Starting to think I just don't "fit the needs" of high schools, any advice?

Discussion in 'Job Seekers' started by ForeignPolicy, Jul 8, 2013.

  1. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    I'm new here. Here's where I stand:

    I am a "new" teacher in CA, although "new" is a bit of a pejorative term to describe me, at least in my opinion. I attended one of the more prestigious universities in the UC system and have a BA in International Relations, as well as two minors, one in Global Peace and Security Studies and the other in History. I also attended graduate school at the same university and hold a MA in International Relations, as well (my areas of expertise include stuff like Middle Eastern politics, foreign policy, comparative politics, political theory, survey research and political polling, voter behavior, etc etc etc). I am completely fluent in Spanish, and I also am semi-fluent in both French and Mandarin Chinese (no ********...I actually speak, read, and write Mandarin). I am not your 'typical' BA in random subject+teacher's credential newbie and am a little older than most "new" teachers, although still under 35 yrs old. While in graduate school I taught many courses to undergraduates, have 3 years of experience teaching at the university level and have all the same background as someone with a Phd in my discipline, but I just never write a dissertation.
    Fast forward and I started working on a CA single subject credential about 1 1/2 years ago after finishing my MA and then working as a substitute teacher in the area at 3 public and 2 private high schools for 1 1/2 years. I received some pretty varied reactions from contracted teachers while working as a sub, from "OMGZ I teach all AP classes and having someone like you around to sub for me is GREAT!" to some pretty clearly threatened teachers who for whatever reason seemed to go out of their way to make sure I NEVER got called to fill in for them. Whatever the case, I worked as a sub for 1 1/2 years prior to starting student teaching.
    I student taught during the Spring of 2012 at another public high school in the area that I had not previously worked. The teacher I was placed with was your typical "coach" type high school teacher and he pretty much just turned everything over to me and let me do my thing the whole time b/c he sort of knew I was just jumping through hoops to get my credential, and was not new to teaching. The school was impressed enough with my work that I was offered a job teaching summer school b/c another teacher was trying to hold the school up for more $ to teach summer. I had a verbal agreement with the principal, only for the other teacher to suddenly have a change of heart after being informed they hired me to do it, so he got to do the job.
    The school allowed me to return this fall to complete my remaining student teaching and the plan was for me to work with the teacher that teaches all of the AP Government sections. He was going to pretty much let me come in there and run everything, no need to worry, I have a friggin MA in the subject and taught this stuff at the university level.
    However, the school was beginning the pilot year of a brand new International Baccalaureate program in partnership with a university in Europe that was sending it's top 30 students to study in the US for a semester. It's all a little complicated to explain, but what ended up happening was the school contacted me one week before the start of the year and asked if I would teach one period to the international students, as they were being contained in one cohort and would take all of their courses together. That "one period" ended up morphing into me teaching 4 periods in my own classroom to the international students, each period a different course that I designed from scratch on-the-fly. The courses were Comparative Politics, Globalization and Development, International Economics, and Cultural Studies.
    It just sort of worked out for the school that they had all of these kids coming from Europe and they were supposed to be studying all of these advanced topics that are simply not part of a standard US curriculum and it just so happened they had a guy "student teaching" on their campus that could bail them out, so I ended up running the whole **** program. The school paid me a sub rate since I still technically did not have a credential.
    I ran the whole program and then when the students went back to Europe at the end of last fall, I was asked by the principal if I would fill in from March-end of school year for a social studies teacher going on maternity leave. Again, I had a verbal agreement with the principal only to find out a week later that the teacher, upon discovering they asked me to fill in for her, torpedoed me and told the principal she wanted her asst softball coach that works as a sub at the school to do it, instead. This was one of those teachers that always seemed very threatened by me, IMO, and I didnt really appreciate her torpedoing me like that, but whatever.
    I had no real option other than to work as a sub again the rest of the school year and hope that the school would actually offer me a contract to come back this coming year to continue to run the IB program, although I had my doubts based on the fact the school board and admin see the program as a good publicity tool and a financial boon to the district...not as something to invest a lot of time and energy into. The foreign students all have to pay tuition and all told it comes to over 250g. If the school was to hire me to continue to run the program they'd have to pay my full salary out of the tuition $ b/c they're all foreign students and they cant pay me with tax $ to teach foreign students, exclusively. The university in Europe was extremely displeased with the way the school handled the program and are of the opinion the only one that seemed to care at all or was qualified to teach the material was me.
