My conclusion on my district

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by love2teach_art, May 28, 2011.

  1. love2teach_art

    love2teach_art Rookie

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    May 28, 2011

    If you could allow me to break it down for you....
    No matter how much experience you have in our district, qualifications, or preparation you put into the interview, they do not fly when the P has a set candidate in her mind even before setting up for the 1st round interview!

    As much as I don't want to admit, that's reality for us in our district.
    My husband can also testify to it. As he was leaving his 2nd interview for a job in our district last year, the P said, "well, good luck!". He just finished the interview, hoping to get the job. He didn't want to hear good luck, he wanted them to take time to consider him from the interview he just finished a few seconds ago... The teachers didn't even get a chance to debrief after his interview. The P already had his mind set as he greeted my husband farewell.

    Also, one of our acquaintances got her job at our district last year. Her P had her in mind ever since he first met her at a job fair. He told her, "We need more people like you in our school. I'll put your resume right on top of everyone's". (You see, she was SAHM for the longest time and the school needed someone like her in their community? I don't know why, but that was what the P wanted.) Through the whole interviewing process, the P reassured her that she's the one and that they just needed to go through the logistics of doing the interview! :eek:

    Also, for my current h.s. position, the IC who interviewed me told me straight up, "we want to hire you", while he was interviewing me.
    "This is our situation, we need someone like you, you have glowing recommendation, we want you."
    Well the job was kind of ify as the teacher I was filling in for was leaving on a medical leave and that hasn't gone through officially. They just wanted to tie me down because I was in the district already and no one was going to wait around, all summer for a part time job that might not be available if the papers didn't go through! They reeled me in....:huh:

    For this job I was recently interviewing for, I was hoping that wasn't the case for me. I wanted to break through the system as I put all of myself into these 2 interviews.
    I thought it was odd, strange, fishy, the way this P acted through the whole interviewing process.
    The job did not get posted until long after she called the candidates for interview! I didn't really buy her excuse, saying that HR screwed up and forgot to post it online. Imo, the P wasn't even planning on calling me for an interview, when a month earlier I expressed my interest in the position. When I did remind her of my interest, that very day "happened" to be the day she was calling all of her applicants for for the interview??! You for real?

    According to the AP, who delivered the bad news for me this afternoon, they had 6-7 initial candidates. She couldn't even tell/remember if she had 6 or 7 candidates?! They slashed half of the candidates, calling 3 back for the 2nd interview. My thought is this: they had one person in mind, all along. The 5 or 6 of us just went for a ride, being there purely as "numbers" and bodies" to fill up the interview slots.
    I thought it was funny how the P couldn't even look me in the eyes when she greeted me out after my 2nd interview this Wed.
    I knew it!!
    We were not given a choice of the time we came in for the 2nd interview. I was placed as the 2nd one to go, and I'm pretty sure their "chosen" candidate was last to go. Being placed as the 2nd one to go, I was unsure going into the interview as it's a tradition to have their selected one to go last and after the interview have her wait out in the lobby for a few minutes, call her in to hire her!
    Well, that's the reality for us here.... If you ain't got connections, you ain't gonna fly. Doesn't matter if you dedicated years of service in the district or how much talent you have.
    'Nough said....

    Hope I didn't sound too cynical, just needed a place to vent! :unsure:
    Is it just our district or is the world like this? Have I been naive and oblivious all this time??!
    It's all about the connection, isn't it?!
    When will I get my chance?
     
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  3. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    May 28, 2011

    It is not like this in my district. There is hope.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    May 28, 2011

    Our district works on connections in the district, but usually those connections come from people who have long-term subbed in the district (or subbed for a very long time), people who work as an aide in the district, or people who volunteer in the district. Occasionally, the job will go to someone's kid, or neighbor, or friend.
     
  5. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    May 28, 2011

    I've seen that some principals like to go with their instict and sometimes look for certain personalities, regardless of qualifications or recommendations.

    My first principal wanted teachers who would be submissive and when a teacher came with an over the top resume displaying all the leadership roles this teacher had led, the principal would throw it in the garbage. She would toss any resume that would indicate the teacher would question things or speak his/her mind.

