Switching Position Mid-Year

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by DaveG, Dec 21, 2010.

  1. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

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    Dec 21, 2010

    I'm a first year special education teacher. I started out my year in an alternative school for students with emotional and behavioral disabilities and I loved it. I taught 9th-12th grade, but my students all had significant cognitive delays and we worked at about the 1st grade level and below.

    Skip forward a month (October) and I discover that the school (as it is a private facility) does not meet certain requirements for certification (I'm in an alternative certification program) and I have 3 weeks to find a new position or lose my spot in the program.

    Out of desperation, I took a job as a special education resource teacher at a public high school and...I hate it. The behavior of the students is ridiculous, administration offers little support and I have no curriculum. My only instruction: "your job is to make sure the students pass their classes." I do not want to quit teaching, but I know that high school teaching is not for me. I dread going to work each day and I can't imagine sticking with something like that. I would love to teach resource at the elementary level (where I feel the impact can be much more significant and resource classes are much more structured) as elementary teaching is what I have always had a passion for.

    An elementary resource position just came up in my district. I have applied in the hope of being able to transfer. This does not represent a breach of contract on my part, as my contract is with the district and not the school.

    Any others who have had similar experiences or can weigh in on the best way for me to approach an interview at this elementary school (supposing I get one)? Should I tell them up-front about my reasons for wanting to leave the high school?

    Any help is welcome!
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 21, 2010

    I would be honest. Let them know that you have always wanted to work with elementary aged students and feel that your skills and talents will be better in this environment.

    Also, let them know that you like the district, etc, etc.

    Be wary, that this could look bad if you don't get the transfer. The high school may not renew your contract...not sure if you need it for certification or not.
     
  4. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Dec 21, 2010

    It's not all that unusual to change grade levels. Until you've actually spent time in the classroom, you can't predict where you'll best fit. I started in middle school, but it turns out my passion is high school seniors.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Dec 21, 2010

    What is the specific wording in your contract? My contract is also with the district and not a particular school, however there is language in it that says that I need to remain in my placement for a certain time period unless there are special circumstances (it outlines those circumstances) and all administrators approve the transfer.

    Without knowing anything about your particular district, I think it would be unlikely that a district would move you mid-year, because then they would have to worry about filling the position you're vacating.

    It may just be that you'll have to stick out a rough placement and apply for a transfer for next school year.
     
  6. jellybeans

    jellybeans New Member

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    Dec 21, 2010

    I actually switched positions this year within my district after the school year started, so it can be done. For the past three years, I taught 7th grade English and reading full-time. When I found out I was pregnant this summer, I talked to my principal about going part-time so I could have more time at home with my baby. He was agreeable, but the district wasn't, so I started the year full-time at the same school. Right after the school year started, a half-time librarian position opened up at another school in my district. I had already been working towards a degree in library science, which my principal knew, and when the librarian position opened up, he encouraged me to apply for it. I did, and was hired. I started at my new school the fourth week of school and have happily been there since :)

    Still, I wouldn't have been able to transfer, even within the district, after the start of the school year without my principal's agreement. The decision was his, even though I wanted the job and the other school wanted me as well. My advice is to be upfront with your current principal. Let him or her know that you feel like you would be a better fit in an elementary classroom. If you have a background working with younger kids, you might emphasize that too. I think you should definitely let your current principal know you are interested in the other position before you apply. It will be much better coming from you than for them to get a call out of the blue from the other school asking about you. That could make you look bad to both principals and ruin your chances at either school.

    Also let them know that you would be willing to stay as long as needed and help transition the teacher they hire to replace you to minimize any disruption to the students. If they are willing to let you go (and the other school hires you), make sure you thank your current principal for all his/her help. That's what I did, and I left my old school on good terms. I hope this helps, and good luck!
     
  7. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Dec 21, 2010

    Great advice!
     
  8. DaveG

    DaveG Companion

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    Dec 22, 2010

    Thank you all for the advice.

    My contract says very little about mid-year transfers other than to say they are possible with administration and district approval. It covers a lot about transfer between school years, which requires a transfer request to be on file by the April prior to the beginning of the school year.

    I guess I'll just wait and see what happens. :)
     

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