Tricky choice....

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Baze10, Jul 17, 2016.

  1. Baze10

    Baze10 New Member

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    Jul 17, 2016

    I am looking for some advice. Next fall, I will be a 1st year teacher in a large urban district, but face a tricky choice: Recently (well, month and a half), I was offered a 3rd grade position at a school close-by (like...really close), as was a close friend of mine. It's a struggling school - super high-turnover this year, high student mobility, almost 100% low-income, very data-driven (data walls in the room and everything). I was offered a soft yes on their offer and gave them verbal yes to the position (but nothing signed)

    There is another school that is also interested - in a much more mixed-income/gentrified part of the city and the school is more racially diverse. About a half hour commute compared to 3 minute drive at first school. but this position would be co-taught (3rd grade still) all day, which is interesting but I have not met the co-teacher and wouldn't get a chance to before accepting. this second school is considered an up-and-coming school and people love it. Tricky part is the reneging (which would suck), but I am worried about co-teaching my first year (A part of me really wants my own classroom!). Wondering about your thoughts !
     
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  3. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I would choose the school close to home with your own classroom.
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Commute time is one of my biggest concerns when I look for a job. I would take the closer job. You can make a tremendous difference in a school such as you described. As far as being data driven, here is your opportunity to get the students involved in creating that data. They can make their own data folders to track their progress, make data boards to track class practice, etc.

    I would absolutely choose my own classroom over co-teaching with someone I don't know. Think of those tv shows where two people kiss, get engaged, or get married at first sight!

    Plus, and maybe more important...you've given your word.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
  5. Obadiah

    Obadiah Groupie

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    Personally, I would probably accept the other school as long as my verbal agreement wouldn't be seen as going back on my word. Some research shows that data driven schools produce a parabolic classroom; depending on how the data is manipulated, it could be skewed so that the excelling students are at a standstill, not exceeding a certain point. Meanwhile, (I just recently heard of this term), a Matthew effect is created. Students at the other end fall continually behind. The struggling students become more apparent at a third grade level. Some schools hastily and unreasonably blame student difficulties on a variety of factors such as ADHD, bipolar disorder (Sax, Leonard), student laziness (Levine, Mel), a student not blossoming yet, too much sugar in the lunchbox, or sometimes the new teacher is blamed; (truly, these and other environmental/physiological factors are possible causes, but some research points to their over-diagnosis). I guess the best way to summarize my thoughts, I would be concerned about this school if the emphasis on data overrides the emphasis on each student as an individual. Some excellent resources on this are Levine, Mel. The Myth of Laziness. N.Y.: Simon & Schuster, 2003; Abeles, Vicki; Grace Rubenstein. Beyond Measure: Rescuing an Overscheduled, Overtested, Underestimated Generation. N.Y.: Simon and Schuster, 2015.
    I apologize for the lengthy reading list, but another resource that I would highly recommend concerning teaching students as individual achievers, even though it is more geared toward upper grades, is Boaler, Jo. Mathematical Mindsets: Unleashing Students’ Potential through Creative Math, Inspiring Messages and Innovative Teaching. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2016. Her focus is on math and although her lesson plans might not work in every classroom her main points on how students learn and succeed are noteworthy.
     
  6. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

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    Personally, I don't see a tricky choice. You said yes to a job, going back on that seems like bad form.
     
  7. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Check out the following: http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/...cked-out-from-signed-letter-of-intent.197308/. No guarantee that you will get "dream job" or end up with the same string free "happy ending". Your questions are similar enough to warrant the look.

    Personally, I am with Teacertimes - I take my commitments seriously. Six weeks have gone by, not six days. Start of school is quickly approaching. You haven't signed anything because the hiring process is long. That fact is often lost on new teachers. I could give you a lot of my reasons for honoring your commitments, but if you think backing out on your word is OK, nothing I can say will make a difference.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
    Luv2TeachInTX likes this.
  8. cocobean

    cocobean Companion

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    I would choose the first school for several reasons.
    The commute is great. And even though the student population is low income, they are the students of your neighborhood. You could really impact their lives in a positive way. My current school loved knowing I was right in the neighborhood. Most other teachers commute and I believe being a part of the community is something special.
    I would rather have my own classroom than co-teach. It's a toss up whether or not you and the other teacher will mesh well.
    But most importantly, you said yes! Personally, I wouldn't back out of an accepted offer, especially if both schools are in the same district. People talk in education!
     
