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Old 12-18-2009, 04:18 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runningncircles1 View Post
Ivory, you live in Michigan. If I'm not mistaken, Michigan's economy has been **** poor for a long time, people have left the state in droves, and they have cut back on any staff in all levels of government because it's not affordable. I would say "move the hell out of dodge," but you said you have kids. Anyway, I think it's bad to use your personal experience to make a judgement call for the entire market in normal conditions, when your state has been in recession far longer than the rest of the country, and conditions there are not the norm. As I said in a previous post, many of the rustbelt states are more slow to hire because of their economies. If you come down here to the South, it's a whole new story. The district we live in, for example, usually hires about 500-1200 teachers a year (depending on enrollment) because we can't get enough. This year, they "froze" hiring, but still added 300 teachers. They tend to prefer Masters degrees, as well. In science, they like you to have both general AND specialized certs. The general is for regular classes, and specialized is for AP courses (you have to get AP certified, but they pay for it here). The starting pay is pretty good, too, at about 45-50K for first timers, depending on education and other factors. It's due to the population explosion here. Also, I've heard that the state (GA) wants to make teachers get specialized certs due to new education standards. IDK if it's true or not, but I remember hearing some teachers complain about it. So, there may be some hope for you after all (just get those kids through school and leave MI)!
Most teachers have one or the other not both and when they have only one, the one they hire is the general science cert to the exclusion of the specialized cert. I'm sure schools would like you to have both but most of us don't have both. For most of us, we'd have to go back to school for the equivalent of another major to get both. When I was going to school, the state was crying abou the need for subject matter experts but they forgot to tell us few districts actually hire us.

And it's not just here. I have plenty of friends who are looking nationwide who can't find work either. The number of states attending the Michigan job fairs (we are one of the states that graduates a lot of teachers) has been dwindling for some time. The grass may be less brown on your side of the fence but it, certainly, isn't green. While I never seriously entertained other states, I did allow the university to send my resume to schools in other states. Never got a nibble. One issue is certs don't just transfer. Just because I'm certified to teach in Michigan doesn't mean I'm certified to teach in South Carolina.

On the subject of certs, here's what I had to have for my majors/minor. I had to have 40 credits in chemistry for my chemistry major, 30 in math for my math major and 20 in physics for my physics minor. To get a general science cert on top of that, I'd need 24 credits in life and earth science, which are two subjects it would be best to, probably, never have me teach. All these credits are on top of a masters degree in education which was 36 credits. Yes, I could go back and take the 12 credits in life and 12 credits in earth science I need and sit for the DI. With a full time job teaching three lab based preps in a charter where I don't even have the luxury of a lab to set up labs in I might be able to manage one class a semester but I wouldn't see my family or the light of day. You tell me why someone with my credentials should have to do that just to be employable? If that's what it takes for them to want me to teach, then they don't want me to teach.

I will repeat my message: I STRONGLY advise anyone thinking about coming out of inustry to address the "science teacher shortage" to not do so. There is no shortage. The certs schools want are the general science certs not subject matter expertise certs that those of us who have worked professionally, likely, will qualify for. They don't need or want us. Unless a state has something on the books to force our hire, we get to choose from the low paying charter positions that those with the general science certs can avoid. Michigan does not have anything on the books to even encourage schools to hire us yet keeps on preaching that they NEED people to come out of industry to teach. Don't buy what they're selling. I did and I regret it. Michigan has no shortage of math/science teachers. If you go into teaching those subjects, you'll stand in a line 17 deep for every interview. Personally, I wouldn't even recommend a teaching major anywhere. In a bad economy, it's one of the majors people flock to thinking there will always be teaching jobs.
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Old 12-18-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Problem is that's not what they're doing. You don't have to be the best to get the job. You have to know the right people or have flexible certifications. If they were after the best, people like me who come into the teaching profession with professional degrees in the subjects they teach and many years of experience actually using what they learned would be in high demand. We're in lowest demand. They don't go after top tier at all. They hire the cheaptest candidate they like. If they hired top tier, masters degrees would help teachers get jobs. Reality is they hurt. Ditto for being a subject matter expert, that hurts too because you can only teach the subjects you're an expert at.

I WISH they hired top tier. I'm in it. We're the ones who are struggling the most. I have a masters degree in chemical engineering and a master of arts in teaching with a near 4.0 (One A-), I have a exemplary work history, wonderful letters of recommendation, subject matter expert certs in three subjects and I can't buy an interview let alone land a job....Well, maybe I can, I haven't tried that one yet.

You're kidding yourself if you think schools pick top tier. They pick who they like and they choose from people who have generalist certs because they can put them where they like.
Your thinking is quite flawed on this subject.

