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Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

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Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Old 08-21-10, 01:32 PM
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Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

I graduated from college last December and I've been a fully certified elementary school teacher for months now. I've been applying for jobs left and right, probably 200 of them that I've seen posted. I've been e-mailing principals with resumes and cover letters weekly. So far I've not even received a call for an interview. I spent 3 years working full-time and going to school full time to get this degree and license, and I'm really getting depressed. I don't think that my gender is helping any either, even though there is a serious dearth of male elementary school teachers in this country. The school my son starts on Monday doesn't have a single male employee in anything other than Gym and maintenance. Now I'm faced with the choice of attempting to get a job as a sub for less than I make at my retail job, or finding another position where I can work full time and get benefits, or my family loses its insurance. My wife is diabetic and we really can't afford to pay for insurance for her. I think substituting is the best way to get noticed, but that would place a huge hardship on my family. I'm really at a loss, I've even signed up for a commission based placement program just hoping to get a foot in the door. No luck with that yet, either. Ugh.
Old 08-21-10, 01:39 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Sorry to hear about the tough time, zombeaner. Had a friend a few years back who went through a similar experience. He was looking to be a elementary school physical education teacher, but quickly realized that there were very few openings--schools have only one such position and unless that guy was retiring... Another friend took on an extremely tough job - assistant special ed teacher just to get her "foot in the door" and hated it. Good luck to you.
Old 08-21-10, 01:41 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Yeah, I've heard several stories over the years of how it takes lots of persistence, and sometimes working years as a sub or temporary slots, before you get a real position.

Good luck! And maybe change your resume name to Tonto Cohen.
Old 08-21-10, 01:42 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Hmm. I never thought of this before. At my elementary shcool, there weren't any male teachers. That was 15-20 years ago. In junior high, maybe 15% were male.

Your situation sounds complicated. This is just me - but I find that when I 'go for it', it always works out. Everyone has to pay their dues. If I were you, I'd buckle down and get a substituting job.

Ah well, I don't know much about the education business. Good luck. Hang in there. If it's really what you want to do, do it.
Old 08-21-10, 02:17 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Unfortunately, you went into Elementary Education at a really bad time with all the massive budget cuts in recent years. Teachers are being let go left and right where I am (San Francisco Bay Area). I'm entering my 13th year as an elementary teacher and am one of three male teachers at my school of 15 teachers.

Some thoughts and advice:

Substituting is one of the best ways to get noticed in a district. It's really a good way to show what you can do both in teaching style and classroom management. Get to know the teachers and, most importantly, the principal at the schools you sub. I've seen many good teachers hired from our district's substitute pool over the years. Substituting is also a great way to fine tune your skills and learn from the variety of classrooms you may substitute.

You'll have a better chance of getting hired at an urban area or a school in a "rough" area. There's a much higher teacher turnover rate at these schools so they tend to be hiring more often. Also, have you looked into private school teaching positions? Public school teachers tend to have better pay but at least you're getting experience to put on your resume.

Hopefully, when you do land an interview, try to stand out. I've been on many interview panels and we see dozens of candidates a day. It's exhausting and, to be honest, candidates tend to blur together unless he/she stands out. Of course you want to know your stuff but a simple thing as wearing a fun "teacher" tie helps. That's what I did during my interview many years ago and one of the interviewers later told me that it helped them to remember me and stand out from the crowd.

I'd hate to see you give up all that hard work (and money) that's brought you to the brink of having our own classroom. While teaching can be frustrating, financially inadequate, and mentally exhausting, it's also very rewarding and such a fun job. If you can't get a teaching job right now, I'd suggest getting a non-teaching job for now so you can survive financially and have medical insurance. Perhaps you could set aside one day a week where you could still substitute in nearby districts? Unfortunately, unlike most regular jobs, the window of hiring for the great majority of teaching jobs is just about closed with the new school year starting. You're best hope may be a long term substitute job.

Good luck!
Old 08-21-10, 02:24 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Originally Posted by yakuza70 View Post
If you can't get a teaching job right now, I'd suggest getting a non-teaching job for now so you can survive financially and have medical insurance. Perhaps you could set aside one day a week where you could still substitute in nearby districts?
This is kind of what I'm thinking might be my best option right now. Unfortunate, but I think that to abandon teaching altogether in favor of a desk job would be disastrous for my future prospects. It has already been almost 9 months since I've been in a classroom and I don't want to lose it!

Unfortunately, unlike most regular jobs, the window of hiring for the great majority of teaching jobs is just about closed with the new school year starting. You're best hope may be a long term substitute job.

