Job Search Advice

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Apr 7, 2018.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It's so funny how these things vary so much from place to place. In my first year teaching I don't think I had any classes smaller than 30-32 students!
     
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  2. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    My first job in a public school included a couple of weeks of mandatory, unpaid PD (it was part of our contracted hours) so that's not necessarily something you'll get away from but yeah, 7:30-4:30 is a looooong day - I did 7:45-3:45 and that felt too long - and 30+ are a lot of bodies in a classroom. I see the argument for getting experience, but I think you should probably follow your gut. My first job was somewhat similar to that and it almost drove me out of teaching before I'd even really started.
     
  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    These are really long hours and that is a LOT of students for a first year teacher. Maybe it's different at a middle school/high school level to have 30-32 students (I'm elementary), but that is a lot of kids to manage at one time when you're new. I had 26 last year and that was almost enough to push me over the edge (high poverty school with a LOT of behavior problems).

    It sounds like they really want you, but I don't think the long day and large class size will be worth the struggle in the long run. It's true you can't really be too picky your first year in terms of what jobs are available, but... this just doesn't sound like a situation you'd want to willingly walk into.
     
  4. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    While classes this size aren't the norm in grades 4-8 here, they certainly aren't uncommon.
     
  5. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    Agreed. Charter school is a totally different ball game.

    Did you ask if they have a full medical/dental & vision. Sick pay, snow day pay?? What about a teacher’s union, and retirement plan that falls in line with your state?? Otherwise, you’ll build experience with no credit towards retirement in your state pension program.
     
  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would only consider this job as an absolute last resort. Given that it's only April, I don't feel like we're at last-resort status just yet. If you are considering it, ask some questions. Here are some things to think about.

    A 9-hour teacher workday is a very long day. How much of this time is instructional time? Are you expected to perform additional, non-classroom duties like bus duty, lunch duty, etc.? Do you have a duty-free lunch? Do you have any guaranteed prep time during the day, and if so how much?

    For some perspective on the long workday, teachers in my district are contracted to work just over 7 hours. At my school, we work an 8-hour day because we have an extended day program. We are paid very generously for this additional time.

    How does the charter school salary line up with teacher salaries in the local public districts? How does the longer school day at the charter school compare to the day at the local public districts. Make sure you're comparing apples to apples here. For example, it's not too bad if the charter pays $40k and the public school pays $42k. But if you have to work 45 hours per week for $40k while only needing to work 37 hours per week for $42k, it starts to look a little less good.

    Class sizes...this depends on how things are in your area. At my current school, it's not abnormal for classes to be around 30-35 students. At my previous school, average class sizes were more like 40-45, with some much, much larger than that. In this day and age, with shrinking budgets and whatnot, I'd expect to see class sizes starting to increase across the board. I personally wouldn't be deterred by numbers like this, but I'm not the one making this decision.

    A month of unpaid work for PD is unacceptable to me. I think it's fair for new teachers to do a little extra in terms of teacher training days; in my district, first-year teachers work something like 190 days their first year while everyone else works about 185. It's unreasonable to ask anyone to work for an extra month without pay, though, in my opinion. If we take that hypothetical $40k salary from above, a month equals around $4,500. By asking you to work for free for a month, they're basically taking $4,500 from you. And since you'd be working during those days, it's not like you'd have a ton of free time to work a lot of extra hours at another job.

    I'd pass on this one, but you don't have to if you feel like it's a good fit or your best shot. Go into it with eyes open, though.
     
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  7. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    bella! Don't be selfish. Just because you want to read Holyoke's horror stories come September doesn't mean she should go down this route!
     
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  8. Master Pre-K

    Master Pre-K Virtuoso

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    I have a decent salary, average for Type 04 - Certified Master Pre-K teachers in my area.

    But I work for a child care center, not an organization, agency or public school.

    Not considered salaried...Will get docked for 15 minutes and beyond.

    I have no benefits, no sick days, no snow days, no jury duty or PD pay.

    No pay for Xmas 2 week break. Only paid for 6 school holidays and Spring break.

    No stipend for training or buying classroom supplies.

