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AngieW in Texas

Getting frustrated in my job search

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I am currently a high school science teacher. I've been teaching in the public school system for five years. 

Now that I am getting a divorce, it is urgent that I find a different job. I can't handle another year in the classroom. Conditions for teachers went way downhill this year and next year is going to be even worse based on what they are telling us. I would, of course, love to get a job that pays more than teaching, but I will take one that just matches my teaching pay so that I can get out of the classroom. I can't take a pay cut, but I am willing to work for the same pay in a field that actually has advancement opportunities.

I've been hunting for another job since January. I had two interviews with Houghton Mifflin and I thought that was going really well, but I didn't make it to the third stage. Aside from that I've had phone interviews with two other companies that didn't go any further than the phone interview.

I have a BS and MS in Physics, but I graduated in 1989, so my degree is very much out of date. I am certified in Special Education, Secondary Math (7th-12th), Secondary Science (7th-12th), and ESL.

What I have done all of these years is mostly teach. I hsed my kids from K-12. I tutored high school science and math through a tutoring service. I was a contract physics author for Sapling Learning for six months writing online homework problems. I have been teaching for 5 years now in the public school system. I was a high school special education teacher for the first 1.5 years and have been a general education science teacher for the past 3.5 years (IPC, chemistry, physics, forensics). I also coached the UIL science team this year (made it all the way to state!) and have been an active sponsor of the campus GSA for the past two years.

I've been applying for instructional design, curriculum development, and corporate trainer positions because I actually have the qualifications for those types of positions. I'm starting to run out of time to find another job though. There is one week left of this school year and then there are 9 weeks off before we report back for the next school year. I don't want to start the schoolyear and then leave. That really isn't fair to the students. I need to find another job before teachers report back to work.

I haven't even had a company ask for a phone interview since late April.

I'm considering going through a coding camp program, but they all appear to cost upwards of $10,000 and take at least 6 months. I would still need to have a nonteaching job while going through such a program because teaching is so all-consuming. I also really don't think my psyche can handle another year in the classroom. There is only so much you can take of being treated like garbage by students, parents, and administration. I have some really great students, but they are very much in the minority. I know what they have proposed for my teaching schedule for next year and I am scheduled to have half of my classes be with behavior problem students.

Any suggestions? 

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Just a couple of ideas:

Have you tried the recruiter route? One of my sister's in another field is getting her resume to recruiters and they are shopping her around. I don't know if that is feasible for you or not.

Also, is it possible to widen your geographic search area?

 

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I don't know if this would pay enough to match or exceed your current salary, or if it would feel like career/personal advancement, but could you start your own tutoring business for math and science or AP/SAT subject test exam prep? Depending on the market where you live, you might be able to earn considerably more than working for a tutoring company. If there are private high schools in your area who give families lists of tutors you might be able to break into that market, and earn an excellent hourly wage. There also could be opportunities for working during school hours if you are connected with private schools. There are lots of kids who don't need a general exam prep course, but targeted tutoring on a few topics + strategies, and your background homeschooling and tutoring would be perfect for that. 

Or would teaching in a private school be more appealing than public school? 

General question--do you have multiple resumes/cover letters targeted to the different fields that interest you, and have you worked with a professional resume/cover letter writer? You have a unique background and sound like an interesting candidate to me.

Amy

 

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12 minutes ago, City Mouse said:

Have you considered working for an online public school? It is still public school and has its downsides, but it is the only reason I have stayed in education as long as I have. 

https://re22.ultipro.com/CON1019/JobBoard/ListJobs.aspx

 

Do they pay the same?  I looked into it briefly but the pay is more beginning teacher salary here, even if you are a veteran.

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1 hour ago, Acadie said:

I don't know if this would pay enough to match or exceed your current salary, or if it would feel like career/personal advancement, but could you start your own tutoring business for math and science or AP/SAT subject test exam prep? Depending on the market where you live, you might be able to earn considerably more than working for a tutoring company. If there are private high schools in your area who give families lists of tutors you might be able to break into that market, and earn an excellent hourly wage. There also could be opportunities for working during school hours if you are connected with private schools. There are lots of kids who don't need a general exam prep course, but targeted tutoring on a few topics + strategies, and your background homeschooling and tutoring would be perfect for that. 

