So...is landing a teaching job like winning the lottery?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by eucharistlover, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. eucharistlover

    eucharistlover New Member

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    Oct 10, 2009

    I am currently serving active duty in the USAF and I am graduating in May with a B.S. concentrated in psychology. I currently have taken no classes dealing with education (other than a few educational psych classes). My enlistment contract is ending next fall and, although I have the very enticing option of re-enlisting, I am considering not re-enlisting, enrolling in a local alternative teaching certification program, and trying to land a teaching job while in the program. I also plan to pursue my Master's after completing the cert. program.

    I like the military. I make about 40k annually. My spouse and I like the nice, warm, cozy feeling of job security. However, being the extravert that I am, I feel like a teaching/coaching career will be much more rewarding in the long run for my family and I. I'm thinking that my closest option for certification is Special Ed since I am a psych major, although I do feel confident studying/testing in other Praxxis areas.

    I'll have to say that all of these job seeker threads are kinda scary :eek: and discouraging. I have a relative who just started teaching 5th grade english with no problem getting hired out of college. There is suposedly a teacher shortage, but after visiting this "Job Seeker" forum...Im having doubts.

    I have a few questions for anyone who is experienced in the educational job market:

    1. Will I even have a thread of a chance of being competitive with my current credentials at landing a teaching position?

    2. Does being in an alternative cert. program (having to be provisionally certified while learning how to teach on the fly) hurt my competitiveness?

    3. Does the fact that I really would like to coach multiple sports help my chances?

    4. Does military leadership experience help?

    I am originally from North Ga and would eventually like to relocate back to my hometown.

    Anyone from GA have any advice?

    If you have made it this far....thanks for being patient with my lengthy post.:):thanks:


    Peace
     
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  3. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    Oct 10, 2009

    A lot of states have alt route certification programs specifically for retired/former military: troops to teachers, etc.

    Having a military background can often be an advantage I think. I know the district I am in is full of military families (one reason I like it). A lot of kids are dealing with deployed parents, lots of moving around, and similar issues. Being able to identify with that and maybe even help them deal with those things would be a nice benefit.

    It is generally easier to find teaching jobs for math and science. I was alt route and was offered all but one job that I applied for. Teaching in a critical need area definitely helps!
     
  4. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Oct 10, 2009

    Welcome to A to Z, eucharistlover, and thank you for your service to our country.

    A military veteran who can coach multiple sports should be a strong candidate for middle-school and high-school teaching positions. Special education likewise should be a draw, though for high school it might also make sense to look into high-need subject matter such as math or science. Please note that for Georgia, you'll want GACE rather than Praxis.

    Has anyone told you about Troops to Teachers? If not, look into it.

    You might also look into opportunities to ply the craft of teaching from within the military. People do, after all, need to be trained in the various specialties... Have you let your superiors know you like to teach?
     
  5. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Oct 10, 2009

    A few points:

    - Before you commit to leaving the military, see if there are options for teaching within the armed services.

    - There are transition programs for ex-military folks who want to become teachers. I think Troops to Teachers is the most prominent one: http://www.dantes.doded.mil/dantes_Web/troopstoteachers/index.asp

    - Military folks can bring many positive assets, and there are now quite a few ex-military men and women who've successfully moved from the barracks to the classroom. A military background is often impressive to many principals and will make you stand out.

    - Before you take a leap into the teaching field, speak to other ex-military folks who are now teachers. The shared experience will give you invaluable insight.

    - If you're committed to a teaching career, I urge you to visit a variety of real working classrooms - public, private, religious, charter, rural, urban, etc. - and see if it is for you.


    Good luck!
     
  6. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Oct 10, 2009

    Don't let these forums discourage you. People come here to vent, and the job seeker forum is of course filled with all of us looking for jobs. Read the other forums and you will get a good feeling of all the support on A to Z. Good luck. Teaching is a noble profession! We are all passionate! :)
     
  7. eucharistlover

    eucharistlover New Member

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    Oct 10, 2009

    You guys are definitely easing my mind about wanting to switch careers. I have actually attended workshops dealing with troops to teachers. It is always a bit of a risk to switch careers and possibly relocate, but I think the risks will be worth taking.

    :2up:
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Oct 11, 2009

    Everyone else has touched on the points I was going to make. Just wanted to tell you good luck!!
     
  9. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I have been teaching for several years and every day I wake up enthusiastic about what I do. Even those years when you have a particularly difficult class, I find that something positive happens because of the challenges that you must face.
     
  10. Tutor

    Tutor Comrade

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    Oct 12, 2009

    My friend is a Marine wife. While stationed in Hawaii, she finished her BA in art and got a teaching job with NO education classes.

    They recently moved to VA and she took a masters program to get her teaching certificate. She was hired this fall without student teaching. She found out AFTER she started classes last fall that she could have applied for a job in VA with only her BA and enrollment in the masters program.

