Truly not sure what to do

Discussion in 'General Education' started by yoyoyo, Mar 21, 2019.

  1. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Mar 21, 2019

    Hi all,
    I have been teaching a resource subject in private school for about five years now. I have recently decided I want to go over into the public sector for the pay/benefits which simply are not enough at the school I work at and at many other private schools.

    This year I completed certification requirements in two states as I live near the border. I interviewed last week at a public school and did get the offer. I asked them for a week to think about it.

    The school that offered me a job is a title I school with a super-high percentage of free lunch/disadvantaged students. She hired me because she said she thinks I can handle the behavior. It gets a 3/10 on the greatschools website.

    The school I work at now, though it is a private school, has a wide variety of socioeconomic backgrounds among students and can be rough. I work in the county with the highest rate of domestic violence in the state and know some kids are affected by this on a daily basis, have several students with a parent in jail, quite a few with only one parent at home (or no parent--raised by grandparents, and others who have two parents at home and who are very wealthy. It is a strange mix. At first I really struggled as I grew up in a very white, very non-diverse area where most people had two parents at home and good incomes and I didn't understand the kids or their living situations. But I have grown into it and I can honestly say I love most of them and most of them love me. But generally speaking the behavior at the school is under control and fairly reasonable. Honestly, kids that don't 'fit' often choose not to come back after a year or two, or they are expelled. We've had the occasional violent one or the one who has threatened violence, and they are kicked out immeadiately.

    I don't know how different the public school will be from the private with behavior, and I am on the fence about accepting the position. Overall, the benefits are much better and the pay would (net) me about $1000 more/annually and has a much better retirement plan. Currently I must supplement my income with tutoring; I would not have to do that anymore. However I am on the fence regarding the behavior I observed in the front office when I interviewed; that was only a small snapshot but it was less than good and the school seemed disorganized as well. The reviews are either very good or very bad, not many in the middle, and it has been hard to find much information on it. In addition, I would have to relocate about 100 miles south.

    I also don't know how public school works--will accepting a position like this lead to other jobs in other districts, or is it better to stay where I am for another year and continue to look (or see if I get offered another of the positions I have applied for; I have had some other preliminary screening interviews but those districts are not ready yet to hire and there is no guarantee I will get one).

    I have to tell them tomorrow and I keep waffling back and forth. Is it a better career move to stay where I am (where I have rapport with the students, they mainly like me, and it is a 'known', continuing to look and apply even if that takes on into next year or perhaps take something later this summer if offered), or to take a position at a public school in order to get your foot in the door in a state system, but know nothing about what I am walking into and not know any of the students, have less rapport, and if unhappy end up looking again anyway. Just not sure.

    Any thoughts or advice?
     
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  3. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Mar 21, 2019

    I personally value my sanity and health first and foremost. Unfortunately for your situation, my recent move was from a difficult, low-income school to a more comfortable middle-class school with significantly better pay.

    I say, if you can hack it okay, take it. I also say that impoverished schools can be very difficult in my experience. Some people, however, love them and their challenges and the rush from the day.

    As you can see from teaching, high income has never been a huge draw for me. I seek to meet my needs in sufficient comfort and then I'm good. So I'm happy working as a teacher. We don't have a McMansion or fancy vacations, but we do go out for sushi more than is responsible and our kids have passes to three different museums and parks, so those are our luxuries. However, I switched from a charter to your standard district school and the retirement was a nice perk.

    I would never stick around teaching in a place where I was miserable and constantly stressed and while retirement and benefits are definite perks I look at, I'm more about mental and emotional health than money, personally, all things being fairly equal.
     
  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Mar 21, 2019

    As for this job leading to other jobs, I don't know. I think it's definitely easier to move about when you have your foot in a given district, but I daresay the teaching world as a whole probably doesn't put too much thought into private vs public, so I think you would have the same chance of getting other jobs now or whenever.
     
  5. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    You mean, I should take it, or I shouldn’t? I could do it, but I am on the fence as to whether or not I want to. My main concern is what you described—working environment. A colleague said exactly that—the higher pay was nice but might not be worth my sanity.

    I am not looking to get rich, but, I am struggling on a sub-45k salary in the DC area. It is just not enough. However it is not unmanageable in the short term. The goal is to find something with more pay and benefits in the next year or so but I am not to the point where it has to be this job.
     
  6. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Mar 21, 2019

    If it's not an immediate need, I might say stay where you're comfortable.
     
