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Teaching in the USA - what is it like?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by catwoman2205, Aug 3, 2007.

  1. I have been teaching Art in the UK now for just over 3 years. I am toying with the idea of going to the USA at some point in the next few years but have found it difficult to find out information on teaching conditions/salary/standards of living for teachers etc.

    Is there anyone who has taught in the USA recently who can give me some advice?

    Is it a wise choice or should I just stay in the UK?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  2. I have been teaching Art in the UK now for just over 3 years. I am toying with the idea of going to the USA at some point in the next few years but have found it difficult to find out information on teaching conditions/salary/standards of living for teachers etc.

    Is there anyone who has taught in the USA recently who can give me some advice?

    Is it a wise choice or should I just stay in the UK?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated
  3. Hey Cat...

    You might want to check out the 2,000+ posts on Hig and Wee's VIF Hot-tub...an illuminating insight into teaching in the USA through Visiting International Faculty (VIF) www.vifprogram.com which places teachers from all over the world for three year J1 visa terms in US Public schools. States included are Georgia, North and South Carolina, California, Maryland, Virginia, Florida.
    To participate you need two years+ experience (although they are taking NQT's these days!) and a drivers license. From the information that you gave you should qualify.


    As Hig and I have commented before on threads that appear like this...it is not easy securing a post in the US outside of these programs.

    Theses are basically your options and I am sure that there are others out there that have done these an others.

    1. VIF (See above) - short term (two years tax free / three years if you pay tax as UK has tax treaty with US. J1 Visa - Medical etc. sorted with program

    2. Doing it yourself...very nearly impossible. You firstly need to get a school to hire you. As you have said, not easy to find out details about this. School systems in each state operate by county and therefore have a county website. On that there will be a human resources dept. where you can find vacancies. However, for each state, you need to have that state certification to be able to teach in that subject area. So you need to chose your state, get certified for that state (you need to send university transcripts of your degree along with details to the DPI (Department of Public Instruction) for that state and they will translate your degrees into what you would have obtained in America. They will then tell you what Praxis examinations you will need to complete. Then you can apply for jobs and if you get hired...well there is more. The school, if they hire you must provide a visa. They cannot use J1 as they are not a teaching program. They must use H1B from which they are, as a non profit organisation exempt from the cap. However, these visas are VERY EXPENSIVE...and a school system will not entertain paying it unless they are getting a teacher that they REALLY NEED...and here is the worst part of the news....they don't need Art Teachers. Art programs in all schools are very haphazard, underfunded and there are a load of Art Teachers so they will not be able to secure the visa using the excuse of you being a specialist and that no other American could do your job.
    Basically...bottom line on this one...there is no hope in Hades of getting a job this way.

    BSA - British Schools of America - do a search for these guys on this forum and you can read about all the good and bad points of this school system

    International Schools - again there are jobs that do come up at these schools. I work at one of these schools and am an ex-VIF teacher. If you want to email me irishwee@yahoo.com I can tell you more about that...

    All the best with your search but I will be brutally honest with you...getting a job with Art here will be nearly impossible. It is unlikely that VIF will take you because they tend to go for teachers in areas of need.

    But....stranger things have happened...and I will testify to that...

  4. Ah bu66er, Wee got in before me! I had posted a lengthy and detailed response but then the server kept chucking me off! Nonetheless, I was canny and saved my post in word and shall copy and post the relevant parts....

    there's lots of information on teaching in the US knocking about on this board- use the search box on the top right to find it all.

    In summary, most of the people on here who have taught in the US have really enjoyed the experience- it is different to the UK certainly gave me a work/life balance. Wages, conditions and standards of living vary significantly from state to state- for example, a teacher in the North east earns significantly more than a teacher in the south east BUT the cost of living is significantly more in the NE compared to the SE and it my opinion it all balances out.

    If you want to explore the prospect of working in the US further, I strongly recommend you contact or investigate:

    The Visiting International Faculty Program (VIF)- they will sponsor your visa for 3 years and get you a position but will also tell you right off if they don't think they'll be able to get you a position

    Teacher's Council- they will help you get a visa and a position in a school (normally charter or private school) but once you have a position, you will be responsible for what I would call 'administration' costs (could be up to $6000). Your visa would be valid for up to 6 years

    I loved teaching in the US and recommend it to everyone but you need to keep in mind that if you aren't what they are looking for, you won't be successful.
    Good luck.
  5. Thanks for all the advice - looks like Im better off staying in the UK!!!
  6. As a teacher who is teaching in the USA I believe you would enjoy the position. Having qualifications for "special needs" or SpecialEducation certification would make you more eligible. Compared to the cost of living in the UK you would do well financially. Although, the pay in the US varies greatly from State to State.
    If you have any direct questions please feel free to email me and I will inform as best I can. I am a US citizen and have taught in several different states so I can offer much information if you are truly interested.
    Best of luck to you with whatever decision you make.
  7. Higgi and Wee have give you a lot of the basics to start. I am teaching in the US system after relocating with husband's job. The US system is quite different to the UK system, but not insurmountable :) If you wanted to go over with an organisation try VIF or the British Schools. Both have been widely discussed on these forums as to their benefits and disadvantages
  8. What's it like? I would imagine that it's like going into a McDonalds and being told you could eat all you want for ten dollars. It would be fun at the start but you would soon regret ever having walked through the golden arches.