  9. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Teaching your own room > Co-Teaching. There's something special about it being "your room".
     
  10. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Do we know if both schools are in the same district?
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I am not very familiar with the hiring process. Why are people being "hired" with over month and a half between signing a contract?
    I would never expect a school district to honor a verbal agreement on their part, if they see an issue, a "better" hire, I do not see them holding to the verbal agreement.
     
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  12. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Playing Devil's Advocate for a minute: 1st year teacher rings a bell and stands out for me!
    I say a "verbal acceptance" is NOT a hard commitment. Unless you're name is signed on the dotted line, it's still not a done - deal (let's check with the lawyer on the board.)
    I look at terms like "struggling school" and "high- turnover" and think, a lot of that is possibly attributed to the school's climate. All schools are "data driven," it's the profession we're in, but some take it to life or death levels. And then I also look at, do a lot of teachers leave for lack of support? It's why I left my current job. The admin was basically non -existent. We had a "mentor" in a very loose definition of the word and we only had a few meetings and then never really saw him again. So I found my own. We also had A LOT of turn over in the District, over 30 teachers walked out of the school and the principal got fired. It's a mess! And we too were all new teachers to the school. Are you a first year teacher? If so, you want to make sure you have the proper supports in place in case you need help at any point during the year. If there's high turn over, it probably means the teachers aren't really happy and will walk if needed. I would dig around, investigate and ask some more questions.
    The other school, while a bit further away, sounds "better." And you'd be co-teaching? So what? If you're a first year teacher, you're still a teacher. You'll just have somebody who can help and work alongside with EVERY DAY so at least you know you'll never be in it alone. It's not like you'd be a TA. You're still a teacher! Would you share the same classroom and teach side - by- side? How would that work? I'd ask about mentoring in that school too. This is a stressful job, you want to make sure you're joining a team who A) understands that and B) is willing to be there if you need them. In my first school my principal took over and taught my class so I could observe another teacher's lesson. THAT shows me something. But unfortunately, she resigned too. If you can find decent people, do it! Are the people genuinely happy there? Do they seem inviting and accepting? That's where you need to go. Don't just take a job because "you already agreed to it." Remember: you'll be here, ALL DAY, for an entire school year! Where, honestly, would you rather be?

    :):peacesign:
     
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  13. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Jul 17, 2016

    When I was hired, there was no signing of a contract until approval by the school board. During the summer, that can easily take a month and a half, or more, if the meetings are varied because of people being away. I am still waiting to hear if we are talking about two schools in the same district, or whether there are now two districts involved. To me, this matters, since it might not be a hire that can go to any school but still be under the same board. Also, has OP contacted HR to find out what the procedures are, etc? Six weeks with no contact would seem quite odd to me, especially for a new teacher.

    What state are we talking about? Is it an at will state? Is it a charter, public, or private school? When does the school year start? I would love answers to all of those questions, because it matters when push comes to shove. Some districts start school in a couple of weeks, making the six weeks that they thought the position was filled more relevant to me. Trust me, I believe that people can rationalize any of their actions if it gets them what they want.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2016
  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    If you got a "verbal offer," is there any way to get it in an informal way by an email or having the Super sign it until a contract is offered and signed? It just seems very sketchy because A LOT can happen between the "verbal offer" and the actual offer, no?
     
  15. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    I worked in one district where we didn't sign contracts until April for the current year. Not every district signs contracts right away.

    I would stick with the first job for this year.
     
  16. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Verbal contracts for employment are a state to state matter. I know I have seen cases where a verbal offer was reneged on by the school as well as some like we've talked about. I know of one case where a teacher accepted a deal verbally and got a better deal somewhere else and the district won a judgment against the teacher for breach of contract (MO). You would have to check with a local attorney. I would not think they are binding based on the Statute of Frauds, but each state is markedly different.
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    What is approved by the school board? The person or the position? I understand the school board having to approve the position to be filled, I don't understand them approving the actual person, other than a formality.

