Would you rather / job hunt edition

Discussion in 'General Education' started by otterpop, Jun 30, 2021.

  1. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Jun 30, 2021

    Would you rather work at a school that was closer, but in a rough area and with low test scores, or a school that was in a better area, but a longer commute?

    Not a specific situation here, just pondering options, and I’m curious what others would choose.

    I lean towards wanting the shorter commute time for sure.
     
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  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Definitely shorter commute, but it would also depend on the culture of the school. Some "rough" schools are great places to teach, and some are very set in their ways which makes for a super negative environment. I just left that so I'd be avoiding that like the plague.
     
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  4. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Any red flags you’d look for to figure out the good cultures from the bad ones, at a school that looks low performing on paper? I completely agree.
     
  5. mathteachertobe

    mathteachertobe Cohort

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    When I decided to move to high school I had two choices, longer commute with strong admin team and math department versus shorter commute with admin with a bad reputation and all new to the school math teachers. I chose the first school.
     
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  6. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    For me, there would be more factors than "nice area" and "rough area." My number one concern would be admin, if their philosophy suits mine, and how their management style is. I'd be wary of any school with high turnover.

    If the "nice area" school is truly better, and not just higher SES, absolutely I'd take a longer commute over driving less but going to a job that wouldn't be as enjoyable. I'd also consider how low you're talking as far as "low test scores." If the school is in any danger of being closed or taken over due to poor scores, I'd run. Even if it never quite happens, your entire life will be based on getting those scores up, including likely throwing any and all resources at "cusp/bubble" kids, leaving nothing for the children who actually need interventions and such the most. You'd also be dealing with more severe behaviors, and how admin supports/handles that would make a huge difference.

    The higher SES school will likely have fewer behavior issues, and test scores will be easy to come by. However, crappy admin could still ruin an environment like that. You'll also have more demanding parents and spend a lot of your time dealing with that. I work in a lower SES school. I've always said I prefer to deal with more difficult students over more difficult parents. I've had a few really high maintenance parents over the years, but they're truly few and far between.
     
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  7. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    You articulated all of that way better than I did. And you bring up a lot of good points. I would absolutely work at a school with low test scores but great admin. I’ve already worked at a school with high scores in a nice area but with terrible admin and I know how much that matters. I suppose my concern, then, is really knowing whether you’re getting a good administration or not. It’s not something measurable via school ratings, and we don’t know others in the district to ask around.
     
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  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Teacher turnover. If a large number of people leave each year, that’s a huge red flag.
     
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  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    My state actually has a "teaching and learning conditions" survey that is anonymous and given every 2 years. I have declined interviews after seeing poor results from some schools. I know we're lucky to have that!

    Otherwise, look at the turnover like the pp said. Be wary if you see schools posting generic "elementary teacher" job postings rather than specific grade levels. Around here, the worst districts do that to hide how many openings they actually have. Ask a lot of questions in the interview- you're interviewing them as well to see if it's a good fit!

    I always asked, "How do you support teachers when severe behaviors are happening?" RUN if an admin says something to the tune of, "I believe in teachers having the power to manage their own classroom." This is admin speak for "I do nothing." I also wouldn't be afraid to ask something like, "What is your management style?" and/or "What do teachers like about working here?" That last one sounds like a "softer" question, but especially if there are teachers on the panel you should be able to read between the lines and get some good answers. If every teacher just says "the kids" that would be a hint to me that they can't find anything positive to say about admin or the work culture. We had a few candidates ask that this year, and everyone on the panel said a bunch of positive stuff about admin as their answer (this is the best P I've worked for by far).

    This year, someone we were interviewing asked, "What do excellent teachers at ________ elementary have in common?" People on the panel were impressed with the question, and what a great way for the candidate to get information about what the admin team values most.
     
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  10. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    Those are great questions!
     
  11. Caballo21

    Caballo21 Rookie

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    I just took a job at a district that is much closer with lower test scores, SES, etc. It is an urban district, and I'm just thrilled to work in a community so close to where I live and with a different population.

    I left a private school with the description above - much higher SES, and 35-40 min commute. There were many reasons. Direct supervisors/Admin were great at the division I was at. However, leadership from the top not as supportive. Pay was undoubtedly a major reason.

    I didn't have the chance to interview staff or teachers at the new school, but I had a really good feeling at interviews. I met with admin and the super. Seems to have very low turnover, this was actually the first time I've seen an opening that I'm qualified for in this district.
     
  12. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    This made me laugh! :) I pictured a P I know would say and mean this!
    I'd take the shorter commute as long as the admin were equal. I would drive longer for super supportive admin. Wealthy areas and poor areas have their trade offs. I started teaching at a low performing school many years ago. Within about 5 years, the school turned into a high performing one. To turn the school around, they brought in the best admin I have ever seen. (Ones who liked to celebrate success and did not tolerate kids being disrespectful.) The school climate was excellent. You never know with low performing schools. They can make changes by hiring new teachers and admin. That was my favorite school hands down! :)
     
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  13. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    I have the worst of both worlds. Long ride in to a low-income district. I make over 60k now, great benefits, time off - we have not been back since Covid! Downsides: Being assaulted one time, stresses first 2 years with classes out of control, being violated by a male teacher who walked in on me while I was changing in my classroom, who then told other teachers
     

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