A Day in the Life of a First-Year Teacher

Monday, April 28, 2014

How to Join New York's Brightest! (Advice for grads looking to teach in the NYCDOE)

It's the time of year again when the DOE is releasing hiring needs for the upcoming school year. If you are about to graduate from an undergraduate/graduate teaching program, I definitely recommend looking into the New York City Department of Education. First of all, it's New York. I can go on and on about how amazing NYC is, including all the culture, diversity and activity that happens within the 5 boroughs. In fact, whole blogs are devoted to worshipping the great city 8+ million Americans call home. The NYCDOE is the nation's largest school system with over 1.1 million students and 1,000 schools, meaning that there is a school out there for every prospective teacher candidate. Teaching in New York is life-changing, because not only are you given the keys to unlock the potential of so many bright futures and truly make a positive impact on the lives of your students, the resources & experience from teaching in NYC will teach you about yourself. It is one of the best ways to grow professionally. Now, nobody enters education for the money. However, I can say that the salary in NYC, while it could be higher, is manageable because of the perks/benefits that you can receive, especially if you advise clubs and activities. The UFT and DOE are in the midst of contract negotiations whereby teachers may be eligible for 4% back pay (although I won't be because it will only be for '09-10 and '10-11, and I came to the DOE in 2011-2012) as well as a RAISE!!! Also after 3 years, you may be eligible to be a Lead Teacher (which I will be next year), that offers a nice $10,710/year BONUS. I would recommend that for the first few years that you teach in the DOE, you find a second job that pays a relatively lucrative hourly salary. The best example is tutoring. I work with an agency that provides tutors for (wealthy) Manhattan families. I tutor AP Calc, AP Spanish (I was a Spanish minor), 6-8th grade math, Algebra I, SAT and ACT for five families. I am paid $40/hour through the agency, and the parents are charged $60/hour. 

Teaching in NYC really does make you among New York's Brightest. Around this time is when prospective applicants should be applying. Applications are ONLINE - do not apply through paper!!! Visit www.teachnyc.net for the I Teach NYC website for more information about the steps of hiring. 

Okay, my TIPS!!! 

  • Put a significant amount of effort into your essays. Principals truly evaluate how you answer the essay questions as well as your quality of writing. If possible, take your essays to education professors, the dean of the school of ed or your University Career Center for assistance and another pair of eyes. I can't emphasize this enough!
  • Meet with principals one-on-one. The hiring process is principal-active, which means through mutual consent hiring, the principal is responsible for the hiring of each new teacher in the building. School-based openings are not online, so in order for a principal to know your name & consider you for an interview, set up an appointment with the principal of SEVERAL schools that you are interested in. Bring your resume and separate cover letters. Bring copies of score reports from teacher licensure testing. Be prepared to discuss your student teaching experience, any internships, your education classes, sample lesson plans/course syllabi and your teaching philosophy. Build a connection with the principal & possibly the department chair of the department you wish to teach in. 
  • Attend the career fairs offered by the NYCDOE. A first-year teacher at my school got hired on-the-spot by Ms. Lopez at the Bronx career fair! 
  • Include several powerful recommenders. 
  • Discuss your coursework from a double major and/or a minor. This shows that you are a well-rounded applicant who can contribute to the school culture. 
  • CAREFULLY research each school before interviewing. Check out insideschools.org for school reviews and community commentary. Schoolbook, which is found in the New York Times, is also an excellent resource. 
  • Have questions ready for when the principal asks, "Do you have any questions for me?" A great litmus test for you to try is "How does [insert school here] support its early career teachers?" Ask about school culture, teacher professional development, the principal's educational philosophy as well as how much freedom you will be afforded at the school to create your own lessons. 
  • Think about applying for Teach NYC Select Recruits. It's a launchpad for teaching careers! Do this if you are graduating with your degree on or after winter 2015 as the deadline has already passed. I was a Teach NYC Select Recruit & lined up my current job before graduation from NYU in May 2011. I also got hired as a long-term substitute for a month at a different middle school through Select Recruits! 
Have fun interviewing! Submit your applications ASAP... the earlier the better. JOIN NEW YORK'S BRIGHTEST. TEACH NYC! 

1 comment:

  1. Best advice... apply as early as possible!!