Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by linswin23, May 8, 2018.
May 8, 2018
If you live in the Bay Area, how do you make it financially?
May 9, 2018
I’d imagine people share a dorm with other working professionals or they rent out a room or an entire living space. That’s what I did for a while before I started teaching and I was paying off my student loans at the time.
My suggestion is to look around on Craigslist for places to rent. For example, in my last place I stayed there for 6 years and the landlord let me stay in his place practically for free — he only charged me $450/month to rent the entire house to myself and he never raised the rent. Not once in those 6 years! I would still be living there if he didn’t gift the house to his son. Sigh.
To further demonstrate, my current place only costs $620/month and I found it on, you guessed it, Craigslist. It’s great because it’s so affordable and it allows me to have a lot more disposable income after paying rent!
I've been scanning Craigslist! There are a lot more options! I'm married with no kids, so my husband and I are considering doing a house share or renting a mother-in-law unit because we don't need much space. We are relocating to the Bay Area, so we are considering all housing options.
I just can't help but think of the old Rick Moore prank call from my childhood every time I read about CA.
"CALIFORNIA!??!!? Who said anything about California!?"
Are you in the SF Bay Area? There's not much around here at that low a rate.
I moved to San Francisco in 2007, so it was before all the IPOs and resulting insanity. We paid a "meager" $1500 at the time for our tiny, basic, ugly, old, 1-bedroom on top of Twin Peaks, which was one of the more affordable areas at the time (lovely views when not fogged in, but oddly inaccessible for being in the dead center of the city). When we moved out, our LL promptly re-rented in for twice that. Frankly, I don't know how new teachers in the city make it -- I think most double up on housing, or commute long distances. It is really sad to me what is happening to the city.
Aren't you in SoCal? $620 anywhere in CA is unheard of. I'm in the Central Valley. Before purchasing my home, I lived in a 1 bedroom 1 bath apartment and paid $900/month. Granted, it was in a nice area and the complex was brand new.
I'm a bit worried about the financial situation, but I think my husband and I will make it since we both work. We are from Southern California, so the rent it about the same down there in comparison to the rent in the area my new school is located in (Easy Bay). We will just have to shop around for the best prices....
May 10, 2018
@futuremathsprof, or are you splitting the rent with others?
Depending on where you are in the East Bay, it might be a little better. I'm in the North Bay and prices are around where they were in SF when we left there. Unfortunately, anywhere within a reasonable commute of the city is going to be $$$.
May 11, 2018
No, I am not. I searched around for hours and found my current renter.
I lived in the Bay Area for over 30 years and saw rents go up and up and up. My first apartment in one of San Francisco's finest neighborhoods rented for $300 per month. My last apartment rented for $1200 per month and now probably rents for at least $2500 per month. Even with so-called rent control, the best prices aren't low enough to enable even couples with two incomes to save much. Many young people are initially drawn to the excitement of city life, but soon relocate after realizing that they must pay an extremely high price for the urban experience. The only people I know who still remain in the Bay Area are those who inherited their parent's estate which always included a house with no mortgage. I often lament that I was born too late.
I am intrigued by this. The only places one can find for that price in this area are located in crime-ridden/gang-infested neighborhoods.
True, but I lucked out, it seems. I actually live in a very nice neighborhood (though the house is on the smaller size — 1,200 square feet) and crime is very low in my city. I don’t want to give any indentifying information of where I live, but I shopped around for many, many hours over a period of several days and just so happened to see above posting on Craigslist. The landlord said that they just wanted a little extra spending money since the house is paid off and I sweetened the deal by paying the entire year’s worth of rent plus security deposit ($8,060) all in one lump sum for the first year. The landlord loves it because I take excellent care of the property and I am never late on any payments of any kind. She says all the time that I’m the best tenant she ever had.
Speaking of which, I plan to do that next year and every year thereafter until I buy a house because I hate getting bills every month. It makes more sense for me to prepay for the entire year for rent, car and health insurance, etc., if I can afford it. That way, I can use my paychecks for fun each month after contributing to retirement. Sure, it takes a dip in my savings, but only having to pay for food and miscellaneous things each month is awesome!