Good luck!
Thanks, I am still hopeful.
Old 08-21-10, 03:13 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Don't feel bad man, here in NEPA each district gets like 500-700 applicants each summer, but you don't get a job unless you are related or know a school board member. You used to have to pay for a job but the FBI has been in the area for the last two years and have caught a dozen or so school officials with taking bribes ...
Old 08-21-10, 03:34 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Go to China and teach English.
Old 08-21-10, 03:50 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Story sounds like my wife's job search. She's been a sub for the last 2 years (mostly long term sub = more pay) and she still can't find a job. Same as you, over 200 applications and nothing. A lot of it is still politics and who you know or who you're related to; which is unfortunate. She has a master's degree, so she also believes it actually has been hurting her cause the district would have to pay her more.

She got sick of it, that she recently took a job as a manager of a restuarant. So far she loves it and is not regretting the career switch (even though she is still keeping her teaching certificate current as a back up).

In the end, you have to do what is best for your family. Is there any way you could only sub on certain days, and still do your other job? You aren't guaranteed sub work every day.
Old 08-21-10, 03:57 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Originally Posted by tbone View Post
In the end, you have to do what is best for your family. Is there any way you could only sub on certain days, and still do your other job? You aren't guaranteed sub work every day.
I'm hoping I can do that until I get my foot in the door. I'm going to drop off some sub apps this week. School starts on Monday, but they usually advertise for subs for a couple of months after that. I didn't think it would come to this, but I'm gonna grin and bear it for a while.
Old 08-21-10, 04:36 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

That sucks, dude. I heard a recent news story on MPR about some college faculty vocalizing their frustration at helping send out so many excellent candidates into such a shrinking field. Of course, the schools are upset with them for saying anything. It's a real mess and it's affecting a lot of people. That doesn't fix things for you, though. Wish I had ideas for you.

I will offer a counterpoint to the "substitute to get noticed" idea: this really depends on your district. I've had two friends, one in a small town under 5000 people and one in a suburb of over 50,000, who both took this route and it still took forever for them to get hired full-time. The man in the suburbs did subbing and coaching for four years before getting hired. He's still a great guy and I'm sure a tremendous teacher, but he complains about fellow teachers, particularly those his own age, more than any teacher I know and I can't help but wonder if he's got some bitterness there. The woman in the small town district found herself in a pretty awful trap: the district knew she really, really wanted a job. She would teach any elementary ed job: computers, gym, languages, home room, music, anything. They had her on the line for so long because they knew 1. she wasn't going to move, 2. she'd stick around to see what they'd finally dangle in front of her, and 3. no one was going to stop them. That went on for ten years. She's hired now, teaching elementary ed computer classes (probably the smartest, most forward-thinking curriculum move this particular district has made in forever) and she's happy. She was an emotional wreck there for a while but now she doesn't make a fuss about what the district did to her whatsoever, and I think it's because all of that part-time work let her have time with her kids as they were born.

All of that's anecdotal and would hopefully not be your situation. I just wanted to offer another perspective.

Good luck.
Old 08-21-10, 05:00 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Originally Posted by zombeaner View Post
I graduated from college last December and I've been a fully certified elementary school teacher for months now. I've been applying for jobs left and right, probably 200 of them that I've seen posted.
This is really just a timing issue. Teaching jobs and 1000 other jobs at this point in time are hard to find.

Do what you need to in order to survive until things pick back up. I am pretty sure school budgets in just about every area of the US have been cut.
Old 08-21-10, 05:05 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Seems like everyone around here goes to Vegas to get a teaching job and eventually move back with lots of experience on the resume. Is that an option?
Old 08-21-10, 05:21 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Originally Posted by 4KRG View Post
This is really just a timing issue. Teaching jobs and 1000 other jobs at this point in time are hard to find.

Do what you need to in order to survive until things pick back up. I am pretty sure school budgets in just about every area of the US have been cut.
This is very true. I am aware of the general problem with the job market. The crappy thing is I can drive around town and see giant billboards BEGGING for teachers in Texas. These are referring to Alternative Certification programs, which are paid, but still frustrating. It seems like it is focused on me because mine is the only point of view I have. I do want to sub, even if it is only one or two days a week just to stay in practice and hopefully make a positive impression somewhere. I am lucky to have a job at all right now, even if I don't get benefits.
Old 08-21-10, 05:22 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Originally Posted by starman9000 View Post
Seems like everyone around here goes to Vegas to get a teaching job and eventually move back with lots of experience on the resume. Is that an option?
If it were just me I'd do it in a heartbeat, but I have a family to think about, and they are here and they aren't going anywhere.
Old 08-21-10, 05:55 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Wow...I have to say I'm pretty surprised. I seem to remember reading, not that long ago, about the sever "teacher shortages" in Dallas. But now that I think about it, I wonder if those statements and readings came from the companies that put on the classes to get licensed???