    I came to find out near the end of the year that the school was not intending on hiring me, and instead are giving the courses I designed and taught this year to a teacher that currently teaches part-time 3 periods of Agricultural Earth Science and has a BA in ag sciences...and now will teach Comparative Politics as well as International Economics, apparently. The other two courses are being given to another part-time teacher that also has no real business teaching this stuff, either. So after 1 1/2 years of being at this school nearly every single day and running their flagship pilot program and getting paid a sub rate to do it, I found myself out of a job and for the first time since finishing my credential actually LOOKING for a full-time position for next school year. The university in Europe just assumed the school would have to bring me back, but I let the president of the university know this past Spring when we spoke to discuss plans for next year that would most likely not be the case and the university is not real pleased with the way the school handled the whole thing.
    I began applying for positions on edjoin and have applied to over 30 listings, at this point. I have received 2 calls for interviews. The first was from a district in a very challenging rural area with very high poverty, over 60% EL students, and most are migrant farm workers. The second was from the district in which I currently live and worked as a sub for 1 1/2 years prior to beginning my student teaching.
    I interviewed with the district in the rural area several weeks ago and then had an interview with the district in which I live two weeks ago. The district I live in is in an area that is basically paradise and they received nearly 200 applications for one position. They only selected 6 people for interviews, including me. I interviewed with them on June 27 and then got offered a job by the other school district the very next morning. They wanted me to design both a SDAIE Govt course and AP Govt for a newer school in their district that did not offer either course, yet. The starting pay for someone w/ MA+60, which I already have entering my "first" year was 39k, which is ridiculously low and more than 20% less than nearly every other school I have applied. I politely asked if I could have a few days to make the decision and I let them know I had just interviewed for a position in the city I have lived for the past 15 years at a school I worked for 1 1/2 years previously. They said "no" and wanted a signed contract by the end of the day. So I had to pass on the offer and they hired someone else.
    Last week I found out I did not get the job at the school I interviewed with here in the district I live, so now I'm back to square one and currently have ZERO interviews scheduled and those are the only 2 places I've received calls from. I am beginning to worry that a lot of what I was warned about by other educators regarding trying to get a job somewhere is coming to fruition. I've been told on numerous occasions that schools are looking to "fill a need" and that I am not exactly what high schools are typically looking for due to my rather extensive education and resume, which is best utilized teaching AP Government, AP Comparative Politics, and International Baccalaureate programs...and is out of line with my level of "experience", as those courses are almost always given to the teachers with the most seniority at a school, regardless of whether they may happen to have some hotshot young legitimate political scientist in their midst. I did not play high school sports, nor am I a "coach", so I don't have that to offer to a school. The extracurriculars I am qualified to do are stuff like Model UN, Mock Trial, and ASB/Student Senate.
    Additionally, due to already possessing an MA+60 upon entrance into the profession, my pay would be significantly more than most 1st year teachers, which I would assume is going to reduce the likelihood cash strapped districts will call me for an interview. Finally, my resume and CV do not at all read like a "newbie" teacher and is now filled up with all this stuff about how I ran an International Baccalaureate program, have an advanced degree in a subject which is something less than 5% of teachers possess, speak/read/write in FOUR languages, and have 3 years of experience teaching at the university level prior to secondary schools.
    I get the impression that if schools really are looking to "fill a need", there are probably not a lot of schools out there that I am a good fit for and I probably DON'T fit the needs of what most are looking for. I feel like the most likely schools for me to "fill a need" are the high achieving schools with advanced programs, but that my "lack of experience" will hinder any chance I have b/c I'll be competing with people that have decades of experience.
    This is all very frustrating b/c I have no idea whether schools are looking at my resume and application and going "This guy is waaaay beyond what we are looking for." I am certainly not a STAR test prepper type teacher and my experience in the classroom has been predominantly with university students or AP sections in secondary schools. I have never once even set foot in a junior high school classroom, as my credential program saw no point in having me go do a junior high placement for my 2nd student teaching assignment when a school was asking if I'd like to take over their AP Govt sections, instead.

