Question for Texans...

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out Archives' started by UpNorth, Jul 5, 2006.

  1. UpNorth

    UpNorth Rookie

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    Jul 5, 2006

    Hello All,

    My family (husband + 2 preschoolers) and I are considering relocating to Texas... possibly to the Austin or San Antonio areas. Could any Texans out there give me some straight-forward opinions about living/teaching in Texas?

    If you're wondering, we would like to live in Texas because it seems so affordable. It seems like there are countless suburbs of large cities... where families can live in decent neighborhoods while still living close to all the exciting amenities of a big city)... :rolleyes:

    Now, if you're perceptive you've probably noticed that we are from Alaska, but trust me, we are ready to embrace the heat... and leave the long dark winters behind:)

    Thanks for you time and advice!!! ;)
     
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  3. Texas Gal

    Texas Gal Companion

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    Well, be ready for HEAT! Where I am (southeast Texas) it is so hot and very humid. I can say that I love living here. I would agree that it is affordable. People are very nice. I have been here my whole life, and I have little to say that is bad. I can say that - as teachers - we are strict when it comes to hiring. You will have to get certified to teach in Texas. Another state's certification won't do. The city of Austin is VERY liberal. It is a great place to visit, but I personally wouldn't want to live there. That's just me, and we are all different. I know that a lot of towns in Texas have "no smoking" in public buildings. I don't know if that affects you, but good to know either way... San Antonio area is nice, but very spread out. It isn't as "close" as far as suburbs being near the bigger city. We do have to deal with hurricanes in the south, but Texas is so large that you may not have to deal with that. East Texas has a VERY LARGE timber industry and tons of trees. West Texas is dry and has a diverse culture. Texas really is a great place to be - probably SO different than what you are used to. If you don't mind me asking, what does your husband do for a living? Best of luck in your decision.
     
  4. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    Jul 6, 2006

    I live in a very nice suburb right outside of Houston. I can't get to houston in no less than 30 min. I would love to live in the city but where I want to live I couldn't afford :) The average nice house around here cost 150ish I would say. There are new neighborhoods popping up all over the place.
    Yes, its hot but you can always go to the pool and do just fine...and the humidity keeps your skin looking good :)

    I personally LOVE Austin. I think its soooo pretty. Yes, its a more liberal city but not so much so that I wouldn't live there. People are very laid back and the hill country is so nice. I do know its a little more expensive than houston but not too bad.

    I also love teaching in texas. I know each school district is a little different. There are some around me I would never want to teach at and some I would. Its not too strict so that it would be hard for you to find a job. All you have to do is get cert. within a year of your hire date. A good friend of mine was in a similar situation and she just had to get cert. in Tx.
    Good Luck to you
     
  5. UpNorth

    UpNorth Rookie

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    Jul 6, 2006

    thanks - keep your thoughts coming

    Thank you both Texas Gal & hanvan for your advice!

    I still have plenty to research before committing to the move, so we'll see...:)

    I have visited Texas several times before (we have friends and family in the Dallas area, Waco, and Houston). I remember visiting Houston and it was SO humid... I've heard that Houston is the most humid out of the other big cities - is that true?

    I actually lived in California for 20 twenty years before moving to
    Alaska, so I feel that I won't be be hit with too much of a shock (traffic, diversity...) I've lived all over CA and have lived through summers with 100+ temps.

    I did look on the Texas Board of Education website and looked up how to teach in Texas with an out-of-state credential... unfortunately Texas doesn't accept the Praxis II exam that Alaska required to be highly qualified - bummer. So it just sounds like I will have to apply for the temporary 1-year credential, and take the appropriate test/s within that year... seems feasible :) I hope

    To answer your question about my husband... right now he is finishing up his BA in business management and he's currently working for the university in website & publication design and he works in the recruitment process of the admissions office. We're both actually pretty young (in our age and our careers) and we're thinking that we can be flexible enough to take just about any job when we move (if for some reason we don't already have jobs lined up). But one of the reasons we were thinking about Austin is because of the university - for jobs.

    Realistically our family won't be moving for another year - once my husband gets his degree. Plus we need to finish up some home improvement so that we can sell our home for top dollar. Then we will be moving with a decent chunk of change that will help us "start up" in a new city.

    Again, THANKS for all your thoughts... I'd love to hear more! :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2006
  6. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    I don't know if its the most humid but I wouldn't be surprised! Hot is hot! I do think Austin and San Antonio are probably dryer. There are a lot of opportunities here with housing and jobs.
     
