would be helpful. I could get it here by simply taking a praxis test, but by the time I took the test and had it added to my license, it would be next fall at the earliest (our department of ed is incredibly slow).

    It seems I just hear bad things about all those states on the coast- flordia, georgia, south carolina, north carolina. It seems that Florida had the most cities (I definitely don't want to go rural or "small town"- and it seems that much of NC and SC especially is). I don't want to be in the "bible belt" where people are going to have a problem with me getting a drink in a bar as a legal adult simply because I'm a teacher. We used to vacation in SC and the beaches there are just ugly- the water is this brown/green color that just looks dirty. I didn't make it to any Florida beaches until college (although we had gone to Disney or Orlando every year when I was younger), but I could't believe how beautiful the water was, especially in comparison to SC. I figured if I was going to move by the ocean, might as well do it right!
     
  13. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    For pretty beaches I like Bradenton, fl and Sarasota. If you like hot weather then I think you will like Florida. There are some good private schools in Sarasota too. A English teacher I worked with in SLC was from Sarasota. Small world huh? I guess I know 3 teachers (2 still in Florida) Good luck!!!
     
  14. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    Stay put

    I get the feeling sometimes teachers are either the most ignorant people on the face of the earth or they are willfully ignorant. Read the papers and know what is going on politically. Florida is a complete and total mess. Teachers' rights have been gutted. Why would you move to a state where you would have absolutely no job security whatsoever just because you are tired of a different state?

    If you have any money for retirement, THEN consider Florida, but you really need to stay put for the sake of your career.

    Teaching is bad all over the country. Florida is doubly and triply bad because of the anti-education governor who is running the state. You ARE aware, aren't you, that Charlie Crist is no longer governor?
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    No need to say biting things. Waterfall is putting out feelers whether Florida really is as bad as people on here say it is. Apparently, to many, it truly is. I know my parents are extremely disheartened by what they see happening to education there.
     
  16. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    There's really no need to be rude. As I've already said, the things I hear about Florida (merit pay, no tenure, low salary, etc.) are already true in Colorado. That's happening in Ohio too, as well as Wisconsin, and I suspect will happen in most if not all of the country. I know OH managed to shoot down SB5 for now, but I suspect it won't be long before the lovely governor there comes up with an equally ridiculous plan. I have no job security here either-we have no tenure. I think very few places have it anymore, and if they have it now I think it will be going away soon. I just happen to know that at least for the next couple years, I have so many students and my admin really likes me that I don't see there is any way they could cut me. As far as I know, I have the largest caseload in the district and I'm in charge of a lot of things at my school. I realize this is a good job situation and one many people would be happy to be in, which is why I stayed on for this school year. I figured in this economy it would be stupid to leave. I'm not just "tired" of this state, I flat out hate it. I literally do not think I can make it through another year here- that's how much I hate it. I had no dillusions of loving it when I moved here- I was right out of college, there was not even a hope of getting a job in my home state, and I figured I had to start somewhere since most "good" places won't hire someone without experience. I did try applying to places like NC, SC, and Georgia the first time around, but didn't get any calls for interviews. I figure now I really have the best shot possible- I will have two years experience so I'm not a totally new teacher that they'll have to train, but I don't have so much experience that I'm too expensive. I also don't have a masters yet.
     
  17. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Thanks!
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Florida Virtual School is another alternative you might consider. If it's at all like my school, you can live anywhere in the state and still teach there. It's gotten some positive national press, too.
     
  19. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Having gone to high school and college in Florida, I never noticed the heat either. What I do recall are the beautiful beaches, huge sky with towering white clouds, thunderstorms that turn everything green, amazing teachers, a lively culture in the Miami area, and friendly people, particularly in the interior. And also huge palmetto bugs. Ick. But I've always loved Florida, from Key West to Panama City and everything in between.

    However....that was then. I do think respect for educational is a particular problem right now, as it is in various other parts of the country. My Florida teacher friends are feeling defeated and abused.

    Now, I like Georgia. The governor is quiet and the new superintendent of schools, John Barge, is teacher-friendly and seems sensible. I love my county--Douglas County--right outside of Atlanta. Good pay, still good benefits although price is going up, good teacher retirement system. Beaches to the east and the south, mountains to the north. Culture in Atlanta and wide variety of things to do in there. Terrible southern food. Face it, Paula Dean doesn't work at the local bar-b-que joint.