    Any advice or thoughts? Are my experience, resume, educational background, and lack of sports coaching abilities potentially going to hinder me as much as I feel like they have been, b/c "on paper" my resume is beyond solid. I know four languages, including Spanish AND Chinese, for cryin' out loud! I have letters of recommendation from the superintendent, principal, every dept chair, the president of the university in Europe, several teachers at other schools in the area, in addition to all of the letters from people in my department at the university level as well.
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Having a strong background in a field other than teaching is impressive but doesn't trump actual teaching experience and skill. I also taught at the university level prior to becoming a teacher, and let me tell you that teaching at the university level is light years away from teaching high school. The skills that you need to be successful at one level are not at all the skills that you need to be successful at the other.

    I also know quite a few languages. It's awesome, but it doesn't make me a better teacher than anyone else in and of itself.

    The attitude I get from your post is that you're oh-so-amazing. And yet these schools repeatedly moved past you to hire other people. There must be a reason for that. Could it be that you think too highly of yourself? Or that your skills don't match your sales pitch? I don't know either way, obviously. But the vibe I'm getting from you is that you're better than all these other teachers. Unless you can back that up, and truthfully it sounds like you can't as evidenced by the fact that these schools didn't follow through on job offers to you, you need to dial it back a little.

    I see it all the time: "on paper" a candidate looks stellar, but there is something in person that sort of nixes or invalidates a good chunk of that "on paper" fabulousness. I feel like that might be what is happening here.

    My advice would be to step back and take a clear and honest look at yourself and the way you present yourself to others. Are you too arrogant? Are you dismissive of other people's experiences? Are you tricking yourself into thinking that a strong background in foreign languages means that you are an excellent Social Studies teacher?
     
  4. Mrs.Giggles

    Mrs.Giggles Companion

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    :yeahthat: You just said it much more eloquently than I ever could.
     
  5. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Social Science is such an impacted field in California. And there are many qualified candidates. It's hard to get a foot in the door in this subject.

    I would highly suggest adding an authorization to teach Spanish. Being able to teach both might help you stand out.
     
  6. ayla

    ayla Companion

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    One of my friends who has similar interests as you is now teaching very happily in a private school in the northeast. Do you have to stay in CA and would you consider private schools? They did not hold her lack of experience against her, and all private school classes are more free flowing like you are discussing, since they are not test prep based.

    That said, I graduated Phi Beta Kappa - and when a principal brings it up, it is clear that they want a high achieving candidate. Most principals don't mention it. You just have to find the right principal.
     
  7. BumbleB

    BumbleB Habitué

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    I have to agree. Well done, Caesar.
     
  8. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    I can see that it may seem that way. I've been offered these positions because I am very good at my job. One fell through b/c a teacher was trying to hold the school up for more $ and told them he wasnt going to do it, so they offered it to me, at which point he changed his mind. The lady going on maternity leave wanted her softball asst coach to do the job. As far as whether I am a good teacher, or arrogant...both of my fieldwork supervisors observed me for a year and both said I was light years ahead of the teachers I was placed with, one w/ 10 yrs experience and another with 35 whom I actually think is a really really great teacher and did really awesome stuff in his CP US History classes. In the state that I live, knowing both Spanish AND Chinese is a major thing to have on a resume and should be extremely useful, so yeah, I do think knowing a few languages makes a difference in a VERY diverse state like this one is. I DID run an IB program and design 4 courses from scratch, as well as get offered a job to teach in a very challenging environment and asked to design two new courses for a school after my very first interview ever, anywhere, and I managed to get selected for an interview where I live by people that already know me not just "on paper"...so I would say I must be doing SOMETHING right. I love teaching high school! It's fun!
     
  9. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I think you're right that you may not fit the needs of a high school. Most high schools I know of don't need arrogant teachers. Sounds like university is your niche.
     
  10. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    I have no idea what kind of teacher you are, beyond what you've said here, but your words do give clues.

    You know 4 languages, but are you certified to teach any of those 4 languages? Big difference.

    You designed an IB program, but were not asked back after one year. Even though the European university liked what you did, the US school did not. What could you have done to fit better?

    Teachers ask you to sub, but ultimately end up asking for anyone BUT you. Could there have been something you might have done during subbing that put off teachers? Like, perhaps, making them seem unqualified and/or inadequate? Because principals and teachers do talk, on occasion...

    You were "light years ahead" of other teachers you were placed with, yet they have been working for 10 and 35 years respectively...so maybe you weren't "light years" ahead, but rather could have learned something from them?

    Just some thoughts...maybe that European university is hiring? I'm not saying that to be facetious, I'm serious. Maybe that is your niche?
     