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  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    I disagree that you should stay if you are comfortable. If you aspire to ever own a home or retire with dignity, then you need to put yourself and your needs first. That means going where the money is since according to you, your job situation is “not unmanageable in the short term.” This implies that any long-term goals are probably unmanageable, which includes major life purchases like home ownership and retirement. Just my $0.02.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2019
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  8. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    So, you would have to move 100 miles and you would only receive 1000$ more per year? That would not be incentive enough for me to switch jobs. I would stay in my present school and keep looking.
     
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  9. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    From the OP:

    “Overall, the benefits are much better and the pay would (net) me about $1000 more/annually and has a much better retirement plan. Currently I must supplement my income with tutoring; I would not have to do that anymore.”

    And seeing as the South typically has a better cost of living, I think it is worth the move. There are multiple benefits here and I see little cons, if any, other than having to move across the country.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I teach in a Title I district, and my school has 70% free and reduced lunch. People have commented about how nice our facilities are and how many resources we have. We do not have significant behavior issues. I’m very happy there.
     
  11. JimG

    JimG Comrade

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    Mar 22, 2019

    100 miles relocation and a net of only $1000 more per year would not be motivation enough for me to change to an unknown new situation.
     
  12. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I'd consider it for $10,000 more a year.
     
  13. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    Mar 22, 2019

    I wouldn't take the new job given the circumstances. Especially if you can tell a school is disorganized just by being there for a few hours and you see behaviors you don't like as well.
     
  14. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2019

    The cost of living is less, true. So that could be factored in that it might be more than that that I could save.

    I am a wreck right now. I started crying thinking about some of my kids that I might miss a lot.

    I should mention I will have to leave my school eventually. The enrollment is stradily dropping. They will be fine for another hear or two but after that I question if they can float.

    I asked them for an extension until Monday. They allowed it.
     
  15. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Mar 22, 2019

    I spent the majority of my 25+ years teaching in high schools with a "super-high percentage of free lunch/disadvantaged students." My experience was that you usually found Principals and Assistant Principals who were weak and vacated their leadership responsibilities. They were people who were only interested in keeping their jobs and therefore kept the numbers artificially low with regard to discipline (number of suspensions) and artificially high with regard to grades (threatening/pressuring teachers to have few failures). Administrators ignored violence against teachers and used "professional observations" as weapons against the staff.

    I understand that the clock is running on you with regard to enrollment at your present school, but 2 years gives you a fair amount of wiggle room - fortunes may change in that time and numbers increase, or you could find an opening at a more stable school district.
     
  16. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Did you ever do any elementary? This is K-5. The chrinic absenteeism is around 20%—is that normal? I believe suspensions were about 5% in a school of aprox 650. Is that also normal or abnormal? It is 91.0% free lunches.

    I am a resource teacher and jobs can be HARD to come by. It has taken me three solid years of interviewing (while being at the private the whole timeand getting interviews each year, every time making the short list, usually made it to second or third round) to get this one offer. That is why I am reluctant to take a pass, and yet, I am not sure I can bring myself to get excited about it either.
     
  17. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Let me ask this. This week, here is behavior I dealt with:

    1). Kid kicking the floor, crying and screaming nonstop. Had to be removed to the office. They had to come pull him out of class. Disrupted entire class.

    2). Same kid yelling out no today, crying and screaming, and he only calmed down when he realized he would go to the office again. Disrupted entire class. He has also thrown over chairs. Yesterday he threw a tantrum in another class so bad he had to have a parent come and get him.

    3). Two kids talking about their dads in jail as if it was the most normal thing ever.

    4). Kids picking on another kid, calling him names and making him cry. Kids got parent contact.

    5). Kid with ODD openly defiant towards what he was supposed to be doing repeatedly.

    Are these the kimds of behaviors that I would see in this new school, or would they be worse?
     
  18. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2019

    These are the main draws.
     
  19. Unetheladyteacher

    Unetheladyteacher Rookie

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    Mar 22, 2019

    If you are not excited about the new job, I think that says it all. I have spent about 75% of my so far short career in schools with transient student populations and with at least 40% - 50% if the students having free or reduced lunch. My current school has about 60% free or reduced lunch. I am a specialist with a small caseload and half of my students live in extreme poverty. I have seen Title one schools that function well and Title one schools that struggled in the face of many obstacles. It really depends on the school environment, how much respect students show teachers, and what you learn about the school just from being in it. You can really get a sense of how well a school functions just by seeing how well teachers work together and talk together and how well admin run a school. I personally would not pick a school that leaves me feeling disorganized, no matter how much money they offer. I am a person who does not need boatloads of money to live. I teach for the students and live for the moments when students' faces light up with understanding. Think about what you want from a school and see if this school meets your criteria. You still have a bit of time to wait, so you don't need to take the first job that comes your way.
     