One thing is that top tier does not equal expert on the subject. That would compare to saying that best rated, highest priced car seat is the best choice for every parent when it doesn't take into account what kind of car they might have, how many other car seats have to be used, what size the child is and how old they are.
Top tier is the candidate that best fits what the current job opening needs, plain and simple. Subject knowledge, experience, personality, references that relate directly to the job and attitude all contribute to the consideration of the top tier they are looking for. Even more important is how that person will fit in with the rest of the teaching team.
You may be the expert on the subject, have an exemplary work history in your previous job and all kinds of letters of recommendation but it won't mean a thing if the person interviewing you doesn't think you will fit in with what the school needs.

Also, first year teachers for the districts here (DFW area) are all hired in at the same exact pay level, with a minimal amount added on for having a Master's. It doesn't matter how long you've been teaching elsewhere, if you move districts, you start at their first year teachers pay just like the new graduate or the newly alternate certification candidate. So, they simply do not and cannot hire the 'cheapest' candidate. So, that's not true everywhere.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:15 PM
 
1,650 posts, read 3,290,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
Most teachers have one or the other not both and when they have only one, the one they hire is the general science cert to the exclusion of the specialized cert. I'm sure schools would like you to have both but most of us don't have both. For most of us, we'd have to go back to school for the equivalent of another major to get both. When I was going to school, the state was crying abou the need for subject matter experts but they forgot to tell us few districts actually hire us.

And it's not just here. I have plenty of friends who are looking nationwide who can't find work either. The number of states attending the Michigan job fairs (we are one of the states that graduates a lot of teachers) has been dwindling for some time. The grass may be less brown on your side of the fence but it, certainly, isn't green. While I never seriously entertained other states, I did allow the university to send my resume to schools in other states. Never got a nibble. One issue is certs don't just transfer. Just because I'm certified to teach in Michigan doesn't mean I'm certified to teach in South Carolina.

On the subject of certs, here's what I had to have for my majors/minor. I had to have 40 credits in chemistry for my chemistry major, 30 in math for my math major and 20 in physics for my physics minor. To get a general science cert on top of that, I'd need 24 credits in life and earth science, which are two subjects it would be best to, probably, never have me teach. All these credits are on top of a masters degree in education which was 36 credits. Yes, I could go back and take the 12 credits in life and 12 credits in earth science I need and sit for the DI. With a full time job teaching three lab based preps in a charter where I don't even have the luxury of a lab to set up labs in I might be able to manage one class a semester but I wouldn't see my family or the light of day. You tell me why someone with my credentials should have to do that just to be employable? If that's what it takes for them to want me to teach, then they don't want me to teach.

I will repeat my message: I STRONGLY advise anyone thinking about coming out of inustry to address the "science teacher shortage" to not do so. There is no shortage. The certs schools want are the general science certs not subject matter expertise certs that those of us who have worked professionally, likely, will qualify for. They don't need or want us. Unless a state has something on the books to force our hire, we get to choose from the low paying charter positions that those with the general science certs can avoid. Michigan does not have anything on the books to even encourage schools to hire us yet keeps on preaching that they NEED people to come out of industry to teach. Don't buy what they're selling. I did and I regret it. Michigan has no shortage of math/science teachers. If you go into teaching those subjects, you'll stand in a line 17 deep for every interview. Personally, I wouldn't even recommend a teaching major anywhere. In a bad economy, it's one of the majors people flock to thinking there will always be teaching jobs.
I wouldn't recommend someone major in teaching either. Even the less desirable districts are not hiring. Los Angeles and New York City public schools laid off teachers, my district in a bordertown laid off teachers, so you know it is tough to get a teaching job. In this economy, it is hard to get a subbing job because schools are getting so many applicants. If people want to get out of the unemployment line, they need to stop buying the lie that we actually need teachers. The reality is that even in states where teachers were once in demand( ex: Arizona, North Carolina) no longer need teachers.
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Old 12-18-2009, 03:46 PM
 
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Default Texas is a big state

Just because you haven't been offered a job where you applied, does not mean that there is a glut of teachers. I am sure there are small towns in Texas that need teachers.

A recent family graduate in a neighboring state received multiple teaching offers. Just because you got a degree in Texas doesn't mandate that you only get a job in Texas. I got a job in a different state than my degree is from.