    Due to the testing scandal in Atlanta City Schools and another county to the south, the testing climate is changing. I think a revamp is in the works. Pendulum is starting to swing back to a less frenzied and panicked atmosphere. New Superintendent just turned down a chance for the second funding of Race to the Top money. Said it was "too restrictive" and "damaging".
     
  20. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    I have lived in Palm Beach county for more than 35 years. What has been said about the heat and humidity is very true, but it doesn't affect everyone the same way. Beaches are beautiful, the water is warm for more than 6 months a year. Rents are high, but housing has not recovered yet, so there are some good deals for buyers. There are things to do for fun that aren't expensive, and there is now, finally, a decent amount of cultural activities, too.

    PB County school district is huge (800 schools or so) and the schools are huge, too (MS with 500 - 800 students). Elementary is implementing the class size amendment which was passed a few years ago. I taught in private schools where pay is usually awful. My sister has taught for over 20 years in public high school, mostly, though she just switched to elem. The high schools are pretty scary places, kids are often out of control. My sister is biding her time, loving her subject but hating teaching. And the climate isn't pro-education. Palm Beach county is far from the idyllic Palm Beach image.

    Anything north of Palm Beach gets more and more 'country' as you travel north and in the center of the state. The lifestyle and attitude of residents is unlike south FL.

    Have you read any Carl Hiassen books? They exaggerate very little in the depiction of the craziness in this state.

    But, life in a hot climate is easier (and I've gotten lazy). You don't need a winter wardrobe or auto stuff. You can live in flip flops and sandals. Air conditioning is cheaper than heat, I hear, and I've only used my heat in a rare cold winter once in the last 10 years. There are lots and lots of retirees in south FL, not so much in the middle and north middle of the state.

    My family is here so I'm staying. I wish I had raised my kids somewhere else, though.
     
  21. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    Ah, Florida! So, two discussions here - personal and professional.

    Personally, be ready for a lack of "high culture" in most parts of Florida. Most FL is filled with strip malls, gated subdivisions, etc. If you're used to communities where people interact around arts and culture, Miami is probably the only place where that might happen, and then even a bit. In many cities, people go to average bars, listen to average music, eat at average restaurants, and seem to have average discussions. Don't expect an extremely intellectual, educated, artistic, or cultured community if you move. I know that's generalizing, but that's been my experience by and large.

    I wouldn't rule out those other Southern states - there are pockets of culture and development that are far more advanced than you'd find in most of FL. NC/SC: Chapel Hill, Durham, Raleigh, Wilmington, Asheville, Charlotte, Charleston, Greenville - all have weaknesses, but all are probably more preferable for me than pretty much any city in FL. Many of those cities have developed historically, at least in their cores, and aren't just strip malls and gated communities which make for very separate and isolated living experiences in FL.

    Professionally, you may be interested: they were one of the first states (though not the first) to pilot RtI, and are doing some behavioral RtI as well in some districts. Many schools (in certain pilot districts) have buidling-level and district-level RtI coaches, and have to implement RtI with a higher degree of fidelity than a random district in a random state just deciding to do it. There is state-level support from the DOE as well as University support for RtI. I mention RtI in particular because I know that you are a very progressive special education teacher, and you may find the climate in some districts/schools much more preferably than where you are now in terms of RtI support. Of course, and school can be good or bad depending on building-level leadership, district politics, local funding, etc., but that's anywhere.

    I will say that some teacher education programs in FL can be subpar, so sometimes you don't have as educated or trained teachers to work with, and districts tend to be a lot larger, leading to more politics and less localized decision-making, which can cause frustration.

    Overall, I wouldn't target a state waterfall, I'd target cities - you can investigate specific educational districts (along with initiatives that specifically may be interesting to you, as opposed to general education teachers), and look into specific personal living conditions. For example, in SC - some beaches are awful, but some are amazing - less well known, off the beaten path. Toward the northern part of the state, you have mountains, and a very different social/cultural climate than down near Charleston. In NC, you have a major metro area dominated by banking/business (Charlotte) that is more social and culturally conservative, only an hour and a half from a very progressive, liberal, and artistic/cultural city (Asheville). Up in the RDU area, you have an area dominated by higher education, research, and healthcare, and very different culture than either of the other two. Still, Wilmington is utterly different than those two.

