Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

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protagonist
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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:31 am

Apostrophe wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:24 am
I have been in high school education for more than twenty years. My suggestion would be for her to take this position, since it is one of the best ways to get hired full time and it's with her desired school.

Two observations (based solely on my experience, in my district/state; YMMV):

1. New teachers are obviously observed closely during their first year, however, part time new teachers are sometimes scrutinized even more carefully than full time new teachers, since we know we'll want to consider increasing them to full time the following year, if an opportunity becomes available. Think of it almost as an ongoing, daily job interview. It can be more pressure than usual, but will pay off in the long run if she does a great job. One year we had a fantastic part time English teacher and when it came to creating our master schedule the following spring, we did everything possible to create and secure a full time spot for her. In a different year, we had only a so-so part time math teacher; we did not work hard to keep him (and certainly not to increase him to full time) and he chose to leave for a full time job elsewhere (which was fine with us). From your description it sounds like she's smart and hardworking, so she should be a good candidate for this opportunity.

2. At our school, full time teachers are expected to be available to work with students for a 20-minute period before AND after school each day. Part time teachers aren't required to be available for one of the sessions (either the a.m. or p.m. help time, depending on whether they are working the first five periods or the last five periods of the day). This can be a problem for some students and parents, and can lead to complaints that the teacher isn't accessible. (Just because the teacher isn't required to be there doesn't mean the students and parents understand and accept it!) So our best part time teachers---especially the ones who are hoping to become full time---strive for excellent communication with their students and parents and do whatever they can to assure the students have access to them for help. What that looks like obviously varies considerably from situation to situation, but it's just something to think about.

Best wishes to your daughter!
Great input! Thanks!

nobody123
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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by nobody123 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:48 am

I would take the job as well. I have several family members who are/were teachers, and they say that the student socioeconomic status is HUGE. When you have to spend money out of your own pocket and pass out snacks because over half of your class comes to school without breakfast, and their parents don't give a crap about their kids' educations and treat school like glorified day care, you can get burned out pretty quickly.

That being said, one of those relatives did take two 50% positions in a super-desirable district right out of college. Got paid like a FTE, but it didn't count the same as a year of service for pension purposes. The district's pitch was that they wanted her as a teacher and wanted her to replace a retiring teacher after one school year. District is so desirable there is very little year to year turnover, and you 'need to know someone' to get a slot.
Well, the supposedly retiring teacher's spouse got cancer so the teacher didn't retire as expected, essentially so their health benefits were still in tact. District sold her the same bill of goods about replacing the "retiree" and she stuck around one more year. When they tried to pull it for a third year, she walked. Now she is in an almost as desirable district with a full-time tenured position. I think she would still say the risk was worth it even though it didn't go as planned.

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by CyclingDuo » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:33 pm

protagonist wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:21 am
My daughter just got an M. Ed. in Biology and has had numerous desirable job offers.
The job she is most interested in is only offering her an 80% teaching (and salary) position for the first year (teaching HS biology).
Starting salaries at the other schools are about $50K. She would make $40K year one and have an 80% teaching load. She would receive full benefits and the year would count as a full year toward her pension. As a full-time position the salary is competitive- she would make $52K second year if re-hired and ultimately $95K at top pay scale.
It's an excellent school district...rated top three in the state....student reviews are excellent....and for many reasons she wants to live and teach there. She is convinced via interviews that she would probably be offered a full-time position after the first year, but for this year the school only has the budget for an 80% position.
She is willing to take the risk, and has made it clear that if she does not get offered a full-time position year 2 she would leave. She does not seem to have a hard time finding work and is prepared to move if necessary. I do feel like she knows what she is doing.

My question for teachers and people in the education field: What is your experience with this kind of offer? Do such offers usually become full-time after a year if the teacher performs well? Do you think she is making a mistake?

I'm not asking because I think so, or because I am trying to micro-manage her life. She is very responsible making her own decisions. I am just seeking information.

