Looking for a new start

This is the new version of the Alaska Teacher Placement (ATP) forum for teachers, education majors, and school administrators to discuss working and living in the state of Alaska. Those considering an Alaskan job, or considering a new Alaskan education job ask questions, and those with information and/or opinions provide answers. Although many users are teacher or principal candidates from the Lower 48, a large number of current and former school district HR and school administrators subscribe.

Moderators: Johncn, Betty Walters, Toni McFadden, Damon Hargraves

Looking for a new start

Postby tnuts20 » Sun Dec 14, 2014 8:44 am

I have been teaching for 16 years, and I am looking into moving to Alaska to broaden my teaching experience. My certification is Special Education K-12 EH/LD, K-6 Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement. I have taught ESE self-contained, Adult Basic Education (Family Literacy Program), and 2nd grade for the last 6 years. My partner is also a teacher. She is certified in Special Education K-12 and Elementary Education K-6. We are both very interested in relocating to Alaska. We are interested in teaching in the bush, but realize the chances of both of us obtaining employment in the same area would probably be slim. My friend is a teacher in Alaska, and she recommend a couple of districts to me but I thought I would reach out for other suggestions from the ATP forum. What districts would you recommend for us to apply with? We obviously do not need to be at the same school, but the same area would be nice.
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby Johncn » Sun Dec 14, 2014 4:51 pm

Welcome to the forum!

With both of you having multiple certifications, I don't think you should rule out finding a Bush site that could use a teaching couple. It's entirely possible that districts would be quite interested in an experience, dual certified couple. However, it's not really our practice on the ATP Forum to recommend specific districts. It would be better to research them on your own, but remain open minded until specific openings begin to be posted for next year.

We are certainly open to answering any clarifying questions you have as you and your partner explore your options. That's what we are here for. ;-)

John
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby tnuts20 » Tue Dec 16, 2014 12:15 pm

Thank you so much!!
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby robfamily6 » Sat Dec 20, 2014 12:21 pm

My wife are both certified in other states as well, and we're in the process of getting our AK certification. We are going to the Anchorage job fair, assuming we do not have a position by then. We are hopeful that we can find a rural district that is a good fit, as we have 4 children as well (3 of which would be elementary school age).
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby marymatt718 » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:59 am

Hello.
When you choose a district, look at everything...including the weather and the daylight hours. I am quite fond of my district, which shall remain nameless, (but its initials are SWRSD, which you'll have to decipher on your own!) because the people are great and the weather is not too extreme. We are closer to the water so the winter temperatures are not as cold here as they are in the interior of the state. The other advantage of being close to open water is that the sea breezes keep the bugs from eating you alive in the spring and fall. We are also far enough south that the sun rises and sets in the winter...doesn't rise until 10 am and sets at 4 pm or so, but it is there.

Check out the sizes of the villages the schools are in. I am working with a new couple in my school of 235 students (village has 850 residents) who were in a school of 45 students last year (village was just over 160 residents). They had trouble getting groceries on a regular basis. There was one tiny store in town and if the weather was bad, the shelves remained empty for quite a while. They are in heaven here in our little "metropolis" with 2 (small, but not tiny) stores and fairly regular mail service. Yes, you can order food from Amazon, but it also comes on the mail planes that bring the food to stock the tiny village stores.

Districts do like to hire couples. We got quite a few new teaching couples this year (3, in fact) but our school is the largest in this district, so you may want to look at school size as well when you look at districts. Based on what we hired this year, however, you don't have to look at Anchorage or Fairbanks for jobs for both of you in the same school.

Good luck. There are lots of options out there. Be flexible, but find someplace you'll be happy. It doesn't do the kids any good to have unhappy teachers that leave after one year.
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby tnuts20 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 2:01 pm

Would it be un realistic for my partner and I both to be hired in the same district ? I read in the post that districts wouldn't be against hiring a couple, but would that be something that we mention pre-interview ?
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby marymatt718 » Thu Jan 08, 2015 8:22 pm

Definitely let them know you are a couple. Couples can be an asset for a district. I'm not saying they will hire a couple over an individual, but they are thrilled when they can. In my school, we have 3 teaching couples (5 teachers and one aide) and this has added to the atmosphere of stability and involvement here.

We had a number of singles last year who had problems with absent significant others and their attitudes affected ALL of us. One even got married during the Christmas break, but his partner had a really good job and did not return with him. He was physically at school, but mentally and emotionally gone. The kids picked up on it right away. We all suffered from this situation. He didn't return and neither did 4 others who had left their partners elsewhere.

To make this short, you will definite be looked at seriously as a couple. It is probably a slight advantage, but only a slight one. Make it known on your application that you are a package deal. It will NOT hurt your chances of getting hired.

One more thing about choosing a district: if you think you might want to get out more often than once a year, look for someplace that is less remote. By that I mean, perhaps only one plane ride to Anchorage. We are 2 plane rides to Anchorage which makes Christmas break travel exhausting, and more susceptible to weather delays. Last year one teacher left on a Sunday from Colorado to be back by Wednesday inservice. He did not make it back until halfway through the first day of school the next Monday. This year one couple just went to Anchorage. They were due back on 12/31 and made it on 01/02. I personally don't travel at Christmas.
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby lauren burch » Tue Feb 17, 2015 4:47 pm

Hi, both of you being sped and elementary certified makes you pretty marketable. Southeast Island School District on Prince of Wales Island has schools between 10 and 70 students. Odds of getting job in the same school are pretty slim unless one of you was secondary certified in something. You can always call for advice at 907 828-8254 Lauren
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Re: Looking for a new start

Postby stephanie_schneider » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:39 pm

I am an interpretive park ranger who has been teaching environmental ed for eight years, but I don't have official teaching cerficitcation (my degrees are in political science, English and journalism.) My fiance has been trying to find a way of breaking into the education field without going back to school; he has an Associate's degree in liberal arts.

I have been working here in Kotzebue as an interpretive ranger since early May, and my season ends in a week. I talked to someone at the Northwest Arctic Borough School District office, and he said that the Borough is happy to hire people from Outside to be TAs, even though I would not be able to work as a tfull-fledged teacher. He also believed that my fiance and I could both be placed in the same village, and that we could both work as TAs. I personally know a man who got a job as a TA here in Kotz with a zero education background (his background was in welding) and he has now been here for three years.

My fiance and I are looking for a way for me to get experience in classroom education, and for Casey (my fiance) to get a new start. This sounds like the perfect opportunity. Does anyone else, besides the NWABSD HR guy. think this is feasable? He claimed he was ready to hire me on the spot to be a TA, and I had to turn him down, due to family obligations.

--Stephanie Schneider
Interpretive Ranger and Outreach Educator
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