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Teaching in the USA

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by jd18, May 25, 2012.

  1. Thank you muffins. Does anyone have any decent website links where i would be able to check the requirments?
     
  2. There has been a lot written on this forum on teaching in the US and a search would help you find it.
    The first hurdle teachers face in America is finding a job. For a while now, there have been massive layoffs across the country due to the recession. It is the one thing almost all states have in common. For newly licensed or certified teachers (check the state for what they call it there), you can pick your area of teaching and city and there are hundreds if not more, graduating every year to an environment where there aren't enough jobs for the already experienced there. States with unions will have call back lists. This means they don't hire anyone new for any new positions until they call in each and every union member to work first.

    You don't specify whether your degree would be in teaching English (in the US that would be specified by grade level, such as 7-12th grade English) or just English. Just English won't qualify you to teach anywhere except the rare district having such a hard time that they will let you get a temporary permit. This is something more seen for getting a substitute teaching permit.

    Those places would not be having such a hard time for no reason. The biggest hurdle is what teachers face when they actually have work. It is a realistic possibility that it would be an inner city district where there would be 60 students to a class, with only 30 desks in the room. The expectation of the principal could be that since half of the students won't be attending 2 weeks after the start of school anyway, it doesn't matter. He or she will be more worried about test scores and how not to lose his/her own job over them. If they care beyond that, they will be worried about how to keep the school from being shut down. You might not be able to assign homework because (if you are lucky) there is only one class set of textbooks. Your next class won't have them if you send them home with the first of the day. You might not have enough security guards because there isn't the money and you will worry about your own safety and that of your car every work day, not to mention how disruptive the halls will be as a result. Those districts are not safe for the students in them and beyond the fights you would see in the halls, horribly sad things happen in the bathrooms and the darker, out of the way hallways. The building could be partially condemned but overcrowded in the other half, because there is nowhere else to put students. I've had friends bring in furniture at the beginning of the year, only to have it stolen by other teachers in the first few days. Another teacher just left a district where the contract was essentially blank. The teachers there were told, sign by the end of this week or you won't have a job here next year. The pay was to be determined. The contract length, number of school days, length of the school day, health insurance coverage, all was to be determined, but the teachers were expected to commit to it in no uncertain terms in a matter of a few days.

    I have found it easier to get my state's teaching credential recognized in another country than in another state in the US. The situation often is, you must have a credential recognized by the state to apply for the job, getting recognition for the out-of-state credential requires an employer to sponsor you. In some places it is worse and no matter how much education you have, you will be required to take more university courses in addition. They will not be cheap.

    If you wanted to teach in the US, research the city, go to a university in that state and get your degree and teaching credential there. It is a very risky proposition even for people who are already living there: it will cost an incredible amount of money, usually as much as a house, and there is no guarantee there will be a job at the end where you will be able to pay it off. Recent legislation (just before the financial crash, essentially written by the banks) means that among other things, a student loan will follow a person until they are dead. If their parents cosigned, it will follow even after, so bankruptcy will not get you out of a student loan. Nor medical bills if you get sick and you either don't have insurance or, if you do and it refuses to cover you, which is a real possibility. Don't underestimate the cost of health care there, one problem could easily put you in debt for the rest of your life in the US, with absolutely no way to pay it off.

    The short version is, you will have to want to teach in the US very, very badly to be able to make it happen in one way or another. I don't want to say it's an awful place, just that it is a very difficult environment right now and I don't see it getting better for quite a while. Add to this, in the media, the problems in the schools are all the teachers' fault. This is why I say it will take some time for these problems to work themselves through. A fix is not coming in five years. If what you want to do is teach, I would recommend that you look for a way you could do that which would be rewarding to you. If what you want to do is immigrate to the US, I suggest you research career paths that are experiencing long term growth and demand and still might fit your interests. If teaching is what you really want to do, do it in the UK, get some years of experience and maybe in time the situation will be improved enough that you would find a worthwhile opportunity in the US.

     

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