Chances of getting hired to teach for the upcoming school year?
July 24, 2015 5:24 PM   Subscribe

I want to teach high school social studies for the upcoming (2015-2016) school year in Virginia, USA. I would have to be hired with a provisional license. How can I make this happen/what are the chances of this happening?

I have no teaching license. I do have a bachelor's degree from Virginia Tech in Interdisciplinary Studies and minors in History and Religion, passing scores on the Praxis II Social Studies Content Knowledge exam and VCLA (plus high enough scores on my SAT to take the place of the Praxis I), and two years experience teaching English in South Korea.

I have maybe 30-33 credits worth of the 51 credits you are supposed to have in the endorsement area (I know that you are supposed to have all of them, but a friend of mine has recently been hired to teach high school social studies without all of them, so I understand there is actually some leeway).

I intend to enroll in online courses at UVA-Wise's Center for Teaching Excellence in the fall to begin acquiring the necessary education credits.

So, based on all this, would any of you know what my chances are of actually being hired somewhere with a provisional license? I have applied to several locations, mostly in rural areas, but have yet to hear back anything (on the other hand, the job listings have only recently closed or have not yet closed). I figure if they're still hiring teachers in late July they must really need them.

According to my friend, based on everything I've said here, I would have at least a decent shot at getting hired. Can anyone in the know here give me more information, advice, things to look into on this? Thanks.
posted by EmptyEmpire to Education (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Well, I don't know about the job market for teachers in VA specifically, but are you looking at private school jobs? I teach in a private high school in NJ and I have found non-public schools usually have more leeway in hiring uncertified teachers. You'll likely make a bit less money (especially if you find work at a Catholic school), but you can get experience while you work on obtaining your teaching license. There are some resources for private school jobs here and here. Another option to consider would be looking for a maternity leave coverage -- it might not get you through the whole year, but it could if the teacher on leave decides to stay home a longer than she originally planned. Basically, even shorter term gigs are better than subbing if they're specific to your subject area since you'll be gaining concrete experience and making stronger connections within a school. Good luck.
posted by katie at 6:24 PM on July 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I'm a proud public teacher who's about to start my ninth year of teaching full-time in the US and am very familiar with the Virginia public school system. If you had a Major in History, then you could get certification quickly since you've got the Praxis II and VCLA under your belt. After that, receiving a Provisional License might not be too hard, especially if you found a sympathetic clerk in the school district's HR department who'd go to bat for you at the VDOE and help you push through the paperwork. (I started teaching with full certification but just a provisional license, and am beyond grateful to the HR clerk who guided me through the process.) Most public schools in Virginia only hire full-time teachers with certification and licensure unless it's a hard-to-full position such as Chinese. When it comes to ratings, schools are penalized for having (too many) non-certified and non-licensed teachers. As katie said, you might have more luck right now finding a job at a private school with more flexible requirements.

Had you been in this spot ten years ago when the market was better and unemployment was low, I'd say you could get in the side door, so to speak, but things have gotten tougher. That said, there are ways to get your foot in the door for when the time comes. You likely could get a long-term subbing position for history, for example; if a system gets to know you, they may hire you with once you're certified with a provisional license, etc. You could likely also get a job as an Aide, especially as as ESOL Aide with your international teaching experience. The pay is low but you'd have benefits, a foot in the door, and there's often even tuition reimbursement.

Then again, you never know what opportunities could arise: a teacher could quit the first day of school (these things happen, unfortunately!), a department chair is a fellow Tech grad and is determined to help make it work, etc. I'd be looking at job listings online and taking your resume to Human Resource departments in all the districts in your area; if possible, I'd go in person because you'll leave a more lasting impression. Smaller and rural districts tend to be more flexible and personable than the larger ones, although the big ones have more openings. What area are you from and what area are you looking at? (If you'd rather keep it private, you are welcome to send me a MeMail.) If you're interested in subbing, let me know and I can give you some more tips there, too.

UVA-Wise has an excellent education program and is well-regarded in the state. I'd try to meet or at least speak with an advisor asap to make an academic plan so you can finish quickly; for example, it might be wise to work on the rest of those history credits first. Have you thought about teaching elementary school? The requirements are many and tough but you might have many fulfilled as an Interdisciplinary Studies major. I'd also try to meet with an HR clerk who does certification at a school district where you'd like to work: they may be able to get your teaching experience in Korea to count for some of those education credits. When you get hired full-time -- and I can almost guarantee that you will find many openings when you are fully certified and licensed, they can help get that international teaching experience to count, which means higher pay from the start.

