Applying as a "teaching couple"

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

Applying as a "teaching couple"

Postby Transplant2AK » Mon Jan 25, 2016 5:57 pm

First, let me say that this forum is a wealth of information. We're all so lucky that it exists, because there are a lot of valuable insights in every thread.

My wife and I are putting together our AppliTrack profiles and have contacted a couple of districts by email about open positions for the 2016/2017 school year. We're both teachers (social studies/admin and special education certifications, respectively) and are hoping to find a district that wants to hire us both at the same site. As we finish up with AppliTrack, we are hoping to get some advice regarding how to communicate with districts about being a teaching couple. Is it standard to put it into our letters of interest, or is there somewhere else that it would pop out more? We would also love to hear any advice or stories about being hired as a teaching couple... is it as common as it seems?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!
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Re: Applying as a "teaching couple"

Postby Damon Hargraves » Tue Jan 26, 2016 10:25 am

Be up front from the start and you will be fine. Submit your information together and when you start talking to districts let them know early on in the conversation.
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Re: Applying as a "teaching couple"

Postby Bushteachers » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:47 pm

Transplant2AK wrote:First, let me say that this forum is a wealth of information. We're all so lucky that it exists, because there are a lot of valuable insights in every thread.

My wife and I are putting together our AppliTrack profiles and have contacted a couple of districts by email about open positions for the 2016/2017 school year. We're both teachers (social studies/admin and special education certifications, respectively) and are hoping to find a district that wants to hire us both at the same site. As we finish up with AppliTrack, we are hoping to get some advice regarding how to communicate with districts about being a teaching couple. Is it standard to put it into our letters of interest, or is there somewhere else that it would pop out more? We would also love to hear any advice or stories about being hired as a teaching couple... is it as common as it seems?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


We are a teaching couple. We've worked for two different districts so far. Our previous district cut one of our positions which cut us both. So our advise...

1. Only apply with districts that have jobs for both of you.
2. When you apply and introduce yourself via email send one email introducing both of you.
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Re: Applying as a "teaching couple"

Postby Johncn » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:13 am

Hi,

Teaching couples are sought after in rural Alaska. As Damon says, when you or your SO write your letter / email to the districts you are most interested in, make sure you mention not only that you are part of a teaching couple, but your other half's name and certification area(s). This will help them categorize you as a package deal, so to speak.

I do personally recommend that you apply / reach out to districts you want to work and live in whether or not they have posted openings for both of you. Sometimes they don't have all of their suspected openings at a site posted, but know of a likely teaching couple slot coming up soon-ish. If they see you and your partner in the pile of candidates, and they have good reason to want a couple in that village, they may hold off on securing another hire for a bit to see if you two are still available when the second opening becomes known. This is just my advice. Others may disagree, but I been on recruiting teams which have done this very thing..Interview single candidates in the sort term, but hope for a couple if that other job comes open. Could just be an exception, not a rule.

Districts rarely post all of their openings at once. They post some that they know early (retirements, candidates who have resigned well in advance, etc.), and then another batch of openings after their tenured returning staff are offered jobs, and have the required number of days to consider them and sign their contracts, or return them unsigned. And, then a third batch of openings are posted when non-tenured teachers the district wants to keep have been offered contracts, and considered them. The timing on this can be 30 days apart in many cases. AND, don't forget the openings that happen when the districts approves requested in-district transfers to the list...lol.

Why are teaching couples desired in rural Alaska? Well, it's because the schools / villages are small, and when a district is building their staff for the coming school year there, they need to solve two major puzzles: best teacher for the job AND housing for the teachers they hire. This is NOT an easy puzzle, as in rural Alaska property ownership and secondary rental markets are almost nonexistent. Districts are in most cases required by their "negotiated agreement" (teachers union contract) to provide subsidized housing the district owns or leases, or assist teachers in locating suitable housing in their communities.

This is also why districts sometimes have to ask single male or female teachers to share a two or three bedroom housing unit. Districts hate doing that, but it's just part of their annual Rubik's Cube. It is MUCH better for a district if they can find a couple to share a unit - who also match their teaching needs - because if they are a couple, they want to live together, and probably get along. ;-) Districts truly dislike being the real world equivalent of university RAs with adults who don't know each other being forced by circumstances to live together. Sometimes that works out great, and new lifelong friends are made. Sometimes, not so much.

Finally, there is a financial impact of hiring teaching couple in that the negotiated agreement usually allows them to pay "family" insurance for the couple, which is often cheaper than two individual insurance policies, as well as utilities and housing expenses that are typically lower than separate units.

tl;dr - Yes, districts still seek teaching couples for rural Alaska.

Hope this helps,

John
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Re: Applying as a "teaching couple"

Postby Transplant2AK » Wed Feb 03, 2016 6:40 am

Thank you very much for the feedback, everyone. John, that definitely wasn't too long, it was exactly what I needed to know.

We're in touch with one district right now that we contacted prior to completing our ATP profiles. Hopefully we'll get the profiles completed soon, we're just waiting on our last letters of recommendation right now. Good luck to everyone as the search begins :)
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