    Of course, you have pockets of awesomeness in the rest of the South too - each state seems to have something worth looking into.

    Honestly, FL wouldn't be on my list, nor would any of the cities really - either personally or professionally. If you can deal with a relatively sterile, bland, and "functional" (as opposed to creative) city, there are a few alright places to look into - Tampa/St. Pete area, perhaps Jacksonville, and maybe Sarasota/Bradenton (older, more settled community). But, I think you could do better in other cities outside of Florida.
     
  22. tonysam

    tonysam Comrade

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    It's not being "rude" to tell the truth to people. My God, it's like hitting a head on a brick wall to some teachers who simply don't read or stay informed of the trends in hiring/firing and so forth in public education.

    READ the papers and KNOW what is going on in Florida and the rest of the country. Pay CLOSE attention to the politics of any state you move to. Do you REALLY want to throw away everything you have now for an uncertain situation in Florida when the situation for teachers is so bad? It is worse in Florida than in just about any other state in the country. You probably will be fired after one or two years since there is no more "tenure" in that state, and then what? What is going to happen when you are stuck and you can't get hired statewide?

    Staying put until you can retire is the best option. That is if you want to remain a teacher. If you are willing to go into another field, go for it. If you have only two years as a teacher, you'll be sacked anyway, and you will (likely) be young enough to retrain for another career, which is what is going to happen to you anyway.
     
  23. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    The information you had was solid, tonysam, it was the manner in which it was given. Knowing how badly the political tables have turned against public education is important to teachers interested in relocation, and I agree with your assessment. Tone, however, is a huge factor in readability. Insulting the poster would probably result in your valuable information being overlooked.
     
  24. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    Waterfall has pointed out she is in a state that has no tenure, merit pay, and low salary. She is in a state that is COLD. She wants to be in a state that is Warm.

    The Governor of Florida is pretty much anti-education.

    I've never had the opportunity to work in a Union State. I've been in the business world in a right to work state (no tenure and all based on merit pay) and in the education world without a Union in two right to work states.

    I guess maybe my prospective is different. I agree a bad principal can ruin a career. (So can a bad manager)

    I'm still happy that I made a choice to change careers and move 2000 miles away. However, I've never worked where I was secure in a job with tenure.

    I think it's good that Waterfall asked the question and is getting a variety of responses. It's a big decision to make. I don't know if there is an ideal state to teach these days.
     
  25. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    I think the OP is asking a good question. She's seeking more info from those who actually work there.

    Good luck whatever you decide. Don't stay out of fear you wouldn't like somewhere else. It's a hit or miss everywhere right now. Florida is as good as any place, and it has the advantage of geographically having what you are looking for. You're young, you're on your own, and so what if you end up having to find a different job.

    Tonysam is being a grouch.
     
  26. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Thanks for the info! I had actually always planned on looking in NC when I graduated, because at one time (when I was entering college) it was known as a place with a lot of jobs, and of course it was a little warmer than where I grew up. One of my college friends and I used to always talk about that- by the time we were seniors, it seemed that things had changed big time. I know one year they put a hiring freeze out and actually fired new teachers they'd just hired for that year- I just can't imagine how awful it would be to move somewhere for a new job and then be told the job is gone. That's one big thing that really turned me against NC. It turned out that a girl from our graduating class (one of the 3 that got jobs) was hired in NC and she just absolutely hated it- and a lot of her complaints seemed like they would go outside of that specific district. For example, she had almost 40 kids on her caseload, and no one really saw a problem with this. She also said things weren't near as progressive as they were in OH, which I guess could be her specific district, but that seems more like regional thing to me. We vacationed a lot in SC when I was younger and it seemed that even in some of the cities, there was just this "slower pace" to everything that would drive me nuts. The people are very friendly, which is nice, but I'm not sure I would fit into that whole "southern belle" thing. Even though FL is actually further south than NC or SC, I feel like it's less stereotypically "southern", at least from the little I've seen- more fast paced, less bible belt, etc. I actually did apply in both states the first time around and didn't get a single interview- but I later found out they won't even give you a second glance if you don't already have their state's license, which I assume was part of my problem. The girl I knew that was hired in NC wasn't getting any calls either, and she wanted to live there so badly she actually drove down to a job fair (about 12 hours away), where everyone told her they couldn't interview her until she had their state's license. Once she got it, she got tons of interviews even though it was fairly late in the summer.

