George Lucas Educational Foundation

Deciding where to start your career.

Deciding where to start your career.

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Greetings, friends! My name is Caleb Braudrick. I am a special education student at the University of Central Oklahoma (Go Bronchos!). I will be graduating (finally!) at the beginning of May. As with most education students in my position, the last week, and the upcoming weeks, has been focused on finding a job. We've been to job fairs, submitted applications, smiled, shook hands, and have waded through a sea of information regarding future employment. Personally, I have successfully narrowed my search down to 3 or 4 districts here in my home state of Oklahoma. Because I am a highly qualified special education student (due to certification), I have a bit more choices than some of my fellow graduates. This is where I've reached a stalemate. The school I spent the majority of my student teaching experience in is looking for a special education teacher. The principal has informed me that he would love to have me on board. I love the school, the faculty, the administration, and the students. It was an incredible experience, and I believe that working for this particular school would be a very easy and comfortable transition. I know my mentor teacher well, and would have great support. Sounds like an easy decision, right? Here's my problem...I have been offered a job in another district. This district is farther away (about 20 miles) and is much larger. I know very little about this district, other than what I've been told during my interview and through my own personal research. This district compensates their teachers very well; higher than our state average, and higher than the district I did my student teaching in. My question to you seasoned veterans is this: what is more important for a new teacher- having a great relationship with the staff and students, knowing the district very well, and feeling very comfortable in a particular school (before my first day teaching!) or being paid more to work in an unfamiliar district. Sorry for the length of this post, but if you're still with me; I'd love to hear your input. Hopeful in Oklahoma, Caleb

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Lisa Dabbs's picture
Lisa Dabbs
Educational Consultant. Author. Speaker. Blogger.

Caleb, I tweeted you your question to get you some good responses! Hang in there and lets see what we get. I will also give you my answer!

Jessica's picture
Building Confidence in Students, One Child at a Time

Hi Caleb,

I think it is very important to work in a place where you feel comfortable. It is very important to have a good working atmosphere. I would suggest that you go to that school where the principal and other fellow teachers know you. Since, you are accustomed with the teaching nature of that school, am sure you will not have much problem to adjust there.
I hope this suggestion would be of some help to you.

All the Best!!

TODD SENTELL's picture
Author of the hilarious schoolhouse memoir, "Can't Wait to Get There. Can't Wait to Leave"

All of a sudden I got a good and curious and remorseful feeling in my gut and heart and mind and soul and started thinking about what it might be like to be a substitute teacher at the school near where I live for kids who have learning, behavior, and emotional disorders, and then I decided I wanted to do that for a while and that's how it all got started. The thought, random or ominous, was just as natural as thinking what I might have for dinner that night. Of course, I figured I could make a lot more money being a substitute teacher than what I was making as a real estate agent who didn't sell anything.

I called the school. I used my sales skills, which most of the time is simply being a nice guy who uses his manners. A few days later I had an interview with the headmaster and the human resources lady. I filled out a bunch of forms while I smiled a lot and acted like I was not a wanted felon.

One time a regular teacher said to me about a sixth grader, who was standing right there beside us in the great room of the middle school, "You should have seen her when she got here two years ago." And then the teacher put her hand on the sixth grader's shoulder and said in a tone of voice as if it would be the last thing she'd ever say, "Now she's my miracle. My miracle." I found out that teachers get to have those moments a lot. Even substitute teachers.

Some people say teaching is a calling--that if you don't feel you've been called to teach don't dang do it.

I got called more than I thought.

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