  11. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    I'd do private, for sure. I was a little uncomfortable with the lack of #s and diversity, though, when I worked as a sub at a couple private schools. I grew up in the inner city in a large urban area, so it was a little weird. I'd love to move to Shanghai and teach. I'd love to go somewhere international. The European university we were working with has a campus in Shanghai and another in Vietnam. I'd love to do something like that, or have my classes here doing skype peer-teaching classes about government with counterparts in China. That'd be fun!
     
  12. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    The US school bent over backwards praising me for the job I did and explicitly state in letters of recommendation that I "saved their pilot program". They didn't choose not to bring me back, the board will not let them hire anyone to teach the int'l students, exclusively, which is what I was doing, b/c the $ would have to come out of the tuition those kids are paying. They paid me a sub rate to do it last year, now they'd have to hire me to do it full-time and the board said from the outset they would not approve the program if it meant they'd have to hire another full-time salaried teacher and pay that person out the the tuition. Simple as that. I did a great job and everyone at the school was hoping I'd come back to teach the future groups, as for whatever weird reason the other teachers had issues with the Euro students.

    I learned alot from the guy with 35 yrs experience. He was AWESOME, but I only ended up being in the room 1 period a day, due to my responsibilities with the IB program.

    I am BCLAD certified, ELD, SDAIE, have the crosscultural authorization.

    As for subbing, I continued to have steady work at all the schools I worked prior once the euro kids left. Everyone likes me at the schools I work. I should probably also mention that the school I ran the IB program for has asked me if there is any way that if I get a job close by next year if I could coach their mock trial team, so we are not on bad terms or anything like that. It's simply an issue of $...and the board wants it! We're a one school district, so 250k makes a big difference in the coffers.

    Funny you mentioned it, but the European university was really interested in trying to figure out some way for me to come teach in their school, which is far more student-centered and project-based than US classrooms. We began looking into it and it would have taken a year, minimum, to get a visa and all that crazy stuff and it just was too much.
     
  13. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    Wow, I think we're being a little rough. I would call it confidence, not arrogance.

    I would personally look into Charter Schools. I think you will be able to sell the idea of even starting some program in a specific cover letter designed for them. Plus you will be able to offer the Model UN, Mock Trial, which will be helpful as well.
     
  14. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    One of the schools I am waiting on a response from is this awesome charter school about an hour away that I think would be a perfect fit for me, but it is one of the "top 50" (whatever that really means) high schools in CA and I'm sure will be ultra-competitive. The district that actually offered me the job that I declined while waiting on an answer from the district I lived has more than one opening available in a charter school there, but I almost would feel bad applying after turning down a job at one of the public schools in the same district. I'd feel "guilty" or something, I think!
     
  15. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Sooo...you sub for a year while waiting for the visa? And end up doing what you really want to do, and have the talent for? Even if you had to work retail for a year while waiting just to get by, wouldn't that be worth it?
     
  16. Ms.SLS

    Ms.SLS Cohort

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    I think you're right - you are not what the majority of public schools are looking for. Or perhaps find a very rich school district with upper-class parents.

    I would strongly encourage you to pursue private or charter schools - I'm sure you would have much better luck there.
     
  17. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    Ultimately the euro school just decided the whole process was too much and they didnt know how long I could get a work permit for, how long i could stay, or any of that stuff. I would LOVE to do something like that but it was going to be a VERY involved process with a lot of question marks. Working as a sub for a year is not a very realistic option where I live to support myself while waiting on something like that or hoping to get a job at another school in the area. A studio apartment is $1000/month here. I'd need a full-time retail job in addition to subbing everyday just to hopefully get by!
     
  18. Listlady

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    I think you should just keep applying (keep subbing in the meantime) and hang in there. A lot of schools have to fill positions internally before considering those not already in the system. Don't give up!
     
  19. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    Whew, that was quite the read...

    Firstly, I see you are in California. From what I've read on here, that's disadvantage #1. You are applying for positions in which hundreds, even thousands of applicants are applying to. The fact that you got 2 interviews means people are impressed by you. If you have seen Giraffe's post on here, she has applied for hundreds of positions and has gotten interviews for about 20 of them.

    Secondly, having advanced degrees (not sure what CA's rules for this are) can hurt your odds of gaining employment, as you mentioned in your post, because you are (and should be) in a higher pay bracket.

