Who’s Looking For A Job This Summer?

484010_business_man_modifiedAre you looking for a new job this summer? I know some people are sticking it out in their current district just because of the insecurity with the recession and current economic situation. I also know that some people have graduated from college and are moving into the world of education. Others have chosen to leave the teaching profession entirely. Are you looking for a new job this summer? Care to comment about your questions/fears/experiences?

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

25 Comments on Who’s Looking For A Job This Summer?

  1. I am a recent graduate of Texas Woman’s University and am spending this summer desperately searching for a job. I am certified EC-4 Generalist. I am terrified that I will not get a job, but I feel that I am doing all that I can to put my name out there and to be noticed by principals. I have applied at every district within a 50 mile radius and email the principals of schools with (and without) jobs about every 3 weeks. As of yesterday, I have not head one thing. No phone calls and def no interviews, and very few reply emails (saying “Thanks! We’ll keep your info just in case!”). At 3 p.m. today I got a phone call from a nearby school principal asking me to come in to interview next week! This was a referral from my student teaching principal (who has zero available jobs). I am extremely excited!

    What is so terrifying is that I have gone to all of the job fairs in the area and check all of the job boards daily (if not hourly) and there are very few jobs out there. I cannot see why a principal would hire me, a 22 year old straight out of college, over someone with even 1 year of experience. It is a very sad time out there for people like me, looking for their dream job.

    • The principal/school board would hire you over the (any) years of experience teacher, ma’am, because you’re less expensive. It’s good business sense when the state cuts funding. Many local districts in my rural Rust Belt area are coping by not replacing retirees, just shuffling existing staff around to keep the coverage legal. Hiring is done only if somebody can’t be pulled from somewhere else. In the past 5 years, we also got “new schools” which meant consolidation, which means fewer positions in the long run. If somebody has a stellar track record in the hot-button areas of reading & math test passage, then that experienced person wins the job over the newbie.

  2. I am also a recent grad who obtained my 7-12 Social Studies certification (and I am mid-life career changer). There are very, very few jobs here in the NE. I heard from a school chum that even NYC is not hiring for social studies. Wow! NYC was the ONE district that always seemed to be hiring.

    Anyway, I’ve been on one interview so far. There were over 100 candidates for the spot and it took connections to even get an interview! With all of the competition, I am simply treating this as an opportunity to gain interview experience. This bad economy won’t last forever…and districts will eventually start hiring again. Around here, many teachers who planned to retire are holding off b/c their stock investments have lost so much value. I bet in another couple of years, as these teachers retire and things hopefully get better with the economy, it won’t be so tough. In the meanwhile, subbing is looking pretty good!

  3. I am a career changer hoping to teach science in the fall. The job market is bleak and the urban school district in our area is reducing its teaching staff by 10%. I’ve worked hard to finish my masters and am very discouraged.

    My grad school is graduating 14 science teachers this year and has 24 incoming. They are one of five education schools in the area. I wonder if they’ve told any of those 24 incoming students that there are no jobs.

  4. These are all interesting. I know some of you have families and relocation is absolutely out of the question. I wonder how many single, unattached teachers looking for jobs are limiting themselves in their search radius.

    As Mrs. Schwartz points out, she’s only looking within a 50 mile radius. I know there are a whole lot of districts up there, but the fact that she hasn’t had much success makes me wonder if she might expand it even to 100 miles or at least the entire DFW Metroplex area.

    I know when I first started out, I limited my searches quite a bit and didn’t get much success. My second time around, I started out local and quickly realized that I needed to expand big time. The job I finally got is almost 500 miles away from my parents. It’s not somewhere I would have initially wanted, but it has been great for me.