Thanks.
Our household vote (two of us in education) would be for her to take one of the full time jobs in your current state, and skip the "feel good" 80% position in Maine....
"Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time." ~ Steven Wright

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by dm200 » Fri Jun 07, 2019 12:58 pm

masonstone wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 11:31 am
protagonist wrote:
Thu Jun 06, 2019 10:21 am
My daughter just got an M. Ed. in Biology and has had numerous desirable job offers.
The job she is most interested in is only offering her an 80% teaching (and salary) position for the first year (teaching HS biology).
Starting salaries at the other schools are about $50K. She would make $40K year one and have an 80% teaching load. She would receive full benefits and the year would count as a full year toward her pension. As a full-time position the salary is competitive- she would make $52K second year if re-hired and ultimately $95K at top pay scale.
It's an excellent school district...rated top three in the state....student reviews are excellent....and for many reasons she wants to live and teach there. She is convinced via interviews that she would probably be offered a full-time position after the first year, but for this year the school only has the budget for an 80% position.
She is willing to take the risk, and has made it clear that if she does not get offered a full-time position year 2 she would leave. She does not seem to have a hard time finding work and is prepared to move if necessary. I do feel like she knows what she is doing.
My question for teachers and people in the education field: What is your experience with this kind of offer? Do such offers usually become full-time after a year if the teacher performs well? Do you think she is making a mistake?
I'm not asking because I think so, or because I am trying to micro-manage her life. She is very responsible making her own decisions. I am just seeking information.
Thanks.
It's sad how low we pay our teachers.
In my view, that depends greatly on the jurisdiction. Yes - in some jurisdictions, pay for public school teachers is very low.

Yet, in others it is much higher. So is the variance in benefits - such as healthcare and retirement.

One measure I view is how easy or difficult it is for the school system to fill vacancies. A similar measure is how many applicants there are to the school system. In my jurisdiction, my understanding is that, for most (but not all) teaching positions, there are many applicants. I, therefore conclude that public school teachers are not "underpaid". It also seems to me that, in this jurisdiction, teachers tend to stay employed here - unless they are forced to leave due to external reasons - such as a spouse relocates - or there are increased family obligations.

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by MNGopher » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:47 pm

protagonist wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:20 am
Harry Livermore wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:33 am

You are correct about the WEP. That's why I mentioned the pension. If Maine's pension is well-funded, and the politicians are living up their end of the contract and paying in to the system, then great. If they are abdicating their responsibility and the pension is in trouble, she could be in financial trouble 40 years from now. She should look into that.
Cheers
I just googled that and it looks bleak. Maine's pension plan for teachers received a grade of "F" for providing adequate retirement benefits for teachers and an "F" for financial sustainability.

That said, my state of Massachusetts, which tends to rank among the top three states in the US on lists of best states for teachers, also received an "F" on both parameters. New York, also ranked highly for teaching, received a "D" and an "F", and was the only state in the region that received any grade above an "F" (including all New England states, NY, NJ, and PA). And many of them are WEP states. A pension grade of "F" seems to be the rule rather than the exception , not only in the northeast but all across the country. There are very few good options. https://www.teacherpensions.org/states
I wouldn't take the information on that site too seriously. Almost all states got F's, and almost all their bullet points for Minnesota are wrong.

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protagonist
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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by protagonist » Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:56 pm

MNGopher wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:47 pm
protagonist wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:20 am
Harry Livermore wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:33 am

You are correct about the WEP. That's why I mentioned the pension. If Maine's pension is well-funded, and the politicians are living up their end of the contract and paying in to the system, then great. If they are abdicating their responsibility and the pension is in trouble, she could be in financial trouble 40 years from now. She should look into that.
Cheers
I just googled that and it looks bleak. Maine's pension plan for teachers received a grade of "F" for providing adequate retirement benefits for teachers and an "F" for financial sustainability.

That said, my state of Massachusetts, which tends to rank among the top three states in the US on lists of best states for teachers, also received an "F" on both parameters. New York, also ranked highly for teaching, received a "D" and an "F", and was the only state in the region that received any grade above an "F" (including all New England states, NY, NJ, and PA). And many of them are WEP states. A pension grade of "F" seems to be the rule rather than the exception , not only in the northeast but all across the country. There are very few good options. https://www.teacherpensions.org/states
I wouldn't take the information on that site too seriously. Almost all states got F's, and almost all their bullet points for Minnesota are wrong.
I was wondering about that myself. Either most state plans are in dire shape, or the ratings are politically motivated. I hope the latter.