 

That would require years of building up a reputation, getting clients, mostly evening and weekends, etc.....it sounds great for a part time, extra money gig, but I would personally feel uncomfortable as the only income coming from that.

1 hour ago, Acadie said:

Or would teaching in a private school be more appealing than public school? 


I found that they are worse for all the stipulations/requirements, and they usually pay less.  

OP, when you are job hunting are you remembering to include everything?  Like if you make $50,000 as a teacher, you also make $25,000 more in retirement funds, health benefits, etc.....which means you need to find a job that pays $75,000 to match your salary.

1 hour ago, Acadie said:

General question--do you have multiple resumes/cover letters targeted to the different fields that interest you, and have you worked with a professional resume/cover letter writer? You have a unique background and sound like an interesting candidate to me.

Amy

 

 

Good point, I did this.  It is a pain to write them all but necessary.

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Just now, DawnM said:

 

Do they pay the same?  I looked into it briefly but the pay is more beginning teacher salary here, even if you are a veteran.

That depends on several factors. I would be happy to go into more detail if you want to PM me. 

 

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4 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I am currently a high school science teacher. I've been teaching in the public school system for five years. 

Now that I am getting a divorce, it is urgent that I find a different job. I can't handle another year in the classroom. Conditions for teachers went way downhill this year and next year is going to be even worse based on what they are telling us. I would, of course, love to get a job that pays more than teaching, but I will take one that just matches my teaching pay so that I can get out of the classroom. I can't take a pay cut, but I am willing to work for the same pay in a field that actually has advancement opportunities.

I've been hunting for another job since January. I had two interviews with Houghton Mifflin and I thought that was going really well, but I didn't make it to the third stage. Aside from that I've had phone interviews with two other companies that didn't go any further than the phone interview.

I have a BS and MS in Physics, but I graduated in 1989, so my degree is very much out of date. I am certified in Special Education, Secondary Math (7th-12th), Secondary Science (7th-12th), and ESL.

 

Any chance they have a pull out ESL program where you can pull out a few kids at a time to teach ESL?  We have several programs here.  One is classroom, another is push in, where you go into a reg. ed. classroom to help the ESL kids, and the other is pull out.  I did pull out for a while and it was so easy and so much less stress.

4 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

What I have done all of these years is mostly teach. I hsed my kids from K-12. I tutored high school science and math through a tutoring service. I was a contract physics author for Sapling Learning for six months writing online homework problems. I have been teaching for 5 years now in the public school system. I was a high school special education teacher for the first 1.5 years and have been a general education science teacher for the past 3.5 years (IPC, chemistry, physics, forensics). I also coached the UIL science team this year (made it all the way to state!) and have been an active sponsor of the campus GSA for the past two years.

I've been applying for instructional design, curriculum development, and corporate trainer positions because I actually have the qualifications for those types of positions. I'm starting to run out of time to find another job though. There is one week left of this school year and then there are 9 weeks off before we report back for the next school year. I don't want to start the schoolyear and then leave. That really isn't fair to the students. I need to find another job before teachers report back to work.

 

Honestly people leave in the middle of the year all the time, I wouldn't feel bad about it.   You can't limit your search to only finding a job in the 9 weeks of the summer, it isn't fair to you.  You need to go when the job is available.

4 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I haven't even had a company ask for a phone interview since late April.


BOO!

4 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I'm considering going through a coding camp program, but they all appear to cost upwards of $10,000 and take at least 6 months. I would still need to have a nonteaching job while going through such a program because teaching is so all-consuming. I also really don't think my psyche can handle another year in the classroom. There is only so much you can take of being treated like garbage by students, parents, and administration. I have some really great students, but they are very much in the minority. I know what they have proposed for my teaching schedule for next year and I am scheduled to have half of my classes be with behavior problem students.

Any suggestions? 

 

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5 hours ago, City Mouse said:

That depends on several factors. I would be happy to go into more detail if you want to PM me. 

 

 

Well, I am not looking right now, I am in the counseling office again and plan to never go back to the classroom if at all possible.

And, the state of NC is looking into raising Counseling salaries to School Psych pay, which will help a lot (for me!) so I would not be going back to teaching if that happens.

Edited by DawnM

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I am in Texas and our retirement fund is NOT fully funded. They keep cutting benefits. The grocery store where my middle dd works actually has better medical benefits at a lower cost than my school district does. 