May 12, 2018
Yes, SF is high alright.
My city isn't so cheap either! I live in Southern California about an hour from L.A. & my 1 bedroom, 1 bath apt rent just increased for it's annual increase to $1700/mo & even with that, I negotiated like I do every year to try to get it lowered. It would have been even more. I will have lived here 6 yrs now this June. There's no rent control here.
South Florida is expensive in that manner as well. You can find less expensive options, but you will need to hire a body guard and security team.
All of the single people at my school are subsidized by someone. Either they rent out a room from someone or they rent rooms to someone. The married people are all subsidized by their spouses. Additionally, many work second jobs all year long and others take summer positions that help defray their losses.
We had family in the SF area, and when we we went to visit them and saw the prices, we found the prices high in any place that seemed livable.
I don't know how we as a nation can continue to expect to improve education without adjusting the way budgets are formulated. We need to spend differently. It's not that more money is necessarily needed, but that we need to earmark more for the staffing. We are losing the best teachers to the marketplace--not because they are not desirous to leave teaching but because they desire to eat and provide a life beyond the oldest car, insurance where they can afford the premiums, but not the co-pays, and something beyond ramen noodles and bogo pasta.
May 14, 2018
Yup...I'm from SoCal and that sounds about right. I did live in the high desert (Victorville Area) and our rent was $738! However, that area isn't our cup of tea. We left there about four years ago.
Reading this makes me love my small Kentucky town even more.
Yep, the deserts are cheap because it's not the most desirable place to live. My fiance' has 2 brothers in the desert & one of them doesn't really like it...don't know about the other one, but they both own their homes & the mortgage is much cheaper than what I pay & they have good-sized homes. I'd still never want to live in the desert in a million yrs.
My apt's cheaper than most of the apts in my specific city. The newer complexes very easily start at $1900/mo, heck the smallest units nowadays are probably at least $2100 - 2200 by now.
It's beyond being able to eat and afford rent on a teacher salary -- it's so bad in the SF area that teachers just can't afford to live in the city any more, meaning new teachers are having to commute long distances, which either means longer days and the burnout that comes with it, or not being able to stay for after-school activities, sports, etc. The community loses out when teachers can't afford to live in the communities they serve.
Of course, the people working in tech needn't be bothered by this, since they can afford to send their kids to $$$ private schools. We are perpetuating a huge gulf in this area between the haves and have nots, and I am concerned about what that will mean for our community in the future.
I can relate to your sentiment, having worked at both ends of the spectrum. At the extreme high end, I recall there was just one teacher who lived in the school community - this most senior teacher starting teaching when the school was first built many years ago - he paid just a fraction ($25,000) of what the house is valued at today ($1 million +). Even as the principal, I could empathize how the other paid help (landscape gardeners, nannies, cooks, caregivers) must have felt entering the exclusive neighborhood to work in the morning and returning to their affordable abodes in outlying cities in the evening.
Most parents seek to provide the best for their children to the extent possible. Just because those with the financial means (through hard work and determination) have more options does not mean that they should not have the right to choose among those expanded options. Fortunately, many Americans have far more options than those with extremely limited finances - education options being just one example.
A slight correction: The common stereotype that wealthy parents tend to send their children to private schools may not necessarily be accurate, especially in today's economy. Public schools in affluent communities are usually not too shabby. The public school that I worked at was referred to as a "public private school" - it was part of a 2-school district that boasted a one million dollar endowment - and it's high reputation was used by realtors to attract potential home buyers. Many parents chose to send their children to this school over a costly private school for a quality education.
How much do you pay a month?! Good lord...
Agreed. I never want to live in the desert again.