    I've briefly considered Georgia as well, but to be honest I don't know much about it. My grandparents used to live in Atlanta and I liked visiting them, but I was very young and don't know how I'd feel about the city now. They moved when I was 11. Our school psych is from Georgia. Maybe I'll pick her brain :).

    Interesting comments about how "average" Florida is. In all honesty, I'd say that about OH too, and I really wouldn't mind moving back there permanently providing it was a city and not a rural area (problem is, there are no jobs). Of course I'd like to be somewhere warmer, but other than the weather (which is still a lot better than what we've got out here), it's not a bad place to live. People tend to think of it as rural, but really there are a lot of cities and a lot of things to do in those cities. I find that out in CO I miss how down to earth/practical people are in OH. For example, in regards to snow people always say, "But you're from Ohio! You must know how to drive in snow!" Of course I'm thinking no, the difference is we're not dumb enough to go out driving in a blizzard. It's just a whole different mindset out here. I've honestly never considered myself that "cultured", but compared to the general standard out here- wow. I don't know how many conversations you can possibly have about "fresh powder" (snow) without going braindead. People are just blown away that you would have any other interest other than skiing/snowboarding. People up here will literally say, "but there's nothing to do in the city!":dizzy: I've heard that even in Denver it's the same kind of mindset. I sort of assumed previously that people would have more diverse interests in the city, but I've talked to several people who have told me that's not really true. That's why I've sort of gone away from wanting to go to Denver even though I know I could easily find a job- I don't want to go to the trouble of moving for more of the same.

    Interesting info on RtI for Florida. That would definitely be a plus! It drives me crazy that no one here knows anything about it!

    The reason I'm looking into specific states is so that I can go ahead and apply for their licenses. I learned the first time around that places won't really consider you until you have their state's license in hand. I'm willing to apply for a couple (I figure the cost of the license is nothing in comparison to widening my job market) but obviously I can't just choose 10 states for financial reasons. I wanted to do that this fall, but you have to get your admin to sign off on your experience, and I didn't want to go busting in the first couple months of school asking to leave. I don't really want to do that at this time either, but since I have no way of knowing how long states take to process licenses and I need to start asking for letters of rec, I figure I'm going to have to pretty much as soon as we get back.

    Thank you donziejo and shouldbeasleep- I sort of stayed this year out of fear of going somewhere else, and I just haven't been happy with that decision. I can't imagine doing it for another year. Last year I really, really liked my school. Some of that is still true- I have some good friends at work and I feel that my admin respects me and that I have a lot of "influence" which is rare for a teacher my age. However, this year we are a totally new school (we became a k-8) and we just don't have the community we used to. I find I don't like it as well, and people are just so stressed out with all the new things our district is implementing that there's always this negative energy in the building, which was just so not true last year. I also really disagree personally with the philosophy of some new things my district is pushing (full inclusion no matter what, no modifications for any students, sped services during specials and recess, no clear RtI process, etc.) We took a pay cut last year and they will take another pay cut next year, meaning I really don't know how I could afford to stay in this area anyway. So with that on top of being in an area I never liked, it just seems silly to even think about staying now.

    I think the hardest part really will be finding a specific school- I think the first time around I was so desperate to just be a teacher that I would have agreed to anything to get a job. I really have solidified my personal philosophy now and I have certain "non-negotiables" that are common in a lot of districts (I absolutely will not be a push-in "para" in a regular classroom in a full inclusion program, for example). I'm at the point now where I know it's important to find a school that's a really good fit for me personally, regardless of reputation or test scores and things like that.
     
  27. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Another thing to keep in mind about Florida is it a big state, and different areas are dramatically different. The bigger cities in the north are pretty average for larger cities. Miami-Dade is legendary in it's awfulness, Monroe County (the Keys) is just about as laid back as you can imagine (try getting a plumber in Key Largo...it's an interesting experience, to say the least...the plumber just might decide to go fishing instead of keeping your appointment) and the rural areas come with all the normal problems of any other rural area.

    I'm from Miami, which is definitely not a great place to live (though it's a fabulous place to visit), but you can't judge the entire state by Miami-Dade County. You might be better served by narrowing down where in Florida you might like to live and then go from there.
     