  7. UpNorth

    UpNorth Rookie

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    Just curious... a question for anyone:

    Do you have a favorite city in Texas? If so, Why?

    (Specifically, do you prefer San Antonio or Austin? Again, why?

    thanks for your thoughts... :)
     
  8. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    A little input from a future Texan. I am relocating to a suburb just north of Houston in 13 days! I have a friend there who convinced me to check it out. I got a job very easily, attended a job fair on Friday night and had an offer on Tuesday morning. The pay is great compared to Arizona, I will actually be making about the same there as a friend in my current district makes with a Masters and 11 years experience and I have a BA with 1 year.

    It was pretty expensive to apply to the state for my certification. I think by the time I paid for the credential review, 1 year certificate and new fingerprints it was nearly $300 and I still think I have to pay to take the state test during the next year.

    Housing is so inexpensive! My future roommate just bought a house 2841 sq ft, 3 br, 3 1/2 ba, in a golf course community for <149,000. That is unheard of in Phoenix, for the same price you could expect to buy a 1 possibly 2 bedroom condo conversion.

    Now, as for the weather, I am not looking forward to the humidity but I am looking forward to being so close the gulf and the beach! Good luck with your decision.
     
  9. UpNorth

    UpNorth Rookie

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    That's inspiring! :) I know the frustrating feelings about housing costs... right now in Anchorage if we wanted to get into a decent condo with a sliver of a yard, we be looking at $200,000 - insane! I've looked online and it seems like $200,000 could get me a brand new home with plenty of space in Texas... I honestly haven't researched the Houston area because the humidity and hurricanes scare me...
    What made you decide on Houston? Good Luck and congrats on the exciting move and the job!!! :)
     
  10. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    Yes, the housing costs are wonderful! I plan to live with friends for a year and make sure I am happy in the area and then buy something of my own. I chose Houston simply because a friend from college is there and she made so much more money that I did in Arizona that I went to check it out. I don't know much about Texas but everyone I have talked to says that they love it there. Thanks for the well wishes, I am very excited about the new adventure.
     
  11. Texas Gal

    Texas Gal Companion

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    Yea AZ! I am about 1 1/2 hours from Houston and I find myself in Houston quite often. I think Texas is great. Best of luck to you and your new school.

    Frosty - I think the homes near Austin will be a little more. My aunt lives in Round Rock which is a very nice suburb and their home was considerably higher than mine. It just seems that the towns outside of Austin can be a little fancier than what I'm used to. However, my visits there are limited and I could be totally off on this... My husband's step-brother lives in San Antonio and loves it. He is a doctor and they have nothing but good things to say. I know it is only about and hour from San A to Austin, and in between the two cities is San Marcos - which has an awesome water park and lots of outlet malls. I love going up that way. That is a really beautiful part of the state.
     
  12. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    I wouldn't live anywhere else in Tx besides Houston...mostly because of my family and the diversity here. I like being so close to the parks, theatre etc...

    We live in a house here 2200 golf course etc for 169000. Its a little more than some neighborhoods but we like it.

    AZ-where are you moving/teaching exactly? I live in Cypress. Its growing like crazy.

    Hey -the Woodlands are north of houston and its a great place to live! http://www.thewoodlands.com/
     
  13. sugasmile

    sugasmile Rookie

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    Well, I live in San Antonio and I love it. San Antonio is a military retirement mecca so the cost of living is reasonable. (My family is originally from East Texas and settled here after 20 years in the military.) San Antonio is very culturally diverse and we have different celebrations here to appreciate each one. My parents house was just appraised at 125,000. It has 3,000 sq. ft and it is the NW side of town. NW San Antonio is one of the fastest growing areas in the state and has the 5th largest school district in the state. Oh yeah, San Antonio does not have a consolidated school district. You can literally drive 10 miles in the city and get to a different school district with different salaries and SES. First year teachers are starting out around 42,000 in the areas of the city where I would want to work. San Antonio is spread out, but you can get anywhere in the city in about 20 minutes. I was just in an argument with a woman who didn't know that SA is now the 7th largest city in the nation. It feels like a small town (trust me, my town my family is orginally from has a population of 1,000). Due to the military bases, many people come here with out of state certifications. Hope it helps.
     
  14. AZKinderTchr

    AZKinderTchr Comrade

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    Hanvan -- I am going to be teaching and living in Humble. I am so excited to hear that someone is nearby. Tell me all about the area :) I am so excited about this move.
     
  15. muinteoir

    muinteoir Companion

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    I live in San Antonio also.

    It is HOT. We can do humidity too.