    Thirdly, high schools are VERY concerned if you can or cannot coach a sport. Unfair, I know, but I know many great teachers who were passed up for positions because they had no coaching experience.

    Lastly, while you are an impressive person in general, schools are concerned with hiring proven, exceptional teachers--not prodigies. I can speak German, but that is not on my resume. When I take the Praxis for it, then I will add it only as a listing under credentials. I can play the flute, violin, and cello, but that's not on my resume at all--even though being able to read two clefs and play both a wind and string instrument would certainly impress most music teachers on here, I'm sure--but it's only relevant *if* I were certified to teach it. So unless you are certified in Mandarin it isn't a factor in hiring you.

    Educational background, teaching experience, and credentials are the main things employers want to see on resumes--not how spectacular your foreign language skills are. Now if you are applying for a position in which Chinese is a major language spoken in the school---that would be something to highlight in your cover letter.

    Experience is a huge factor in hiring when you are in a competitive market--as a social studies teacher you certainly under the economics behind this--the advantage a teacher with 10 years has over another who just finished their internship a year ago. And in K-12 education, experience teaching at the collegiate level does not count as experience. In fact, some people may consider it a detriment.

    The more you sub in K-12 schools, the more experience you get--so I would go that route. You also might want to consider relocating. That sounds entirely possible for you since you want to teach in Shanghai, so a move to a state where they are desperate for teachers will improve your odds for getting hired. If you can, add more credentials to your license. I'm certified in Elementary, MG Science, MG SS, Secondary SS, Secondary Science, waiting on the results for MG Math and will take the Praxis for German and I'm a first-year teacher myself. If I were you, since you are so close to your PhD, I'd apply to the doctoral program again, finish it, and then make yourself at least competitive for a university position.
     
  20. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    If it's not counted as experience, is it a bad move for me to list it as part of my teaching experience?
     
  21. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I would include it under "Prior Employment" or "Relevant Experience" or something (volunteering and tutoring stuff is what I put there), but I wouldn't include it under "Teaching Experience."
     
  22. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    Foreign Policy,

    If you are seeking to teach high school, middle school, or elementary school, there are a few things you have to have on your resume -- that you are certified to teach the subject through the state department of education, that you have student taught (which you say you have done), and how much actually teaching experience do you have in high school, middle school, or elementary school (depending on which you are seeking.)

    Those are the things that must stand out on your application and your resume. Those things are what will get you in for an interview.

    The hard part is that there are hundreds (in CA, maybe thousands) of teachers with years of experience teaching at the same level as the job they are seeking. Student teaching isn't generally counted as teaching experience, and subbing isn't counted in most districts either. Teaching at a university isn't generally counted, but I could see it being a possible in. Just remember there will be hundreds of applicants who have all three -- a license in the subject area needed, student teaching or internship at the level needed, and some direct teaching experience at the level of the job available.

    All the rest is interesting reading, but it just clouds the water.

    If you resume looks like the first post you wrote, I think I can see the problem.

    If you are looking for assistance, let some of the people on this forum help you get your cover letter, resume/application form, and other items in the best possible shape. Many people on this forum serve on hiring commities, or are principals, and they can really help.

    Good luck with your job search.
     
  23. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Fanatic

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    I would absolutely include it under teaching experience. I can't imagine any principal seeing a candidate taught at the university level and seeing that as a negative. In fact, I wouldn't want to work for anyone who felt that way.
     
  24. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think that university teaching is a negative, but I don't think that it's a positive, either. It's almost irrelevant.
     
  25. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    If it's almost irrelevant, what part of university teaching is relevant? Somehow, I believe I would not have been asked to any of my interviews without the internship AND semester of adjunct. I think my summer school teaching job wouldn't have happened either.
     
  26. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Content knowledge. I would hope that someone who could teach at a university would know their content inside and out.

    In K-12, however, good teachers have a lot more than content knowledge.
     
  27. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I think the main problem is that you seem to fit a school with high achieving population, in a high income area, where the focus is on AP courses, going into college and getting into the best colleges. However, that is also the most desired school for a lot of teachers, so you'd be competing with those who have been teaching for 10 + years, know people and have proven themselves.