May 15, 2018
I agree that we should have the right to make choices -- but I also have the right to be concerned about what is happening to our public schools when families aren't supporting their local public schools. I am anecdotally referring to specific people I know living here in the Bay who work in tech and who do not send their kids to the local publics because either they're actually a mess, or the perception is that they are -- specifically in cities like San Francisco and San Jose. I currently work at a Title One school that is also a Gold Ribbon School because of our community support -- but I am concerned about the trend towards wealthy families sending their kids to privates and charters. It's already started to impact our enrollment and thus our ADA, and the tidal wave of gentrification is just starting to hit here (about an hour north of SF).
I actually agree with a lot of what you said. I think it is important to support public schools by and large. If I had children, I would still send them to an expensive private school because they are generally safer, they often have better amenities, and they often have excellent and superior academic opportunities. That is not to say that there aren’t awesome public schools out there because there are a ton, but I would still not send my hypothetical child to said schools because of all the behavioral and criminal problems.
Take my school, for instance. We always have the latest technology and curriculums available and teachers have the option to use whatever they feel like. We are not forced to use certain ones by a school district. Also, we can ask for just about anything and are provided with it at practically a moment’s notice. Not to mention, our students are some of the highest scorers in the entire state of California on state tests, their average AP score is now a 4.3/5, their average SAT score is now a 1,500/1600, and they continually get accepted into Ivy Leagues like Cornell, UPenn, Stanford, and other top tier schools like UC Berkeley, UCLA, MIT, UChicago, Johns Hopkins, plus else. We’ve even had students get internships at major companies like Google, Facebook, Pixar, and Dreamworks after graduating because they do so many summer programs, state and national competitions, and relevant service projects in their intended subject areas.
To further demonstrate, we recently had one parent — who works at a major engineering firm — come to the school and he said that the computer science students were doing programming projects like the one he did in his Masters program. He was shocked to say the least. That’s the kind of things public schools should be doing more of — giving students the best tools at their disposal to set them up for success. Not unlike the public school many blocks down the road from ours where a 50% in an AP class constitutes a C, they have the crappiest textbooks I’ve ever seen, and students retake every exam and STILL fail. How do you fail when you have the answers from the previous test and the retake is the exact SAME? It makes no sense. Plus, I’ve heard of teachers from said school that rarely teach. With clarification, a student I tutor — who is a student there — talked about how the whole class loudly exclaimed, “Mr. ****** is actually teaching today!” And said teacher responded, “That’s right, so listen carefully.” To say that got me pissed off would be an understatement. How can a TEACHER not teach? It’s kind of in the name.
In my classroom, I use technology to great effect and teach WELL beyond the state standards. For example, I habitually embed inorganic/organic chemistry, p-chem, biochemistry, computer science, genetics, statistics, and calculus-based physics problems in ALL of my problem sets and I routinely have my students do a lot of investigative tasks. I do this because, 1) I have an extensive background in science in addition to math, and 2) because I feel like it is my duty to prepare my students for a job in the private industry should they decide to go that route.
The best part is that I still get emails from past students who thank me for making my classes so difficult because their college classes are a breeze compared to mine. I’ve even had some professors from UC schools contact me and say my students are among the best they’ve ever had in their entire careers. I kid you not, they said that they can’t trust the “knowledge” that students from public schools get like they used to because 1) they can’t do basic arithmetic, 2) they can’t articulate themselves or critically think, 3) they can’t write a decent paper to save their lives, and 4) they have an inability to work on their own and read instructions.
It’s ridiculous what kids today don’t know. How do they not know basic things about the world in which they live when the information is readily available at their fingertips?
Long rant aside, that simply does not happen at my school and that’s why more and more parents are withdrawing their kids from the school down the street and enrolling them in my private school.
May 16, 2018
Thanks for your informative response. I've always believed that many teachers are aware of the glaring dichotomy between public and private schools, but choose not to recognize the distinct advantages of the latter.
Precisely. I wish more people would be vocal about the differences.
Read a few posts above for the answer.
