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Old 08-06-2013, 06:14 PM
23 posts, read 44,399 times
Reputation: 19


Hello, as the title states, I am a mid life career switcher looking to transition from the business world into the field of education. I have recently received my 1 year provisional license to teach History and Social Sciences (Grades 6 -12), but my preference is for the middle grades.

Here's my dilemma......All of the applications that I have seen require a reference from your current employer.

While I fully understand the need for school systems to conduct background checks and other due diligence practices prior to extending an offer of employment; my current employer does not take too kindly to employees that are looking for opportunities outside of the company and will often retaliate against them; they also have a policy prohibiting personal / professional recommendations.

So what am I to do ?.. ..Has anyone else faced this obstacle when applying for teaching positions ?
If so, how did you overcome it ?....If not, what would you suggest ?

I am particularly interested in receiving feedback from those who entered the teaching field via the alternative career switcher route.

I look forward to your response. Thanks.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:01 PM
1,825 posts, read 2,584,656 times
Reputation: 1778
I really don't have an answer for you but am going to suggest you also post this over on the teacher folder in the education category. While that would not be NoVA specific I'm sure your issue comes up in other areas of the country and you may get more feedback. FYI, I only see one listing for secondary History/Soc Studies on the FCPS website so the pickings will be slim at this time of year. Good luck though.
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Old 08-06-2013, 07:08 PM
Location: New-Dentist Colony
5,738 posts, read 8,941,773 times
Reputation: 3857
Could you get someone you trust at your current company to recommend you confidentially? If not your current supervisor, perhaps a former one--or even a different unit's supervisor who might have observed your work/interactions with that team?
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:03 PM
Location: Northern Virginia
4,489 posts, read 9,555,817 times
Reputation: 3656
I agree with Carlingtonian's suggestion. Is there anyone in the office (supervisor or not) who can vouch for you? I can almost guarantee they won't contact your employer--no one from HR or the schools I interviewed at contacted any references beyond my cooperating student teacher.

FWIW, I too made the switch from the business world (IT consulting) to teaching middle school (math, in my case). I did not go the alternative route because I didn't feel it would adequately prepare me, and I'm SO incredibly grateful that I went for a masters in education and did the student teaching hours. It was extremely helpful, otherwise I'm pretty sure I would have died my first year I would try to sub or volunteer in a school as much as possible if you don't get a job this year, because all the experience you can get will be helpful.

I did have a colleague who went straight from a 30 year career as an attorney to teaching, but he had spent several years doing free math tutoring for the kids in the school (spending several hours a day helping their neediest kids prepare for state testing). He still had a really rough time going into the classroom on his own.

I am going to guess that at this point in the year, you are looking at paraprofessional positions and subbing. You might get lucky though--I would personally email every principal and physically visit every middle school you are interested in, sending your resume and hoping for the best! Fill out the applications through HR, but then be proactive on your own. Your application won't go anywhere from the main office.
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Old 08-06-2013, 08:06 PM
5,681 posts, read 8,090,601 times
Reputation: 5944
I'd recommend subbing. Most districts already have their staff in place for next year.
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