    The town is growing incredibly fast - lots of urban sprawl, concrete and Wal-Marts.

    It's also diverse, warm and friendly. Lots of stuff to do all the time. You can go to the coast or Mexico for a day with no problem.

    There are 16 different independent districts in the city proper, and a bunch more in the surrounding areas. They range from very small (on military installations) to huge. You can find any kind of school you want.

    I think jobs are pretty easy to come by too. EVeryone I know who wants to teach has a job. Sometimes it's not in your first choice of school or district, but moving around isn't hard to do.
     
  16. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    I like the humble area. Its nice. We have several friends that live over that way. Its probably about an hour or so from me so I don't know as much about it. I think there are lots of nice trees. (I know that sounds dumb but I grew up in a town where it had LOTS of chemical plants.) I know you aren't far from houston AT ALL!!! If you like going out you have to go to the rice village. It has great shopping and a bar scene too! (if youre in to that). You are far enough away from the coast that you will not have to evacuate from a hurricane (even a 5) but close enough to go to the beach. Galvaston does not have pretty beaches though. We are on the "wrong" side of the mississippi river and it looks muddy but a lot fo people still go! Houston is a great place...hope you enjoy it!
     
  17. TexasAggie2323

    TexasAggie2323 Comrade

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    I enjoy Texas. It has everything you would ever want or need in a state. No income tax is nice, but they really get you with the property taxes (although they are supposed to be going down).

    The pay in Texas depends on what school district that you decide to take employment.

    For instance, if you teach in S. Texas or a small school in East Texas you will not be making a lot of money. Of course, it is a lot easier to find a job in those school districts.

    My wife and I are both teachers. We will be in N. Dallas and the pay is very good. In my first year of teaching, I will make more money than my mother who has taught in S. Texas for 30 years. The standard of living is only 5k difference.


    You will still have to work for a job just like if you were in Alaska, or any other place where jobs may not be common place. We do have shortages in math, science, ESL, and special education but everything else is going to take some work.

    The prices of homes are nice. My wife and I were looking into buying a house straight out of college but we did not qualify for enough of a loan since she is still in school. For a nice, 4/2 2,500 square foot home in Texas you will most likely pay 160,000-180,000.

    My favorite part of Texas would have to be Port Aransas, Texas which is a small town on an island close to Corpus Christi. The fishing is awesome, and the people are great.

    I do not think I could ever live in Houston. The traffic is HORRIBLE and the infrastructure is not very good. Then when you add in the flooding problems and pollution and it is not a good situation.

    Personally, I think the N. Metroplex area is the place to be...

    One last thing, the best paid school district in Texas right now is Fort Bend ISD which starts out at 43,000.
     
  18. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I've never lived in either city, but my ex-boyfriend lived in both places while we were dating so I spent quite a lot of time in both cities on weekends and during school breaks. I prefer San Antonio. The traffic doesn't seem as bad since it is more spread out. I like the atmosphere in San Antonio. Someone else said it seems more like a smaller city, and I agree. I think there is more to do in S.A. When we go on little weekend getaways, I never vote for Austin, but I would go to S.A. every time! There are "Keep Austin Weird" t-shirts and bumper stickers, and it seems like a lot of people in Austin are trying to do just that! I do like to go shopping in Austin, but only because S.A. is further away! In between the two cities are little towns like Buda, Kyle, San Marcos and New Braunfels. San Marcos also has a university. I went to school there and that area has grown so much!

    If you have any respiratory problems, don't consider Houston. We live about two hours away, but we don't go often since I have trouble breathing in that city. I haven't been to Houston in three months or so. It's not as bad as it has been in the past, but I swear I can chew the air in Houston.
     
  19. UpNorth

    UpNorth Rookie

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    Wow! Thanks for all the info/opinions everyone! :) Keep it coming... :)
     
  20. msmteacher

    msmteacher New Member

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    Oh I love that I found this thread. As you can see I'm listed as being in West Virginia, but Houston is home. I was raised there and lived there for 31 years. Now I'm in "exile" in WV. I lived in Clear Lake City and taught in Pasadena. I love it!!

    If you are thinking about the Austin area, try looking at Round Rock or Georgetown.
     
  21. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    Austin isn't JUST a weird city-its diverse! There are ALL kinds of people there. It has lake austin, the hills, ...sure the traffic is bad but what big city doesn't have traffic.