    Am now in Lhasa and there's not a 'Mickey Dees' or KFC anywhere. Thank God Ron McDonalds yellow and red fingers have not polluted sunny Tibet.
  9. 10001- bless your naivety...everyone knows McD's is all you can eat for $1- not $10!!!!!

    Do give my love to Tibet xoxoxo
  10. How did you get in to teaching in 'Tibet' or is it 'China'?
  11. I think that 10001 is actually a cover name for the Dalai Lama.

    I imagine that going to Tibet is like walking through any given World airport...lots of people wearing orange and chanting mutterings of madness to themselves...
    Total ****** riding a bike in Tibet because of all the hills...and did I mention that the Yeti follows you home....
  12. Damnit. That small woman is even sillier than me...
    Will have to quote Confucius. "Women and small men are alike. When you get close to them they become disturbed. When you move away they become angry." Conf: 600 BC.
    Am biking thru Tibet not teaching.
    "Dalai lama" means "ocean of wisdom" in the Tibetan language. This certainly is not me....
  13. To quote the great Yoda....

    "Size matters not"

    However, sod you 10001...biking through Tibet...you are living some life! Will trade you for a private school teaching job and a fat mortgage....
  14. ...although the hills are a ****** on a bike! *grin*

    Be safe and enjoy. Let's start a thread about a country that we can mutually slag off....
  15. How about Ireland? Bad weather; binge-drinking;leprecahauns; religious bigotry; covert racism; incredible snobbery; ... Can't stand the place.
  16. Hee hee...agreed! - Full of BMW tractor driving beach blonde airheads that speak with a phoney "Mal-one" accent and dress like Posh Spice, every bloody menu in Belfast now is "A la Cart" and has that **** chef boyo Paul Rankin endorsing it. Our football team for the world cup really sucks but we go ahead and name an airport after the biggest drunk womaniser of them all. Can't get through the counter line in Dublin for the tax office for all the Polish people. (although the fact that some rather good polish beer has appeared in all local Centra's is a payback there...) Soddin' house prices are just silly (cardboard box on the old Gasworks site, Belfast - one gazillion pounds please!!!)
    Still the same old politics with the same old faces - except these days they are not shooting or bombing the **** out of each other...they are all living the high life on Stormont while the gangs are taking their cut on the streets from racketeering and dealing (new style terrorism....same old!)

    Yeah...Ireland sucks....

  17. Derry doesn't exist. Apparently some students and tourists in Belfast bus station and Central Station are being told that Derry doesn't exist. This of course is because they are not using the full, correct name "Londonderry." N.I. Rail have long since stopped employing a man to yell into a speaker on Platform 2 everyday, "This train goes to Londonderry." Progress is being made. Thank God for the Peace agreement.
  18. Hi, sorry to ambush your thread but i have been looking evrywhere for info re: working in the USA and this thread has given me some hope. I am an ICT teacher but am thinking i might have more chance working in the usa if my wife, who is a pharmacist, were to gain employment over there first! She knows there are extra exams to take etc first, but i noticed a post from a lady on here who got a teaching job in the USA after moving over there with her husbands job. Do you reckon this might be the best route? Thanks for any advice!
  19. Hi Burnsie-
    never fear the hijack (anything to get Wee and 10001 off yammering about the joys of the mother country *ahem*).

    Wee and I both went down the VIF route- 3 year visa, non-renewable, job in a public school. Wee now works in an international school in Georgia (long story).

    There is also the Teacher's Council- you can pay them to get you a visa to work in charter or private schools in the US (that's not right, but for summary purposes that's how I'll put it.) They will most likely get you an H visa which entitles you to 3 years, another 3 on renewal and in that time you can apply for a green card.

    Now, if your Mrs. were to get a job with a visa then as her husband, you would be able to accompany her and, in time, apply for a work permit (it doesn't come automatically). In the interim, you can pay to have your qualifications certified for the US and cast around for possible positions.

    Now, my experience is only in the south-eastern USA where, unfortunately, there are not many jobs for ICT teachers in public schools- lots of IT professionals out of work tend to fill those posts BUT if you're already over there with your wife then you might stand more of a chance. So, in your case yes this is probably the best route for you.

    There have been loads of threads about teaching in the USA, a little play with the search box may yield you some more helpful information and all the best with it!
  20. Ironically, speaking as the lady...we moved here with my job with VIF - my husband's company allowed him to work from the States office as he was working for an American Corporate at the time.

    Email me at irishwee@yahoo.com if you want to ask more...happy to help

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