  5. Eight years ago, I earned my certificate through an alternative certification program. I have wanted to teach within the district where I live. My wife just finished her 19th year here, and we really like it.
    Anyway, it took me three years to land my first job. And let me tell you, that was 3 long years of using credit cards and working mulitiple jobs. I even got a job assisting a textbook salesman here in South Texas. He supported me as I used any way possible to network with the 50+ districts we serviced. And still no luck.
    And then, 5 years ago, I got the call. My teaching dream became reality, only 50 miles from home. Luckily, I would not be required to coach as is common for middle school social studies teachers in the outlying areas of San Antonio.
    I have gone to job fairs every summer since, and these jobs are so hard to land. This year is tricky for me because I am now the student council sponsor and my school is going to invest more money in me by providing me with AP training. I went to a job fair last week, and it was hard explaining to principals why they should hire someone like me who is so happy right where I’m at. (Sorry to dangle that participle.)
    So, seriously, if you do not get a position, go research jobs that service schools. Call textbook companies. I did not do a lot of sales, and used my time to learn what makes teachers tick. Definitely look into being a substitute teacher. You can pick and choose your assignments around your personal classroom preferences and temp jobs.
    I drove to schools and district offices on my own time and personally handed my resume to a PERSON. As we see our society twittering, etc., emails can be sometimes overwhelming. And prinicipals know how to filter their emails into folders they may never open.
    Call the principal’s secretary; they become your best friend after you get hired. They network with other schools, so send them flowers or just be nice. You never know.
    I’m done. BTW, my district is advertising 3 Social Studies/Coach positions. Move to San Antonio where the cost of living is still reasonable. You single folks can go to Austin where to college crowd is cool, or go to Corpus Christi for the beaches.

    • Yes. Move to San Antonio. Heck, even if you don’t get a teaching job in the area, it is still possibly the coolest big city in the world. Part of me wants to move back up to Fort Worth, and part of me wants to stay here in South Texas.

      The recession has had limited impact on San Antonio, and as Drew said, cost of living is bargain basement. I don’t live in San Antonio, but I live less than a half day drive from there. My rent is $450 a month for a two-bedroom house. If all I did was work at Wal Mart here, I would still be making ends meet…

  6. I had difficulty finding a teaching job right out of college also. Like many others, I had limited my search at first (I too hail from the DFW Metroplex! Go UNT Mean Green! Especially the Green Brigade!). my life did a major turn around that summer on a personal level, and suddenly I was free to go anywhere…so I did. Just by being open about relocating, and being willing to talk to people, I ended up with over 3 job offers in a span of days at the Texas Bandmasters’ Assoc. convention. I took one of those, moved and started my new job within a week, and thus began a very crazy but very enlightening beginning to my teaching career. For many reasons, I didn’t stay there past that year, but it was worth doing. I learned so much. Right after that I moved to San Antonio (yep, another DFW to SA transplant, and very happy here). I love living in SA, but landing a teaching job here is VERY COMPETITIVE. Nevermind that there are several new schools that open every year and that the community is overall very supportive of education (and fine arts education specifically) – it is a tough market. I have lived here for 2 years now, and still haven’t landed one of those highly coveted positions. Fortunately, SA being what it is…a huge city with a lot of support for the arts, I have made ends meet by teaching private clarinet and taking a few other odd jobs over holidays. If you don’t carry a lot of debt, have a reliable car, and live in an area with a lot of potential students – private teaching can be a joy on many levels. You’ll never get rich doing it, but it is possible to make ends meet and really enjoy your work. I started subbing this past year also, and it completely reignited my desire to be full time in the classroom…and I have an interview this afternoon! YAY!

    A long winded comment, really saying three things:
    1 – don’t be afraid to move, if you can. it may not be where you need to stay, but it will almost certainly be worth your time for that year or two or longer.
    2 – if you can’t move, or really love your current location, be ready to be patient. I’ve been two years trying to get a permanent situation here in SA, I’ll let y’all know how it turns out!
    3 – while you’re waiting, be creative about getting involved and networking. (definite agreement with Drew on this one!) Trained as a band director, I turned to private lessons and substitute work. In other subjects, maybe tutoring would be worthwhile? I don’t know, but it may be worth a try. And subbing, btw, is not evil. I really enjoy it, actually. Most days, anyway… ;-)

  7. Just seeking an update on the job interview, Amber.
    I just noticed we have an opening at our high school for an assistant band director, and the head director is awesome.

    • My interview yesterday afternoon went well! It was my screening interview for one of the larger districts here, and should set me up to be considered for several spots that are coming open just now. :-) So, while there is no finality in my situation yet, at least I am heading in the right direction!

      Where is this opening you mention? By your post, I can see that it would be a slightly long, but not unreasonable, commute for me – I’m interested! You seem to be happy working with your current district, and that is always a good sign. You may email me at kyrindalame@gmail.com. Thanks for the help, I appreciate it!