    And I love Houston...hello 4th largest city in the nation :) We have soooo much to see and do here. Ok so theres humidity but at least it diesn't snow :) (I hate cold weather)
     
  22. krwaggieteach

    krwaggieteach Companion

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    Hi, I've just been reading all the posts about TX. Houston is very hot! I live right outside of Houston...going west and it is really great! I also have a great job and everyone I have met is so friendly. Before moving here a year ago, we lived in College Station. That is my favorite place in the world and miss it everyday! I love going back to visit and would love to live there again someday!
     
  23. breneem

    breneem Rookie

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    Hi! I live just 20 minutes west of San Antonio, right by the lake! It has hills and wildlife right in my backyward! Ilove it! I agree, Houston is way too Humid, as is any coastal town, but add all the conjestion, and ooh, too much for me! good luck with your decision!
     
  24. Jul 19, 2006

    Hi, I live in San Antonio. The zipcode I live in was just featured on Hot Zips on HGTV. The area is at the north of the city. It is really the start of the Texas Hill Country which is beautiful. You can get a lot of house for the money here. It is a huge market. It takes approximately 20 minutes with no traffic to get downtown. Traffic can be a problem sometimes. There is always construction because the city is growing so fast. Also, people drive really fast around here. And if there is one drop of rain, watch out everyone forgets how to drive. I am not teaching in the school district I live in but another one further east of town. It takes me about 20-25 minutes to get to my school. There is so much to do here. There is Sea World, Six Flags, water parks, tons of malls, The Alamo and other Spanish Missions, The Riverwalk, the Spurs, Fiesta,(a festival downtown), The San Antonio Rodeo(livestock show and country concerts), First Fridays(an art show the first Friday ok every month on South Alamo Street), rivers. You are also not far from little historic towns like Fredricksburg, (about an hour), Gruene( about 30 minutes). There are about five colleges if you ever wanted to further your education. Um thats all I can think of right now. Also, the culture here is very diverse. Really it is a great city and my family enjoys living here.
     
  25. zubie75082

    zubie75082 Rookie

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    Hey! As a full blooded Texan I am glad to say you have TONS of choices!!

    I went to school in Waco, and although Baylor was nice I'd definitely say for teaching I'd stick to the surrounding areas (Hewitt, Lorena, etc)

    Other than that I've lived in Dallas my entire life, so if you want help with that area, just let me know!

    Houston is VERY humid, but has some great surrounding districts.

    Austin is such an amazing city.

    Within miles of every city there are like 1000 suburbs.. you won't have any trouble finding a place to live!
     
  26. katrinkit

    katrinkit Comrade

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    My fiance is from Texas (Newcastle) and I must say, out of all the places we have been, Texas is probably where we will end up. Probably a city, but definitely not Austin. Not trying to put down the Austin people out there, but for us, it is just too much of a college town. Everything seems to move at a different pace in Austin...not for the better. At least for us.
     
  27. Mrs.Sheila

    Mrs.Sheila Cohort

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    Hanvan sounds like you are very near me! I too am about 30 minutes or so away from Houston!

    I love it here, but I have been born and raised here also. I would love to live in other parts of our country, but ... for now we will remain NATIVE Texans!

    If you do decide to move this way, we welcome you with open arms! Just be ready for lots of BBQ, mesquitos, and of course, NO changing colors of leaves in the Fall! LOL
     
  28. Giggles1100

    Giggles1100 Comrade

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    Well I live up in N. Texas where the pay is pretty High and very competitive I live in the highest paid school district in N Texas at $44,000, and there are tons of school districts up here to choose from all start above $40,000. As for San Antonio, and I just read in the newspaper earlier this week the highest paid school district are all right around San Antonio, I think starting at $48k if I remember correctly. I love to visit San Antonio and Austin, I prefer Austin, but I am more citified and like all the outskirt cities around austin it is just beautiful. I think the cost of living is less in San Antonio though but not by much.
     
  29. silver rain

    silver rain Comrade

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    I live in rural southeast Texas. I'm a country girl but drive to teach in suburbia!:D
     
  30. JustWondering

    JustWondering Companion

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    Texas does offer it's choices of scenery and weather. Snow, no snow, hot, cool, humid, dry, flat, and hilly. Hurricanes are a thought for those near the coast. Each major city has its own pros and cons.
     
  31. hanvan

    hanvan Connoisseur

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    Austin isn't a college town at all. Sure UT is there but its the state capital and has much more to offer than a college town.
     
  32. AustinLady

    AustinLady New Member

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    I lived in San Antonio for 5 years, and have been in Austin for 3. I personally LOVE Austin. It's gorgeous, the people are great, and it's a little quirky. :) Being in my 20s, I consider the night life, job and activity opportunities, and UT great for adding to the excitement of the city!
     

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