See around here, the kids I get who transfer to my top-ranked public school from a local private school usually can't pass muster. It's clear that they paid for their grades in private school in many cases, and then when they actually have to earn them here, it's clear they didn't get their money's worth in terms of actual learning, and they often have to repeat courses or drop levels in our district. Perhaps in less affluent areas private is the way to go, but I would say 3 out of 9 public districts in my county outperform the private schools at every turn. The next 3 are probably on par. The last 3 under-perform.
Many of us have formed our own opinions, based on personal experience (and sometimes limited knowledge). As we all know, the wide range of quality among schools - both private and public - from one district to another can be quite significant. Even if they are accurate, your observations and speculations about the schools in your county are limited to one specific region and as such cannot be used to extrapolate to other areas. I find it interesting that your numbers are so precise - how did you arrive at them?
I've noticed that smart parents, regardless of their financial means, shop around for the best schools for their kids - they're not particularly concerned about the political or social ramifications of their decision. (Many private schools have scholarships and/or offer financial assistance for students who qualify.)
40% of the students at my private high school receive financial assistance — not in the form of vouchers, but in tuition deductions. This means instead of paying, say, 100% of the total cost for their student(s) to attend, parents would pay 40-60%, which depends on their income. My school is very generous with financial aid.
May 17, 2018
Thanks for this bit of information. I'm sure many of us were unaware of what goes on inside private schools. While one school may not necessarily be representative of them all, you do provide a rare glimpse that I find quite interesting! I suspect there are many myths and stereotypes on both sides. Things are not always what they appear to be!
This thread has me worried. Utah is getting so expensive. We're lucky we bought our house a few years' back... it's doubled in value. If we sold it, I'm not sure what we'd be able to buy, though. We're not San Francisco yet, but who knows what the future will bring?
I actually don't have any significant respect for private schools as a whole. Oh, I think they're many fine ones, as @futuremathsprof demonstrated. But I also find many simply slap a label on their school without putting in the the effort to make that school significantly better.
I'm sorry to hear you don't have respect for private schools as a whole. As with anything, most are doing the job, and the minority that don't do their jobs correctly get all of the exposure.
I'm in the private school culture now. Many people from my sector perceive that public school has it easy because they have unions and unlimited cash. They lament if they were only in public school they would have this or that. I have definitely heard people say that they feel private school is pay to play, or grades for sale. We definitely have school parents who feel (and express) that they are not paying good money for little Jimmy to get a C or a D. We absolutely remind them that grades are earned for things that are learned. It's disheartening to hear that there are places where money or prestige secure success for a student. (We often hear stories about teachers being pressured to give grades to athletes that are not commensurate with their actual achievement so the local public/private school can win the state championship.) Not because someone who is our colleague has perceived that we don't deserve their respect, but because we are raising a generation (in both sectors, frankly) where it doesn't matter what you learn or achieve as long as your parents can pressure whomever using whatever method to pave the way to their desired grade--unearned. Entitlement is not limited to private or public school, to student or parent, it is rampant throughout this society.
I don't perceive that any one sector deserves/does not deserve respect. I know that there are some schools in both sectors that consistently do things well, and other schools where they cut corners.
Personally, I feel that as long as we take swipes at one another based upon where we teach, we can never learn from one another. On this board alone, I read of teachers who seem excellent working at crummy schools (based upon what they say about their school). I want to learn what all of my colleagues are doing to combat the many similar problems we all share. I have always found benefits from the posts of all my colleagues here. You always share good ideas, and I appreciate it.
Oh, I do have respect for private schools. I shall go back and edit that. I just don't have significantly more respect for them than I have for any other schooling system.
I've seen too many situations where people went for private school because it was private school and were disappointed. They didn't do their research.
May 18, 2018
$1700/mo now for the next 12 mos & it will just keep going up w/ no end in sight. Oh & I don't even live anywhere near the beach!
Well, I can agree with that for sure. I consider all of us working the same way, just on a different campus. Not every school can be for everybody, which is why we have so many schools. I know people have found disappointment in private, in charter and in public schools for different reasons. I think that each one deserves respect too, and none above the other. Thanks for clarifying.