Help Wanted: Finding a Teaching Career

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Marianne Tramelli, director of career services at Teachers College Columbia University and Dr. Fran Levin, academic director of New Pathways to Teaching in New Jersey at New Jersey City University, discuss getting into teaching as a profession.

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Dr. Fran Levin and Marianne Tramelli

Comments [23]

D.F. from monmouth county, nj

I feel like the teaching profession has gone through its own 9/11 these days in NJ. Meaning no disrepect to those who actually were victims of the event, what I mean is just like no one ever thought that planes would purposely hit a skyscraper, when I left teaching after 13 years in the profession to become a stay at home mom, no one would have ever guessed that the public at large would ever sound so hateful towards teachers or think they are rewarded too well. Nor would we have thought it would be this hard to return to teaching after a motherhood break. I am really devastated professionally and emotionally by Christie's changes and how they impact my job prospects. My daughter is ready to enter kindergarten, and I am ready to return to the middle school Language Arts Literacy classroom. However, after job-searching for a year I have found nothing, ostensibly because I am "too expensive" with so many years of experience and a Masters degree. Now with the new legislative changes, if I ever do get the chance to teach again, I will get a lower pension, worse health care benefits, fewer sick day benefits. It's a slap in the face. I don't see a lot of hope in the teaching world -- only fewer open positions, larger classes, more demands from parents and administrators, & less respect.

Apr. 27 2010 06:51 PM
Michele from NY, NC, VA/DC

I was distressed by today's topic. I was actually leaving my 5th job interview this season. I am a 5th year Music Edcuator, who has worked in 3 states in 5 years with a different employer each year. I am one of the lucky ones who has been gainfully empoyed since graduating. However, I am loosing hope. Now with a Master's degree and experience I am becoming too expensive. No one wants to hire me, when they can hire someone who is cheaper or collapse a program entirely.
I think the baby boomers will leave, but after 5 years of leave replacement positions, I have no hope of the districts filling their spots. I have begun to look for a way to transfer my degree into another arena. I am not having much luck. My skills won't even get me a basic assistant job.

Four things have happened to me and my classmates as a boomer have begun to leave. 1- The districts begin to call vacant positions "leave replacements", even though people have retired, therefore skirting the union and being able to contract out the job to less experienced and therefore cheaper teachers. 2-The district increased class sizes, splitting teachers into what was formerly two positions. 3-The districts have collapsed programs entirely 4- The district has begun a union-proof policy of denying tenure to teachers in their 3rd year for inane offenses (having had no prior offense in 3 years), therefore being able to contract out positions to less experienced and cheaper teachers, saving money.

Of my 5 years, this year has had the most open positions. However, I have recieved letters stating that over 200 other candidates have applied. I have lost a job where I was the top candidate because someone came in with 20 years of experience and accepted the salary that I would have been paid (over a $30,000 pay cut for them, but a livable wage none-the-less). More specifically, jobs have just not responded. I am looking at Private, Independent, Religious, Charters and Public Schools on both the East and West Coast- having the flexibility of being able to move. However, I am tired, and almost resigned to the fact that I will be 30 years old, unable to pay my loans, living on unemployment with my mother until it runs out. I can't help but despair when I worked so hard to get no where.

If anyone has a way for me to not be a teacher, and still be able to pay back my student loans, the input is welcome. I would advise people to not go into the teaching profession for at least 5-10 years. Those of us who are waiting for jobs and have experience will still be there waiting when the economy shifts. What are the chances that a lateral entry candidate or a green teacher will get a position over someone experienced? Or they might, and I'll still be in the bread line...

Apr. 27 2010 06:17 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Williamsburgh, Brooklyn

I love teaching, but so far I have not been able to get any kind of a job doing it. It is very easy to talk about passion, about following your passion. The question is: How are the bills going to get paid in the meantime? What options do we have? It is very discouraging. Eugenia Renskoff

Apr. 27 2010 01:31 PM
Dr. Fran Levn

I wanted to address the question regarding candidates who are prepared via the alternate route competing with traditionally prepared teacher candidates. I believe that if you are passionate about teaching, willing to work hard and you learn to interview well, you certainly can compete. Hopefully, your maturity, life experience, and confidence will help make you a strong candidate. The New Pathways to Teaching in NJ has prepared thousands of teachers who are presently working and making a difference. In the coming years, there is supposed to be a real need for teachers, so prepare now and you'll be ready when that happens.

