Liking Where You Work

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ella_Ivory, Oct 14, 2015.

  1. Ella_Ivory

    Ella_Ivory Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2015

    Hi All -

    This is the first post that I have written on the A to Z teacher forum but I have read quite a few posts in the past. Some of these forum posts have gotten me through some tricky interview questions and resolving some challenging behaviors in the classroom. Therefore, now that I am facing this new challenge and I have researched numerous sites and have found little to no helpful information I figured I would pose the question to the people on this site that have unknowingly helped me in the past. I am currently in my fourth year teaching and I currently teach first grade at a title I school in Phoenix, AZ. I hold a master's degree in education and I am certified to teach K-12th (specifically 6-12th grade English) and I also hold a special education certification. A lot of the issues that I have faced recently come back to money, since I am a single 29 year old with a significant amount of student loan debt. After looking up how Arizona compares to the other states I discovered that we are ranked #49th in almost all categories. We are even ranked very low in terms of cost of living and salary. I personally think that a lot of my stress doesn't necessarily come from the classroom or the community but instead comes from simply not being able to afford to live. At the end of this school year I am interested in relocating. So after all that rambling I was just curious if anyone lives and/or works in a area where teachers are treated with respect and paid decent wages that one could afford to work near the school that they teach at? I hear so much bad press about teachers disliking their school and/or district I was just wondering if anyone enjoys where they work?
     
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  3. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I do! I live and work in a great district in the North Bay area in California. The cost of living is high, but it's worth it, in my opinion. With a Master's Degree and eight years of experience (how did that happen?!), I feel I am earning a good living wage. My husband and I make about the same, and he is a buyer/manager in the wine industry with the same number of years of experience, so I feel that my salary matches that of others in my peer group (not the ones working in tech, but we all made our choices!). In my opinion, it's important to live and work in a community that you enjoy and that you feel is supportive of teachers. My community is incredibly involved and supportive of the schools and that is worth all the money in the world!
     
  4. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Despite what people say about the Bay Area, I make enough to live here (with a BF, so we do split costs). Most are pretty good schools.
     
  5. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    The northern Utah school districts are great except for one. The pay isn't high, but it works comfortably for the local cost of living.
     
  6. Ella_Ivory

    Ella_Ivory Rookie

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    It is very refreshing to read your enthusiasm for the area that you teach in. I never would have guessed that the North Bay area in California would be affordable for a teacher to live. I received my Master's Degree from USC and I actually had to leave California after I graduated because teaching jobs were so hard to find as a first year teacher 5 years ago, granted that was outside of LA. If you don't mind me asking what school district do you work in?

    Thank you for responding to my post and giving me the hope that there are still communities out there that are supportive of schools and teachers... thank goodness!
     
  7. Ella_Ivory

    Ella_Ivory Rookie

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    This similar to what the previous user commented about as well. I appreciate your insight. I honestly would have never thought that the Bay Area was affordable for a teacher to live. This is exactly why I enjoy this site because people bring unique perspectives from all across the country. Thank you again! :]
     
  8. Ella_Ivory

    Ella_Ivory Rookie

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    Thank you.... I actually have a friend who lives in Utah and has also reported similar comments.
     
  9. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Don't come to NC, we're 51 (including DC)!
     
  10. Ella_Ivory

    Ella_Ivory Rookie

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    I've actually heard about the struggles in NC. Living in Arizona I can relate to the North Carolina's struggles. It is so difficult to remain passionate when the schools, government, and community doesn't seem involved or even interested in making the school systems better. Low morale is so defeating most days.
     
  11. lucybelle

    lucybelle Connoisseur

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    Yup. I have been seriously considering leaving the profession. I could easily make double my salary doing basically anything else at a professional level.
     
  12. Ella_Ivory

    Ella_Ivory Rookie

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    I'm sorry to hear that you are considering leaving the profession. This is the first year that I too have been considering leaving the profession because my friends work fewer hours, have less stress, and make more money than I do. The whole situation is very frustrating at times and that is why I originally started this post. I simply wanted to know if there are good communities to work in because it appears that in Arizona (along with North Carolina from what I've read and from your post) these communities don't seem to exist. However, the more research I do it appears that my love for teaching is intact but I just simply need to find the right fight in terms of a school and a location.
     
  13. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Well let's not get crazy and claim that the Bay Area is "affordable" for teachers! It is expensive and buying a home here will take us longer than it would in other areas. It's a personal choice, and for me, I would rather live in an area I love, with a community that supports teachers, than be able to afford a big, huge house but live somewhere I don't want to be.

    One place things are so far out of whack is in San Francisco proper, as well as the immediate surrounding areas (I'm about 45 mins north of the city). The cost of living there has become so astronomical and schools there actually pay *less* than then surrounding areas where housing is somewhat more affordable.

    What I see happening in some states with regards to the teaching profession is really sad and scary...Wisconsin is on that list as well. I think it says something about our culture that we are scapegoating teachers or treating them like replaceable cogs in a wheel. I have conspiracy theories about why certain groups want to dismantle public education, but I won't break out my tinfoil hat today :)
     
  14. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Another area that seems to have good schools and somewhat more of a balance is Northern Virginia...my step-siblings went to school out there and I continue to hear good things about the area and the schools are always hiring.
     
