Where is the best place to teach?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by mathematicalanomaly, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    In your opinion, of course.

    I've discussed moving with my principal, and with her glowing recommendations and understanding of why I must leave, I am OUT OF HERE after this school year.

    I could go...anywhere! I do not really want to go over seas, or in Canada because they're teaching requirements are so different.

    My background
    -3 years (at the end of this year) experience teaching 3rd grade in NC
    (the first two years I taught all subjects. This year I teach only math and science as we departmentalized)
    -Bachelors degree in elementary education from a state university, licensed to teach K-6

    "must haves" from where I move
    -a salary where I don't have to work a second job just to pay the basic bills (I don't mind picking up a weekend gig to earn some extra cash, but I'd like to not sweat over just making the rent you know?)
    -Not a city, I much prefer rural or suburban living
    -Not someplace super hot in terms of climate

    Would like:
    -Mountains! or at least a beautiful landscape. Where I live now is beautiful and I can't imagine living in a dreary place or boring suburbs.
    -To be able to afford my own apartment without roommates, even just a studio. Not a necessity but boy, what a luxury that would be!
    -would prefer a unionized state I suppose, one that has protected lunch breaks, prep time, that sort of thing.
    -would prefer a state where elementary education is not treated as though we teach hand holding and nose picking

    I'm completely open to teaching any grade K-6 but my ~happy place~ is second, third, fourth or sixth grade. But of course, for the right location, I'd teach anything K-6. I am open to charter schools, private schools, you name it!

    The way I see it, anything has to be better than where I'm at....here's some backstory as to why I'm leaving as fast as I can... I teach in North Carolina and it's tragic. My salary is so low, I qualify for state food assistance. I work 3 other jobs just to make ends meet, and I am a very budget-minded, frugal gal. We are not paid more for having a master's degree anymore, so there's no incentive for that. I have morning, lunch, recess, specials, and after school duty (unpaid) every day. I have no prep or planning period. Geeze, I can't even pee between 7:30-4:30 without calling the office to monitor my kids. Professional development over the summer is required and unpaid. Expectations are constantly raised without compensation.

    The most I would EVER make in the state of NC after teaching for 30 years is 50,000. Right now I bring home under $2,000 each month. I can't imagine supporting a family on this salary!

    I've researched for months about the best salaries with lowest cost of living. Wyoming, rural California, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Utah commonly come up as having that sweet spot of high pay and low COL. I would love any of these, but of course, the more I research, it is extremely hard to get your foot in the door without a connection. I have no connections. I grew up in and out of foster care, I don't have any family. If I move somewhere without a secure job, I could very seriously end up homeless. I can't take any risks here.

    From this forum, I'm really seeking information for specific counties, personal stories or any advice you can give me to narrow down my search. Right now, I am confident I would find a job somewhere better, but I'd like to move somewhere and settle down, find a partner and raise a family where I move next. I want to feel stable and safe!

    Any advice you can give me, even if it's "avoid XYZ at all costs!" would be greatly valued.

    thank you!
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I like my area, but it's probably not for everyone.

    It's a small rural town, but I can be in a major city within an hour. We are in the foothills of the Appalachian mountains. Our town is also on the banks of a river and in the Daniel Boone National Forest. We do have a grocery store and dollar store, but for everything else we drive to the next town. It's a 20 minute drive.

    The cost of living is low here. I have never had a job other than teaching. Within my first four years I got my MA (no loans) and bought a new car. I bought my own house the summer before my 8th year of teaching. Within the first three years I did a major remodel. I got married in 2016, and my DH and I owned two houses for about a year. We sold his because it was bigger than we wanted and was two-story. During that time we started an addition to my house. It's a 4 bedroom/2 bath brick ranch on 1.5 acres. We also have a fenced yard for the dogs, a storage building, a detached one-car garage and an attached two-car garage. There aren't very many apartments here. Most are government subsidized or just plain shady. The decent ones have a waiting list

    My DH is also a teacher. He teaches in a neighboring district, but our salaries are almost identical. Our state does require a MA. It's not a union state, but both of us get duty free lunch and a daily planning period. We both feel like we hit the lottery. My first husband wouldn't work a decent job, and he eventually stopped working althogether. I was supporting us on my salary. His late wife was disabled and he supported the family. Now with two incomes we feel rich. LOL

    Kentucky is far from perfect with public education, but we do plenty of things right. Teaching is stressful anywhere nowadays. I'm on year 25, and so much has changed over the years.
    .
     
  4. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    Parts of VA would fit, as would parts of St. Louis county and slightly west. Even the NW corner of NJ would fill the bill.
     
  5. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Since you only have your BA you might want to also look at state requirements about having a Masters degree. There might be some states that don't require it but some where you'll have to get working on it ASAP.
     