    I signed my contract right after the interview, I still had to clear finger prints, but I signed when I was offered the position.

    I guess my position is, through my life experiences, that I have not accepted a position until I have signed a contract. I see a verbal agreement as a one way street. The employer expects you to meet the verbal agreement, but themselves will break the verbal agreement if they think it is in their best interest.
     
  18. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    But were you under contract until April from the previous year? Or all new hires in August worked without a contract and were not under any contract for about 9 months? I don't understand this, what is the point of a contract in this case?
     
  19. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    Around here, the board first approves the position and then they approve the schools choice to fill it. There have been appointments from schools reversed by the school board as well.
     
  20. Baze10

    Baze10 New Member

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    Many of you reassured me of what I think my gut is telling me: to stay with the school I've said yes to. Contracts weren't able to be drawn up until very recently since budgets just came out to schools last week.
     
  21. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Do you know on what grounds?
    So they expected a verbal commitment to a job(to be honored), that they themselves could not possibly commit to at the time? It seems if the budget did not come out allowing for the job, their end of the commitment was not going to be met....
     
  22. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    The case that sticks out to me was a SS position at a struggling ($$$) school district. The board said the Superintendent and Principal did not have the authority to offer a position without board approval (replacing a retired teacher).
     
  23. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Right, so they needed permission to fill the position. But what was the grounds for having permission to fill the position and then denying the person chosen by the district for the position at the follow up board meeting?
     
  24. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Nope. I work in a right to work state and contracts are for that year only. The contract is really only an agreement of salary and duties performed. No Union.
     
  25. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I think that's actually the process for like ALL districts isn't it? When you interview with whomever, they don't actually "hire" you. They can like you, extend an intent to offer but then have to recommend you to the Board, who will then vote to approve or not the recommendation. This is part of the political checks and balances process, I'd imagine, right? The Super (or other admin) can't just do whatever they want all willy nilly. However, I would say that if they are recommended by the Super, and there are no glaring issues, then they're probably approved.

    Also when you say that the District won a judgment against the teacher? What exactly did they win? Money? Or did she HAVE to agree to work for them? I can't imagine that would be an ideal situation to be in. Neither party would really be happy. Again, I think if some Districts would pick up the pace and respect candidate's time, things would go smoother.
    Now if you get a contract, sign it and then back out (like I was prepared to do), that's a different story.
    The $2500 fee would have been totally worth it, but I was dealing with a housing situation too.

    :(
     
  26. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Same here. AZ. Our principal would always give us some BS about how if we had a crappy eval, the Board may not "renew our contract for next year." PSH! Who you foolin'? If you get rid of a teacher, you won't have anyone to replace him (or her). Our contracts were very vague and scrappy. They didn't even say what your position was other than "Teacher." So they could move you to ANY building or grade in the district. It also said that if they needed to, they could cut your salary at any time. A teacher's husband, a lawyer, once told her not to sign it. It sucks because you "never" know if you have a job from one year to another, but it's also nice (if you're young and mobile just "testing the waters") because you're not locked down for ever. So most teachers work a while and don't renew. "In and out" is kind of the way things are in AZ. Some people don't understand the no union or tenure thing. The idea of having to be renewed each year is unfathomable to them. o_O

    I tried to explain it to my friend and he was like "What?"
     
  27. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Yeah, I don't really get it. So a contract is an agreement of salary and duties, but you are expected to work essentially an entire year without signing to agree to it? To me that doesn't sound like a contract.
     
  28. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    In what type of district is a teacher locked down forever? In California you are only under contract for 1 year and then it is automatically renewed with tenure, but you can leave at the end of any year and move on.
     
  29. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    In April/ May contracts are issued for the following school year. You can choose to sign it and return or not. If you sign it, it becomes effective in July - May for the following school year. And it basically says, "You're a teacher, making this much money and here's what you're expected to do."
     