So, the bottom line: I don't think you'll be able to get that desired position this year but it may be possible. You've done a lot of work already and that initiative will help get you farther. In addition to your classes, I'd start handing out resumes now and speaking to HR people -- you can even call the licensure people at the VDOE -- and get their advice. I wish you luck!
posted by smorgasbord at 7:57 PM on July 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I would reach out to private/military schools in the area. They are able to hire teachers without an actual teaching license/certification. Your pay will be lower than in public schools (which is already pretty low), but you will get actual teaching/coaching/leadership experience.

I believe that in Virginia, if you teach in a private/military school for 3 years, you can transfer to a public school system without licensing. Definitely research this as I'm not 100% sure how this works.
posted by funfunfun at 8:15 AM on July 25, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks for your answers everyone. I'm currently located in Loudoun County, but I've applied for numerous positions across the state. I used the list of school districts from the VDOE website to go to each school district website and applied for every open high school social studies positions they had. In particular, I've applied for open positions in Henry County, Alleghany County, Augusta County, Tazewell County, and Isle of Wight County.

I've looked into private school teaching, but there doesn't seem to be many open positions (and none in VA that I could find).

If it doesn't work out this year, I could take classes this upcoming year to help me for the next year. But part of the problem is money--I'm currently unemployed, broke, living with my parents, and with no car. And I really, really don't want to go into yet more debt to get more education (already have enough of that from my undergrad). Getting hired with a provisional license this year would be ideal, because then I could pay for the classes while working and spread them out, but if I don't get hired I'll have to take many classes at a time to be set up for the following year, and I just don't know how I'm supposed to afford that or have the time if I have to find a job to work full time and study full time. I've recently filled out the FAFSA to see what kind of results I'll get, but likely I'll only be eligible for more loans (no thanks).

I would be interested in subbing if it could help me at all. I'm not really interested in elementary (or middle) school...Elementary kids are often great but I just don't find it very intellectually stimulating. Thanks again everyone!
posted by EmptyEmpire at 1:23 PM on July 25, 2015

Thanks for the update as well as for being so receptive! Loudoun is a great county to work for because they have great pay and benefits; of course, for that same reason it's hard to get a job since so many people with full teaching licenses applying. I'd recommend you apply to be a substitute teacher with Loudoun right now; I'd also consider applying in Fairfax and/or Prince William, depending on where you live in the county. You could make $100+ a day and work according to your schedule; if you get hired as a sub, you could buy a $3K car and use that to get to work if your parents can't drop you off. I'd also seriously consider applying to ESOL aide positions: you may only make $20K a year but you'd have benefits, tuition reimbursement credits, and a chance to get known at a school. You wouldn't have take-home work like you would as a teacher so you could do your classes at night; plus, they would likely work hard to help you get a history position when you're closer to finishing your requirements. (I hear you on the elementary and middle: I like the students but my heart and head are in teaching high school.)

I'd also send (nowadays I think you register and upload it into their HR database) your resume with letters of interest to Clarke, Fauquier, Frederick, Rappahannock, Warren, Winchester, and more. That way, if they suddenly find themselves short of a history teacher in, say, October, and are desperately looking through the database, they may give you a call. I don't want to get your hopes up but I really, really believe a door could open this way. It totally makes sense to move for a job if you can afford it but living at home has its pluses, too. The first couple years of teaching are incredibly hard and time-consuming, as you know; it'd be nice if you could continue living with your parents, at least for that first year or so!

And some empathy, too: being a teacher is awesome but it's one of those professions where it takes so much time and money to become certified and licensed, only to earn a salary that is decent but often barely enough to pay back big student loans. (Oh, the irony!) I'm going to send you a quick MeMail with a few other things. Again, I wish you luck: it sounds like you're incredibly motivated and that's going to pay off, even if it's not immediately!
posted by smorgasbord at 9:34 PM on July 25, 2015

How's your job search going? I just read this article and thought of you: you may find a job elsewhere if you're willing to move!
posted by smorgasbord at 8:19 PM on August 9, 2015

Response by poster: Thanks smorgasbord, I saw that article as well.

I applied for several positions in North Carolina after reading that. I had a phone interview with one school yesterday and am waiting to hear back. I also recently interviewed to be a substitute for Loudoun County Public Schools. Also, I interviewed a while back for a private school position nearby. I didn't get it but they did invite me to substitute for them this upcoming year.

I'm willing to move but preferably I'd stay on the east coast.
posted by EmptyEmpire at 4:45 PM on August 15, 2015

I know in Georgia, there are many teaching vacancies at the moment. Many districts are struggling to fill positions, even after the school year has begun.
posted by pennylane61 at 8:14 PM on August 17, 2015

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