  28. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

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    That makes sense what you're saying about narrowing to states because of licensure issues - hadn't thought of that. I definitely agree that Florida really isn't the South (except rural FL, which very much is), but I also think most the cities in NC aren't very Bible-beltish either - you'll definitely find that segment, but you wouldn't probably find it overbearing in the cities I mentioned before. SC is more Bible-beltish for sure. Not sure about the professional scene in NC - sounds like some unfortunate negatives.

    OH is definitely more "cultured" in "artistic" in the bigger cities than many of the cities in FL. A word that has often popped into my mind in the past about FL vs other states is that FL just doesn't seem "real." I guess I was more used to places having a history, and people having a lot of roots/ties to where they are. There are so many transplants in FL that it often seems like it's just a big retirement or vacation area even for younger people who actually live there. Sometimes it feels like you're at this large country club and can never leave. For example, I remember trying to find a cool coffeeshop to do some work in one time, and just couldn't find one in all of Tampa - even Starbucks were more drive through spots. There was one Starbucks I found where people actually seemed to interact, but it wasn't my "scene" so to speak in terms of the type of people who were there.

    I'm trying to remember if I said this last time, but the people there just don't seem as well-rounded. The college graduation rate isn't as high, and a lot of people who have gone to college went to a state school (a lot fewer people that I met went out-of-state), many of which were large and relatively culture-less degree factories. Because FL has exploded in the last 40 years, there isn't the history, and along with it things like art museums, theaters, etc. - of course there are some, but not as many, and not as many that have any real significance. You can't find a bar that's been around 80 years with really interested history - they're all new sports bars in a strip mall in the suburbs, again with some exception. So, you have people growing up and living the majority of their lives in those conditions, and you end up with a different "culture."

    If you're the kind of person that's fine in a small town, having a cup of coffee from Starbucks, eating at TGI Fridays, seeing a Top 40 band in an amphitheater, going to movies instead of plays, are more into things like church rather than other community functions, then you might be fine. If you're looking for a depth of experience, diversity of people (mindsets), and a range of cultural, artistic, and educational opportunities, you may find FL sort of "flat."

    You know, if you like that sort midwestern thing, places like Chicago, Omaha, and Indianapolis might be interesting. Definitely colder, but there's a revival of sorts in Omaha & Indianapolis from what I hear, have more of that midwestern down-to-earth vibe and are affordable. They aren't as exciting as FL might seem, but may be more sustainable in the long-run. Especially if you're from OH, Indianapolis might be pretty close to home too, and a lot of people have nothing but positive things to say. I'd say the same about Columbus as well, but sounds like you're close to there, and you already know how that is!
     
  29. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

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    You already took a chance when you moved to Colorado so I know that you could handle another adventure. Sure, this first school wasn't really what you were looking for but it did give you experience and confidence in your teaching. I would get as much information as you can about new places that you might be interested in. I know you are looking for someplace warm and NOT rural but I would wonder if Colorado has some reciprocy agreement with neighboring states. That is a possibility but most states near Colorado are NOT warm!
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Disagreeing with someone is fine.

    Bitterness is even fine.

    Calling someone ignorant, not so fine.

    Each of us is entitled to our own opinions and course of actions. You've apparently chosen some that haven't turned out well, and have our sympathies. The OP is considering making some changes. As a first step, she's gathering information here. That's not ignorant, it's an intelligent way to approach an option.

    I don't teach in FL. I have no plans to ever teach in FL. But tens of thousands of people do. Apparently, for at least some of them, it's working out, or they would have taken your advice and gotten out.

    Even if it should turn out to be a mistake, that's OK. The OP is a big girl and can live with what happens.

    But namecalling and trashing someone else's ideas is neither appropriate nor professional.
     
  31. shoebottom

    shoebottom Companion

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    Agreed... and very well put :)


     
  32. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Thank you, Alice and shoebottom.
     
  33. Barbera

    Barbera Companion

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    Waterfall, have you considered Hawaii?
     
  34. Barbera

    Barbera Companion

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    Are you anticipating consistently increasing class sizes + teacher layoffs for over the next 5-10 years?
     
  35. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

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    Another idea is the Seattle area. It doesn't snow that often. If you get up on the plateau area just outside of Seattle, just before you hit the Cascade mountains, you get out of the rain and into a bit of snow in the winter...but again, it's just not that severe a snowfall. Nor does it get that cold there.