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  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  7. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    By the time you get your 2nd Masters and all of your certifications, you are going to be very marketable. Plus, you’ll be pretty much maxed out on the salary schedule! You will make bank in NY!
     
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  8. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I wish I could buy a house already... I have a pretty sizeable down payment, but I am still saving like crazy because I want to put 50% on a house in CA. I just hate having debt, haha! Your house is probably already paid off, too, since you’ve been teaching as long as you have. I’m jealous!
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  10. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    My problem is that I can't afford a masters right now. I'm 30 grand in debt just for my bachelors (and I went to the cheapest in state university and worked full-time during it...) and can barely pay my bills now.

    I would love to get my masters and wouldn't mind starting right away if my salary supported it or if the county helped to pay for it. I feel so overwhelmed by researching different state requirements...many of the information I find online is outdated or contradicting. My hope is finding personal stories here!
     
  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  12. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    This sounds VERY ideal to me, but I really think that times have just changed. Sure, you were able to purchase a home and all of that 20 years ago. I don't know many teachers now that are able to do that with today's beginning teacher salaries.

    That said, I'm not eager to purchase a home, though that sounds dreamy. I am hopeful that I could afford a tiny one bedroom apartment with no roommates, though. I think that should be reasonable, but I'm not sure.

    Where in Kentucky are you located? Is private messaging possible on this forum? If you're not comfortable sharing that information here.


    I feel overwhelmed by how many states require a master's degree, but I absolutely can not afford to begin one while I'm here in NC
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Think about it like this: You will be certified to teach elementary, Spanish and ESL. Plus, you’ll have two Masters and eventually two certifications in some of the highest needed areas. You will get a job.

    I only have ONE Masters (in Math) and am certified to teach all math classes in California, so I don’t worry about having to find a job if I ever decide to move. However, that will probably never happen because I absolutely love my school, haha!

    The top certifications to have are foreign language, math, SPED, and ESL. You’re good, my friend! :)
     
  14. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Haha, very subtle! I paid off my student loan debt after I graduated from a UC school in ten months because I was lucky to land a sweet job that paid well. I later self-financed my Masters from my current teaching job, and so I’m completely debt free except my current car loan. I can’t imagine having a lot of debt. I wouldn’t be able to save for retirement or start my life... How much debt do you have for your student loans? I hope it is not six figures...!
     
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  15. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    Where would you like to work ideally? I think you should come to California. Let me tell you why: Labor Code 515.8.

    SECTION 1.
    Section 515.8 of the Labor Code is amended to read:
    515.8.
    (a) Section 510 does not apply to an individual employed as a teacher at a private elementary or secondary academic institution in which pupils are enrolled in kindergarten or any of grades 1 to 12, inclusive.
    (b) For purposes of this section, “employed as a teacher” means that the employee meets all of the following requirements:
    (1) The employee is primarily engaged in the duty of imparting knowledge to pupils by teaching, instructing, or lecturing.
    (2) The employee customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgment in performing the duties of a teacher.
    (3) On and after July 1, 2017, the employee earns the greater of the following:
    (A) No less than 100 percent of the lowest salary offered by any school district to a person who is in a position that requires the person to have a valid California teaching credential and is not employed in that position pursuant to an emergency permit, intern permit, or waiver.
    (B) The equivalent of no less than 70 percent of the lowest schedule salary offered by the school district or county in which the private elementary or secondary academic institution is located to a person who is in a position that requires the person to have a valid California teaching credential and is not employed in that position pursuant to an emergency permit, intern permit, or waiver.
    (4) The employee has attained at least one of the following levels of professional advancement:
    (A) A baccalaureate or higher degree from an accredited institution of higher education.
    (B) Current compliance with the requirements established by the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing, or the equivalent certification authority in another state, for obtaining a preliminary or alternative teaching credential.
    (c) This section does not apply to any tutor, teaching assistant, instructional aide, student teacher, day care provider, vocational instructor, or other similar employee.
    (d) The exemption established in subdivision (a) is in addition to, and does not limit or supersede, any exemption from overtime established by a Wage Order of the Industrial Welfare Commission for persons employed in a professional capacity, and does not affect any exemption from overtime established by that commission pursuant to subdivision (a) of Section 515 for persons employed in an executive or administrative capacity.

    And guess what? The state minimum wage is going up every year until 2022. This means that the minimum salary that certain teachers can make to be exempt is as follows:

    Year : Minimum Wage : Minimum Salary Allowed

    2018 : $11 : $38,133.33

    2019 : $12 : $41,600

    2020 : $13 : $45,066.67

    2021 : $14 : $48,533.33

    2022 : $15 : $52,000

    And since I already make more than $52,000 my school will raise teacher salaries on a yearly basis for each percentage increase (this is not required, but to stay competitive). Man, I love California!
     