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  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Unless the OP plans to bring only what can fit in a car for the move, the moving expenses would eat up that raise.
     
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  21. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    You could see those behaviors or worse...or you could see improved behaviors. No way to tell until you actually get there.
     
  22. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    My first few years were in elementary, but it was in the Catholic schools. I'm afraid I'm not going to be a good source as far as K-5 is concerned.
     
  23. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice, all. I crunched the numbers. The moving expenses eat up the raise, and possibly also me having to buy COBRA between contracts will eat the rest. I think I am going to turn it down. It feels crazy to me as I have been looking to leave my school now for three years, knowing that they have the declining enrollment, and due to being unhappy with the school board, but several days last week and also yesterday and today I have had the feeling nagging at me that something is not right. I tend to be logical and analytical so I hate that I am having it be based on a 'feeling' but I just think, I wouldn't have felt wishy washy for almost thirteen days if I was sure about it. It isn't the kids, as my current school is pretty rough as it is and I do think I could handle it, but something just feels off inside me. I know it means I may return to my current school for another year and that is disappointing to me in the short term but I am glad to have a job where I love most of my kids too.

    In addition, it isn't enough of a monetary increase to be enticing in the short term. I went to look for apartments yesterday and the apartments would cost just about the same as what I have now, so I wouldn't save all that much on the main cost of livings (rent) either. I'm going to keep looking.
     
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  24. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    This is one of those decisions that if 10 teachers did it, some would find it worth it and some not. I think it is highly personal. Your increase in pay and benefits is a plus, although it doesn't sound like a large increase. It probably will be rougher with behavior, and you'll probably find that a minus. Is it worth it? I think that is a highly personal decision. Please remember you have a 3rd choice as well. Find a school that pays better and might not be so rough in behavior. It is only March and most hirings for teachers haven't happened yet.
     
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  25. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Yes, see the above post. I have decided that I will likely decline it. It is not a large enough increase (only about $1K) and while I do think I can handle the behavior, something about it feels off to me. I am going to keep looking and use my current school as a fall back in the event that nothing else works out. Worst comes to worse, I can continue looking next year. I want a situation that is going to work out long term for me, not a stop gap and this just didn't feel right to me.
     
  26. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Did you only apply to one other district? If it were me and I was looking, I would apply to many places.
     
  27. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    Oh no of course not. I have applied for many jobs.

    Also, I do agree with your assessment on long term goals. To be clear, I am saving for retirement and I have a large chunk of salary saved up in an emergency fund as well. It would just be easier with a higher salary and better retirement plan. This particular job though, only netting $1K *and* with the hesitations about the behavior, school, and admin...I just felt wierd about the whole thing.
     
  28. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Did you hear back from any others besides this one?
     
  29. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    I have had a screening interview at a district that interests me a lot. I have also had several private school interviews but those don't pay as well.
     
  30. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    What do you make right now and what did the private schools offer? You should try negotiating if you feel their offers are too low. Also, what is the salary the district that is screening you offering?
     
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  31. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    I make just under 45. Not super comfortable posting actual figures on here.

    Private was around 55. Sounds like a lot but COL wil eat it immeadiately. In one of the most expensive places in state and maybe country. Rent would quite literally eat up 50%.

    District Im interested in would be just under 50 but MUCH lower cost of living than privatenoffering 55. Other district jobs I have applied for also are around this.
     
  32. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Of course! No need to go into specifies — figures in the general case will suffice.

    And not too bad. What percentage of your projected income do you think will go to rent in the lower COL-area?
     
  33. yoyoyo

    yoyoyo Rookie

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    I am not sure, but less than near 50 percent, which is what I pay now.

    I did turn this particular job down, as something about it felt off to me. I am wondering if it was a mistake or not but the best I can do is keep looking.

    In the thick of interviewing for others.

    My issue now is that my current school is going to want contracts by the beginningof May, and many public hire later. What are my options? Can I keep looking iver the summer and then resign my current job before school starts if no progress is made in the next three weeks if I am offered later in the summer a public school job? Should I ask for an extension on the contract due date?
     

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