Urban Vs. Suburban?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by rookieteacher:), Dec 10, 2010.

  1. rookieteacher:)

    rookieteacher:) Companion

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    I am currently in the job hunt but I wanted to hear what the major differences are between urban and suburban schools. I recently applied for a suburban job but the large public school district (Chicago Public Schools) is also hiring.

    I have done rural and urban during student teaching but I acknowledge that there is a difference when it is your classroom year round, not just a term. Any insight you wonderful teachers would have is appreciated.

    :):thanks:
     
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  3. Daisie

    Daisie Rookie

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    Hi rookieteacher!

    I'm in the same boat. I've only done student teaching placements- one at a small, suburban school with less than 400 students, and another in a larger urban high school with closer to 2000 students. In the brief time I spent in each environment, I found that they each had their own perks and drawbacks:

    Rural/Suburban: I find there's a much better bond with students here, since there was a lower student-teacher ratio than what I experienced in metro Ottawa. As a result, I felt like I could spend more time helping each student with their individual course struggles, which was definitely rewarding (especially since I teach math- a holy terror for some kids). The smaller community also meant I could get to to know the parents and families better- great for building a solid rapport to discuss a student's progress or to relay any concerns. One thing, though- where I did my practicum is notorious for "snow days", since it is more rural and has less resources to manage snowfalls, so in the long run if I were working there FT, I could probably anticipate about 10 snow day school closures a year, or the hectic commute to work every day. (Small price to pay though if you like the small-town vibe)

    Urban- personally, I really liked the urban system. I found that because the school was bigger, they had a greater supply of resources to enhance the students' learning experience. This'll be great when I teach phys ed, because I can take advantage of sports facilities (arenas, etc.) that I might not get in a smaller institution. Also, the larger staff will definitely benefit me in my rookie years of teaching, 'cause I can hopefully refine my techniques by watching other teachers in action. My only concern is that urban schools tend to have more students ie a higher student to teacher ratio, so it'd be tougher to give students the one-on-one attention they might need. But the size and resources is definitely alluring!

    -Have a great day!! :)
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apply EVERYWHERE...it's a competitive climate...don't rule anything out.
     
  5. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Around here, I wouldn't place rural and suburban schools in the same category. Our rural schools are typically low-income and share quite a few characteristics with high-poverty, urban schools. Suburban schools have higher-income families, and they are not necessarily any smaller than the urban schools.

    We have a good chunk of "homeless" children. They aren't living in the streets like in big cities, but they're living with friends & relatives in overcrowded, substandard housing. We have some migrant families. We have little diversity. Most of our children--usually around 70%--qualify for free lunch. Most of our teachers are native to the town or grew up here/nearby. Our kids are not very "worldly" because they don't have many opportunities to get outside our town.

    We missed 20 days of school last year--18 snow days and 2 flood days. We've already missed two days this year. The mountain roads are too bad to travel with just a little ice/snow.
     
  6. SunnyReader

    SunnyReader Companion

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    I work in NYC DOE, and it is very much like a suburban school. People have a different view of urban schools. It is not high-poverty, no gangs, high parent involvement and many clubs/after school choices.

    You should apply everywhere and find a perfect fit.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I agree-- jobs are incredibly hard to find in this economy. (In the NYC metro area, it's been that way for years!)

    Apply everywhere; leave no stone unturned. When the calls start coming in, do your homework. After the interview, decide whether or not it's the right fit.

    But apply everywhere!!!!!
     
  8. rookieteacher:)

    rookieteacher:) Companion

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    I will thanks! :D Time to fill out some more applications!

    I'm guessing it's okay to turn down a job if a job does not fit?
     
  9. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Well, it comes down to being unemployed or being miserable. I'd rather be unemployed.

    My :2cents: - I'm on my second year working in a high needs urban school and I'm commited for five more. I wouldn't go anywhere else. It's ridiculous and demanding and heartbreaking, but SO rewarding. My kids are amazing. That isn't to say you wont find that in suburban schools, but I find the experience there much different.

    Also-I work in CPS. :) Come join the fold!
     
  10. rookieteacher:)

    rookieteacher:) Companion

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    I am interested in working in a high needs school distict. I feel that my personality can make a difference.

    I just feel that I will burn out too easily or cannot handle the extreme students. I don't know if this because I haven't had the experience to develop the skills though. I have also heard many negative views about public schools. Maybe I just need to hear some happy stories. :wub:
     
  11. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    I prefer working at urban schools because typically they are Title One, which means they receive more funding from the government. As a result, we have a lot more programs, materials and opportunities, plus funds, that when I worked at a suburban school.

    The downside is that many Title One schools have low test scores (at least mine does) which means we have several supplements to our curriculum, which is a pain. Also, our P is very anal and sometimes obnoxious because she is afraid that if we fail another two years in a row, that the government is going to take over our school and clean out house.

    Most suburban schools, (at least the one i worked/student taught at) don't have to worry about that. They get to teach one curriculum per subject.

    EDIT: Also, I found the parents to be more supportive, trusting and respectful of my authority as their childs teacher at Urban schools. At the suburban school, parents used to like to challenge me and whenever they didn't like something, they were quicker to complain to the P or threaten to tell the school board.
     
