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Sunday, October 2, 2016

Three Things to Know about Changing Jobs from ISD to Higher Ed

Are you thinking of making a teaching change from a public independent school district to a higher education setting? Before you do so, let's take a look at some important information:

1. Education
Did you know you need 18 hours of masters or higher level courses in the discipline you want to teach? For example, if you would like to teach math then you need 18 graduate hours in that specific area. Education courses (listed under EDUC) do not count as discipline specific unless you are teaching in the School of Education. A mistake I almost made was getting my masters degree in English education rather than in English Composition and Rhetoric. If my English courses fell under EDUC, I would not qualify to teach college level composition courses under higher education regulations. This is a costly career error made by many public school teachers who are under the impression EDUC courses will suffice when applying for a college level job.

2. Pay
There's a myth that pay is much higher at the college level. While this may be true in many regions of the United States, it is not true in Oklahoma or Texas where I currently teach. In fact, my pay cut from the ISD was about $3,000.00 while a new employee sitting next to me also coming from an independent school district took a $10,000.00 pay cut! Why the differences? Perhaps in Oklahoma and Texas it is the classification of employees from district to state that make the difference. State benefits packages are vastly different, and better, under state guidelines. Yet, it will take years for me to recoup the losses from my monthly ISD paycheck. Also, at the college I am employed at, we are paid once per month versus twice per month at the ISD I worked at. Pay raises, so far over the last eight years at the college I work at, have only offset increases in health insurance, retirement contributions, and federal taxes. "Going Backwards" is the best way to describe my last seven years paychecks--so, weigh your pay options carefully!

3. Time
It's true--I have more time to spend on creating critical thinking, high-interest
lesson plans! My first year at the college level was an adjustment after teaching middle school. No parents to deal with, no high stakes testing, no classroom behavior issues, no sick kids, no fights to break up, no before and after school duties, no IEPs... Need I go on? I work a four day work week, teach five classes, do 7 1/2 hours of office time per week, and enjoy my time off. Of course, there are meetings and professional development days, but compare this to the daily grind of ISD teaching and yearly teaching requirements!

There are lots of differences between teaching at an ISD and college, so be sure to thoroughly do your homework before making a career change.

Happy Transitioning!
Educator Helper

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