And of course, maybe there was a single applicant for each position that had better grades or recommendations than you.
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Old 12-18-2009, 05:14 PM
Status: "Keep your friends close and your enemies closer" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebelt1234 View Post
I wouldn't recommend someone major in teaching either. Even the less desirable districts are not hiring. Los Angeles and New York City public schools laid off teachers, my district in a bordertown laid off teachers, so you know it is tough to get a teaching job. In this economy, it is hard to get a subbing job because schools are getting so many applicants. If people want to get out of the unemployment line, they need to stop buying the lie that we actually need teachers. The reality is that even in states where teachers were once in demand( ex: Arizona, North Carolina) no longer need teachers.

It's not exactly that the demand isn't there and systems "no longer need teachers" but a refiguring of class sizes in many cases means fewer hirings. My school had a staff reduction of 3 teachers,although we gained a specific program Counselor and secretary for same even though the program (IB) isn't really operating nor have we been approved by the IB folks for it. Our student population also increased, so coupled with the staff reductions made, class sizes go over 33 or so up to as high as 40 (my biggest class is 36 this semester, 41 next semester). What also hurts is having some under-populated AP classes which we are mandated by the school system to hold if even as few as two kids sign up.
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Old 12-19-2009, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
25,371 posts, read 28,780,005 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hypocore View Post
Your thinking is quite flawed on this subject.

One thing is that top tier does not equal expert on the subject. That would compare to saying that best rated, highest priced car seat is the best choice for every parent when it doesn't take into account what kind of car they might have, how many other car seats have to be used, what size the child is and how old they are.
Top tier is the candidate that best fits what the current job opening needs, plain and simple. Subject knowledge, experience, personality, references that relate directly to the job and attitude all contribute to the consideration of the top tier they are looking for. Even more important is how that person will fit in with the rest of the teaching team.
You may be the expert on the subject, have an exemplary work history in your previous job and all kinds of letters of recommendation but it won't mean a thing if the person interviewing you doesn't think you will fit in with what the school needs.

Also, first year teachers for the districts here (DFW area) are all hired in at the same exact pay level, with a minimal amount added on for having a Master's. It doesn't matter how long you've been teaching elsewhere, if you move districts, you start at their first year teachers pay just like the new graduate or the newly alternate certification candidate. So, they simply do not and cannot hire the 'cheapest' candidate. So, that's not true everywhere.
And, here, that would be general science certs. That's why I keep advising people who are in industry to stay there. Coming out of industry with subject specific certs will land you a place in the unemployment line.

I've had this discussion with the state board of education. They agree that it's a real problem. They want subject matter experts in the classroom but schools aren't hiring us because they view our certs as too narrow. They tell me they are planning to do something about that. I'm hoping they require subject matter certs for the higher classes. First, this will mean our kids are taught by teachers who know their subjects, and second, it will create an avenue into teaching for people coming out of industry who can better advise our students as to what they will need in industry. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be since some here think my inability to find a real job is a reflection of my lack of ability, any change will come too late for me. I'm done after this year. If I haven't found a real job teaching by May, I'm going back into engineering. I've wasted enough time on what is proving to be a pipe dream.

I really need to just accept that I need to get out of teaching. My certs are neither wanted or needed. I don't think it's a coincidence that I know 5 former chemical engineers with the same certs I have (counting myself here) who are stuck working in low paying charter or private schools. Last job fair I went to, I met three other former engineers (not chemical) who were unemployed.

I have no idea why this state keeps telling us we NEED people to come out of industry to teach the sciences when there are no jobs for us. They've started yet another campaign to get people to do what I did. It's kind of like the government forcing auto makers to make fuel efficient cars when no one wanted to buy them. You may think something would be a good thing to do but if people won't actually buy the product, it just sits on the shelf and it's a total waste of time to make the product.

If you are inclined to come out of industry to address the science teacher "shortage", make darned sure your state has created an avenue to employment for you. Michigan's "Shortage" is only on paper. IF a major or minor in your subject area were required to teach chemistry right now, there would not be enough teachers but because holders of the DI can teach chemistry, there is no need for subject specific teachers. I hear some states actually require that a teacher major or minor in the science they teach. Michigan is not one of them. It's general science certs that are marketable here. You need to go for a middle school endorsement to teach high school chemistry. Holders of the integrated science cert are certified for all science subjects. Someone like me who majored in chemistry and math and minored in physics can only teach the subjects on my cert.

And yes, they do hire the chepest candidate. Many districts won't look at masters level candidates if there is a bachelors level candidate available or they require you to start on the bachelors track. I know someone who taught chemistry at a charter school for 8 years and finally landed a position in a district (same certs I have) who had to accept bachelor's level one to get into the district. After 5 years, they will give her credit for her masters degree. She gets no credit for the 8 years she's already taught because it was in a charter school not a district (we're not state employees. We're treated the same as subs.)