  12. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Dec 14, 2010

    You'll have days that they will drive you up the wall, days where you really think you are not making a difference, and then something small will happen and you will realize how much of an impact that you have had on that child.

    It's like the time that one of my staff members found a bed for my student that was sleeping on the floor, and then delivered it to their apartment. And then working on a "I am thankful for" writing assignment and him writing "I am thankful for the bed my baby sister and I have to sleep in."

    It is after your student trashes your room and you have to remove all your students, and the next day he comes to you and gives you a hug and starts crying about how much he doesn't want to leave... and you realize that this was the only way he knew how to exhibit how much he was hurting.

    It is when you get a students that doesn't know any English and struggling to communicate with them. And this child comes in not knowing a single letter or letter sound... and last week read 8 words in 1 minute on the AIMSWEB passage.

    It's seeing one of my students last year that came into my classroom two years behind in reading, and ending the year ABOVE grade level!

    It is giving a child a coat and gloves that has never seen snow... and him running up to the playground to show you a piece of ice he found after the first snowfall.

    I know that I make a difference in my students' academics AND their home/personal lives. This is SUPER important to me. Is it easy? NO WAY! But it's totally worth it in the end, and I can't imagine being anywhere else.
     
  13. rookieteacher:)

    rookieteacher:) Companion

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    Wow. That was powerful!
    Your post really inspired me. :love:

    Thank you SO much for sharing UVAgrl928.
     
  14. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Cool post, UVAGirl!

    rookieteacher-Look for a school with a strong mentor program. The students can be "extreme" but they're really not THAT bad...if you are consistent and firm with your strategies. Most of them come in with no structure at home and they really start to thrive with consistent rules and systems. They're not crazy monsters like in the movies. You just really have to teach social/emotional skills. Most of the adults in my kids' lives don't respect them, so their sense of self-efficacy is NOT there. This was the biggest difference between the urban and suburban kids in my experience. When I worked at the small private school I attended as a child, the kids were really prepared for school and they took a lot of academic risks. At my school in CPS we had to backtrack a LOT to cover the basics and really push them to succeed. So many kids get frustrated and give up easily, but their little beaming faces are amazing when they get a question right or receive a good grade. :wub:
     
  15. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    CPS is so large that you will find both "urban" like and "suburban" like schools in the district.

    All CPS schools (like probably all schools) have their pluses and minuses. Each school has its own unique culture. I think a lot depends on you- I've worked in both very high poverty CPS schools and a moderate poverty CPS school.(Most schools here are in the 80s - 90s for free and reduced lunch). Each type of setting has provided me with some "issues" (due to a lack of way of putting it) just different issues- and more by issues I mean what I do on a day to day basis. A lot I think depends more on the school culture/admin/values than the urban vs. suburban.

    CPS (as many other districts) have been in a severe funding crisis for years. Many vacancies posted aren't actual vacancies-

    Do your homework!
     
  16. indigo-angel

    indigo-angel Companion

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    I don't know how familiar you are with the Chicago-land area, but a lot of suburbs and suburban schools fit the "urban, inner city" profile. Often, schools in the same district are night and day, so it boils down to individual schools, really. You may be shocked to find that a lot of schools in the more attractive suburbs have a high percentage of low-income students and students who come from non-English speaking homes. Good luck with your job search!
     
  17. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Thanks! The success at my school is because of the staff. We have a fantastic staff that is so committed to working with needy children. We offer these kids the stable environment many don't have at home. We share ideas, help each other, take each others students in our reading groups that best fit that student, etc. Working in a high needs school can be extremely frustrating at times, but when you feel like you have people to fall back on and support you, it makes it much easier. I don't think I would have made it if I didn't have people I feel comfortable sitting and crying with when times get tough. It is the first school I have been at that truly felt like a family. We take care of each other so that we can make sure everyone is taking care of the kids :)
     
  18. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    True - true and I hear this is happening more and more as the CHA rips down the high rises and people move to areas with better section 8 opportunities.
     
  19. rookieteacher:)

    rookieteacher:) Companion

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    You are all so helpful thank you!:thumb: All of your help is very appreciated and I finally feel like I'm not trying to figure this out on my own.

    I started contacting a few schools who posted that they had a vacancy. I recieved one e-mail back saying they do not have any openings so I'm not sure if this means they are already filled or they posted it to post it.

    I am getting more familar with Chicagoland. I applied to a opening in the Hinsdale school district. I am also trying see what positions are open in Chicago Public Schools. I am trying to do research using the Illinois Report Card website and information provided by the school's website.

    Funding is such a huge problem all over. Even at the school I am at currently I see how this is a problem.

    In the large public school district by my house they place teachers who are interested in a teaching position. Does CPS do this as well? Is it one application that is sent out and a school can choose to contact you or can you choose the position you would like to apply for?
     