    It does make a difference...:(
     
  9. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I'm not looking for horror stories. I'm just speaking from experience. I took my first teaching job at a charter. It was horrible in so many ways. I was able to use that experience, however, to leave my position mid-year for a job that was in an excellent school district. The new school just happened to have an increase in students and needed to add a new teacher in January. Since I was at a charter and under an at-will contract, I could leave whenever I wanted. As Leaborb said, mid-year openings do happen, and the competition isn't as high. My charter experience got me the job over other candidates who didn't have any teaching experience at all yet, as I was able to talk from experience in my interview, as opposed to just theory. I suffered through a year and a half at that charter, but I'm certain that it was my experience there that got me the next job... and led me to where I'm at now.

    In the end, it's the OP's decision. From my perspective, though, first year teachers can't be picky unless they're in an area with a high teacher shortage. Most charters are at-will. To me, it's a no brainer to accept this job but continue looking. If something better comes along, accept it and back out of the charter. If nothing else comes along, at least you're employed and able to get experience that will be of benefit when looking for positions in the future.
     
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  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    .
     
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  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Today, I had my demo for the public school which is right next to the charter. The charter pays the same as this school since it's in district. The public school has an 8 hour long school day and pays the same but I LOVE this school and the kids seem awesome.

    Unfortunately, my demo didn't go very well (or I think it didn't go very well.) She said that my classroom management could be improved upon but she said that can be done with coaching. That was her biggest feedback. She said they have at few other demo lessons too. The lesson really wasn't the best showcase of my teaching abilities and the principal left in the middle :( not sure why that means but I don't think I got the job. I'm upset because this was a really good opportunity.
     
  12. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Exactly. I even remember, when I interviewed for the mid-year opening at the good school district, the principal asked me, right before I walked out the door at the end of the interview: "If you don't mind me asking, how can you get out of your contract?" I explained that I was working at a charter school and that my contract was at-will. I think he was surprised to find that a currently-employed teacher could accept a mid-year opening without repercussions. When he found that I could and his only other option was to go with people who had no experience, it was easy for him to offer me the job.
     
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  13. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Wow!! The public school I interviewed at has classes of about 22 students. The classes I student teach now are smaller so I'm definitely not ready for a class of 30 students!!
     
  14. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm feeling really disappointed with my demo lesson from yesterday. I would love feedback on how to improve at demo lessons because I'm not doing a great job right now.

    -I only had a handful of kids participate. I know I should have done a turn and talk. Normally I would cold call in my own class. I also tried to say "someone at this table please" to answer a question but they didn't answer. It's a school with many ELLs so I was also nervous to cold call.

    - I let kids call out when I know I shouldn't have :( This is what I'm used to doing in my student teaching and I think it was just a habit. In my own classroom, I believe in raised hands. I got this feedback in two of my lessons.
     
  15. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Anytime I do a demo lesson, I script it out for myself ahead of time. I plan for the exact points where I’ll do a turn and talk or chart something, etc. I email ahead of time to find out how the teacher manages various aspects of the classroom so that I’ll be able to use what they are accustomed to during my demo. Then I explain how I might make adjustments in my own classroom. Every last details needs to be thought through, visualized, and planned ahead for a demo. I never go to those lengths in my own classroom, but it’s necessary when you’re going to be under observation in a high-anxiety situation like a demo. That would be my recommendation to you. Also, I think you’ll get more comfortable the longer you teach. If you take your charter offer now and look for other jobs after you have some classroom experience under your belt (not student teaching), you’ll likely get better at demos without even trying. It just becomes more natural the longer you do it.
     
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  16. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  17. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    I too will take the charter job just for the experience. It will give you an edge over other candidates who don’t have experience. Also, you want to build on what you have learnt during student teaching because classroom management really is a skill you need to be in a classroom to practise. Personally, I’ll suck it up with the long working hours, because frankly, as a first year teacher you will easily put in that much time into your planning anyway and since it’s not a long term job, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. I would also like to add that to me, job security is very important, so I’d rather have something lined up as a safety net, and that influences my point of view as well.
     