    The other thing is - like others said - the languages and the university teaching. The other languages don't count unless you're certified to teach them. I am fluent Hungarian, but not certified (there is no such thing) so it technically doesn't count. The fact that I speak / studied other languages, again don't count. So it's no use to put it on my resume. However, in interviews, when principals find that out, I'm sure they like it that I'm bilingual, know how it feels to learn another language and how it is to be an immigrant and make it in a different country. It's not a selling point, but it might help. In fact I'm sure my P liked it and saw that it would make me more of a role model to my students.
    So you speaking Chinese may not be a real advantage.

    The same thing with the university teaching. All it tells me that you really know your content, but you don't have to deal with classroom management and differentiation at the university level.

    If you really want to teach high school, maybe you should get experience in lower income, inner city schools, where you can prove that you know your content, but also able to handle, teach and reach struggling students. Then you would have a much better chance.
     
  28. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    Jul 8, 2013

    I have a CA single subject teaching credential, am BCLAD certified (bilingual and able to teach ELD and SDAIE), completed student teaching at a high school, and was subsequently hired while still completing the remainder of my student teaching to run the new IB program. I've applied to a lot of schools in the bay area in which Chinese would be an asset and being BCLAD certified is a huge plus in CA. Running the IB program does not technically count as "experience" due to the fact the program was under the auspices of a partnership with a foreign school and the courses I taught were not CA standards-based and to foreign students.
     
  29. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    Why would teaching Political Science courses, or any other courses, at the university level be irrelevant? AP Government and AP Comparative Politics are supposed to be college-level courses, aren't they (as well as all other AP courses), why not have highly qualified people who have graduate degrees in the field teach them if you have access to them? The very idea that a high school or other teachers would find it irrelevant and not care about having people who are actually legitimate experts in their field teach the courses that are in theory supposed to be college level courses is both a slap in the face to the entire discipline these people spent years preparing to teach and treating it like college courses dont need to be taught by college instructors and can be taught by people without even a BA in the discipline, yet high school courses require some magical jedi powers that people coming from higher academia just couldnt possibly understand. This is also part of the reason high schools have such a difficult time attracting people with advanced degrees in subject matter or professional experience within many fields. Why would a school find it irrelevant that someone with an MA in microcellular biology from UCLA that researched cures for cancer in a labratory for several years is applying to teach biology? If I was an administrator I'd KILL to have real deal experts in their field that also show a real passion for teaching, rather than having the attitude that people with university backgrounds and advanced degrees dont "belong", or something, in high schools, or that theie expertise is irrelevant. I've been around plenty of AP Govt classes and every teacher I work with acknowledges that it is my expertise in the field that makes it so great when I teach the classes...its what I trained for nearly 10 years to do.

    I kind of get your point, especially when it comes to teaching grades lower than 10th, but subject matter expertise has proven to me to be a major benefit and it's one of the two main reasons I was able to get a job running an IB program without ANY high school experience aside from student teaching and subbing. They knew I could handle it based on what they had already seen, as well as my prior experience teaching advanced subject matter and academic background.
     
  30. teachingse

    teachingse Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2013

    I felt I was a super candidate as well but in social studies everyone is a rockstar.

    I had co-published a book on education based on the studies my professor and I had conducted in schools.

    I had individually published papers on technology usage in the classroom as well as in the field of history.

    I went to prestigious schools.

    I had a strong pedigree of in class teaching during both my undergrad and graduate schooling.

    I kept missing job after job. I almost gave up and tried to move to another state. Finally, the place I got hired... I asked my principal just out of the blue why he had hired me when others had not? He told me that I almost didn't get an offer from them, either. Know why? He said it was because I seemed so ambitious that they thought I had no future in HS teaching and would soon bolt for a better opportunity. So, they almost didn't offer because they thought I was a temporary patch.

    That may be what you are experiencing as well. You may be 'too good' on paper and they may fear you will bolt for University Teaching or something better the moment it comes along. The truth is, I love HS teaching. I am not saying I will never give it up but the fears my principal had were unfounded BUT I could see how he would think that.

    So maybe during interviews you need to not necessarily downplay your achievements but talk less about them and more about why you want to teach HS. What calls you to the HS teaching profession when you could obviously do other things?
     
  31. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Jul 9, 2013

    The people replying to you aren't trying to dismiss your knowledge. However teaching college and high school are very different. When I was in college most of my teachers got up and gave a lecture from start to finish and maybe allowed asking questions(some didn't). You cant do that in high school.

    Classroom management is a very real thing. In college you don't work with the students' parents when they start to fall behind. You don't have to try and motivate your students(at least my professors didn't, if I didn't care they let me fail) you cant really approach a high school classroom this way.