    My current principal told me once that when he hired a teacher to replace me (a few years ago) he was extremelly impressed by the resume. This teacher had excellent recommendations and great experience. However, he did an awful job and because he treated the students so badly.
     
  6. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 28, 2011

    I'm sure some districts are like this, but more likely, it is a school-to-school situation within the district. Just because your current P is like this doesn't mean they all are like that. I know it is difficult to deal with right now, but no situation is permmanent. Supers eventually retire or move on and P's are transferred to different schools.

    I've faced your situation more than once in different settings. I applied for a job at the local community college several times. I was well qualified and had the perfect college degree for the position. The first time, they promoted a long-time employee. The second time, the commitee had already decided to hire the nephew of a board member and the other interviews were just done for appearance. The last time, I didn't even get called to interview.

    My experience with the school district has been similar. I've lived here my entire life and graduated in the district. Even so, I had to apply for every job available (secretary, bus driver, TA, etc) for two years before getting called for the first interview. A member of the Personnel Dept. attended my church and told me first-hand this was standard procedure and my application was slowly but surely moving up on the interview stack.

    Now that I'm in the system, it will likely be up to individual P's if apply for a different position.

    All I can tell you is to hang in there. Things will change and perseverence will pay off. :thumb:
     
  7. dcnuck

    dcnuck Companion

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    May 28, 2011

    That is how it is in my area---it is who you know or who you are in the community. I am ready to give up looking for a job.
     
  8. TeacherLyn

    TeacherLyn Rookie

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    May 28, 2011

    Thank you for your honesty. :) I know I'm a good teacher and I know I can be an effective and successful one. But, as it is, I have very little hope of getting a job in this current market. I will keep trying because that is the professional and adult thing to do, but I also admit to looking forward to the time when my credential expires so that I can take myself out of this tedious process.

    For recent grads, don't lose heart. You are still young and capable of being flexible! By all means, keep trying and sell yourself--learn and grow from your experiences--but don't beat yourself up should the outcome not end favorably. Re-assess, re-evaluate, and move on should you need to.

    Again, I appreciate the honesty expressed in this thread. I wish I'd read this last year as it would have saved me a lot of grief. Best of luck to everyone!
     
  9. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    May 28, 2011

    Can you try getting in the district as a teacher's aid or voluntering so some schools can get you know you better?
     
  10. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 28, 2011

    I think this is pretty typical. I went to several interviews where I never had a chance of getting the job. In one interview (I was upset about this one, because it was a 7 hour roundtrip), they told me they'd already found someone they wanted for this position on the first day of interviews, and asked if I would be interested in interviewing for a severe emotional/behavior needs position instead- something I wasn't qualified for nor interested in. If they'd just been honest when calling for the interview, I could have saved the trip and the stress.

    I had another interview for a 3rd grade position right near my hometown. I did a phone interview that was a "screening" interview more like those teacher insight surveys that most schools include in their applications. When they asked me to come in for a face-to-face interview later that week, I assumed that would be the "real" interview. At my face-to-face interview, they simply asked me the second half of the teacher insight questions! I found out later that day that the position had been offered to someone else, so there would have been no time for "real" interviews to be conducted. They obviously were just going through the motions and already had someone in mind.

    I interviewed for a special ed. 3rd grade position in my hometown that I thought I had a really good shot at. I had some connections in the district and it was actually the district I attended. I found the position through a friend's mom. I thought it was really strange that the position was never publically posted, but they did call me for an interview. Later I found out that they didn't hire anyone they interviewed, but instead hired an internal candidate that had been rif'ed the previous year. Why bother putting all of us through the interview process?

    Sometimes, this worked out in my favor. I went to a job fair last spring and had the best interview I've ever done with this school in VA. I really clicked with the interviewer and we actually had a really good in-depth conversation. He told me right then and there that he wanted me to have a position. He set me up with elementary principals in the district. He told me the exact same thing you mentioned, that his district "needed people like me." Turns out that being out of state I didn't have enough time to do all the extra tests and such to get a VA license- if I had I really think I would have gotten the job.

