Almost no responses from schools/HR

This is 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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Almost no responses from schools/HR

Postby Aquinas0035 » Sat Jun 27, 2020 2:23 am

Hello,

I'm a certified math teacher who has been teaching internationally for 12 plus years. I am ready to teach back in the States now and Alaska has intrigued me, and I have applied to just about every math position in Alaska. At present, just 2 recruiters contacted me about 2 months ago and have never since then replied back. Honestly, I thought my inbox would be inundated with offers by now. I noticed that school starts this year on July 18th(I'm guessing the pandemic has caused the schools to start so early).

My question is have I started too late to apply, or is there some other reason for the near-total lack of interest from HR? Someone else mentioned to contact them directly, but I was planning on doing that July 6th when I am stateside and not in a totally different time zone.

Thank you!
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Re: Almost no responses from schools/HR

Postby Johncn » Sat Jun 27, 2020 4:33 pm

Hello,

Alaska is very independent-minded. There are over 50 different school districts, and some have very specific recruitment processes, while others wing each year with different approaches changing by the composition of the hiring team. You are not too late to find a Math position. International experience is highly valued, but you should make sure you have evidence of having completed an accredited pre-service teacher preparation program to appear a viable option to districts. If you have Praxis or other test scores, include those in your resume.

Above all, don't just check mark the positions you are interested in at this time of year and hope someone contacts you. Be assertive, but remain polite and reach out to districts. I would not wait until you are stateside. Hit the HR director, the admin assistants and the superintendents with emails and a cover letter highlighting your teaching experience, certification and international and cross-cultural experience. Call their office phone using a virtual calling system. If you are persistent, but remain professional, and have good references, I'm guessing you are going to get something. Just a feeling. This time of year, things happen FAST. You could go from zero to a Zoom interview to a contract in under 24 hours.

FYI - All districts start their "year" in July in Alaska. So, when teachers report is a thing that varies, but with a mandatory 14-day quarantine possible, districts may need staff to report earlier than usual. School usually starts the third week in August, but teachers typically have to to report first week or so in August. Subtract a quarantine period....and there you go. Mid-July not unreasonable. ;-)

Note: The current regs seem to call for all travelers to Alsaka to have a COVID-19 negative test result (and proof of such) received within 72-hours of arrival, and do a 14-quarantine quarantine. Not sure if that would be in city of arrival, but assume so. Likely Anchorage for most. I don't know if school districts have filed plans to augment / supplant these requirements, but worth asking an HR Director:

State of Alaska Travel Regulations - COVID-19 Requirements
https://covid19.alaska.gov/travelers/

All persons entering Alaska from another state or country must:

Complete a Traveler Declaration Form

Download Statewide Printable Form

and

Arrive with proof of a qualifying negative COVID-19 test.

or

Receive a COVID-19 test when you arrive in Alaska, and self-quarantine at your expense until results arrive.

or

Self-quarantine at your expense for either 14 days or the duration of your trip whichever is shorter.

or

Follow the work plan that your employer filed with the State of Alaska.

Good luck in your search.

Regards,

John
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Re: Almost no responses from schools/HR

Postby marymatt718 » Sun Mar 28, 2021 6:53 pm

I have had relatively good success with researching who either the principal of the school is or who the superintendent is and emailing them directly. I got my current job by writing directly to the man who was the then superintendent. You have to remember, HR people are looking at ALL applications for ALL positions in ALL the schools in their districts. I know in my current district it is just ONE GUY, and HR is not even his primary job.

I asked one of my principal's once how he chose candidates. He said he looked at the ones who wrote him directly first, because he figured they were the ones who were really interested in the job. I NEVER forgot that. If you are REALLY interested in the job, write the administrators. The principals know better what they need anyway. HR can only guess.

If this approach works, great. If it doesn't work, you may never see them face-to-face, so who cares? You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. I wrote a posting on here about getting your application noticed and gave a rough example of what I usually write in an email. Feel free to use that as a base for your own email; that's why I posted it. Get busy folks. You are actually HELPING the HR department a bit when you do this...at least I think so. You are DEFINITELY helping yourself.

Since I decided to move on this year, I have been using this technique again and have not only gotten several interviews, but have also received several offers. One principal I wrote to told me she couldn't make the decision, but she was interested enough that she did send my information straight to HR. So now my information was not one among thousands in the pool on ATP; it was in the inbox of someone in HR from a Principal. I had an interview within days. It doesn't always work, but I'd say I get results 75% of the time. Honestly, if I don't get some little blurb within a few weeks, I cross that district off my list. That's just unprofessional and rude, I don't care how special they might think their school is.

If a district administrator doesn't respond with at least some kind of statement, "thank you, we will be conducting interviews soon" or something of that quick but courteous nature, within a week or two of your email, consider that maybe you don't WANT to work for an administrator who can't take the time to be courteous and at least acknowledge your email. If such a small thing is beyond them or beneath them, how will they be as a day-to-day administrator? (And yes, administrators who are reading this, I am speaking to you here as well. I now know the names of three administrators at two schools that I will never forget, and from whom I will never seek positions...and I am endorsed in five sciences, and soon, MS and HS math and special education.)

By the same token, as an job-seeker, if an administrator reaches out to you, even if you aren't interested or have found a position, be courteous and reply. Alaska is a huge state, but a small community, and the Education community is even smaller. People remember whether or not you acted in a professional and courteous manner, and years later, that can help you or hurt you. The interview I had last Friday was with an administrator I have been communicating with off and on for several years. He saw my application and reached out to me because I was always courteous and professional in my dealings with him in the past. I always responded to his emails and inquiries. I hadn't even applied to his current open position. Courtesy is such a small thing, but it has a giant, long-lasting impact, whether you are an administrator or a job-seeker.


SO, Good luck...and don't forget to look at Galena...cushy bush, great community, great kids, HS has a boarding school so low absenteeism: great for going into the bush for the first time! I'm only leaving because I've been in the bush for eight years and am ready for a bit more civilization. I'm transitioning to return home to Texas eventually, but I'm not quite ready for the 3" flying cockroaches, poisonous snakes, and brown recluse spiders yet. Plus my dogs like the snow.

Oh, here, I'll save you the trouble of looking up the email addresses for Galena, just in case.

Principal (Honestly, the best administrator I have ever worked for... so far)
david.casey@galenanet.com

Superintendent
jim.merriner@galenanet.com

DM
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Re: Almost no responses from schools/HR

Postby Aquinas0035 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 12:02 pm

Thanks for the long and thoughtful reply. I've emailed him today due to your recommendation.
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Re: Almost no responses from schools/HR

Postby marymatt718 » Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:44 pm

I hope it works as well for you as it has for me. I had 7 interviews this year, and 5 job offers. I had written introductory emails to all of them.

Good luck!
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