May/June 2017 – Vol. 29 No. 7

Decisions, Decisions, Part 3 – The Offer

Posted: Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015

by Rick Pomeroy

You have done your research, you had a great interview, and now it is time to wait. Hopefully, the wait is not too long but any time at all will seem like an eternity. During this time, it is important for you to consider your options and be prepared with your answer.

Going into the job search, you must understand that there are two players in the job search-job offer game. You are looking for a place to launch your career. It is critical that it be a position where you will have an opportunity to grow as a teacher. You will need to feel like you are a part of the faculty and wanted as part of the staff. On the other hand, the principal is working hard to fill a position(s) with the most highly qualified teacher. It is critical to them that the person they select has the credentials to teach the classes they need, the skills to do the job effectively, and a person who will become part of their school team.  In most cases, they are looking for a new teacher to fill a particular need, whether it is replacing the beloved retiring teacher or a teacher that was ineffective in the classroom. Either way, they are investing time and energy in selecting the best candidate before that person is snapped up by another district.

When an offer is made, the principal or administrator wants a response right away. They want to believe that you are as excited about joining their team as they are about making you the offer. When they call, some want an answer during that phone call. Others recognize the significance of this decision and may offer you a day or two to consider their offer. Either way, you should be ready with your decision when the offer is made. If they give you some time to respond, you need to do them the courtesy of meeting their time frame. If you know that this is the job you want, don’t put them off waiting to see what others will say. On the other hand, if you know it is not the job for you, be ready to decline and move forward. If you need time to decide, it should be time for really thinking about the job that is offered rather than waiting to see what someone else is going to offer. You want to be sure that this is the right position for you. You may have applied to several positions, some as your dream job and others as a “safe” backup. Nothing could be more nerve racking. Do I take the first job that is offered, or do I hold out for the job I really want? No one can tell you what decision to make. Location, subject, grade-level, school calendar, even the bell schedule might influence your decision but these are all things you can include in your research in preparation for your response.

By the time an offer is made, you should know if a job/district is a fit for your skills and desires. The interview should have given you some insights about the people you would be working with and a visit to the school and community, hopefully arranged before the offer, should equip you with the information you need to determine your response. Given the need for science teachers, there will be many jobs available in the coming hiring cycle. Some will be perfect, some will be a good fit, and some will miss the mark. Your task is to figure that out.

Over the past twenty years, I have mentored over 300 new science teachers. During that time, 100% of those students who wanted to teach got a job before the start of the school year. They took jobs in small rural and large urban districts, public schools charter schools and private schools, high schools, middle schools, even some science specialists in elementary schools and outdoor education programs. Some are in Northern California, some in Southern California, some are out of state and a few in other countries. Many made choices that I might have been able to predict. Based on their experiences in student teaching, I would call those “safe choices”. Others took jobs I would never have foreseen. Some are still in the jobs they took right out of their credential programs and others have relocated, changed grade levels or even subject matter. Some left teaching to pursue other interests and have since returned to the classroom, while some left for other career options both in education and out. When I run into these past students, often in some of the most out of the way places, the common theme of our conversation is that their first jobs were very important in helping them determine their ultimate career path. Each one has said that the things they learned in that first job gave them insights about teaching that student teaching and all of the credential classes never could have covered.

Going forward, the decision you make about your first job is critical and should not be taken lightly, but it is not the last job decision of your career. Do your homework, know the positives and negatives about each potential job you are applying for and be willing to consider the offers when they come in. You do not have to accept the first offer made but you should know why you make that decision. Once made, embrace it going forward. Never second-guess yourself about your choice during your first year. If the job turns out to be a mismatch for you, there will be other jobs available in future years. If it is a good match, grow in the job and embrace everything you are learning. Every day in the classroom gives you a little more experience and a new set of skills. Your growth as a teacher should be a life-long process. Enjoy it!

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Written by Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy

Rick Pomeroy is science education lecturer/supervisor in the School of Education, University of California Davis and is a past-president of CSTA.

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CSTA Annual Conference Early Bird Rates End July 14

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Jessica Sawko

Teachers engaged in workshop activity

Teachers engaging in hands-on learning during a workshop at the 2016 CSTA conference.

Don’t miss your chance to register at the early bird rate for the 2017 CSTA Conference – the early-bird rate closes July 14. Need ideas on how to secure funding for your participation? Visit our website for suggestions, a budget planning tool, and downloadable justification letter to share with your admin. Want to take advantage of the early rate – but know your district will pay eventually? Register online today and CSTA will reimburse you when we receive payment from your district/employer. (For more information on how that works contact Zi Stair in the office for details – 916-979-7004 or zi@cascience.org.)