    Finally, I know that my current boss offered me the job before she even interviewed the rest of the candidates. She told me during my evaluation a few weeks ago. I'd already figured that considering my interview was at 9 am, she'd told me she had people to interview all day, and yet I got the job offer less than an hour later. She told me she knew right away that I was who she wanted because my personality and educational values were a perfect fit for the school, and that she could tell I was a true professional right away. In that situation, they actually did have someone else in mind (someone in-district with over 15 years experience) but talking to me changed the P's mind.

    So yes, it's really not fair, but it's just the way it goes. You just have to hope that YOU are the person that they have in mind or that they go with right away because they just know you're the perfect fit. I can't imagine having a better first year anywhere else- even after all those frustrating interviews I ended up at a fabulous school where I am very happy. The P was right in her "feeling" that it would be a perfect fit. If I were you, I'd stop putting all your efforts into this specific district and start looking anywhere and everywhere. Put out your resume and apply anywhere you can. The more places you apply, the more chances you have of being that one person they want!
     
  11. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    May 28, 2011

    I agree. Many P's have an idea in mind and are looking for a certain personality much more so than just qualifications. That's my opinion.
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    May 28, 2011

    I haven't had to deal with this type of situation, but I have heard plenty of teachers who have gone through this and continue to go through the "its who you know not what you know" deal. It's a shame.

    I'm sorry that you're going through this and I just hope that you can find a great district who realizes all of your potential and skills. And who will be very thankful to have a talented teacher be in their schools. You deserve that! :)
     
  13. dcnuck

    dcnuck Companion

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    May 28, 2011

    If they know who they want I wish they would just not bother interviewing and getting people's hopes up.
     
  14. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

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    May 28, 2011

    Usually, they are required to post a vacancy/interview candidates, but I can appreciate your sentiment.

    It's simply the way the system is. To be honest, I don't think it's such a bad practice. The principal (and the interview panel) know the position best. They know the 'type' of person who would fit best in the classroom and school environment, so it makes sense they would try to pick people that they already knew would fit well.

    It's also a matter of attitude. You can either view the opportunity to interview as a negative ("I would never have got the job anyway - what a waste of time!") or as a positive ("I was able to meet and interview with people in a school district I would like to work in.) In future, when other positions open up, they are likely to remember you and, if you impressed them the first time, maybe you'll be the "shoe-in" candidate this time round.

    I've been on both ends of the situation. I have had experiences in which I've been turned down and later learned that a close friend of the school principal got the position.

    In the case of the position I just accepted for next year, I knew going into the interview that I already had the job, even though there were other candidates. I had already interviewed with the same school for a different position and been offered it, although the district then reclassified it as temporary. The AP said he really wanted me to stay in the school and be on a 'tenure-track' position so he told me there was another position opening up and he wanted me to have it. I interviewed and got it.
     
  15. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Aficionado

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    May 28, 2011

    Around here, there can be up to 500 applicants for 1 position. Of course principals are going to look for people they know amongst all those resumes. They don't have time to get to know everyone.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    May 28, 2011

    OP...you need to reach out to other districts. Repeatedly interviewing with this one district is not productive. Send your resume out to every school within a reasonable commuting distance...you'll find the right place for you.
     
  17. TeacherLyn

    TeacherLyn Rookie

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    May 28, 2011

    For many, we simply do not have the money to continually be stringed along. For example, for each interview I attend, I spend roughly a minimum of $75 to cover gas and meals. If I'm invited to 10 interviews per year, this dead-end practice has put me $750 out of pocket. While this may not be much to some, for recent grads who do not have any steady income, savings, or a spouse/family they can turn to, its a lot of money.

    For those on the inside, this is probably standard practice. Fine. But I sure wish they'd let us know this standard practice instead of letting us believe its an "equal opportunity." Sorry for the tone of my post but it's incredibly frustrating to keep running into situations which seems unfair. Is it too much to ask for districts to post vacancies which clearly states that it's an in-district/internal vacancy only, instead of having 499+ of us apply for a position we'll unlikely be considered for? I'm quite alright with competing, but I seem to have this misconception that I'm competing in a fair arena.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    How far away are these inteviews?

    All mine ever cost me was a new pair of pantyhose and a babysitter.

    $75 is more than a full tank of gas for my minivan, and a brown-bag sandwich costs nothing.
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I'm not understanding the $75 cost either.
     
