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Recruitment Fair Attracts City Teachers Looking for Work

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Department of Education said between 75 and 100 schools were represented at a recruitment fair held at the Brooklyn Museum on Tuesday. Teachers looking for work in New York City attended the fair.

Job-seekers were welcomed by greeters from the Teacher Hiring Support Center as they entered the air-conditioned Brooklyn Museum on a stifling hot afternoon. Many wore jackets and office-casual attire. They were led upstairs in shifts to meet with school representatives. Palm cards urged them to "be flexible" by exploring schools all over the city.

Despite a hiring freeze, the city still needs new special education and bilingual teachers. Twenty-four-year-old Megan Whoolery hopes to land a special education job, but she knows it may be harder this year because of budget cuts.

"I'm worried enough that I'm being pretty aggressive with my job search, but I think I'll be okay," she said.

Whoolery believes the city has a good track record placing teaching fellows like herself, who take classes towards a Masters degree while working as teachers.

But most of those looking for work on Tuesday were 'excessed' teachers who lost their positions but remain on the payroll. Some were cut by their principals for budget reasons; others taught at schools that were closed for poor performance. With 2,600 teachers expected to retire this year, they are hoping to land new jobs at schools with vacancies.

Donna Karen is a veteran teacher whose Brooklyn elementary school just closed. She said she was 'excessed' once before, when she was a relatively new teacher, lower down on the totem pole.

"This is more difficult," she explained. "At this point in my career I didn't expect to be looking for a job. I expected to be secure."

Still, as a special education teacher she thought she could find something. And she said the city would compensate any school that hired her by helping to pay her more expensive, senior salary.

But not all teachers were so confident Tuesday. Those who don't find permanent jobs remain on the payroll and work as substitutes in what's called the Absent Teacher Reserve, or ATR pool. A few teachers who said they've been subbing for several years said that schools didn't want to hire them permanently because of their expensive salaries, or that there weren't enough positions available in their license areas. A high school business teacher who's been in the ATR pool for three years says she's now studying to get certified in English, in the hopes of making herself more employable.

That's why she gets upset when the mayor suggests putting a time limit on the ATR pool, suggesting teachers who aren't snapped up right away must not be very good. "We're treated like we're worthless," she said. "I love teaching." She didn't want to give her name because she was afraid of jeopardizing her chances of getting a new job.

Four more recruitment fairs are scheduled this summer. And principals have until July 22 to submit their final budgets. There's also typically a rush of hiring at the end of August and in early September as schools figure out whether they will have as many students as they expect.

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Comments [6]

Megan Whoolery

I hate to deign to comment on this, but as a teacher and a strongly opinionated person, here goes:

I was accepted into an accelerated program by virtue of my previous success with children, success in college and success as a professional straight out of college (working in development at a nonprofit).

Please consider the rigorous nature of the Teaching Fellows' program: teaching from 8-12, taking Master's Courses at a university and then attending Student Achievement seminars until 6:30, everyday.

What does this equate to? 4 hours of sleep per night, the inability to do laundry, and the constant shuffling around NYC in order to fill all obligations while also attempting to secure a position.

Do not get me wrong, I am a professional person. However, when it is 100 degrees outside, my cardigan becomes "see-through;" a fact of life which I am sure many women can commiserate with. Furthermore, I was accosted by this particular reporter immediately upon entering the job fair without a chance to adjust myself, settle and enter the throes of interviewing with a professional persona.

So, I would say, please focus on the children rather than the dress of a potential teacher. I guarantee you that my passion supersedes that of many teachers. I would not come to a classroom dressed in that fashion (a fashion that was merely a thrown-about outfit - resultant of my lack of $$, as I aim to complete a highly regarded program).

Please be aware of what you are saying before you throw out internet fodder that is not only disconcerting to a teacher of your children but also highly misinformed.

Jul. 16 2011 11:18 PM
Steve

megan whoolery is hot

Jul. 14 2011 11:32 PM
Agree with Puzzled and Surprised from Connecticut

With public opinion of teachers at an all-time low, it is more important than ever that teachers take their professionalism as seriously as possible.

This includes dressing appropriately for the job.

Plus: teachers, more than most other city employees, are role models for the children.

Isn't it more than a little hypocritical that, in a school where students wear uniforms, the teacher does not set an example for them by dressing in a similarly professional manner?

Sure, each teacher has the "right" to dress pretty-much any way they choose. But with "rights" comes "responsibilities," especially where our children are concerned.

It's not asking a lot to keep the deep cleavage and see-through-and-clingy stuff out of the classroom. There's still plenty of leeway to be a fashion plate, and comfortable in the summer, without sacrificing propriety.

Jul. 14 2011 11:09 AM
Really? from Brooklyn

1. No one is getting laid off this year, so there is no one to give preferential consideration to.
2. Veteran teachers who want a quick path to special education certification can apply to the Teaching Fellows just like anyone else.
3. Is "what has the world come to?" an proportionate response to what someone you don't know decides to wear to a recruitment event? I could say the same thing about the comments people post after news articles. What has the world come to when they let completely uninformed people say whatever they want in a space normally reserved for news?

Jul. 13 2011 10:38 PM
Puzzled and Surprised from Brooklyn

I'm no prude, but the applicant in the picture is dressed inappropriately for applying for the job of being a public school teacher.

What has the world come to?

We talk a lot about dress codes for students. How about dress codes for teachers?

Please take this seriously.

Jul. 13 2011 10:14 AM
Jack Israel

Although I have nothing against the actual teaching fellows themselves having worked with many excellent ones over the years, I have to wonder why excessed veteran teachers are not given the jobs first. Why can’t a satisfactory rated veteran teacher excessed solely because of a school closing teach special education? The fellows receive quick summer study course and are thrust into the classroom. I strongly believe that veteran teachers could get a similar quick special education refresher and do an even better job than the inexperienced fellows instead of having to become an ATR which can be humiliating and frustrating. I myself became a high school special education teacher after a couple of years as a middle school teacher and successfully made the transition because of my class-room experience. Why recruit teachers when we already are paying them? You’d have to ask our mayor.

Jul. 13 2011 09:27 AM

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