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  18. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    So I just got an email from the public school that I had a demo at first (in the district I am student teaching in) about a potential position. I hope this opportunity works out.
     
  19. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    My contract hours are from 7:10am-3:30pm. That’s 8 hours, 20 minutes, and most workers work 8-hour shifts. Why is 7:45am-3:45pm too long? That’s exactly 8 hours.

    However, 7:30am-4:30pm is 9 hours and that’s pushing it. Is the extra hour professional development? I typically leave exactly at 3:30pm because I tutor after for an hour or two.
     
  20. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Yay! Good luck! :)

    Hopefully, they offer a better salary and good benefits!
     
  21. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    So I called the woman back and it's a 4th grade position...AND I would have to teach another subject. I don't think I am interested in that job...
     
  22. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    What subject? Which certifications do you have?

    Does it pay more than you make now? Do you like the school?
     
  23. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    The fact that your demo lesson didn't go so well is OK! They can sometimes be filled with intentional pitfalls to test your mettle. The important thing is that you pick yourself up, regroup and prepare for the next one! Leaborb gave some excellent suggestions which I'll piggyback on. Always try to get as much preliminary info about your "audience" as possible - don't just ask the secretary who picks up the phone. This will allow you to anticipate the teaching challenges and tailor your lesson accordingly.

    Anticipatory Set: To get things started, ignite your demo with an unexpected surprise - a mystery box with live contents, a strange looking puppet (good for ELL), or something that you unwrap slowly. Of course, a bit of showmanship goes a long way. Regardless of their age, talk to the class as if they were middle schoolers to impress the panel. (I personally hate primary teacher talk! :() As Leaborb pointed out, refrain from requiring verbal responses at first until you all become familiar with each other - begin with thumbs up/down or some other physical response.

    Comprehension: Again in anticipation of having many ELLs, brush up on teaching ESL techniques if necessary - too many to describe here. Assume that some/many students may not have a well lexicons, so plan to introduce new vocab. early in your lesson.

    Modeling: One of the standard components to any ELL lesson is modeling - always model the type of responses that you would like the students to learn. This is especially important so students can understand how to use new vocabulary and new grammatical structures.
    Here's an easy way to model oral language to any group of students. You'll need a student assistant (one of your own students perhaps) who is familiar with the routine. After introducing new vocab. have your assistant demonstrate the target response with you. Of course, this would vary according to what you're teaching.

    Teacher: Asks the student a question
    Student: Responds in a complete sentence

    Demonstrate this simple dialog a few times to give the class clear examples of what they are to say.
     
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  24. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    It's a 4th grade math position and I may have to teach another subject too :( I'm only certified for math grades 5-8 but it might be a good foot in the door.
     
  25. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    You don't need no stinkin' foot in the door! Districts will eventually be drooling for someone to fill 5-8 math spots.
     
  26. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I observed a 2nd grade lesson where a teacher asked students to pair-share. Students were talking over each other, weren't taking turns, and weren't on topic. Total chaos.

    Ideally, they should be labeled partner A & B (sometimes, I've seen large labels on each student's desk). Or, if the lesson is on the rug, students are aware of which person is partner A and B. First, partner A will tell partner B about (insert what you want them to talk about and give them a sentence frame). Then, partner B will do the same.

    I showed this quick 2 minute video at a staff meeting about sentence frames during math (specifically, throughout number talks). Sentence frames are so incredibly important for our ELs.
     
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  27. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  28. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    7:45-3:45 was the students' day. I generally worked 7:15-4:15 at the very least and still did tons of work at home. YMMV, of course, but for me it was untenable (although the length of day was only a *very* small part of why I ultimately left that school - on its own, it probably would have felt not quite as bad). Most of the public schools around here - including most of the other schools in that district - run closer to a 7-hr. school day for students.
     
  29. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm visiting the school about the 4th grade position on Friday. I'm considering it because the district pays very, very well and it's a normal length school day.
     
  30. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    Does anyone have any advice for me about this position? I am thinking about it for a few reasons...