Apr. 27 2010 12:31 PM
Shobana from Floral Park

I'm an arts educator in the NYC and Long Island schools- a free-lancer, and in the unusual situation of having hundreds of hours of school-based and community-based teaching experience, but having an expired teaching credential (after a stay-at-home parenting phase). Even with a Master's degree, trying to get back my certification from NY state has been a nightmare. The state does everything it can to discourage qualified, intelligent, experienced, 'out-of-the-box-thinking' teachers and makes more money by changing the criteria every few years and make people pay for redundant coursework and testing. Any new certification programs MUST take into account and value teaching experience acquired in unusual, non-DOE ways!

Apr. 27 2010 12:08 PM

What about foreign lang - I am in late 40s (GULP!) and have a MA in French looking to do the change to ed - have always wanted to teach - have some Ed credits.... am getting inspired!

Apr. 27 2010 11:57 AM
sherry from Jersey City, NJ

all I ever hear about is alternative paths to teaching, what about school guidance counselor positions....any alternative paths to that..

Apr. 27 2010 11:57 AM
kp from nj

NJ has something called the alternate route to certification, where you can be certified by the state to seek a teaching job while you take the necessary credits in education. For the alternate route, you teach in the subject area of your bachelors/masters degree. Are your guests familiar with this program?

Apr. 27 2010 11:54 AM
Joel from Westchester

Does you guest recommend reading Frank McCourt's "Teacher Man?"

Apr. 27 2010 11:51 AM
john from manhattan

has the retention rate for teachers changed? it is usually remarked that it is very low, most teachers leave in five years I think. If teachers still leave so quickly, why is that?

Also, is teaching so easy that it is wise to make the pathways quicker and easier?

Apr. 27 2010 11:50 AM
John Lobell from New York

Could the guest comment on the dismal state of teacher colleges?

Apr. 27 2010 11:49 AM
Marina Acumen from Brooklyn

I am an ESL teacher looking for a position for three ys. Any level. My application is in New Teacher Finder. Still no lack. I am working as a sub, but even this position is hard to find recently. I worry about next school year. It is going to be my sixth year as a substitute teacher with two mastre degrees in education and intornational experience.
Thanks for your kind attention
Marina Acumen

Apr. 27 2010 11:49 AM
Brian from Bronxville

What about The New York City Teaching Fellows? A few years ago a fellowship with NYCTF was a highly sought after opportunity that has since shrunk apparently due to budget cuts throughout the DOE. Will NYCTF eventually become a key player among alternative certification programs?

I ask because I'm currently on a waiting list with NYCTF, they say I'll get a final decision this Friday. I'm assuming that I'll be rejected am am wondering if I should forget NYCTF all together and go to a conventional certification program.

Apr. 27 2010 11:49 AM
anita sherma from livingston, nj

have a masters in chemistry and would like to get into teaching.. should i be getting certified or will hv options in charter schools or community colleges??

Apr. 27 2010 11:45 AM

Funny she mentioned Texas. Gotta love the new textbooks coming out later this year!

Apr. 27 2010 11:45 AM
Estelle from Austin

I am considering a career change to teaching. I have degrees and professional experience in both writing and in art. I don't have any preference with regard to level (elementary, etc.).
I'd like to teach writing, which seems like it would be in demand. But I have no interest in teaching literature; are they always lumped together in "English" classes?
Or, would my art/graphic design experience be more in demand that that of writing?
(I am asking about national and general trends.)

Apr. 27 2010 11:44 AM
Matt from UWS

Candy --
How are you planning on paying for Teacher College's tuition?!

You'll come out with huge debt and at best will earn a teacher's salary?

Please explain!

Apr. 27 2010 11:44 AM
Paul from Bronx

Stay away from 12th grade! The spring semester is the most frustrating time for teachers. Remember your senior year after you were accepted at college or locked in a job? It hasn't changed. :) They might be physically there but summertime for seniors starts in January.

Apr. 27 2010 11:41 AM
Rick Dettwyler from Amawalk

Why are so many teachers being laid off if there is such a need for them? I have friend in NYC school and he said thousands are being laid off. About Charter schools: long hours, low pay. who needs that?

Apr. 27 2010 11:40 AM
Dana from NJ

How can alternate entry candidates compete with those graduating from traditional teaching programs?

Apr. 27 2010 11:39 AM
Mark from Qns.

Just wondering if the need for ESL teachers...both for children and adults, is high in NYC

Apr. 27 2010 11:37 AM
Richard Williams

I am a 49 year old unemployed music teacher. I am trying to get back on the conductor's podium. Since 2002, I have had interviews with 22 school districts. My passion is the music of the concert band.

Apr. 27 2010 11:11 AM
Rick Dettwyler from Amawalk

What is known about Math for America?

Apr. 27 2010 10:37 AM

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