Terrified Future New Teacher...

Discussion in 'Job Hunting & Interviews' started by TxChelsey, Jun 25, 2006.

  1. TxChelsey

    TxChelsey Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2006

    I am looking for lots of advice from anyone (veteran or rookie) willing to give it! I recently graduated from college at the ripe old age of 29 and my life's work has been in retail management. Needless to say, this will be a huge transition for me. My degree is in Psychology and I have a minor in English, and I never even considered teaching until I graduated. In Texas, they are quite desperate for teachers and I was recruited by several alternative certification agencies immediately after I received my degree, so I have decided to give it a shot. I will be starting my courses next week through iteachTEXAS and I will be taking my first state content exam the second week of July (EC-4). Will I have ample time to prepare for this (I am a strong student and test taker)? I won't be able to job hunt until I complete this test, which will leave me about 3 weeks before the semester starts. I have found many school districts with application deadlines as late as July 19th, but is this realistically enough time to find a job? Also, the great big one, how in the world will I know what to do my first day? How much of the actual job is left up to me and how much is dictated by the school district? Will this all become clear as I began my certification training? Advice, please.:eek:
     
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  3. bronxteacher

    bronxteacher New Member

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    I am a teacher in NYC, so it might be different for you, but I know that teachers leave their positions all summer long for a variety of reasons so there are always positions available. However, you may end up in the least desirable districts. If they are so deparate for teachers however, I can't imagine that you would have a hard time finding a position. Last year, my school was hiring well into October!!
    I've been teaching for eight years, and it was kind of a carreer change for me too, so here is my advice:
    First of all, before anything else comes a discipline plan. Don't let anyone, coaches, administrators or other teachers pressure you into moving ahead with the curriculum and work production until you have those kids under control!! It might takes 2 months to set up all of your procedures and rules, but it is well worth it. BE CONSISTANT!!! Always follow up with consequences and rewards, they must know you mean what you say!! I cannot stress this enough. You can be the must creative, dedicated teacher, but if your class is out of control, none of this will matter.
    As for how much freedom you have, it depends on the district. It also seems to change from year to year. If you don't get any guidance, go ahead and spend a little money on a couple of good teacher resource books. They are great, and spell out many activities for the start of the year. Pick a few good ideas, and have fun!
    Lastly, your first year will be hard. Period. There is no way around this, but it does get better.
    Good luck!!
     
  4. agsrule!

    agsrule! Companion

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    Jun 25, 2006

    Terrified New Teacher

    May I ask, what districts in Texas are you thinking about? I job hunted for nearly a year with both an EC-4 and 4-8 LA/SS certification. I finally found a job in Alvin ISD teaching 7th grade. I really wanted elementary at that time, but no one would even consider me due to the 4-8 cert. But, now after a year in 7th grade, I don't want to change. So I am curious to know which districts are so desperate for elementary teachers. There were always 3 times as many elm. ed. students in college vs. secondary ed. I am sure that I have an idea of a few of the areas that are desperate, and those were the ones I probably avoided. Also, if you are curious about a specific Tx. district, there is a chatboard called Texasteachers.net, and you can get specifics on districts you are interested in.

    The exam is simple if you have common sense. Go online, and use the study guide to give you a better idea. Schools will be hiring for a while, until all positions are filled. If you aren't picky about the grade, and district, you won't have a problem finding a position.
    Your certification will help you with the basics, but not everything. University degree programs can't teach you everything either. It depends on your district as to what they want you to do the first day of school. My school had certain things that we were to do for the first 3 days of school, but we were finished with all of it in 2 days, and that was with other things in between that I did on my own.
    Your first year is going to be your hardest. But if this is what you really want to do(like me) you will survive.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2006

    Hi, and welcome!!!

    STart job hunting NOW!!! When you hit the part about the test or your certification, write "pending" or "subject to passing EC4 July '06" or something similar. But get your name and resume out there now!!

    A career in retail management is not a bad intro to teaching... think of all the transferable skills and emphasize those on your resume! If you were in charge of people, think of what made you successful there-- fairness, the ability to lead, the ability to change to accomodate changing situations, the ablility to make clear exactly what you want-- these are all traits that will transfer well into the classroom.

    There's a thread here on "What sets you apart from the Pack"... take a look there and we can work on your cover letter together.
     