  15. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I live in Central California (the San Joaquin Valley). The cost of living is relatively low and all teachers I work with own a home. I honestly can't think of any colleagues who live in an apartment or rent a house.
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Agreed. I live in the East Bay area, so not in San Francisco, and I rent a 1 bedroom with my BF. The rent is high, but it's doable. I still eat out every week, and can purchase goodies for my hobbies or my classroom. But I'm not living it up.
     
  17. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    As far as housing goes, in my area of Ogden, Utah, buying a house is often more affordable than renting. The people who rent are the ones who simply do it out of lousy credit or not intending to stay in one place long.
     
  18. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I'm in north Texas and depending on what districts you work in, you can live very comfortably being on a single person income. I make a little more than a teacher does in my position in admin, am a single parent of an 11 year old, and own my home. I am still able to travel, eat out at least once a week, and buy extras here and there. I know many single teachers who have either bought their own home or are renting comfortably.

    Have you thought about getting a roommate?
     
  19. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I'm in CO. Teachers get paid so little compared to the COL. I actually just had a friend that moved back to AZ after living here for a year. She said it was due to the weather and the significantly lower cost of housing. I absolutely hate the idea of having a roommate but I may have to go that route soon. Rent keeps getting higher and we're not getting any raises. I make less than I did last year and my rent went up almost $100 per month. I managed to find one of the cheapest places in the area and over half of my monthly income still goes to rent. We just had new property managers take over and they keep making "improvements" so I'm very afraid of what my rent will be next time my lease is up.
     
  20. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Do some research where you live or want to live.

    I live in commuting distance of about ten districts. There's a difference of about five thousand dollars and a world of difference in district make-up, stress level, and work load between the districts. I choose to work in a more laid back district and took a 2k a year pay cut. I don't regret it a bit.

    Texas is so large that I bet I could find a district where I'd make ten to fifteen thousand more than I do now.

    Maybe closer to retirement, I'll move.
     
  21. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    I'm also in Arizona, and having the same feelings. Some of the charters are amazing and have very supportive communities (I work at one), but you will make more at a Title I school. Most of my coworkers at the charter school rely on their husband/wife's shared income to get by, and some have a side business/second job.
     
  22. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    I love where I work. The admins are easy to work with, my colleagues are super smart, nice, and helpful, and the kids are generally really nice. I work in NJ, and I can't say that the state is very friendly to public education, but the community is supportive of us for the most part. I could potentially afford to live around the school on my own, but in a crappy apartment. I live with my husband and our combined salaries (and no kids) allow us to live pretty well. I can't save much from my own salary, though, and I have been at my school 11 years. Because of the 2 percent tax cap Christie put in place, our salaries have only gone up by small increments for years. But overall, I love my school. We will relocate in several years (we just don't want to purchase a home in the area we currently live), and the hardest part about leaving will be saying goodbye to my job. It makes me tear up just thinking about it.
     
  23. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I love where I work:
    - my administration is beyond supportive and encouraging. The latest example--we have been working without a contract for 14 months and have been in a work to rule situation since early May. Not only has our principal never asked us to do anything outside of that, he has publicly thanked us many times for our professionalism during that challenges.
    - my colleagues are professionals who care deeply about our students; we look out for and support each other.
    - my students are (mostly) kind, funny and willing (if not always eager) to learn and tackle new challenges.
     
  24. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    I love where I work. Great people, good kids, and enough space for my activities. No gym so it is HOT sometimes but I am used to it. Liked it so much this is my 31st year here.
     
  25. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm happy where I am. My colleagues are great. Families are supportive. My pay scale is one of the best in the state. There ARE some challenges but the above pluses help.
     
  26. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I live 30 minutes from you :) and can only agree. I'm renting a house, but now that I'm tenured and will probably be living here, considering buying house in a year or so. This area has low rent (about half of San Diego for example), but teacher pay is the same as I would get there. I'm a 3rd year teacher (well actually I'm on step 4) and I can't complain about the money I make.
    I also can't complain about how I'm treated, I get nothing but respect from my admin, colleagues and people in the community in general.
     
  27. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    I am in North Texas and if I lived alone, I would definitely be able to live comfortable on my current salary. Like another said you DO have to research the districts. The district I am in pays a little bit higher than average, but the schools are all title I and there's a lot of issues with our admin and district. I plan to probably move to a neighboring district that doesn't pay quite as much, but isn't as stressful.
     
  28. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My Leadership Team is so aware of our needs and goes out of their way to work with us. I adore them for that. I feel incredibly supported as a teacher and as a teacher leader (as a department chair).
     
  29. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    Not being able to afford to live where you work is a common problem these days. I know this article is old, but I think it addresses the problem well: http://www.theatlantic.com/business...llennials-to-figure-out-where-to-live/382929/

    I'm lucky to live in a place with a pretty low standard of living, so even with a two-public-teacher income, we are not struggling too badly. I don't know how people with kids do it.
     

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