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Old 12-28-2019, 03:41 PM
 
18 posts, read 7,988 times
Reputation: 11

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I've posted this on two other forums, but since some of the teacher questions are TN specific, I thought I would put it here as well.

I've read some very informative posts and insightful comments on all three states (Tennessee, Northwest Arkansas, and Texas), but everyone's situation is unique. Ultimately, I think it will just be more efficient to post my own thread and see what turns up.

For numerous reasons, my family is planning to relocate and we're really only looking at the 3 states I've named. I think our family could be happy in any of the 3 states although--of course!--everyone in our family has his or her preference. Hunny bunny prefers Texas because he's lived there before, is comfortable with it, and has some family there. Dad (my parents will also be moving) votes for Arkansas because it's beautiful and hasn't reached the boom level of Texas brought on by the California exodus. We also have a slight connection to Tennessee because I have a friend in the Nashville area and we also have family friends who moved to Cornersville about 6 years ago.

At the end of the day, and given that I would like to be in place by the beginning of the 2020-2021 school year, the deciding factor will likely be which state I can get a decent teaching job in. Still, I do want to continue investigating. A lot of information can be looked up on district websites and state department of ed sites and I have looked into some of those. However, I'm looking for some experiential input that isn't so readily available in those arenas.

TEACHING QUESTIONS:

1. All three states are in the top 15 states in the country for teacher quality (wage, student ratio) according to an article I read in USA Today. If you have teaching experience in any of the states, what were the advantages and disadvantages?

2. Are there many opportunities for teacher leadership? What kinds? Are these opportunities valued or encouraged by administration? Granted, there is a huge variety of teaching contexts, I'm just curious as to your own experiences in these states. My current district is tiny and affords many opportunities to wear several hats: new teacher mentoring, revision of district's master plan for EL success, or training of other teachers. I don't necessarily want or need those extra duties to begin with, but it's nice to know they exist.

2. I have taught both middle and high school for 13 years in a rural school that was close to a city. I teach both ESL/ELD and Spanish. I would like to stick to rural or suburban schools. I think TX will have many jobs posted for my skill set, what do you think my chances are in TN or NWA? Is there a specific region, county, or school district you would recommend?

3. The general administrative set up in TX and NWA seems fairly similar to what I've worked with in the past (State--> county/region --> local school district --> school site), but TN seems to be different. Some counties seem to operate as the school district and other (more populous, maybe?) counties seem to have school districts. Does that have much of an impact on day-to-day life for teachers? If so, is one better than the other? Why?

4. A common concern for most people regardless of profession is healthcare. In my current position, I cannot afford healthcare for me, my husband, and my 18-month-old, so just me and my child are covered. That leaves hunny bunny with minimal, cut-rate coverage with sky-high deductibles that isn't even worth the monthly premiums he pays. I'm sure that theme is common in TN, TX, and NWA. What are some work arounds that teachers do? I've heard of teachers having 2nd or even 3rd jobs to swing healthcare and housing. I've also heard of teachers opting for school district healthcare for themselves and buying private insurance for their families to save some money. Any input or opinions on this?

5. TN specific...Is it true that all TN teachers are required to be trained on snake catching and releasing? I realize that hearing something through the grapevine isn't always reliable, but I would really like to either confirm or debunk this one. A friend of my niece's recently moved to TN and her kid's teacher mentioned that since snakes can wander in uninvited, all TN teachers are trained to contain and remove them from the classrooms if needed. For all I know the training could be as simple as, get the kids out of the classroom, shut the door, and call maintenance. Venomous or otherwise makes no difference to me, I'm equally petrified, so I'd like to clear this up if anyone knows.

6. I've seen some jobs listed as 9, 10, 11, or 12 month positions. Is this specific to the number of paychecks a teacher would receive per year, or based upon the number of working days or what? It seems like if it's just the number of pay warrants, then a teacher would receive the same annual salary per years of service, it would just be distributed differently. Yet, I thought I saw on a pay scale that the 9 month position paid a substantially lower annual salary than the 11 month position for the same number of years of service.
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Old 12-28-2019, 05:58 PM
 
18 posts, read 7,988 times
Reputation: 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen.matthews78 View Post

5. TN specific...Is it true that all TN teachers are required to be trained on snake catching and releasing? I realize that hearing something through the grapevine isn't always reliable, but I would really like to either confirm or debunk this one. A friend of my niece's recently moved to TN and her kid's teacher mentioned that since snakes can wander in uninvited, all TN teachers are trained to contain and remove them from the classrooms if needed. For all I know the training could be as simple as, get the kids out of the classroom, shut the door, and call maintenance. Venomous or otherwise makes no difference to me, I'm equally petrified, so I'd like to clear this up if anyone knows.
Please disregard this question. The edit/delete button disappeared or I would go in and delete it myself.
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Old 12-28-2019, 07:09 PM
 
12,545 posts, read 35,008,761 times
Reputation: 9656
Yeah that snake handling question is so absurd, I don't know how any sane person could even entertain the notion that it's a valid question. It's almost insulting. Actually, it is insulting.