  8. I was initially pretty worried about the job situation here in central Illinois, but I was able to get interviews at four schools (three of which I did end up interviewing with) before the first one offered me a position. I’m glad I did, since I can’t really move my family since my oldest son is in a special pre-K program that we don’t want to tear him away from. The distance is a little bit more than I’d like – about 40-45 minutes one-way – but at least I found something. I know plenty of graduates who have been having difficulties finding work, so I’m thankful to have a position at all.

  9. I think there are some really good comments (and possibly a potential job offer on the table…ha). The thing I want to stress to those seeking jobs is to just be patient. I know in Texas, a lot of contracted teachers are looking to relocate in the first part of the summer. As the school year gets closer, they stay more stable in their job and stop taking some of those interviews that the new teachers can get. It is not uncommon for schools to start the first week of school with a few positions still open because people haven’t applied!

    If you’re out looking, I encourage you to expand your circle as much as possible. Obviously family concerns can play a role in things, but consider driving up to an hour each way if you have to stay where you are. If not, look for a rural school or anything that you might not initially think about.

    Oh yeah, check out this guest post from last summer: 10 Reasons to Love Rural Schools

  10. That’s a great post, Joel, and one I wholly agree with – my new position is in a small rural district, and the building I’ll be teaching in houses both the junior and senior high schools (and my principal oversees both as well). With only ~120 high schools students, about 3/4 of which I will teach in six periods, my class sizes will be very manageable, and I am already looking forward to that aspect of this job. Plus, my principal made it abundantly clear from my second interview that they have a very lax dress code – I can’t tell you how much I am looking forward to wearing jeans to school just so I can fit in with my colleagues.

  11. The saga continues! This week has been fairly productive – I had the opportunity to speak with HR representatives from several districts this week within driving distance, and my early level interviews have appeared to go well so far. Since moving to San Antonio, this is the most amount of attention and face time I have had this early in the summer. However, I seem to have a more difficult time with the interviews with campus principals than with the Human Resources representatives or Fine Arts Directors. Does anyone have any advice for how to approach & speak to the principals? I feel like I must be tripping over the finish line somehow.

    • Well, you might be entering the area of good timing and good luck. It may take a combination of both, so hang in there.
      Call the secretary and find out principal’s schedules. Many take most of July off, so you’ll need to know when they’ll be back. If we still have openings, those go to the top of the to-do list. I know here in Northside(where I live), budgets are not final and neither are the new hires. Some principals have to submit their choices to HR, who in turn notify the candidates.
      For your position, the principal may actually let the Fine Arts Director make the recommendation.
      That’s the extent of my experience. I’m sure Joel has more insight. I hope you had luck with my district.

    • My experience is that with most band director positions in larger districts, the campus principal usually has very little say in the situation. Of course, the principal has the option of saying no, but I’ve found that they typically trust the discretion of the high school head band director.

      In the case of hiring a high school head director, the position is often seen as an administrative level position (much like a head football coach would be) and so the main school administration is involved in the hiring process there too.

      All this to say that the band director hiring process is way different from most normal teacher hiring. Yes, the NISD fine arts director has a huge role in it, as do the HS directors. As the MS assistant positions go, the MS head director will in most cases be the primary one deciding yes or no.

      Now one more thing to add to the mix. In Texas, we have this 45 day thing where before sometime in the first or second week of July, districts are required to be able to let you out of your contract. After that date, most of the already-employed job seekers will stop seeking and begin settling into their jobs. The first part of July may seem less bleak than June, but you still may not get offers. This is why it’s vital to attend the Texas Bandmasters Association convention in July. One year, I had nearly a dozen interviews in those three days. At this point, summer band is about to start and directors are pretty much desperate to find someone to fill their positions. Be ready!

  12. I think this economy is too scary to make a move – maybe next year when there are more other alternative jobs available…

  13. I thought I was the only teacher who couldn’t find a decent job! I’ve been looking for 4 years in Indiana – and basically my home state doesn’t want me – but all I can find is minimum wage retail.

    My first year I got a job in Florida but I trully did not like living there and because of some reciprocal license junk, I wasn’t renewed anyway. Now it seems the only responses I get are “we appreciate your interest but we’ve hired a qualified candidate” or “teacher needed for correctional facility” or “boys’ coach with social studies teacher” (thanks but I’m female and would never be allowed to coach varsity football!).

