Older, experienced teachers welcome?

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.

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Older, experienced teachers welcome?

Postby jwomochil » Mon Jan 20, 2020 8:27 am

I am retiring after 30 successful years in early childhood special education, stateside. Have a ton of experience and knowledge base, including administrative work. It goes without saying that special education in the smaller districts require SpEd services from pre-k through 12th grade, which would be an interesting challenge. It is my goal to remain strong and determined to provide quality interventions to children who are in need, but in a more challenging setting. I am fortunate to live just outside of a growing, urban city. While I enjoy some of the perks, am getting tired of the hordes of people.

If anyone has time, could you provide an honest assessment of the possibilities of employment for older, experienced teachers in the Alaska systems- on, or off the road system.

Thanks.
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Re: Older, experienced teachers welcome?

Postby Johncn » Tue Jan 21, 2020 4:50 am

Hello,

This is a common question each year, so you are not alone to wonder. There is no "age limit" for teachers, as the question is sometimes phrased, and districts are happy to find those with experience and skill.

In fact, Alaska districts I've worked for in the past have actively sought out experienced teachers. Many new hires in Alaska are those teachers and administrators who have qualified for retirement in another state, and are looking to teach somewhere distinctly different for a new phase of their lives. Alaska does tend to hire lots of young teachers - often just graduating from their Bachelor's or Master's programs - at education job fairs and recruiting events put on by universities and consortia of teacher preparation programs. Teachers with experience sometimes not aware of, or not allowed to attend those events, so often are contacted via job search databases (such as ATP's Applitrack system), or from reaching out to districts via distance. When the new teacher training / on boarding / orientation sessions are held by districts in early August, it's a diverse mix of ages, geographic roots and experience levels, trust me. ;-) I would personally recommend that older teachers make sure they are in good general health before accepting a rural / remote position, as medical care if often very far away, and not available in periods of bad weather in many locations.

Although it's from a somewhat older study, one Alaska Supply and Demand report snapshot on the main ATP website gives a quick glimpse into the age distribution for one year...and it's probably representative:

https://www.alaskateacher.org/supply_and_demand.php

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As you can see, nearly a third of Alaska's teachers in the sample year were 50-59, and 5% or more were over 60.

There are some things to be aware of if transferring from the Lower 48. Like most states, Alaska districts use a Step-and-Lane approach, which pay teachers more for experience and education. What varies in states is mostly how experience is counted - i.e. year for year or in "bands" of experience - and in how many steps and lanes there are in that contract. Districts, not the state, set the salaries in negotiations with their bargaining unit (union).

Alaska Statutes prohibit districts from placing teachers on the salary scale with credit for more than six (6) years of experience for those with Bachelor's degrees, and a maximum of eight (8) years of experience for those with Master's degrees. Districts often have other placement guidance in their Negotiated Agreement documents, and sometimes can allow 10 or more years of experience for those with advanced degrees. However, experienced teachers with Lower 48 experience will not be able to get credit for all of their years of prior service.

Alaska Statute 14.20.180
http://www.touchngo.com/lglcntr/akstats/Statutes/Title14/Chapter20/Section220.htm
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Hope this helps, and I'm pretty sure other members on this forum will pitch in about their own experiences moving up with experience.

John
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Re: Older, experienced teachers welcome?

Postby marymatt718 » Sat May 23, 2020 10:04 am

I am sure you have received all the information you need, but I will answer this 5 months after the fact for other teachers as well. I am 63 and have been teaching in Alaska since I was 56. I will be here for a while yet. A friend of mine, who is now 70, retired from many years of teaching in Texas, came and taught in Alaska for a number of years, and "retired" from Alaska about 3 years ago. She still comes up every year to work as a long-term substitute teacher.

The principal at my school and his LA-teaching wife are both retired from careers in Colorado. She is in her late 50's and he is 68.

Yes, Alaska is more than willing to employ older teachers and administrators. Be aware, like John said, you will not get credit for all your 30 years of teaching. Some districts top out at 5-6 years of out-of-state experience allowed, though it's often more if you have a Master's. As John also said, that information on years allowed can be found on a district's Negotiated Agreement.
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