  16. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    So basically California can't offer less than $38,000? That's NOT a lot for the high cost of living.

    A friend was telling me about the district she grew up, the Yosemite Unified School District and the cost of living being low there for California. But then, another post on this forum, people were snorting at the area saying it was very crime filled (near Fresno I believe?) and that everywhere worth living in California was extremely expensive.
     
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  17. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    That actually is a start. It also depends on the school district and county in which you work. They offer the greater of the two options, so you can still make more! $38,000 is the least allowable amount in 2018 only. It goes up from there. The minimum salary will quickly outcompete most teaching salaries offered in red states!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  18. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I reside in California and I am still able to live comfortably with money to spare every month, all on JUST my teaching salary (55k). It IS possible to live in California, you just have to shop around like you would for anything else. Housing is no different. You can find cheap condos and starter homes all the place.

    Further, when the new tax bill goes into effect, people won’t be able to deduct their mortgage interest anymore. This will have two effects: 1) It will prevent some people from buying homes, and 2) it will ALSO cause housing prices to decrease because less people will be buying homes. Several economists agree with this. Then, it will be more affordable to buy a home. I will be waiting until then because housing will be cheaper and the market will be in a slump! ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2017
  19. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Vermont.
     
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  20. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I could've sworn you would've recommended Indiana!
     
  21. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    Depending on how far you want to move. Montgomery County Schools in SW Virginia located near Virginia Tech (GO HOKIES ) is a great county. It is in the mountains with plenty oh hikes if you like that atmosphere. It is in a rural community and everyone is friendly.
     
  22. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    Yeah....

    Good ol' Indiana!
     
  23. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    ,
     
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  24. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    The salary schedule online for Montgomery county confuses me- it has 10 month, 10.5 month, 11 month and 12 month Teacher Salaries.....how could a teacher work those options?? Are they including summer school or something?

    For my county in NC, I make $36,300 as a second year teacher. After taxes, I bring home a little under $2,000 a month.

    Cost of living calculators say Blacksburg VA (in montgomery CO) is almost exactly the same as my area of NC.

    3rd year teacher in Montgomery CO only makes $38,300 on a 10 month schedule. But the 12 month makes $45,900. What does that even mean?
     
  25. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    Last year I taught "summer school" for my county which is only 12 days, but that's all that was offered. I worked the 12 days in June but was paid at the end of July- $1200 or so.

    I don't expect to sit around all summer and would continue to teach summer school or whatever I could to make more money.

    I'm not trying to be a baller, but I would like to bring home more than $2,000 a month y'all!!
     
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  26. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    I've spent the entire day home sick with strep throat, googling salary schedules and comparing it with cost of living calculators and I'm so freaking overwhelmed and stressed.

    The cost of living in my area of NC is very low compared to the rest of the country. My $35k salary seems pretty competitive with other areas when cost of living is factored in....is this really as good as it gets everywhere? Holy crap I'm depressed.... I can't survive on this salary and I am very frugal and good at budgeting.
     
  27. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    It is still possible here. One of my coworkers just bought a house on my street. Brand new construction. He is in his fifth year.

    I'm southeast of Lexington.


    I did mine early. So many people don't get theirs done in time and lose their certification.
     
  28. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    After researching all day I just feel so overwhelmed. I think with the COL here my salary is pretty comparable to most other states. I really need to get my masters....

    I could potentially move back to my college town in NC where COL is much lower and get my masters there. It would take 2 years while teaching full time and would cost about 15 grand including textbooks and what not....I'd have to apply for private loans...not sure how that would work already being 30 grand in debt with undergrad loans. But then moving out of state with that masters degree, I would make that money back within 2 years of teaching out of state.

    I don't know, I clearly have a lot of thinking and researching to do but not much time before I need to be seriously applying and phone/skype interviewing if I plan to get out of state.
     
  29. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I know, right? Currently, I bring home $5,500 a month and I am only a 4th year teacher with a Masters and clear credential. In 2018, it will go up to $6,000 a month. In 2019, $6,500/month. In 2020, $7,000/month. In 2020, $7,500/month. In 2021, $8,000/month. FYI, I work on a 10-month contract and the payscale at my school maxes out at 100k. :D

    Moral of the story: Get your Masters early and take classes in order to max out on the pay scale. You will LOSE thousands and thousands of dollars every year if you don’t. Case in point, one of my colleagues never got more than her Bachelors and she maxed out at 60k after 20 years at the school. I lol’d because that’s pittance after 20 years of service. In my case, I will make out at 100k in year 13, which is awesome!
     
  30. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    The cost of living here is relatively low. I might be under the impression of that because I come from Fairfax County where it is extremely expensive to live. As to the 10 -12 year salary I think that depends on your position. I can ask around for you if you want.
     