    I wish colleges would inform incoming students there are no teaching jobs available unless its math/science/special ed. And I don’t want to hear about the 2 million teachers that will be “retiring” in the next decade – because they aren’t! And if they do, they are not replaced.

  14. Here in PA things are difficult for new teachers too. I have applications all over Lycoming County in Central PA and all over Allegheny County [near Pittsburgh]. I’ve received 2 ‘hey thanks but we’re not interested’ post cards and haven’t heard from anywhere else. What I’m pondering is : is it better to go out of state and get that first year of experience or is it better to stay and substitute in every district possible?

    In the mean time I will be working as a Therpeutic Support Staff [a job that works with children with autism or behavior problems] and praying a lot of teachers get pregnant this summer and schools need long term subs!

    Good luck everyone!

  15. I am so glad to read some very similar stories to mine. I received my Alt. Cert from Region 10 here in DFW. This will be my second year looking for a position. I have looked everywhere and still haven’t even gotten a phone call. I am super worried about the situation and unforunately relocating isn’t an option. Has anyone heard anything about hiring in DFW? Or have any tips?

  16. Success! I have been hired as a band director in San Antonio ISD! Yay!! I interviewed for & receieved the offer last Tuesday, & signed paperwork on Thursday! Exciting & hard work lies ahead!

  17. I’m a library media specialist in DC, and I’ve been actively job hunting (although still employed – at least I think so, unless my pink slip got lost in the mail or they left it in my box a week after school let out) since last November. I’ve gone on I think 6 interviews total, the most recent of which were all in the last 2 weeks, and all about 300 miles away from where I’m currently living. (One school, the poorest district in VA, at least put me up in a hotel for the night. The others didn’t even give me so much as a cup of coffee.) No offers, and nothing is still pending (the school that paid for the hotel was also courteous enough to give me a “we’ve decided to go another direction” voicemail – the others, silence).

    Like one of the other posters, I seem to be able to impress the HR directors or even the heads of library services, but the principals always seem to have the final say and they always decide to “go another direction”. The thought of returning to my old job/district is literally making me ill…and there’s another “hostage” in the situation, my 6-year-old son. He’s at my school with me now, and I’d planned to keep him with me at the new school (assuming we ever found one) – well, at least I’ve promised him that the day I get fired (which may well happen – DC is purging teachers right and left) is the day he starts homeschooling since he isn’t staying at that school without me (plus we’ll have to move somewhere cheaper than DC ASAP).

    If I didn’t think it would mess up my chances of ever landing a job at another school district, I’d just go ahead and quit now and spend the year getting by with my freelance writing/research sideline. Maybe I should just pursue this avenue and skip school employment forever…maybe that is what 6 failed interviews are trying to tell me. Maybe I just suck at my job. I used to be a decent librarian, I know how to be a librarian, but I’ve never student-taught or had any help or mentoring on the job – this is something the other school districts promised, but DC can’t be bothered and they somehow expect me to figure out how to be a teacher all on my own. This is pretty much their modus operandi – they just hire inexperienced teachers/librarians/whatever. throw them out there, let them fail, and then throw them on the scrapheap.

    The kids love me, the teachers think I’m a great help, but it all comes down to the administration, and the last principal who thought I was any good was herself fired (from my current school, last October, which is why I started my job hunt last November). I know that all the advice about why you should stay in teaching have to do with the kids, do it for the kids, and if it really was all about the kids I’d have no problem (well, a few problems, but nothing too serious). Unfortunately, the one who has the power to mess up my record and leave me with the stigma of having been fired is the principal, and she isn’t going anywhere…and I can’t find anywhere else that will take me. This job-hunting frenzy has pretty much messed up my summer, and school is starting in 2 weeks and I couldn’t be more miserable.

    • Maria,

      I had 20 interviews the summer that I got my current job. The three that offered me a job were all over 300 miles away from where I had lived my entire life. I think the idea of taking a year off for “health reasons” or even to spend a year homeschooling your son are perfectly legitimate. But you might have waited too long for it to be an amicable parting…talk to your current employer and see what they say about it. I’d do that tomorrow, by the way…

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