  30. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    "Locked down forever" perhaps was a hyperbole. But it's a lot easier to just leave and go wherever if you know that you don't have your name signed on a contract. I think (pure conjecture) that if you've signed a contract and are tenured it's probably not as easy to just leave, right? Perhaps not? But if you were tenured and wanted to resign, the Board still has to approve it, don't they? Couldn't they say "no"? But it's certainly 100% guaranteed that you can just leave if you don't even have a contract for the following year whether you weren't granted one or simply didn't sign it.
     
  31. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This is what I thought the other poster meant, but was not sur.
     
  32. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    You are only (I think) under contract for 1 year with tenure in CA. You are then automatically under a new contract for the following year, you don't have to sign a new contract. However, at the end of any given school year, you may quit, no issues, and move on. Trying to just up and quit in the middle of a school year, yes, that is an issue.
     
  33. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    All of my contracts have been 1-2 pages literally spelling out "Here are all the ways we can get rid of you."
    :clapping::clapping:
     
  34. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I understand. It's the same in New York (it becomes automatic.) But say, April /May comes and I no longer want to work at the school and wish to resign effective the end of the current school year, I'd have to get Board approval. Couldn't they say "no"? What are my options then?
     
  35. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    April/May is the end of the year where I work. So at the end of the yea, I can tell the district, I do not want to return...I am done, no longer working in that district. Where I work they send out a letter towards the end of every year asking if we intend to return or leave.

    No, I don't think you need board approval, you just inform them. There might be slightly more to it, but you can leave at the end of the year. At least that is my understanding, I will be surprised if it was different.
     
  36. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Wow, just reading all the "requirements" or "rules" with signing a contract is crazy in other places. In the NYC public school system there are no "contracts" to sign. You are free to resign at any time throughout the school year without penalty. The city system does cover over 30 districts in 5 boroughs. When you resign in one district you essentially have to reapply through the whole process again to work at another district and you will be investigated at and questioned about why you resigned by HR if you want back in. That's basically it. Yes you are allowed to transfer to another district between April and August for the following school year, after August you need your P's approval, or anytime before April if you want to switch within the school year (had a friend switch between high school terms in January).

    But if you get a non-renewal (called discontinuance here) you can kiss goodbye working at any district in the city system and for the surrounding suburbs (possibly all of NYS state) for that matter.

    Ideally we go through the hiring process as initial HR screening to principal hiring to HR central for paperwork and clearance. That's it. You get an email when you are recommended by the P and then at the end when you complete paperwork and clearance that welcomes you to the NYCDOE. They even have some kind of online portal where you can check your status for all the steps of paperwork clearance in between.

    You can be hired at any time of the year, with the high season starting in April through October. Yes we have tenure and a union.

    Just wanted to give that perspective. So essentially a verbal offer is not binding until you get that first email, but verbal offers are what we work off of to start. Should you chose to change your mind about a position so as long as you don't complete paperwork and get an offer at another school and get their email and complete that offer its would be considered binding, but would be rather shady to tell another P you reject their offer after they extended it to you.
     
  37. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    To clarify, I worked in that district for the 2009-2010 school year. I signed my contract for that year in April 2010. It's just the way that district worked. The board usually voted on raises in Feb for the current year, so they waited to do contracts until they had a final salary. My current district has you sign the contract in May for the following year. It is what it is.

    I sign a contract each and every year. I've taught for 13 years.
     
  38. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    OK, so you did work from lets say August until April with no contract for your first year of employment with that district. That to me is odd. It seems you would have signed a contract based on when you were hired, and then just sign for the new one in April like everyone else. Admittedly, I do not understand contracts and law very well, but logically this seems so contradictory to having a contract.

    Law and contracts are interesting, it just seems like anything goes from place to place. I tend to think most of it is a façade and doesn't really matter.
     
  39. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    The offer was close to the start of school and the teacher was held liable for costs incurred by the district in finding a replacement.
     
  40. mckbearcat48

    mckbearcat48 Cohort

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    You don't know how right you are. What's SOP in one place is open to tort liability in others.
     
  41. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    What costs were incurred for finding a replacement? I'm genuinely asking. Wouldn't they have to just repost the position and/or bring back candidates that they may have rejected?
     

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