    Interesting discussion about Florida and the sense of history. It's a different kind of history there. Having been around many native Floridians in the interior part of the state, I would say there is a distinct culture there. It's cowboy/rancher and NASCAR/dirt tracks and Friday night football in the middle part of the state, and Coconut Grove/alligators/mangrove swamp atmosphere in some parts along the east coast. To me, the west coast is all new and nothing left of "old Florida".

    You have to dig deep under the trash of strip malls to see the original culture in Florida.
     
  36. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I'm really only looking east coast- west coast is just too far from my family and old friends. I realize in most places I'll be far enough away to need a plane, but the difference is a 150-200 dollar fare vs. a 400-600 fare, a 90 minute flight vs hours and hours...that all adds up to how easily/often I can get home. Hawaii would be wonderful, but to fly back to my hometown would be over 1,000 dollars and I imagine quite a long flight. That's a dealbreaker for me. Right now to get to my hometown I have to take an hour bus ride to pick up an airport shuttle, which is 70 dollars one way and an almost three hour trip. In the winter I have to stay at a hotel in the city, because if it snows while I'm trying to get to the airport (which it almost always does) the interstate is closed and there is no way to get down the mountains to the city. So thats another 90-100 dollars. Then I take another shuttle to the airport, wait a couple hours, get on a 3 hour plane ride that cost 400 dollars, finally get to my home state, and drive another 90 minutes to finally get to my home city (my home city's airport is ungodly expensive, so I have to use a smaller city's airport). It's very expensive and exhausting. I try to make it home about four times a year- thanksgiving, christmas, spring break, and about a week in the summer. That cost really adds up though. A lot of people are also "transplants" where I live but they're not close to their families and just don't go home. Many of them didn't even see their families on christmas- they go home maybe once a year in the summer or once every 2 or 3 years. I can't imagine. I'm not a "home body" who wanted to live with my parents for forever but I love my family and my best friends in the world (who I still talk to daily even though I live across the country) live here. I also think the west coast and east coast have distinct personalities and I've realized I'm much more of an "east coast" person (that may not make sense to someone who hasn't lived in both places).
     
  37. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I've only read bits and pieces of this, so I don't know if I missed any of your criteria, but San Antonio and Houston are great places to live and work with pretty low cost of living and interesting cultural experiences. Austin is pretty awesome too, but jobs are hard to come by. Also, Houston has 2 airports, so you are bound to end up close to one of them.
     
  38. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    All of the places I'm looking have reciprocity with either CO or OH (I'm still licensed in OH) so no worries there. You're right about the experience- although it turned out this wasn't the place for me, I don't regret starting my career here at all. In fact it was probably the best thing for me as a brand new teacher. I feel like I came in knowing very little about special ed and was in the perfect environment to "learn on the job" while still being successful my first year. In that regard, the people I work with and the school I'm at were the perfect fit.

    I am just gathering as much info as possible right now. I find it's all relative- although I'm desperate to get out of CO, an outdoorsy person or an avid skier/snowboarder would think they'd found their little piece of heaven here. I know for many people I work with, things like merit pay, no union, low salary, etc. are totally made up for by the fact that they live within walking distance of some of the best ski resorts in the country. I'm trying to find the place that does that for me!
     
  39. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

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    Do you have particular areas of Florida in mind?
     
  40. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    Dec 27, 2011

    Good luck Waterfall in your search. I MISS working in the mountains in Colorado, but I understand your reasons for wanting to leave. I loved going up there once a month, but the mountain drive with the snow and ice was scary. If I didn't have such a close family I would consider moving to Denver in a heartbeat.
    You'll find your place. And you have such a wonderful adventure to look back on. I wasn't brave enough to move to a new place for my first job, but it was something I thought about.

     
  41. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    Well that's what I was trying to find out, because honestly I don't know that much about the differences between different cities, but any time I ask or try to find out more infomation I just get a bunch of replies about how the entire state is apparently going to hell in a handbasket. I would really assume that it's a big state and some places are better than others, but anything I've found insists that the whole state is equally terrible. I was looking around the Tampa area. I want to be in/near a city, near the ocean, and around somewhere that's going to have a lot of people my age (I'm 24). Anywhere rural is absolutely out of the question.

    Tasha, I was actually specifically looking at Houston as well. It seemed like a good area for me. However, we don't have reciprocity with Texas and it looked like I wouldn't have enough time/money to fulfill all the requirements for licensure in time to job search for next year.
     

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