  20. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    For what it's worth, when I returned to work after 5 years as a SAHM, I received several offers. Not because I knew anyone in any of the schools, but because I was the person they wanted to hire.
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    When I was a SAHM I was in schools every day. I volunteered in classrooms, ran events for the PTO, was the fundraising vice president...so I made many connections, learned a lot by observing in classrooms...it was valuable time personally and helped me develop my passion for this profession.:)
     
  22. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Depending on where teacherlyn lives, there may not be any schools right near her hiring. I completely understand that. I spent tons of money traveling to interviews 4-5 hours away last year (which is more than one tank of gas, and you would have to buy food, for longer distances maybe even a hotel) and I found it extemely frustrating when I found out it was a job that I had absolutely no chance of getting in the first place. I understand that districts are looking for a certain personality and things like that and they might have someone in mind, but it is cruel to put people through interviews when they have no intentions of even considering them. If you're going to hire someone in district, that's fine- why don't you just go ahead and hire them rather than contacting all these outside people for interviews too? I mentioned this earlier, but I really don't think people that got jobs even up to 3-6 years ago understand what the job market is truly like these days. It is INSANE and it gets worse with each passing year. My freshman year of college, my dad read me and article in the paper stating that in our home county there were an average of 100 applicants for every elementary teaching job. I thought those odds were scary. Fast forward 3 years to my senior year, and that number is up to 3,000. 100 to 3,000 in 3 years. I can't imagine what is this year with all the budget cuts and people being let go, and all the people who didn't get jobs last year still searching. I know these folks trying to get a job just one year after me are already fighting even bigger odds than I did last year. If you got a job right away, or found a job in your hometown, that's great. I'm not trying to be sarcastic- really if you were one of the lucky ones that is great for you. But don't discount other people's experiences and make them feel bad about it.
     
  23. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    My district gets hundreds of resumes for every one opening. EVERY resume package is read. We'll do several afternoons of interviewing, demo lessons...and we hire candidates who seem to be a good fit for our needs.
    Jobs that are filled from within are posted, but we don't interview outside candidates for those.

    Bottom line, most districts are not 'stringing candidates along'.
     
  24. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

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    Usually because it's in the contract the district negotiates with the union.

    Have you ever had a job outside of education? I really don't understand what you mean by people not being able to understand what the job market is like. I have just finished my first year of teaching and know how competitive the market is currently, however, it's no different (and in some areas far better) than the market in other professions. The reality is that this is a capitalist system - when the market is up, lots of benefits for everyone and when the market is down, lots of cuts.
     
  25. Rainbowbird

    Rainbowbird Groupie

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    I'm sorry you didn't get the job. I think it's a case of "You can't be a prophet in your own land". They know you, yet they don't want you, even though you are clearly qualified. Who knows what they want. I agree with the others, send out more resumes to other districts. Sometimes principals just have a set person in mind, or a certain type---and that is just how it is, unfortunately. The P at my children's school is on a hiring roll that is focusing on new, younger people who will listen to her and not argue or speak up if they differ. The last 5 hires have been young women out of college. Stands to reason I am probably not going to get a job there, being a SAHM with experience and my M.S. But I know other districts may value me....keep looking, and you will find something out there!
     
  26. abequette

    abequette Rookie

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    I could have written these exact statements myself. The small rural districts here are the same way. If your not related to someone in the district you don't have a chance!!! I know it's hard, but try to not give up hope. You may have to look out of your area to ever get a chance.
     
  27. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    In our district, all jobs are posted internally and interested employees are interviewed first. The jobs are only posted publicly if it isn't filled by one of the internal applicants. I expect most districts are like this unless required by law or contract to post the jobs publicly.

    EVERY employer has an idea of the person they want for the job before interviews start. This is true for any career field. As waterfall pointed out, you DO have a chance to show you're the best choice, even if the P already has someone else in mind.

    I definitely understand how tough the market is, I worked 3 part-time jobs this year to make ends meet. While you need to keep your options open and be flexible, you also have to decide on acceptable limits. For me, any job more than two hours from my current location is too far. I would rather go back to subbing first (and may well have to do that next year), but that is my choice. I would not drive more than two hours to an interview because the market is so tough and I know my chances would be slim at best.