Our ESL program is ONE teacher for the entire school. She is awesome! But she is horribly overworked. We used to have two teachers sharing the load, but now we have just one. We need to have at least 3. The district has cut teacher positions every year and our classes keep getting bigger and bigger. This isn't an issue unique to the school or district where I am teaching. 

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What would community college opportunities be like?  I know it's teaching, but would conditions be better?

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Teach in a different district? They’re not all run the same  

I second the head hunter suggestion  

Best of luck!

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Many social work and case management jobs here list education as one of the degrees they’ll consider.  I don’t necessarily mean a CPS/DFS caseworker, but many programs that provide care management and services to children and adults with disabilities are looking for those kind of skills.  The pay isn’t always great, but I suspect you’re not making a lot really either.

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Would a position at your local community college pay enough? I know ours are always looking for lecturers - and science and math ones seems to be the hardest to find. 

 

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Are you interested at all in any kind of analyst positions, either public or private or do you want to stick with education related jobs? If so, is there any chance for an internship this summer where you could acquire experience with big data and programming? That might open up lots more possibilities for other jobs with your physical science and math background.

Also, I wouldn’t hesitate to apply for any job that interests you, whether or not you have all of the required or recommended qualifications. I think women often hesitate to do this more so than men, but it can really pay off sometimes. Also, you need to do what is best for you and your family, so I wouldn’t stop looking after the school year starts. You’re probably right that having a teacher leave mid-year is not ideal for the students, but you need to put yourself and your needs first.

Edited by Frances
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4 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I am in Texas and our retirement fund is NOT fully funded. They keep cutting benefits. The grocery store where my middle dd works actually has better medical benefits at a lower cost than my school district does. 

 

Does TX retirement system not provide any income in retirement?  And no medical benefits in retirement?

4 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

Our ESL program is ONE teacher for the entire school. She is awesome! But she is horribly overworked. We used to have two teachers sharing the load, but now we have just one. We need to have at least 3. The district has cut teacher positions every year and our classes keep getting bigger and bigger. This isn't an issue unique to the school or district where I am teaching. 

 

How many kids does she see a day and how many in a group?  Ours has been cut too.  It is all so strange to me.  In CA, I just had a classroom full of kids, like any other teacher.

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Our retirement benefits keep getting cut and the medical premiums for retired teachers keep going up. We are on a different system from state employees. Their retirement program and health program is fine. That's what our legislators get. Anybody in education (and it's not just teachers, it's bus drivers and cafeteria workers and janitors too) is pretty much screwed in Texas. They keep saying they are going to put through a raise for teachers, but I'll believe it when I see it. They have promised a raise before and then not done it. Our teaching contracts have NO pay attached to them. They say that the pay will come from the salary scale that is published in August (we have to sign our contracts in early May).

The health insurance plan was more expensive this past school year and covered less. The copays all went up along with the monthly cost.

If a pay raise actually does go through, I am sure they will cut back health insurance even more to pay for it.

 

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Has anybody used a service to help with their resume and job search? I've been watching the videos from Work It Daily. 

I'm really lousy at promoting myself.

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6 hours ago, DawnM said:


I found that they are worse for all the stipulations/requirements, and they usually pay less.  

 

I think this really varies. In my area, a parochial/religious school pays less than public, but there are secular private schools that pay much more. I think salaries vary considerably among the three options (public, parochial, private) in different regions, but I have no idea what this looks like in op's region.

Amy

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1 hour ago, Frances said:

Are you interested at all in any kind of analyst positions, either public or private or do you want to stick with education related jobs? If so, is there any chance for an internship this summer where you could acquire experience with big data and programming? That might open up lots more possibilities for other jobs with your physical science and math background.

Also, I wouldn’t hesitate to apply for any job that interests you, whether or not you have all of the required or recommended qualifications. I think women often hesitate to do this more so than men, but it can really pay off sometimes. Also, you need to do what is best for you and your family, so I wouldn’t stop looking after the school year starts. Your probably right that having a teacher leave mid-year is not ideal for the students, but you need to put yourself and your needs first.

 

Totally agree that men often approach job searching in an entirely different way than women.

Apply for jobs you'd like on the timeline that works for you. Personally that's not my initial instinct, but I see (and am learning from) the impact on the career progression of men in my life.