About the only thing I can tell you is, if you teach Spanish and ESL, you would be in high demand. I do know that a new high school is opening in suburban Mt Juliet which is in Wilson County, immediately east of and adjacent to Nashville. Even though the building isn't finished, they have the new administration in place who will be spending the next few months on a hiring spree. The new school will be quite a show place with all the latest bells and whistles. They'll need several Spanish teachers.

Mt Juliet has really good schools. Be warned, though, that Wilson County also includes the county seat, Lebanon, which has awful schools. So be sure to apply for jobs at the new school, Green Hill HS, or the existing HS in Mt Juliet, Mt Juliet HS. My friends who work at MJHS absolutely adore it. Mt Juliet is a very family-friendly community.

Health insurance is free for singles in Wilson County, and they have free clinics (and free medications) for teachers. I don't know what the premiums are for family health insurance, but the free clinics and medications are a definite perk.

Each county in TN has its own school district although some cities within those counties also have their own school districts. To the best of my knowledge, the cities in the Nashville area that have their own school districts (Franklin, Lebanon, Murfreesboro) are just for K-8 schools.

Williamson County has arguably the best school district in the state, but it's far from affordable on a teacher's salary. I recommend checking out Wilson County (minus Lebanon HS), Sumner County (minus Gallatin HS), and Rutherford County. I believe Rutherford also has a signing bonus for new teachers, and I think Rutherford also pays the most out of those three counties. Davidson County (Nashville) pays the best, but it also has the absolute worst schools.
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Old 12-28-2019, 09:39 PM
 
18 posts, read 7,988 times
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Thanks for the info.; it's very helpful. Thanks for replying despite the offense.
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Old 12-29-2019, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
29,351 posts, read 22,186,797 times
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One thing to keep track of is that, in general, city school districts tend to pay better and be better funded than county districts. This probably goes out the window somewhat in affluent places like Williamson County, but is a general rule throughout most of the state.

I've never heard of the snake handling thing. While snakes are present throughout TN, you won't likely run across one day to day. Most are skittish and afraid of humans.
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Old 12-29-2019, 12:57 PM
 
18 posts, read 7,988 times
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Good to keep in mind, serious conversation. Thanks!
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Old 12-29-2019, 08:01 PM
 
15,858 posts, read 29,137,040 times
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Mod Note: You have posted this duplicate thread numerous times all over City-Data which is a TOS violation. Since this one is underway I will leave it for now but since it is about TN I will be moving it to the main TN forum from the Nashville forum as there are a lot of different teaching experiences in TN.
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Old 12-31-2019, 10:43 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,027 posts, read 1,090,741 times
Reputation: 5280
Have you investigated the pension plans in the states you are considering? Tennessee has moved to a "hybrid" system which strengthened the pension fund, but puts more of the risk on the employee as compared to a plan that is 100% defined benefit. https://www.tennessean.com/story/new...re/2378623002/.
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Old 01-01-2020, 01:56 AM
 
18 posts, read 7,988 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JOinGA View Post
Have you investigated the pension plans in the states you are considering? https://www.tennessean.com/story/new...re/2378623002/.
This is a great point. I had given some preliminary thought to it, but didn't go into much detail other than figuring out whether I would be able to collect on both assuming I work the required number of years in the new state. Thanks for the link!
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Old 01-02-2020, 08:24 AM
 
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,027 posts, read 1,090,741 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jen.matthews78 View Post
This is a great point. I had given some preliminary thought to it, but didn't go into much detail other than figuring out whether I would be able to collect on both assuming I work the required number of years in the new state. Thanks for the link!
I was a project manager for a Georgia school system and retired with a pension. The Republicans have repeatedly tried to move the Georgia system to a hybrid, but have so far faced enough opposition to back off. The Georgia teacher pension fund is healthy and there is no compelling reason to change the system, but...... no one who enters teaching today is guaranteed that their pension system won't change before they actually get vested or retire. So, even if you go into a new state with a certain benefit, you may not ultimately receive that benefit. In Georgia, they did change the retirement health benefit for newer employees.....and that included people who already had up to 5 years of teaching in the system. Not everyone got grandfathered in to the old system and this was quite a shock to some people. It is best to stay aware of what can happen and plan accordingly.
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