    Even if you teach AP you will probably still work with the lower level students. You need to be able to explain differentiation, scaffolding, and how you will motivate students. These aren't "jedi tricks" but very real skills that you have to have when working with various populations of students.

    I think you probably would be a great teacher but you need to "sell" yourself differently. Your not going to be hired to teach AP right off the bat at most places. I think you probably need to "tone down" some of what your posting here and try to fit what the schools actually are looking for.
     
  32. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2013

    I was offered a job and I turned it down on the first interview I went to, due to the fact I was waiting to hear back on another job which is in the district I currently live and pays A LOT more. I ended up not getting the job here, but was one of 6 people selected for an interview out of over 200 applicants so I feel good about that, for sure. I already explained twice now why the two offers I had from the school I was working were rescinded, once b/c of seniority rules and another teacher deciding at the last minute to do the job and the other time b/c the teacher going on leave wanted her asst coach to do it but the principal had already asked me without checking with her. The IB program I ran last year is constrained by budgetary restrictions imposed by the board that will not allow them to pay me from the tuition the foreign students are paying. The school never really planned on having to hire me in the first place to run the program, but this whole program came together and the visas for the students were cleared at the last minute, the school was literally in a position where they had to find somebody to teach these kids and it was supposed to be all this advanced IB stuff...it just kind of magically worked out that I was supposed to be completing my final student teaching there this fall and they were like "Well, why dont we just have Mr Foreignpolicy run the thing this year, doesnt he have like an MA in this stuff?" So I got hired to do it but the school kind of never really had the $ in the budget to keep me on no matter how great of a job I did or how much the university in Europe wanted me to be there running the thing permanently or how perfectly qualified to continue doing it I was or the fact that I got my name and picture in the paper, which was really cool and felt great!

    I havent really lost out on any of these positions for any reasons other than $, seniority, and a principal offering me a job that the teacher had kind of already promised to her friend and asst coach. I am on fine terms and I've never "done anything" to have an offer "rescinded". It just kind of happened that way and I sort of got the short end of the stick, which sucks.
     
  33. teachingse

    teachingse Rookie

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    Man, your story is sounding more and more like mine. I turned down 3 offers at the start of the job search as I waited for areas that I really wanted... then, it went cold for me. VERY cold. I mean, ice cold.

    I eventually ended up with a job in a good school in the area I wanted teaching the subject I wanted. So, my suggestion? Keep working. I do think if you interview anything like you have in this thread that your issue might be the need for a little more humility. In my interviews I admitted that there is something experience teaching gives you that you cannot learn from a book or class and I showed how eager I was to learn from the experience teachers on staff. I also make sure I made it clear how much I wanted to teach HS and why.

    That is after I changed up my interviewing style. I did that by contacting my university supervisor and asking her to mock interview me. She told me that I came off as too confident and too pompous. Like it or not, you could be a genius in your field but if you are a SOB to work with, no hiring committee is going to hire you. I think they want to see how awesome you are, certainly, but also that you can admit you don't have all of the answers and can work with a team.

    I had to refocus my interviewing, re-write my cover letter and reorganize my resume before I got a job.
     
  34. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    The first part pretty much describes to a T the area I have been living the past 15 years and have been subbing, student teaching, and running the IB program in. I've been teaching in this area for three years in various high schools and the school I did the IB program as well as my student teaching at is not in a supersuperduper wealthy area, but it is a very high-achieving school with students asking me to write them letters of recommendation to schools like Yale and Stanford.

    Honestly, in the 3 years I've been in the highschool classroom, and not all of them have been in the real high achieving school, I have never really had any problems with classroom management. Kids like me. I listen to rap, I watch UFC, etc and I can chop it up about popular culture and relate to students very well. I dropped out of high school with a .9 gpa ranked 456/459 in my class so I kind of "get it" and know what students dont like about the high school experience. I dont tend to patronize them the way many other adults can do at times and it results in a very low profile classroom management style, but when it comes down to it my students know I know my stuff and they really respect that.