    So yes it's possible to get a job......btw she is an art teacher and will also have her ESL.
     
  11. MacGuffin

    MacGuffin Companion

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    Oct 17, 2009

    YES let these posts discourage you! Let's be honest here and not sugarcoat things.

    Unless you know somebody or are in the right subject in the right place you won't find a teaching job in the current climate.
     
  12. katrinkakat

    katrinkakat Connoisseur

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    Oct 18, 2009

    Well, its also true that the people with positive attitudes have a better chance of landing a job than people who don't believe it can happen.
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Oct 18, 2009

    I disagree.

    We have 5 new teachers on staff this year. One had a daughter who went to our school, so maybe that helped her chances a tiny bit. But realize that even if her son had been the AP, we wouldn't hire someone unless he or she was the strongest candidate. There's simply too much riding on it for a private school.

    The other 4 got the jobs because they were the best candidates with no connections.

    Is it a brutal job market? OH YES!!

    Is getting a job impossible? No. And if you "have to know someone" then start networking, as people do in other fields when they're looking for jobs.

    And that military background should be a definite plus. Leadership is one of the hallmarks of a great teacher, and the military builds and cultivates leaders.

    PS-- I do want to thank the OP and his/her family for all you've given up in service to our country!
     
  14. Jenstc2003

    Jenstc2003 Companion

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    Oct 19, 2009

    Good luck, whatever route you choose! Sure, it's not always easy to find a job today- but it's clear that there are places where the market is a little easier than others. Definitely check around to see where the market might be better/worse as you look into your options.
     
  15. MATgrad

    MATgrad Groupie

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    Oct 20, 2009

    It's a lottery in the sense that you need to be in the right place at the right time. I spent a year looking. I had to look way out of my comfort zone but in the end it worked out. It was a long bumpy road filled with many tears and much heartache. If you can honestly prepare yourself for possibly a year or two of looking, then I say go for it. It's worth it.
     
  16. TampaTeacher2Be

    TampaTeacher2Be Comrade

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    Oct 23, 2009

    Eucharist,

    Welcome and as many have echoed thank you and god bless for your service to our country!

    Most former military people I work with make phenomenal teachers. I can certainly understand that the thought of leaving a stable, well-paying job to follow your passion is quite daunting.

    I don't know that much about TTT, except that it is a good program, and several of my colleagues have taken that route and have been successful in finding jobs.

    I have found in my experience with landing a teaching job that who you know is often more important than what you know. I am not sure what your situation is as you are currently on active duty, but do you have the flexibility to sub and/or volunteer in classrooms? If so, that would be a great way to see if teaching is really your cup of tea, as well as cultivate some contacts in the school district.

    Good Luck!
     
  17. MacGuffin

    MacGuffin Companion

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    Nov 20, 2009

    Please show me the evidence of this. I've heard this for years but never seen any proof. Belief has nothing to do with it. Of course be chipper in an interview, but let's be realistic in life. I tell that to kids all the time who think they're going to make it in the NBA. Dream all you want, but the odds aren't in your favor so you better have a plan B.

    At the moment the odds aren't in folks' favor for getting a teaching gig, so why get somebody's hopes up just to be dashed? If somebody really wants to pursue a teaching job, all the power to them, but those who know what it's really like out there should give honest advice.
     
  18. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I see what you're saying-- the whole idea that schools have been perpetuating the mythical "teacher shortage" for years is an outrage.

    But I think the idea is that, like the lottery, "you have to be in it to win it." If an applicant's attitude is that there are no jobs to be found anyway, so there's no sense in bothering, the odds against that applicant are much much higher. An applicant who is determined to find a job will network, consider relocating, and try every single school within a reasonable commute, then add 10 minutes and try all those schools.

    The second candidate may not find a job, but I'm guessing that the odds are much much higher that he or she will.
     
  19. Budaka

    Budaka Cohort

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    I think it really depends on the area you teach in and the subject you teach. I teach at a small rural school and we only one candidate apply for the position we had open. Of course he got the job! I know some areas are laying of teachers but that is not true of everywhere. And being able to coach is going to vastly improve your chances.
     
  20. SCTeachInTX

    SCTeachInTX Fanatic

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    I teach in an area (Early Childhood) that is over-saturated with an influx of new teachers graduating. I moved to a new state without a teaching license from that state, and landed a job at a brand, new school. The principal at my school brought a few of her teachers from her previous school, but the vast majority of teachers that were hired were brand new or came from another school with little teaching experience. They did not know anyone. I was also offered positions in several other districts. I know the job market is full of EC teachers right now. And I know that in states like Texas the job market is tough. But finding a job is doable. You DO need a positive attitude. In each interview I sat down and talked about my love of kids and the things that I would bring to the classroom. And in each instance I was given formal interviews and positive feedback as well as a few job offers. I am teaching in one of the most highly paid, most highly sought after districts in the state of Texas. I am fully certified now, and I did not know a single person when I made the move. So... can it happen? Absolutely. Does a positive attitude make a difference? I think so. No, I know so. Sell yourself. Sell what you can do. But do so without being intimidating or condescending. Yes, Viriginia... there is a Santa Claus. You just have to make it happen for yourself!
     