  20. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Definitely true! But how many positions really pop up in like...Lincoln Park every year? I feel like if you land a teaching position in Lincoln Park you're never gonna leave. The few people I know that have applied for jobs in CPS landed them in lower income schools because they are more likely to have vacancies, so the fact that there could be jobs in the suburban-like CPS schools doesn't even cross my mind. I guess this is why I always think of "urban" when I think CPS.


    I'm not 100% sure, but I think it's the opposite. I think you apply to each school/principal.
     
  21. rookieteacher:)

    rookieteacher:) Companion

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    I am currently filling out my CPS application!

    Louisa May Alcott School had a few jobs that looked promising!
     
  22. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Like everyone else said, I would apply everywhere. I did, and I ended up in a suburban school. My school is so different from your "typical" elementary school. I have only one child with divorced parents. When I send things home, they come back the next day. I have tons of technology at my fingertips. My PTO holds fundraisers that raise over $5,000. I didn't even think schools like this existed until I started working here.

    I feel like it's a good fit for me, but I would have taken a job anywhere. I taught in some urban schools before (student teaching, volunteering, etc.), and I really enjoyed it there, too. Both environments are challenging, just with different challenges. :)
     
  23. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    This might vary by district. In my district, which is slightly smaller than CPS, you apply to the district, then are interviewed by a representative of the district, then are approved for hire. After the district has approved you for hire, individual schools can "claim" you and offer you positions. The principals at each school look at the list of hire-able candidates and choose the ones they want to offer jobs to. For that reason, it's a good idea to be in contact with principals at the schools you're interested in before you become available for hire, so that they can watch for your name to pop up on the list of hire-able candidates.

    I hope that doesn't sound too confusing. It's been a long day.
     
  24. ecsmom

    ecsmom Habitué

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    I work in a small town school. It would be considered rural but the majority live in town, many in public housing. We also have a high percentage of free and reduced students so we are Title 1.We have a great school building with SmartBoards in every classroom as well as several student computers in each classroom and a state of the art computer lab. We have low student/teacher ratios. We do lack parent involvment (unless a student gets into trouble then the parents show up) Overall, I really like my job. I couldn't ask for better collegues, the administration is supportive, the kids see us as family. I do wish our salaries were competative with other local systems. However, most of us have been here 10+ yrs so there are good reasons for staying put.
     
  25. ACardAttack

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    This is how it is for me...students who were tough on me and I was tough on them last trimester still come up to me and say hi in school and outside of school and its these moments that get me through the tough times, knowing thats its never personal and that I am making some difference.

    It can be very tough and I just posted on how its starting to ware me out...can I see myself working here for my whole teaching career? No, can I see me here for five to seven years? Yeah...I like to know that I am helping to make a change in their lives, but I know that as I get older, chances are my energy levels will start to lower and I'll need a change of scenery, because if Im not in top shape, Im not doing them any good.
     
  26. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    If this is specific to CPS they might not be actual vacancies. The only reliable vacancies are posted on the e-bulletin. It is updated every Wednesday. http://www.cps-humanresources.org/Careers/per_bull.htm

    There are other "random vacancies" listed on other areas of their website that make no sense.

    I
    The school websites are not always updated so cross check with CPS's own website (example principals name etc.)

    [/QUOTE]

    While they were trying to change it last I heard, so you may want to call HR - excuse me HC and check it out- CPS is still a principal driven hiring district. Which means HR does nothing until after you are hired. In fact, I "applied" long after I was accepted for my job. I filled out the application at HR with all of my other paperwork. Once again check the e-bulletin.
    Certain high needs areas may still have "department heads" back at 125 S Clark that will help you find positions, but I'm not sure that they have existed for awhile. And this would only be for really hard to staff positions.
     
  27. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    1) Lincoln Park might not be as ideal as you think- Many of the schools over there still have their share of problems.
    2) You could work for a "wonderful school" but have a crazy administration- for some reason a school right on the lakeshore and Irving Park has some amazing reputation amongst many in this district but talk to anyone who has ever worked, interviewed or interned there and you will find some dirt- and the dirt is far and wide and consistent- yet it is supposedly one of the "best" in CPS.
    3) I guess I "did my time" so to speak- but I also work in a very different position that was once "hard to staff" and requires special certificates. Others that were hired at my school were hired as first year teachers or teachers new to CPS and I work in a wonderful school, so it does happen.
     
  28. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    Yes this is very different than CPS- you have to find an individual principal (of the 670 or so out there) willing to hire you.
     
  29. chicagoturtle

    chicagoturtle Fanatic

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    I know Alcott is trying to expand to a High School next year, but when I just looked at the e-bulletin the only posting is for Physical Education (which seems to still be high needs). What is your certificate in?
     
  30. rookieteacher:)

    rookieteacher:) Companion

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    The list I had showed they were hiring a social studies teacher to teach political science. I'm guessing they are no longer hiring for that position.

    I am currently checking the website that chicagoturtle posted. No social studies jobs but I'm not giving up hope! :D I will check this every Wednesday! This is a great resource!

    With help from all you wonderful teachers I now know where to contact Illinois representatives about certification and where to help find jobs. I also enjoy reading the different experiences teachers have in both rural and urban settings. I feel like I better understand both. Thanks!
     

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