    I actually grew up in the inner city in a large urban setting outside of CA and would jump at the chance to go to Oakland or another area with a large African-American population, as I would love to work with underprivileged students representing the same socio-economic culture I grew up with. I just need a school in a place like that to give me a call! I told the kids at the school I've been working that if it came down to working as a sub there next year, moving to a rural area, or going to the inner city to teach that I'd go to the inner city in a heartbeat before the other two as it would be the area I could make the most difference with a community I care a lot about due to my background. Many of my elementary and middle school teachers took part in marches with Dr King and I had a lot of exposure to the ideology of Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, WEB DuBois, Douglass, and other important figures as a young adolescent that shaped my desire to teach.
     
  35. Mr.history

    Mr.history Cohort

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    Jul 9, 2013

    Normally I'm not a fan of this organization but you may be a perfect fit. If I were you, I would look into teach for america. They may value your credentials differently than a school would and may place you into a school. Just know that they go into "low income" areas but you mentioned you may not dislike that. Something to think about.
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2013

    You must have missed the part where I said that teaching at a university does indicate strong content knowledge, which is what you're getting at here. I also stated that content knowledge isn't the only thing that a good K-12 teacher needs.
     
  37. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jul 9, 2013

    This is what you need to sell. This post presents a much more likable you. I'm on an elementary hiring committee, but who you seem to be in this post would get offered a job by us. The first one- probably not.
     
  38. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    I've got pretty mixed feelings about TFA, as well. I know many view it as some type of thing that Ivy League ivory tower elitists go do for a couple years in order to "look" like they care and pad their resume before moving on to bigger and better things while never having any long term intention of teaching in a low-income area, so the schools get left high and dry by people who are, in effect, using them. Also, the process to get into TFA I've heard/read is friggin insanely competitive, but maybe that has changed.

    I dont mind teaching in a low income area, but I'm trying to avoid moving to the middle of nowhere, I'd prefer an urban setting in CA. The pay makes a difference, of course, when you have 100k in student loans to pay off. A school district in Oakland I applied to would pay me 63k to start, which I'd jump at.
     
  39. ForeignPolicy

    ForeignPolicy Rookie

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    Jul 9, 2013


    I'm sort of a mix of the two. I was always very bothered in high school by the fact that not many of my teachers seemed to really know all that much about the topics they were teaching and everything was 'process' based, relying on "strategies" and worksheets and what I felt like were inane exercises in rote memorization. I wanted more! When I dropped out and then somehow ended up making it to UC and earning all these advanced degrees I thought I could be the teacher I wanted all the other teachers to be like when I was in high school, especially upon hearing about how schools were interested in finding more "highly qualified people" with advanced degrees, and the like. Then I went into secondary teaching and what I saw upon entrance was that not much has changed. Most of the emphasis is still on rote memorization and the value of content knowledge is minimized to a great extent for teachers. Everything is being turned into a "data driven" scientific process asking little more of teachers than to apply a procedure of steps, techniques, strategies, and we just become interchangeable cogs that just need to paint by the numbers for learning to occur, it seems. That stuff really bothers me, and I am glad that at least now that Common Core is coming down things should change somewhat. I have a lot of respect for the discipline I spent a long time developing expertise in, and it definitely bothers me that there are people out there with a BA in Sociology or Cultural Anthropology and a credential teaching AP Government and that is somehow considered a good idea or that person is qualified to do so. I guess a lot of the same stuff that bothered me when I was in high school still bothers me today and its frustrating b/c I want high schools to be interesting and academically challenging places that prepare students for the 21st century, not mindless assembly lines of "education". And I sometimes wonder if schools truly "get it" or if they're just choosing to continue mindlessly with a mid 20th century educational model designed largely to produce manufacturing workers with basic skills, not 21st century ready global citizens.
     
  40. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Groupie

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    Jul 9, 2013

    Does having kids help sway administration especially when you're a guy? I hear it hurts when you're married and a mom but doesn't when you're married and a dad! The P yesterday asked what my wife did and also if I had children! :)
     
  41. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Jul 9, 2013

    ForeignPolicy...you seem to not have a great deal of respect for working teachers, and as a result, perhaps, that is coloring their attitude toward you. Teachers do not have the power to 'promise' a job to a friend. Your comments about 'coach type' high school teachers is incredibly rude...other comments scattered in your very lengthy posts paint the same picture-that somehow experienced, working teachers just don't measure up. While your credentials are impressive, the 'fit' most schools are looking for includes, (among other characterstics,)the ability to be a part of a team, the desire share AND learn with colleagues, flexibility, and openness to others' ideas. It could be you are somehow not conveying these characteristics.:sorry:
     

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