While I know budget hurts your shots, I had kind of thought teaching would be one of those are areas less effected. I mean, I don't think there are less people moving to the Dallas area or less kids going to school. I sure as hell no my property taxes have not gone down with the poor economy.

Anyway....have you tried private schools? They don't pay near as well or have the benefits, but they will get you some experience to beef up your resume. I know a lot of private school teachers that teach for a couple years private than switch over for the money and benefits.

Otherwise, does the gym teacher get similar money/benefits? Why not go that route to get your foot in the door. I would imagine if you were full time gym teacher you would still have an opportunity to sub at that same school in a "regular class". And I know you have been running and getting into shape yourself, so that would be a positive I think.

Maybe I'm naive, but this is Dallas. I would be surprised if you being a guy would be an issue. I don't think you can just look at numbers. I mean assuming 85% of the people that apply for a teaching job are female, than it only makes sense that the majority of teachers are female. But I have no real experience or seen any studies.
Old 08-21-10, 06:09 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

The fact that you don't want to move makes it tough. Smaller schools need teachers and typically don't have many applicants. Certain states also have needs. But if you don't want to move, you are dealing with a seriously small and declining market. Sorry.
Old 08-21-10, 06:24 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

You know how to speak Spanish? If not, might as well burn that degree. I refuse to learn to speak that language so my dream of becoming a Teacher is dead. Everyone I spoke to said that schools are only hiring Teachers who speak English and Spanish - ya know, gotta speak the language of the illegals.
Old 08-21-10, 06:38 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Have you considered getting an administrative type job in a school? It probably won't pay as much but at least you get your foot in the door. It might even allow you to do subbing on occasion. Also, are you stuck on elementary school? Can you get certified for other areas? English as a second language maybe?
Old 08-21-10, 06:59 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

If you live in southern CA then speaking Spanish is a no-brainer... if you lived in other markets then Chinese or Indian is a big plus (I'm up in the CA Bay Area, don't bother applying to a private school unless you speak a native Asian language). If you are hell-bent on keeping your language to only English then I suggest working in a location where you don't have to mingle with children who live with parents that are recent immigrants.

Personally, speaking another language might make you stand out for any job you try and pursue.
Old 08-21-10, 07:34 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Try to get into a traditional elementary school and avoid a charter school if possible. There are no protections (unions) for teachers in charter schools. The charter school principal knows that she can easily replace you in this climate and may take advantage of that.

I speak from the direct experience of a relative who went that route.
Old 08-21-10, 08:27 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

i don't have much advice, but wanted to wish you luck, and i understand that you must do what's best for your family first.
Old 08-21-10, 08:31 PM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

There's always porn. And if you need more money for your family, there's gay porn.

Your welcome.
Old 08-22-10, 06:05 AM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Originally Posted by zombeaner View Post
I graduated from college last December and I've been a fully certified elementary school teacher for months now. I've been applying for jobs left and right, probably 200 of them that I've seen posted. I've been e-mailing principals with resumes and cover letters weekly. So far I've not even received a call for an interview. I spent 3 years working full-time and going to school full time to get this degree and license, and I'm really getting depressed. I don't think that my gender is helping any either, even though there is a serious dearth of male elementary school teachers in this country. The school my son starts on Monday doesn't have a single male employee in anything other than Gym and maintenance. Now I'm faced with the choice of attempting to get a job as a sub for less than I make at my retail job, or finding another position where I can work full time and get benefits, or my family loses its insurance. My wife is diabetic and we really can't afford to pay for insurance for her. I think substituting is the best way to get noticed, but that would place a huge hardship on my family. I'm really at a loss, I've even signed up for a commission based placement program just hoping to get a foot in the door. No luck with that yet, either. Ugh.
My wife is in the same situation, unless you were locked in while the economy is good (Having a continuing contract, meaning if you get Rif-ed, you will get first crack at another opening), then you are basically screwed. My wife jumps through hoops (Staying late, working weekends, attending all voluntary after school meet ups and concerts, leading several after school clubs), just so she even has a shot of making a good impression to possibly get called back. The problem is, the Sub market sucks, because you have lots of teachers who have 'prefered subs' who get continous work. Lots of people are coming into the work force as teachers, but there are no jobs. It is kind of sad, that you have burnt out teachers who are just taking their pay checks until they are forced into retirement, and you have new and energetic teachers who can't get jobs.
Old 08-22-10, 09:25 AM
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Re: Vent: Why did I go to school to be a teacher?

Keep your retail job for money and try to get some ESL work at night to stay fresh in the classroom...tutoring too

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