And just in case you don't believe it's my certs. The university (who BTW warned the state this would happen when they decided holders of the DI could teach chemistry) has suggested I decertify in chemistry and market myself as a math/physics teacher. While I have seen math postings that required a DI to interview, most dont'. Decertification would involve removing my chemistry credits from my transcript (can be done since they were all transfer credits) and then petitioning the state to take the DC cert off of my certificate. Once I found a job as a math teacher, I could then recertify for chemistry and wait until there was an opening in my district to teach chemistry.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 12-19-2009 at 05:49 AM..
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Old 12-19-2009, 08:58 AM
 
1,650 posts, read 3,290,981 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
And, here, that would be general science certs. That's why I keep advising people who are in industry to stay there. Coming out of industry with subject specific certs will land you a place in the unemployment line.

I've had this discussion with the state board of education. They agree that it's a real problem. They want subject matter experts in the classroom but schools aren't hiring us because they view our certs as too narrow. They tell me they are planning to do something about that. I'm hoping they require subject matter certs for the higher classes. First, this will mean our kids are taught by teachers who know their subjects, and second, it will create an avenue into teaching for people coming out of industry who can better advise our students as to what they will need in industry. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the case may be since some here think my inability to find a real job is a reflection of my lack of ability, any change will come too late for me. I'm done after this year. If I haven't found a real job teaching by May, I'm going back into engineering. I've wasted enough time on what is proving to be a pipe dream.

I really need to just accept that I need to get out of teaching. My certs are neither wanted or needed. I don't think it's a coincidence that I know 5 former chemical engineers with the same certs I have (counting myself here) who are stuck working in low paying charter or private schools. Last job fair I went to, I met three other former engineers (not chemical) who were unemployed.

I have no idea why this state keeps telling us we NEED people to come out of industry to teach the sciences when there are no jobs for us. They've started yet another campaign to get people to do what I did. It's kind of like the government forcing auto makers to make fuel efficient cars when no one wanted to buy them. You may think something would be a good thing to do but if people won't actually buy the product, it just sits on the shelf and it's a total waste of time to make the product.

If you are inclined to come out of industry to address the science teacher "shortage", make darned sure your state has created an avenue to employment for you. Michigan's "Shortage" is only on paper. IF a major or minor in your subject area were required to teach chemistry right now, there would not be enough teachers but because holders of the DI can teach chemistry, there is no need for subject specific teachers. I hear some states actually require that a teacher major or minor in the science they teach. Michigan is not one of them. It's general science certs that are marketable here. You need to go for a middle school endorsement to teach high school chemistry. Holders of the integrated science cert are certified for all science subjects. Someone like me who majored in chemistry and math and minored in physics can only teach the subjects on my cert.

And yes, they do hire the chepest candidate. Many districts won't look at masters level candidates if there is a bachelors level candidate available or they require you to start on the bachelors track. I know someone who taught chemistry at a charter school for 8 years and finally landed a position in a district (same certs I have) who had to accept bachelor's level one to get into the district. After 5 years, they will give her credit for her masters degree. She gets no credit for the 8 years she's already taught because it was in a charter school not a district (we're not state employees. We're treated the same as subs.)

And just in case you don't believe it's my certs. The university (who BTW warned the state this would happen when they decided holders of the DI could teach chemistry) has suggested I decertify in chemistry and market myself as a math/physics teacher. While I have seen math postings that required a DI to interview, most dont'. Decertification would involve removing my chemistry credits from my transcript (can be done since they were all transfer credits) and then petitioning the state to take the DC cert off of my certificate. Once I found a job as a math teacher, I could then recertify for chemistry and wait until there was an opening in my district to teach chemistry.
Everything you said is accurate. Although unfortunately Michigan isn't the only state trying to say that they have a teacher shortage. Indiana was advertising a teacher shortage as well. There are even a few alternative certification programs there. Well, I applied for jobs there and one school said that they get 4000 applications, another 300, a charter school said they they 50-60 for 2 positions. Anyone in industry would do best to stay put unless they enjoy unemployment.
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Old 12-19-2009, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Whoville....
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Originally Posted by bluebelt1234 View Post
Everything you said is accurate. Although unfortunately Michigan isn't the only state trying to say that they have a teacher shortage. Indiana was advertising a teacher shortage as well. There are even a few alternative certification programs there. Well, I applied for jobs there and one school said that they get 4000 applications, another 300, a charter school said they they 50-60 for 2 positions. Anyone in industry would do best to stay put unless they enjoy unemployment.
When I go to teacher job fairs, I stand in lines 30-40 deep for positions in not so great districts. I don't bother with the good districts as their lines are often a couple of hundred deep. The charters will have a dozen or so in line. Of course I don't go to the biggest job fairs. I go to the smaller ones. I figure there may be fewer schools there but there are fewer candidates as well. Last job fair I went to, I was able to do 5, 5 minute interviews in 6 hours. The rest of the time I stood in line waiting. The last job interview I went on (for a charter) had enough candidates to fill three days of interviewing before they narrowed it down to two of us who taught a lesson. Me and a man who had several years more experience than I do. He got the job.

