Advice regarding two very different job offers?
To the kind soul(s) willing to slog through this message- first of all, thank you for your time.
I'm in a fairly lucky position, as I'm currently stuck between two teaching job offers. While ordinarily I'd be modest and such, I've worked hard to get to this point in my career- it's been five years since I graduated college, and I am finally faced with the prospect of having my own classroom. It's more of a relief than anything else.
The first job is at a company I've worked for for the past two years. It's a special education cooperative; basically, it is company that provides teachers and resources for school districts that aren't properly equipped to work with some of the more severe populations of students with disabilities. My first year I worked as a substitute, my second year (last year) I was a teaching assistant, and now they are offering me my own classroom. As I've worked with the students before, as well as the staff and students, I already have extreme familiarity with what would be expected of me. Some of the technical details would need to be learned, as well as other hurdles of a first-year teacher, but otherwise the transition would be minimally stressing. However, the students I would be working with have hygiene issues (such as diapers and feeding tubes); they also act in ways that left me in incoherent cries of rage or angst when at home, as they are not the easiest to work with. Some of my co-workers are also hair-tearing levels of annoying. The previous teacher in this position was there for almost twenty years; however, due to budget concerns, I was actually on the list to be "RIF"-ed (I.e. Reduction in force/layoffs) due to my lack of seniority last year. I am hesitant to put myself in a similar situation, even though the budget was amended and I was invited back (before they had the teaching opening they are currently offering me).
The other job is at a private school. The students have social/emotional disorders and behavior disorders, as well as some general learning disabilities (such as dsylexia). This is a school for students that, rather than be expelled from their previous school, come to have a "second chance" and gain greater levels of self-regulation. They are from poverty, abuse, gangs, drugs, and promiscuous backgrounds. On a weekly (or more frequent) basis, a teacher may need to physically restrain a student from injuring themselves, a peer, or a staff member. They regularly swear, they don't care about academics, and complain about everything. The staff itself is small, but seems very warm, welcoming, yet professional. Even so, they told me that the average length of time they expect a teacher to stay is 3-5 years. This doesn't sit well with me, as I would love to be well-situated in a school without having to worry about burning out or having to relocate just as I was finished acclimating to it.
I made a pro-con list for these schools that spanned four pages; I've discussed the matter with family and friends; I still have no earthly idea which one I should accept. I've inquired as to the compensation packages of both schools, but only the first school (the cooperative) has gotten back to me; I am meeting with the director on Monday morning to go over the package. He also told me upfront that he received special permission to circumvent the traditional hiring process due to my having another offer, the school year coming up quickly, and the lack of acceptable applicants that have applied. While not flattering, it was at least honest. The other school's principal told me, at the end of my interview last Monday, to consider whether I feel that the school is right for me and if I would like to proceed with the mandatory 2 week training. I sent an email on Tuesday informing them of my other offer on the table and asking for compensation information before committing to the training, but have yet to hear a reply.
I try to be content in whatever situation I end up in, but I also don't want to choose unwisely. I'm not sure if my hesitance about accepting the private school is due to me feeling scared about new things, or justified fear in having to potentially deal with violence and rough teens every day. While other people can't make up my mind for me, another perspective would be great.
What are you kinda hoping the responses will say? There is something you are hoping we will say... when you get the next notification..ask yourself...dont think hard... use your spirit.
I guess I'm hoping for advice as to which one sounds like the better prospect. I can't really go by "gut feelings" since I don't have one about this situation, and logic isn't working (my 4 page pro/con list still has me unresolved).
BOTH of these jobs sound high stress.
So it would come down to the compensation issue, if it were up to me to decide.
PS - You really don't know about choice #2 - you have assumed they are violent and unruly. Maybe they just need an adult who shows interest.
Can you talk to current teachers in each of the classrooms? Maybe hearing some success stories would help tip the scale.
Bless your heart for entering the special education field!!
Thanks for your input, SusieDQQ! They are both high-stress, but it's more stressful at this point to not have a job than it would be to be in a stressful classroom (if that makes sense).
Compensation definitely has a big deciding factor, but I don't have that information available yet. Also, if both of them offer me similar amounts, I'd like to know which one seems like the better prospect.
I visited the private school during my second interview and was able to shadow a teacher for the last half of the school day. Unfortunately the violence and unruliness is not exaggerated, as two students ran away in the morning and had the police bring them in, one student was screaming in the crisis intervention room for the last 45 minutes of the day and had to be kept after school (as well as physically restrained from injuring herself or staff members), and there were shenanigans all day. The teachers show they care, and I'm sorry to be cynical, but caring doesn't solve everything. Their situations are heartbreaking, but I can't go in thinking that I'll radically change their lives simply by being there; the principal blatantly expressed that to me. In my own words, I can't go in expecting a "Freedom Writers" experience.
Thank you again for your advice, though!