Help a UK teacher get to San Francisco
May 3, 2009 4:40 AM   Subscribe

ForeignTeacherFilter: I'm a secondary (11-19yrs) science teacher in the UK and want to teach in the San Francisco area from 2010 for a few years at least. Will probably have to go private at first due to accreditation process - any recommendations for schools to contact?

I've been teaching in the UK for 3 years, I'm a good teacher - been getting great results, students are confident and happy in their work. I'm a physics specialist, but teach all science up to age 16 (GCSE-level in the UK), and just physics beyond that. I also run the e-learning side of things at my school - purchasing hardware and software, running our Moodle VLE. I think I'm pretty employable! Seems like transferring qualifications, even for shortage subjects, is a royal PITA.

Would like to hear experiences of similar, if anyone can put me in contact with someone who has lived the dream, or if anyone knows a school that's looking for a teacher!
posted by bullox to Education (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Good luck. Not sure if you knew or not, but more than 30,000 teachers were laid off in California this year because of the California budget problems (just in March alone). I imagine there are a lot of applicants for teaching jobs, whether they are public or private school jobs.
posted by gt2 at 8:08 AM on May 3, 2009

1. San Francisco is a notoriously difficult school district in which to find a teaching position. I'm certified in California and I couldn't get any school to return my calls. Most public schools will subject you to several interviews, including interviews with parents, administrators, teachers, and students. You'll probably also be asked to deliver a demo lesson to a classroom full of students and adult onlookers.

2. There are alternative certification pathways for those who want to teach math and science in California, plus lots of financial aid (check into the APLE program). You can sometimes get a job as an "intern" and attend classes at night to get your license. Interns get full pay.

3. I don't think California has a reciprocity agreement with the UK, which means you will have to go to a university to get your California certification, even though you already have UK certification. Some CA districts have their own certification programs, which are low-to-no cost and often take less time than those offered by universities.

4. San Francisco is an amazing city.

5. Private schools can hire whomever they please, regardless of whether the candidate has state certification. Pay is almost always significantly lower, which might make it difficult to survive in such a pricey spot. It used to be fairly easy to find a job in a private school, but the economy is driving many more people into teaching, making it a very competitive field. Now many private schools can get scores of certified teachers to apply for positions, which used to be somewhat rare.
posted by HotPatatta at 8:13 AM on May 3, 2009

Best answer: Carney Sandoe is a pretty venerable organization that helps teachers find jobs at independent schools.
posted by HeroZero at 11:36 AM on May 3, 2009

If you are coming from a suburban setting, I would suggest you look for something in a suburban area. San Francisco and Oakland have large difficult student populations and going from a class structure where tests are already implemented into a setting where tests are being implemented will be difficult unless you seek a school district where improvement is meaningful and done objectively.
posted by parmanparman at 12:44 PM on May 3, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks all. I'm guessing the cuts will make it pretty challenging then. I was under the impression that science was a shortage subject in most urban areas but maybe I'm mistaken. To clear it up - I'm a teacher in a challenging urban comprehensive school at the moment and have made a significant impact on my students and my school in general. I'm looking for a new challenge and a change of scenery. San Francisco pushes my buttons in terms of the culture and environment of the area - any suggestions for other places to look?
posted by bullox at 2:38 PM on May 3, 2009

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