I'm in south suburbs of chicago too, loveteaching! been in city, suburubs, public, private and non-profit, and head start Head Start and Chicago pays more! have to weigh it out...teacher's retirement, hours, etc. I still think the $$ you put out for supplies and union dues reduces your salary. Wish there were more options. some districts post salaries in district office, but not online. Salary scale based on years of experience and education. Usually Step 1, Level 1, means 1st year teacher with BA. get a little more with more college classes. Dictated by unions. Could go up if contract is scheduled for review this year. what are the charter schools paying?? all in all, I feel there is no good or bad time to apply. Unless you are in some die-hard district where people stay forever, there is usually attrition in every grade. People get sick, have babies, don't come back, retire, and move on. You gotta trust your heart, and believe this. So I say, apply and keep applying, until you get your dream job.