    -I think 8th graders are too old for me and I wanted to teach a younger grade like 6th or 7th grade. I like how 4th graders still want to please their teacher, etc. I think I would prefer behavior management at this age.
    -They wanted a teacher with strong math content knowledge for this grade level, which I think is really nice.
    -She said I could probably also teach an 8th grade math intervention class.
    -This district is apparently hard to get into because it pays very well. I would make 60K as a starting teacher and jump up 5K every year.
    -The downside is that I would likely have to teach another subject...maybe science but I think this is doable.
     
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  31. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    IMO, having a strength in math, you should have no problem teaching science. I think you would be seen as a strong candidate for the position. From what you've described, I think you should have no hesitation should they offer it to you. Good luck!

    With all the advantages on the plus side, having to juggle the challenges of teaching the 8th grade science class are relatively minor compared to your having to work in a less desirable environment often described in this forum.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
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  32. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  33. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I'm unclear about how the schedule would work but we would split two classes. I'm not sure if I would just teach two classes of 4th grade math or an 8th grade intervention or 4th grade math and 4th grade science. They are still figuring out the schedule but the team would be me, the another teacher, and a special ed teacher. I LOVE that they have a sped teacher on the team and I really want to work as part of a team like this. I would obviously have a prep for next year I'm not sure if they'll have the special ed teacher teach a subject? I have been looking at the 4th grade curriculum and I really like it. I would also love to start getting things ready around now for the next year instead of scrambling in July as well. I also don't want to just take a job for the salary but I am starting out my career and I really want to start saving some money!! I would make more $$ and work less hours compared to the other job.

    I LOVED the population of kids in the other school that I had a demo at yesterday. The pay, however, is lower (48K) for the hours we would have to work.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2018
  34. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  35. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    ^
    I think I would mainly be a 4th grade math teacher (2 classes) but I would likely have one other class to teach.
     
  36. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    You would need to take the test over the summer for the science position.
    The job for the math and science position hasn't sent you an offer yet, right? You seem to be jumping ahead of yourself. Just wait and see what happens. You do still have to interview for it, right?

    Did you turn down the charter school yet?
    I would take it if you know it is at-will. Worse case scenario, you are not offered anything during the summer, and you would have wished you took that offer at the charter school. I would take the job, and keep interviewing elsewhere. Try to get another job early on in the summer, so the charter school will have enough time to find a replacement for you.

    Good job on getting interviews early in April! I have been applying to a few places, but no interviews at all yet. Hardly any schools around here are posting up positions I am wanting to teach (ELAR co-teach or resource).
     
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  37. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    My first job was teaching 6th grade science. I had no specific background in science - my certification was 1-6 generalist and 1-6 sped - so I was a little nervous taking it, but I really loved it You can make it very hands-on and engaging for kids. I learned a ton!
     
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  38. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    I'm not sure if I have been offered the 4th grade job but it seems like I have. They said that they think I'll be a good fit for the position, etc. I'm still VERY conflicted and I would appreciate any insights you may have for me.

    I am planning on turning down the charter school job.
     
  39. Been There

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    After thinking about it a bit more, the staffing configuration does appear to be somewhat unusual, especially for a public school. Such fragmented schedules are sometimes used when the numbers of students don't warrant a full-time 4th grade position. Perhaps it would help you to know more about the current schedule and what the projections are for the subsequent years in terms of school demographics. Does admin view this as a temporary configuration until enrollment increases in the 4th or 8th grades? If possible, talk to the other members of the team to find out what their speculations are for the near future.

    Why don't the 4th grade teachers teach math to their own students? It seems odd that 4th grade is already being compartmentalized at this school. Does this mean you'll actually just be teaching classes of 4th grade math and science plus an 8th grade intervention class? What subject will the intervention class focus on?
     
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  40. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Connoisseur

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    It seems like the principal wanted to departmentalize since the teachers don't have strong content/pedagogical knowledge in math. They said the schedule isn't figured out yet and I would have input. I wasn't super clear on what else the P was saying since we were talking on the phone. All I know is that I would teach 4th grade math AND something else. I'm not sure what that might be...science or intervention. I don't think I would do both. I assume I might have kids during silent reading, snack, etch
     
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