Amy

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3 minutes ago, Acadie said:

 

I think this really varies. In my area, a parochial/religious school pays less than public, but there are secular private schools that pay much more. I think salaries vary considerably among the three options (public, parochial, private) in different regions, but I have no idea what this looks like in op's region.

Amy

 

Yeah, I was offered a job at a Christian school, for only 10% less than the local PS district, BUT, what they didn't explain is that the retirement was pretty much nothing and there was 0 health insurance in retirement, making the PS exponentially more when you looked into the future earnings.

But I am sure they aren't all the same.

MOST of the private schools offer benefits like free or reduced tuition for your own kids, which would have benefited me a long time ago, but not now.

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44 minutes ago, AngieW in Texas said:

I'm really lousy at promoting myself.

 

It's great that you've identified an area where you can grow--and that could really shift your job search. 

Amy

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Just putting this out there.......

Several years ago my favorite high school teacher was offered early retirement after a long series of issues with the district.  She took a part time gig at one of the national strip mall type learning centers and before the year was out found herself managing it.  She enjoyed it there and stayed several years.  Wondering if this might be a path to the tutoring......

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This may sound "out there," but one of the teachers in my extended family took a job at a juvenile detention facility. She works overnight, helping with homework and tutoring for a few hours in the evening, and then just overseeing things after bedtime. She loves it. She taught middle school math and science throughout her working years, and then took this job "to come out of retirement." It's an entirely different setting, with no complaints whatsoever from students/parents/others. Just a lot of appreciation. 

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I feel your pain. Similar story, I'm supporting two college students and myself on a retail job and being a community college adjunct. Thankfully one of them graduates next May and plans to stay in the area. 

LinkedIn is generating more job leads and interviews than anything else for me. I have worked with several recruiters, and that seems like a good path. I've had several interviews lately, but no job offers.

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8 hours ago, Sugarfoot said:

This may sound "out there," but one of the teachers in my extended family took a job at a juvenile detention facility. She works overnight, helping with homework and tutoring for a few hours in the evening, and then just overseeing things after bedtime. She loves it. She taught middle school math and science throughout her working years, and then took this job "to come out of retirement." It's an entirely different setting, with no complaints whatsoever from students/parents/others. Just a lot of appreciation. 

 

I would enjoy that!

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10 hours ago, Sugarfoot said:

This may sound "out there," but one of the teachers in my extended family took a job at a juvenile detention facility. She works overnight, helping with homework and tutoring for a few hours in the evening, and then just overseeing things after bedtime. She loves it. She taught middle school math and science throughout her working years, and then took this job "to come out of retirement." It's an entirely different setting, with no complaints whatsoever from students/parents/others. Just a lot of appreciation. 

This! I have a friend who does this locally as a teacher- gets state benefits & retirement (not teachers, but state workers since it’s a state correct final center). She actually works with adults, not juveniles though. It’s strictly a day job only since they can’t carry papers or supplies in/ out of the facility. So there is no grading or lesson planning at night. She loves it. Hours and vacation are great too.

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My aunt taught at a federal pen for years. She enjoyed it, and the federal pay, but you do have to have your eyes open going in.

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Are there some colleges and universities that you could check for non-teaching jobs?  At times there are administrative jobs focused on curriculum design, project development, or tutoring//student services that might provide stable income and benefits.  

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I'm going to try contacting the career services center at my university (5 hours from where I live now) and see what they can do to help with fixing up my resume. It wasn't a great career center when I was actually going to the school 30 years ago, but I figured I might as well look into it.

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23 hours ago, AngieW in Texas said:

Has anybody used a service to help with their resume and job search? I've been watching the videos from Work It Daily. 

 

Check Career Services at the schools where you got your degrees; they often have a lot to offer alumni. You may need to be an active member of the alumni association but that's usually pretty inexpensive. 

Filling a corporate job is often a very slow process, so keep that in mind. It is very unlikely that you will find something in the next 9 weeks unless some of the things you are already working on are in the midst of the process.  I would not limit myself to that time frame. 

I would keep looking but with the idea that I would probably be teaching this coming year, and using the year to update skills and network.

Have you told everyone and his brother that you are looking for a job? Knowing a guy who knows a guy . . . that is how jobs get filled ime. 

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