looking for special ed job

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by hardworkingspecedteacher, Aug 20, 2016.

  1. hardworkingspecedteacher

    hardworkingspecedteacher New Member

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    Aug 20, 2016

    I have never written a post before, so bare with me. I was a tenured spec. ed. teacher for 14 years at a small district. I chose to resign in August. I thought I could find a special ed. job with no problem. I have been on 15 interviews with no job offer. I left because my principal gave me a poor evaluation and I felt I was being harassed because some students were earning D's and F's and I refused to give in. He has done this repeatedly to other teachers in our school. I couldn't sleep at night, had migraines and am a nervous wreck. I am an older teacher, so I am not sure if this plays into my not securing a job. I have not lost my compassion and interest in teaching students with special needs as long as I am in a supportive environment. People have told me not to do this, to hang on to my job, but I was miserable and needed a fresh start. Now I am scared to death, I won't get a job. I have all the credentials and a lot of experience. I have three interviews this week. Should I tell them I quit my last district? What should I tell them why I did so? I wish I can tell them the truth. He has made me lose all confidence in my abilities and I am trying to build myself up. Has anyone gone through this? Usually, it is a new teacher that this happens to. Any advise or kind words are appreciated. I knew if I stayed and worked my butt off, I would have still been treated unfairly. It was such a hard decision, now I am not sure I did the right thing. I know I can't take it back and pray it works out for the best.
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Aug 20, 2016

    Where are you located? How are you looking for jobs? Online, word of mouth, etc? Are you open to relocating? What about subbing if you can't find a FT job right off the bat?
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 20, 2016

    Given you have 14 years experience and still have a compassion for special Ed teaching, it will be important to highlight that on your interviews. Go prepared with examples of positive differences you made for kids, some data might be impressive and above all, convey a passion and dedication for special Ed. As far as leaving your last job, you could just explain it as a 'change in climate' in which you felt you couldn't do what you know is best for kids.
     
  5. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Aug 20, 2016

    Your problem might be that your old principal is giving you a bad reference. Do you know if schools are calling him? In my area, it's a requirement to call the current/most recent principal even if you don't list that person as a reference.

    If you've been on 15 interviews, I'd also take a hard look at what you can improve in your interviewing skills. Ask for feedback. Many people won't give it, but you may find someone who will. I know my P does give feedback if it's requested. Last time we were interviewing for a sped opening, we interviewed a lot of older teachers who just weren't very specific in their answers. We guessed that maybe they were just out of practice for interviewing. Maybe they'd been teaching for so long that they assumed all of the "right" things were obvious and didn't really explain their answers very thoroughly. Also make sure you're coming across as very eager and willing to learn new things at the new school. If you can find out about some practice they do that you're not as familiar with, talk about how you're so interested to learn more about that. Fair or not, the stereotype is often that veteran teachers are set in their ways and won't acclimate as well to a new school, so make sure you're doing everything you can to dissuade this opinion.

    As someone's who interviewed a lot of people for sped positions, here are some other tips:
    1. Show data and back up your answers with facts whenever possible. Don't just say, "my students made a lot of progress when I..." Show data that proves your students made a lot of progress.
    2. Be specific in your answers, but don't ramble. I think it sounds good when candidates give one, concrete example to back up their answer. We've interviewed a few people who are actually way too detailed, if you can imagine! They ramble on and on giving multiple examples and taking 5-10 minutes to answer a single question. I always feel the most sorry for these people, because they clearly know their stuff and might be great, but everyone is so annoyed with them by the end of the interview that they're out of the running right away.
    3. Listen carefully to the question and make sure you're answering what has been asked. Ask them to repeat it if necessary. This may seem obvious, but you won't believe the number of people who don't actually answer the question we ask. They hear a key word and go based off of that. For example, our first question asks to tell about your experience as it relates to this position. Many people talk about their personal lives (their own kids, hobbies, etc.) and say little to nothing about their actual professional experience. We also have a question about how you develop tier 2 behavior plans, and many people don't answer that at all and simply talk about their own classroom management.
    4. If you're interviewing for a position that's even slightly different from your last, explain why you want the new position/how you would change things based on the new position. For example, we interviewed people who had taught HS but were interviewing for an elementary position. When they said nothing about the change, it left us wondering if they really wanted to teach elementary or if they were just applying for everything. If your previous school was resource and the new position is co-teaching, make sure to frame your answers as to what you'd do in a co-teaching position rather than only talking about what you did in resource. We had a lot of SSN teachers talk about all the wonderful things they did in self-contained, but those things didn't really apply to the mild/moderate position we were interviewing for.
     
  6. Kranjit99

    Kranjit99 Rookie

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    Jul 21, 2017

    Why not to try for a new job using a job boards. Now you can easily do it using Google or other searching engine. Good luck!
     
  7. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 21, 2017

    The teacher in question was job searching a year ago. Many districts use a common site for hiring. In NJ, there's njhire.com, for example.
    Good luck to all still searching!
     

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