  21. love2read

    love2read Rookie

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    Thank you SO much SCTeachInTX for your inspiring comments!! I graduate next month with a B.S. in ECE and the job market is tough here in GA, but I have faith, determination, and a positive attitude! I don't have any connections, but I'm confident! I'm also applying EVERYWHERE! I WILL get a teaching job:)
     
  22. Simba

    Simba Comrade

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    Nov 20, 2009

    It's definitely hard!!!

    Good Luck!!
     
  23. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    :dizzy:
     
  24. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It's worth noting that the OP (to whom, again, blessings) posted from Louisiana, where I understand that there may in fact be openings, and that MacGuffin is posting from California, where the job market is certifiably hideous.

    Even in a hideous job market, however, people relocate, people retire, and people die, in numbers sufficient to create some movement.

    I hate giving false hope, but I also hate the idea of turning away gifted and motivated future teachers through cynicism that masquerades as realism.
     
  25. MacGuffin

    MacGuffin Companion

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    Ok if you want realism, here it is: If you are able to uproot and move to a rural area or a ghetto in another state, happen to be credentialed in science/math/spec.ed/ have all the bureaucratic paperwork done for that state and NCLB, have the necessary ELL credential, don't have too much education or experience (as that makes you too expensive) and find the right opening at the right time, you will probably at least get an interview! If at the interview you're the right gender and race and say all the magic words you'll probably get the job! The job in the undesirable district will last a year or two until you'll get laid-off because of state deficit issues!

    (Ok granted the last few bits are cynical, but I have seen it and it's certainly not unrealistic)

    This started because somebody asked a question, "Is landing a teaching job like winning the lottery." As I'm a person who is particularly knowledgeable about this issue through years of direct experience I feel I'm very qualified to answer. (I have an MA in K-8 ed from WA state, I have 5 years certified experience teaching in WA, AZ and CA and nearly as many years experience of looking for work off & on) So the short answer to the question is, "Well nothing has as bad of odds as the state lottery, but yes it is incredibly hard right now."

    Because I chose to elaborate on that answer a bit and sunshine and rainbows didn't come up, I am referred to as cynical and told I need a positive attitude. I suppose I'm like the guy at the rest stop on the way to California in 'Grapes of Wrath' telling people to turn back. It's not good news, nobody wants to hear it, but it's the truth.

    Yes I do want to discourage people from getting into the field. For those who have a calling to the job, what I say shouldn't matter anyway, if they're willing to put up with a very-tight market, great.
    For those on the borderline, I'm just giving them the facts to make with as they will. Sorry but I'm not a politician or union rep so I'm unable to put a positive spin on the situation.
     
  26. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    It seems you expect all comers to concede that your experience on one side of the continent state transfers precisely and accurately to all other states and conditions.

    For what it's worth, you have my sympathy.
     
  27. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    We're ALL qualified to answer. The vast majority of us are teachers who have either found a job or are looking.

    But, as Teacher Groupie said, not all our experiences have been the same. That's why we don't all agree.

    No sunshine or rainbows, simply an experience that didn't match yours.
     
  28. MacGuffin

    MacGuffin Companion

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    Nov 22, 2009

    Sympathy why? I'm doing fine.

    I reacted to some other posts because I feel it's avoiding the issue and dismissive to bring up the same old trite advice like "stay positive" or "don't be cynical." I'd like to think we're all adults, educated with life experience, and can be spared the same old tunes. Motherly advice has it's time and place, but I'm speaking the truth as I know it, and responding with evidence of your own which disputes it is great and not a problem, discounting it by picking apart my attitude is.

    I really don't know where in the country these openings are that you're speaking of, some regions are better than others of course, but I believe the difference at the moment is either 100s of applicants versus 1000s. But I don't know the situation in every school in the country so I obviously have to defer to others' knowledge on specific schools. My information is based on looking at postings from all around the country for the past 7 years, attending job fairs in 4 different states, getting district numbers on applications received, and being part of a few hiring committees.

    So if this is just my unique experience, fine. I think it would be informative if there are other teachers out there who want to share the facts of their job search. As in- how long they've been looking (or looked), how many interviews they've had. What their discipline is. Where they are? With a bit more fact sharing we can compile a chart so people interested in coming into the profession can see what they're in for.
     

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