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by Ron Ronnerson » Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:08 pm

I’ve been teaching for 16 years and I would take the job. First of all, an 80% schedule at a new job can actually be a good thing. I remember how difficult my first few years were. I worked very long hours learning the curriculum and planning lessons. There was so much to learn and do and not nearly enough time. So, personally, I would have actually preferred an 80% schedule at that stage.

I worked at tough schools during my first two years and I was usually exhausted and stressed during that time. For the past 14 years, I've been at a top school. I work with motivated kids, a really nice administrator, supportive parents, and excellent staff members. Honestly, it’s a dream job and I love going to work. I guess my point is that working conditions matter a lot. Getting your foot in the door at a school where you want to work long-term is a good move, in my view.

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by Herekittykitty » Sat Jun 08, 2019 9:32 am

Deletd (posted in wrong thread - woops.)
Last edited by Herekittykitty on Sun Jun 09, 2019 6:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
I don't know anything.

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by Quaestner » Sat Jun 08, 2019 1:34 pm

The first year of teaching for many folks can be overwhelming and many folks quit. Working in a position where you "fit", matters. Looking back, if I could have had an .8 contract my first year, it would have been a good thing. More time to reflect, prepare, and learn the job in a slightly less stressful way. The money would be a concern, but there are advantages in what she proposes.

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by dm200 » Sun Jun 09, 2019 1:36 pm

Yes - for some teachers, that first year can be a "challenge".

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by TheDDC » Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:12 pm

protagonist wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:20 am
Harry Livermore wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:33 am

You are correct about the WEP. That's why I mentioned the pension. If Maine's pension is well-funded, and the politicians are living up their end of the contract and paying in to the system, then great. If they are abdicating their responsibility and the pension is in trouble, she could be in financial trouble 40 years from now. She should look into that.
Cheers
I just googled that and it looks bleak. Maine's pension plan for teachers received a grade of "F" for providing adequate retirement benefits for teachers and an "F" for financial sustainability.

That said, my state of Massachusetts, which tends to rank among the top three states in the US on lists of best states for teachers, also received an "F" on both parameters. New York, also ranked highly for teaching, received a "D" and an "F", and was the only state in the region that received any grade above an "F" (including all New England states, NY, NJ, and PA). And many of them are WEP states. A pension grade of "F" seems to be the rule rather than the exception , not only in the northeast but all across the country. There are very few good options. https://www.teacherpensions.org/states
Beware of that website. It has a political agenda to tow. With regard to pension benefits...

I've worked for three public school districts and and a state ESA. A state pension is secure and protected by the full faith and credit of state to spend on it's obligations. State pensions are "deferred compensation" meaning public sector employees are paid roughly 60% now and 40% later. It is very worth it to stick with teaching for 30+ years. If her heart is not in it, however, then it would be miserable. She should figure that out soon enough. I hope she sticks with it! As dm200 mentioned, the first year is a challenge.

The only area of concern to me would be when you mention reciprocity with other state pension systems or COLAs. Her pension would be constitutionally protected and treated as property. However, unearned benefits such as COLAs or reciprocity (in theory) could be changed quite easily. If she is planning on moving back to MA she should have a time frame in mind.

-TheDDC

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by dm200 » Mon Jun 10, 2019 8:17 am

TheDDC wrote:
Sun Jun 09, 2019 11:12 pm
protagonist wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:20 am
Harry Livermore wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 6:33 am
You are correct about the WEP. That's why I mentioned the pension. If Maine's pension is well-funded, and the politicians are living up their end of the contract and paying in to the system, then great. If they are abdicating their responsibility and the pension is in trouble, she could be in financial trouble 40 years from now. She should look into that.
Cheers
I just googled that and it looks bleak. Maine's pension plan for teachers received a grade of "F" for providing adequate retirement benefits for teachers and an "F" for financial sustainability.

That said, my state of Massachusetts, which tends to rank among the top three states in the US on lists of best states for teachers, also received an "F" on both parameters. New York, also ranked highly for teaching, received a "D" and an "F", and was the only state in the region that received any grade above an "F" (including all New England states, NY, NJ, and PA). And many of them are WEP states. A pension grade of "F" seems to be the rule rather than the exception , not only in the northeast but all across the country. There are very few good options. https://www.teacherpensions.org/states
Beware of that website. It has a political agenda to tow. With regard to pension benefits...