New Information Now Available On-line:

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Goodbye Outgoing and Welcome Incoming CSTA Board Members

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

Jill Grace

Jill Grace, CSTA President, 2017-2019

On July 1, 2017 five CSTA members concluded their service and four new board members joined the ranks of the CSTA Board of Directors. CSTA is so grateful for all the volunteer board of directors who contribute hours upon hours of time and energy to advance the work of the association. At the June 3 board meeting, CSTA was able to say goodbye to the outgoing board members and welcome the incoming members.

This new year also brings with it a new president for CSTA. As of July 1, 2017 Jill Grace is the president of the California Science Teachers Association. Jill is a graduate of California State University, Long Beach, a former middle school science teacher, and is currently a Regional Director with the K-12 Alliance @ WestEd where she works with California NGSS K-8 Early Implementation Initiative districts and charter networks in the San Diego area.

Outgoing Board Members

  • Laura Henriques (President-Elect: 2011 – 2013, President: 2013 – 2015, Past President: 2015 – 2017)
  • Valerie Joyner (Region 1 Director: 2009 – 2013, Primary Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Mary Whaley (Informal Science Education Director: 2013 – 2017)
  • Sue Campbell (Middle School/Jr. High Director: 2015 – 2017)
  • Marcus Tessier (2-Year College Director: 2015 – 2017)

Learn More…

Written by California Science Teachers Association

California Science Teachers Association

CSTA represents science educators statewide—in every science discipline at every grade level, Kindergarten through University.

Finding My Student’s Motivation of Learning Through Engineering Tasks

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Huda Ali Gubary and Susheela Nath

It’s 8:02 and the bell rings. My students’ walk in and pick up an entry ticket based on yesterday’s lesson and homework. My countdown starts for students to begin…3, 2, 1. Ten students are on task and diligently completing the work, twenty are off task with behaviors ranging from talking up a storm with their neighbors to silently staring off into space. This was the start of my classes, more often than not. My students rarely showed the enthusiasm for a class that I had eagerly prepared for. I spent so much time searching for ways to get my students excited about the concepts they were learning. I wanted them to feel a connection to the lessons and come into my class motivated about what they were going to learn next. I would ask myself how I could make my class memorable where the kids were in the driver’s seat of learning. Incorporating engineering made this possible. Learn More…

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Written by NGSS Early Implementer

NGSS Early Implementer

In 2015 CSTA began to publish a series of articles written by teachers participating in the California NGSS k-8 Early Implementation Initiative. This article was written by an educator(s) participating in the initiative. CSTA thanks them for their contributions and for sharing their experience with the science teaching community.

State Schools Chief Tom Torlakson Unveils Updated Recommended Literature List

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson unveiled an addition of 285 award-winning titles to the Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list.

“The books our students read help broaden their perspectives, enhance their knowledge, and fire their imaginations,” Torlakson said. “The addition of these award-winning titles represents the state’s continued commitment to the interests and engagement of California’s young readers.”

The Recommended Literature: Prekindergarten Through Grade Twelve list is a collection of more than 8,000 titles of recommended reading for children and adolescents. Reflecting contemporary and classic titles, including California authors, this online list provides an exciting range of literature that students should be reading at school and for pleasure. Works include fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and drama to provide for a variety of tastes, interests, and abilities. Learn More…

Written by Guest Contributor

From time to time CSTA receives contributions from guest contributors. The opinions and views expressed by these contributors are not necessarily those of CSTA. By publishing these articles CSTA does not make any endorsements or statements of support of the author or their contribution, either explicit or implicit. All links to outside sources are subject to CSTA’s Disclaimer Policy: http://www.classroomscience.org/disclaimer.

Teaching Science in the Time of Alternative Facts – Why NGSS Can Help (somewhat)

Posted: Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

by Peter A’Hearn

The father of one of my students gave me a book: In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood by Walt Brown, Ph. D. He had heard that I was teaching Plate Tectonics and wanted me to consider another perspective. The book offered the idea that the evidence for plate tectonics could be better understood if we considered the idea that beneath the continent of Pangaea was a huge underground layer of water that suddenly burst forth from a rift between the now continents of Africa and South America. The waters shot up and the continents hydroplaned apart on the water layer to their current positions. The force of the movement pushed up great mountain ranges which are still settling to this day, resulting in earthquakes along the margins of continents. This had happened about 6,000 years ago and created a great worldwide flood. Learn More…

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Written by Peter AHearn

Peter AHearn

Peter A’Hearn is the Region 4 Director for CSTA.