  6. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jun 25, 2006



    Hey Bronx, welcome!!
    I'm from Long Island. I teach math and am returning to the classroom after 6 years home with the kids.

    I totally agree with what you said about being consistent. THe kids need and deserve to know what to expect. That means deciding ahead of time what consequence will follow which action, and following through. The one single most important thing to most kids is fairness. That means that the little angel who always helps out gets the same consequence for forgetting her homework as the future axe murderer who skulks in the back of the room. It will be noticed and remembered by every single kid in that room if you treat them differently for the same action. If possible, let the consequence stem from the action. So spending 10 minutes in the bathroom means you owe me 10 minutes at the end of school; writing on your desk means you scrub desks after school, and so on.

    Welcome to both of you. You'll love it here I know!
     
  7. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jun 25, 2006

    TxChelsey,

    Because you have already chosen your program, my most important piece of advice is moot. It is consider the amount and kind of support you will receive from the program. This is the most important thing in your first year success. I wound up eliminating what was originally my first choice program partly because of this.

    FWIW some programs start you off with a few weeks during the summer, then put you right into a classroom as teacher of record while you earn your regular credential. The programs around here team you up with a master teacher and someone from the program. The questions are: how qualified are these people, how accessible are they, and how willing to help are they?

    Some schools will drop you into a classroom and expect your to swim or sink. Some, will have detailed curricula, course materials, etc. ready for you use. You may want to get ahold of any state and district standards, and the appropriate text books, and be prepared to start teaching from them on day one. Your credential program will probably tell you exactly what to expect.

    Hopefully, with your psychology background, you won't have a problem handling the kids. Think of your classroom as your very own laboratory.

    In most places, you won't have any control over the books you use in the classroom. They will have been officially adopted, and must be approved, by some government agency.
     
  8. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Jun 25, 2006

    you have already received very good advice. Bronxteacher where were you when I was new in the NYC Public School System? I could have used you.

    The honest to goodness truth is you can't teach anything unless you have control. That may sound like an exaggeration, but it is not. You must be fair, firm and consistent. Trust me, I learned the hard way. They don't need a friend, they need a teacher.

    You will do great!
     
  9. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2006

    I agree with the advice already given, but just wanted to tell you I teach in South Texas. Feel free to PM me with questions if this is the region you are thinking about.
     
  10. vannapk

    vannapk Groupie

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    Jun 25, 2006

    What area TxChelsey? I live and work in the DFW area and our biggest need is bilingual teachers. If you are bilingual you could have a job in our district tomorrow, before you even take your test! If you are not bilingual then I think DISD hires regular Ed alt. certs. Our district only hires regular ed alt. certs if they can't find any other candidate to take the job OR if you know somebody ;)
    Good Luck! Feel free to pm me if you are in my area.
     
  11. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Hi TXChelsey,

    Welcome to the world of teaching. Just a question or two? Why did you pick EC-4? I have been certified to teach Ec-4 for a year with no luck in finding a job. I also went through an alternative certification. If a school hires you without being fully certified I will be very surprised. (Especially in the EC-4 world) For some of the jobs that I have applied there have been hundreds of applicants. No joke! I have now added 4-8 RELA/SS. I have been on 4 interviews this year. I have been second choice for 2 of the 4. The reason I have no experience in their eyes. I have been subbing for 6 years, but no long terms or student teaching. Some one posted earlier that the least desirable positions will be open well into school year. If you get offered one take it!!!! I also live in South Texas. Please feel free to ask any questions. good luck in the job hunt. Also a word of advice if you dont get hired for a full time position. Find a school district that you want to sub in. You have a degree so your pay wont be the bottom of the barrel. Im not sure how it works if you are only partially certified, but it wont hurt to ask the district.
     
  12. TxChelsey

    TxChelsey Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2006

    Replies...

    I am in the Dallas/Ft Worth area also and I have seen posted openings for several school districts near me. I am also very close to Mckinney ISD, which opened 2 new schools this year and appears to be hiring for everything! I am taking the EC-4 test first because it is available on computer and I can take it soon. I am also registering for the 4-8 Generalist test on August 5, and would actually prefer to teach at that level. Once I get hired, I will take the 4-8 English/LA test and that would be my ideal level and area of specialty. For now, I want a job...immediately!! I thought if I could qualify to teach anything EC-8 it would increase my chances of getting hired. Thanks for all the replies!!
     

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