I've worked for three public school districts and and a state ESA. A state pension is secure and protected by the full faith and credit of state to spend on it's obligations. State pensions are "deferred compensation" meaning public sector employees are paid roughly 60% now and 40% later. It is very worth it to stick with teaching for 30+ years. If her heart is not in it, however, then it would be miserable. She should figure that out soon enough. I hope she sticks with it! As dm200 mentioned, the first year is a challenge.

The only area of concern to me would be when you mention reciprocity with other state pension systems or COLAs. Her pension would be constitutionally protected and treated as property. However, unearned benefits such as COLAs or reciprocity (in theory) could be changed quite easily. If she is planning on moving back to MA she should have a time frame in mind.

-TheDDC
When defined benefit plans have nearly completely disappeared from the private sector, public school teachers (at least in this area) seem to have a good defined benefit plan.

It is also my opinion that, on balance, most folks subject to WEP do better than if under Social Security as well.

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protagonist
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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by protagonist » Mon Jun 10, 2019 4:36 pm

Ron Ronnerson wrote:
Fri Jun 07, 2019 7:08 pm
I’ve been teaching for 16 years and I would take the job. First of all, an 80% schedule at a new job can actually be a good thing. I remember how difficult my first few years were. I worked very long hours learning the curriculum and planning lessons. There was so much to learn and do and not nearly enough time. So, personally, I would have actually preferred an 80% schedule at that stage.

I worked at tough schools during my first two years and I was usually exhausted and stressed during that time. For the past 14 years, I've been at a top school. I work with motivated kids, a really nice administrator, supportive parents, and excellent staff members. Honestly, it’s a dream job and I love going to work. I guess my point is that working conditions matter a lot. Getting your foot in the door at a school where you want to work long-term is a good move, in my view.
Thanks, Ron.
I have several teacher friends, and the anecdotal evidence that I have received supports exactly what you say. Teachers I have known seem to be either very happy with their jobs or quite miserable....not a lot in between....and it seems to boil down to where they teach and how they get along with administration. That said, that is probably largely true in most professions.

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by Dead Man Walking » Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:20 pm

The students are the critical aspect of the choice. Behavior problems can break a rookie teacher. If the students in the Maine district come from “good” homes, take the chance. The fact that Maine doesn’t have proficiency testing is another positive. I spent a career in education and the juvenile justice system. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve the lives of kids who often came from horrific home lives. Most teachers don’t enjoy teaching a class of juvenile delinquents.

DMW

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Re: Attn: teachers....Daughter considering 80% teaching position. Good idea?

Post by dm200 » Wed Jun 12, 2019 9:39 am

Dead Man Walking wrote:
Mon Jun 10, 2019 11:20 pm
The students are the critical aspect of the choice. Behavior problems can break a rookie teacher. If the students in the Maine district come from “good” homes, take the chance. The fact that Maine doesn’t have proficiency testing is another positive. I spent a career in education and the juvenile justice system. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve the lives of kids who often came from horrific home lives. Most teachers don’t enjoy teaching a class of juvenile delinquents.

DMW
Yes! I still recall tenth grad English. Poor "Miss Becker!" A first year teacher, she taught five sections of tenth grade English. Even the best class - nearly all from good homes - gave her a hard time. We were supposed to read many books that year - but only got through a few. In one case, for example, the book we were reading was a Novel set in past rural America. Some students would ask about certain characters - just to set her off. She would fall for this - listing details about each character. Then, that student - typically a boy - would then ask, "and which one is the dog?" General student uproar and she would fly off the handle. Students would ask stupid questions - and get her all flustered. Seemed like nothing could help her solve the problem. The administration knew about the problems - but could not solve them. One cousin of mine, for example, was in one section - and my cousin's mother was an English teacher in the same High School - so the folks in charge certainly knew of the problems. I do not believe very may of those tenth grade students even came close to being "juvenile delinquents".

In the Spring of that school year, "Miss Becker" announced that she would be seeking a new career - and we all were the last students she would have. We drove her out of the teaching profession.

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