    I do sympathize with those looking for a job and hope everyone does find one, but you have to remember you will usually only have one successful interview and (most likely), several unsuccessful ones.
     
  28. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    May 29, 2011

    I was not implying at all that the job market is great for other positions. Obviously, the econcomy is terrible. I don't think anyone in their right mind would disagree. However, the market for teaching jobs was terrible before the economy tanked. It went from bad to unbelievable. Anyway, that's still not my point...my point is that I've seen a lot of older teachers on this board who have had jobs for a long time (or even newer people that just lucked into jobs) invalidating people who are understandably bitter about the market/hiring process. Or people that say the person who has had unfair experiences in numerous interview/application situations is wrong because the one district that teacher happens to work in is "fair" in the process. I think people that got teaching jobs before this downturn just don't understand what it's like to spend tons of your own money putting together professional packets, buying interview outfits, traveling far away to interviews, and spending hours applying everywhere to absolutely no avail. I had friends last year that didn't even get a single interview. If it was easy for you to get a job, that's awesome, but like I said before dont invalidate people's negative experiences and feelings because things worked out for you.

    We are interviewing for positions right now. They spread the demo lessons out for four weeks. They then scheduled interviews for three weeks later. The interviews are all on the same day in back to back time slots of 20 minutes (so 3:00, 3:20, etc.). 20 minutes with no time inbetween to even discuss? They've obviously already got someone in mind, yet they've strung these people along for an extra three weeks minimum (thats assuming they've had this person in mind since they saw their demo lesson, it could be longer if they've had them in mind all along).

    To the OP, it's been mentioned before, but I think the writing is really on the wall here- you need to stop putting your hopes into getting a job into this district. To be blunt, they've had numerous chances to hire you and they haven't. You need to cut your losses and start applying everywhere you can. I'm sorry this district has treated you this way. Hopefully, you'll find a better district that will actually appreciate you.
     
  29. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 29, 2011

    I'm not invalidating anyones experience. I know how it feels because I've been there myself. I went 2.5 years without a steady paycheck and spent 2 years alyinng for any job in the district without getting a single interview. I understand the frustration very well.

    I did not apply for any jobs more than 50 miles away because I figured the situation would be the same; no real chance to actually get the job. So I looked for other ways to get in the schools of my district. I got my Substitute Certification and School Bus Drivers license. Then I hand-delivered my business card to every school in the district. That finally got me inside some of the local schools and eventually led to the position I was offered this year.

    I do feel very lucky to get this opportunity, but it was just an interim position and has been non-renewed next year due to budget cuts. That means I may have to depend on subbing again next year. In the mean time, I'm taking Praxis exams in other areas to increase my options.

    I got my Middle School Math license last March, but had no solid prospects, so I applied for a job as desk clerk at a hotel for $7.50/hour so I would have some form of steady income in addition to subbing.

    I'm not willing to relocate because it is more important to be close to my boys. Iknow that limits my options, but it is a choice I made. If that means working as a desk clerk instead of teaching, so be it.

    Interview committees normally schedule interviews back-to-back, but each member takes individual notes during the interview. The members typically compare these notes and discuss their initial impression of the candidate very briefly between interviews. Once the interviews are done, they then decide which candidates they want to discuss in depth. Sometimes, a candidate makes ssuch a good impression that the members have already decided they are the one. More often, though, those initial impressions determine which candidates get weeded out. That is the reality for any job.

    The key is to understand the process from the POV of the commitee or P and use that to your advantage. Every interview is an opportunity. Even if you're one of the early cuts in an interview, it's still a chance to improve the answers you give and how you present yourself so you can convince the next P you ARE the best choice for their school.
     
  30. Marci07

    Marci07 Devotee

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    May 29, 2011

    I think many of us, or the great majority, has struggled in one way or another to have a job at a decent school. I didn't do much job hunting but I did work as a teacher's aid for 2 years. It was hard to have this position but it opened doors. I also taught at a school for 3 years where the administration was horrible and I finally had to get out.

    Just because some of us have a job right now, doesn't mean that we didn't go through a period of struggle.

    I don't mean to invalidate, I'm just trying to suggest some other strategies that may open doors. :)
     

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