  31. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    I just asked around they said you can choose to get paid over a ten month time frame (not paid in summer) or 12 month spread and get paid in the summer.
     
  32. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    Well yes, but that's not why the salary schedule has 10 or 12 month options. You can of course choose to let the county keep some of your 10 month salary and then pay it over the summer, but that doesn't explain why the 12 month salary schedule is so much higher. Does that make sense?

    I know at my school admin and the instructional coach are 12 month employees but the montgomery salary schedule has 10, 10.5 or 12 month teacher salaries. I've never seen that before!
     
  33. mathematicalanomaly

    mathematicalanomaly Rookie

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    I definitely plan to get my masters, but on my current salary, I just can't afford it. I can barely pay the bills let alone get approved to take out more loans. I'm sure the interest rates for the ones I could afford would be horrifying.

    I'm looking seriously into Bellevue, Washington right now. They offer 50% tuition reimbursement, and the masters pay is almost $1,000 more a month. It would pay itself off in just one year of teaching there!!
     
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  34. Hokiegrad1993

    Hokiegrad1993 Comrade

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    That makes sense. I don't know I apologize. I am an aide at the school in the county while finishing my degree and I asked teachers and they explained that to me. I am wondering maybe if its by degree (masters or bachelors or how long spent teaching) I will continue to ask around.
     
  35. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    This sounds like a great plan. I think you should do it.
     
  36. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    It sounds like there may be special teacher positions that extend beyond the traditional schedule. In my district, some specialists work additional days (for additional pay). We also have project facilitators and instructional coaches and learning strategists--all teacher positions (not admin). We also sometimes have TOSAs (Teachers On Special Assignment), where teachers may be assigned to work in the curriculum office or something.
     
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  37. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Comrade

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    I would second VA. Our COL is manageable, and at 18 years, I make 52,000, max 75,000. OUr insurance and benefits are pretty good. I do have a husband, so we live very comfortably on our dual incomes, but you can get a 1 bedroom for $700 to $1500, depending on the city you live in and the part of town. We have 7 large districts all immediately next to each other, and a few other smaller ones all nearby. We have the beach, the city, rural, everything. From my house, I can be at the beach in 45 minutes, an amusement park in 45 minutes, top tier restaurants and shopping in 30 minutes. I'm not sure if Master's are required--I already had mine when I got here. But we do get bumps for masters and +30 and all that. Some districts have tuition reimbursement, some don't. We're not union, but we have unencumbered lunch and generally, unencumbered planning (it depends on your principal and your district). VA is beautiful, and we love it here.
     
  38. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    The different salaries for numbers of months is due to contract days. I work a 185 day contract. Some positions are 210 days. And there are others, too, in our district. Some places say it in months. Others say it in days.

    For instance, our 100 day employees still work all year, but only 100 days during the school year.
     
  39. svassillion

    svassillion Companion

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    Based on your preferences I'd say Massachusetts is not for you. The only districts that pay well enough that you wouldn't need a second job to pay the bills are urban districts and MA has a higher cost of living. A studio apartment would cost at minimum $1200 in the high paying areas and the more affordable apartments are located in districts where you'd be looking at $35K a year or in very low-income/high-crime cities. When I lived alone I was making $55K as a Masters Step 2 in a district in the Boston area, but I commuted an hour from a town closer to NH (for the lower rent) and I just barely got by without needing a second job. Of course most of my pay went to student loans, so if yours aren't substantial it could be easier for you.

    You'd also have to get your MA within 5 years and prepare for at least one blizzard each year though lately it's been two back-to-back. We also get taxed on everything. However, elementary ed is highly valued and we're not seen as baby-sitters. And outside of the cities the state is pretty beautiful and even smells good. I still prefer my home state of NH though.
     
  40. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Phenom

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    I hated my student loans and attacked them with reckless abandon when I graduated in June 2014. I paid them off by July 2015, but it was not without sacrifice because the $2,000 or more I put toward my loans each month prevented me from having a life besides seeing the occasional movie at the cinema. Now that I just have my car loan I can enjoy myself. Glad to be done with those!

    I love living in CA. I can ski in the mountain ranges, to numerous beaches, hike through forests, bike ride in the hills, shop practically everywhere, see awesome shows in Los Angeles, go to amusement parks like Disney Land and Universal Studios, go to amazing restaurants, etc, etc. California has everything you can imagine, which is why I call this state my home. :D

    My employer pays 100% of my healthcare, but I work at a private school. Dental and vision are next to nothing ($40/month in total for both). How much do you pay for those things working at a public school? Also, othe public schoolteachers feel free to chime in with your thoughts.
     
  41. jai0810

    jai0810 Guest

    Feb 12, 2020

    I'm curious as to why you chose Vermont? I am currently a resident pursuing a teaching license in VT!
     

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