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The Brutal Profession of Teaching in PA, Part One

Updated on June 5, 2016

The Application and Interview Process

While there seems to be a national shortage of teachers in the United States, there is actually an overflow of teachers in Pennsylvania, due to a high amount state colleges and/or universities, within PA, which are producing a large number of future educators. This all results in a brutal process for the candidates for public school teaching positions in PA, beginning with the application...

The Application

1. First, a candidate must collect their transcripts from their colleges and/or universities. They may end up happening repetitively, as many schools ask for original transcripts.

2. Next, a candidate must acquire a PA criminal clearance, a PA child abuse clearance, and an FBI clearance.

3. Then, depending on the school/school district, the applicant must complete the PA Standard Application, either on paper (but I recommend typing into the downloaded form) or a website called PAedcuator.

4. Now, the applicant must acquire three letters of reference; if you are a first-year teacher, they should be from cooperating teachers (the supervising teacher during student-teaching) and/or professors, but if you have already taught somewhere, they should be from your principal and/or assistant principal. If an applicant needs a third reference, one written by a co-worker may or may not be accepted, depending on the school/school district.

5. If an applicant had transferred colleges/universities, completed a significant amount of professional development, or earned a master's degree, these application packets can be as large as 27 pages (mine was), or longer, if it is submitted on paper. I know that Pre-PAEducator time, that was quite costly for me, as I had to mail one of these to every place to which I applied.

6. If the applicant applies through PAEducator, it is simply a waiting game. The applicant has clicked on "apply" for each position that appeals to them, but so has almost every other teacher in PA. The computer program screens the applicants and positions, and matches them up, and schools/school districts decide if they want to contact the teacher for an interview. If the application was submitted by paper, it is still a waiting game, and the schools/school districts most likely receive hundreds, or more, of applications for the same position frequently.

The Interview Process

What happens if the applicant is lucky enough to get an interview? Well, he/she better be prepared to drop everything to attend the interview at the exact day/time suggested by that school district, or he/she will probably lose the interview. If you are an applicant, and you get an interview, don't get your hopes up to high! You will most likely not be offered a job that day, and not be called back to a second interview. If you are lucky enough to get called back to a second interview, be proud that you made it THAT far, but you still have MORE WORK to do!

The Second Interview

Many second interviews will consist of the candidate preparing a lesson, for a topic that is chosen by the principal and/or superintendent, and you have to teach that lesson to a group of adults (usually the administration and/or school board). Even if you ace that part, you STILL shouldn't get your hopes up! You have to wait to see if you get a phone call FOR A THIRD INTERVIEW!!!

The Third Interview

Are you one of the extremely fortunate ones to receive a third interview? Well, usually, the candidate, who has been selected by the principal and/or superintendent, now has an interview with the ENTIRE SCHOOL BOARD, but so do one to three or more other candidates! This committee has the final say on whether or not you get the job. If you have master's degree, they won't want to pay you; if you live a little further from the school than the committee prefers, THEY PROBABLY WON'T HIRE YOU. If you are from the same town, attended the school district, or know someone in the school board, YOU WILL PROBABLY BE HIRED. IT'S ALL POLITICS. I had one instance where I arrived to an interview, and the superintendent made this exact statement, "I was prepared to hire you for this position, but this morning, one of our third-grade teachers agreed to take this position." As I was qualified for both position, I asked, "Does that mean there is a third-grade position open?" He replied, "we only hire off of our sub list for that position." I understand giving substitute teachers acknowledgement, but that should not mean someone else, who is well-qualified for the position, should be exempt from applying, or to be exempt from being given the chance to be a potential candidate, but sadly, this is the case in most schools.

Conclusion

The above article describes the application process, but the brutality, and hard work does not stop there. Read my "Part II" article, in order to be informed about what happens after a candidate gets the job. After reading these articles, you won't be surprised anymore that so many teachers quit the profession.

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      LouiseTeach 14 months ago

      I respect the dedication of all good teachers. Part II is in-progress. I hope to complete and publish it this week. Thank you.

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      CJ Kelly 14 months ago from Auburn, WA

      As the husband of an elementary school teacher (she's 20+ years in the profession), I have a good idea what they go through on a daily basis. Can't wait to read Part II. Sharing.