I don't get why some states are still crying shortage. The shortage is in the certs they'd like to see in front of classrooms BUT districts like to hire general certs because they are flexible. Reality is (and the state school board agrees with my assessment here) that if a school hires someone with a DX or DI, they have a science teacher they can use anywhere in grades 6-12. If they hire me, they have a teacher they can use to teach chemistry or physics. Which one would YOU hire if you had to make sure you had teachers in front of classrooms like astronomy and earth science as well as chemistry and physics?

While the state (and many parents) would love to see subject specific certs for chemistry and physics teachers, unless a district is large enough to need multiple chemistry and physics teachers, they can't afford to hire us and even then, it's prudent to hire a DI over a DC or DE simply because the holder of the DI fits anywhere and you never know what you'll need down the road. I understand why schools do it. What I don't get is why the state keeps pushing single subject certs WITHOUT passing legislation to help us get hired. It is clear that if they really want subject matter experts in the classroom they are going to have to pass legislation requiring subject specific certs for subjects like chemistry, biology and physics. You can't just put a product on the shelf. You have to create a market in order for it to get used. Right now, there is no market for subject specific certs and it's not just in sciences. One of our history teachers is saying the same thing about not having an RX which would allow him to teach all social studies grades 6-12.

I'm pinning my hopes on my EX (general math for grades 6-12). I may be able to market that now that I have a math major instead of a minor. I just hope two years of teaching chemistry and physics doesn't pigeon hole me as a chemistry/physics teacher. I'm not sure how it works in teaching. I've heard that if you're certified in something, you will, eventually teach it. That would lead me to believe it's not unusual for teachers to switch what they teach. I'm going to do a major job search starting in February marketing myself as a math teacher. I'll even take another charter position next year (my charter doesn't need math teachers so I will have to leave to do this) just to get math experience. Then I should be able to find something the following year. As a math teacher, my chemistry and physics certs might be a plus. We'll see what happens next year. I'll either be a math teacher or back in engineering by the fall. If it's engineering, I'll probably be working out of state and commuting home once a month but I'll make enough to make that worthwhile. I'm glad I live in an internet age. At least I can talk to my kids each night via internet video. I do hate to separate the family but I really do need to find a real job.

Last edited by Ivorytickler; 12-19-2009 at 10:04 AM..
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Old 12-19-2009, 11:25 AM
 
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We have teacher openings right now in elementary, mid & high school math & science, etc., & it's just mid-year.

ASD Online -- The Web Site of the Anchorage School District
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Old 12-19-2009, 01:20 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Ivorytickler View Post
I really need to just accept that I need to get out of teaching. My certs are neither wanted or needed. I don't think it's a coincidence that I know 5 former chemical engineers with the same certs I have (counting myself here) who are stuck working in low paying charter or private schools. Last job fair I went to, I met three other former engineers (not chemical) who were unemployed.

And yes, they do hire the chepest candidate. Many districts won't look at masters level candidates if there is a bachelors level candidate available or they require you to start on the bachelors track. I know someone who taught chemistry at a charter school for 8 years and finally landed a position in a district (same certs I have) who had to accept bachelor's level one to get into the district. After 5 years, they will give her credit for her masters degree. She gets no credit for the 8 years she's already taught because it was in a charter school not a district (we're not state employees. We're treated the same as subs.)
.
I agree with you on the first part. I think what you want to offer for teaching isn't what's needed in the schools.

On the second, your definition of cheapest seems to the person with the lowest education level and that's not my definition at all.

As a I said here, it doesn't matter where you come from or how long you've taught, you will start at the same starting pay as any other teacher who is new to any particular school district. Our area districts start teachers around $47,000 and that's where you would start. If you had a Master's then it would bump up to only around $48,500. Period.

The only areas for varying that pay is for stipends for extra assignments such as coaching, trainers, certain sponsors, or fine arts.

So anyone with a BS would come out with the exact same starting pay no matter how they came about getting that teaching certification, what grades they made, where they went to school or how long they've been teaching. There is no 'cheapest'.
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