Re: What's it like out there?

    Work ethic? Is there such a thing anymore? :) I have taught in
    several places an it seems that the work ethic decreases by the year.
    The students I teach are quite poor (over half are on free or reduced
    lunches) and many of them seem to think that working at McDonald's is
    more important than getting an education. We lead the state in teen
    pregnancies. The demographics are mainly hispanic and various other
    ethnicities (former mining community). I am continually amazed that
    they (and many of their parents) don't seem to understand the true
    economic benefits of an education. Unfortunately I don't know much about the districts you are talking
    about. You might check into Pueblo though as I've heard that they are
    pretty competitive.
    On 4/11/07, Jeffrey wrote:
    > Thank you for posting another response. I really appreciate you
    > taking the time to do it. I also teach English, so I will look
    > for you on that as well. My family and I are looking at the
    > Denver area, and I know that is pretty vague, but we have looked
    > at Arvada, Erie, Highlands Ranch, and a couple others I can't
    > think of right now.
    > I am looking for a position in either Jefferson or Douglas
    > county, as it appears they offer fairly good wages, with only
    > moderate to extreme benefit costs. :-) I'm open to other areas,
    > of course, but those are the primary ones for now.
    > Thanks for the info on the union. From the little research I have
    > done in that area, it does appear that unions do not hold too much
    > power.
    > I was also wondering about your student population. Since you
    > teach in smaller school, how is the work ethic of your students,
    > overall? What are the demographics of your student population, if
    > you don't mind me asking. Again, I thank you for your time, and
    > the "real world" perspective.
    > On 4/09/07, tle wrote:
    >> I don't know of any class size limits. Since I am in a smaller
    >> school (approx. 400) my classes range from 12-28 or so. I also
    >> teach secondary. Again, I'm not sure what it is like in the
    > metro
    >> areas.
    >> You are definitely right in assuming there is little union
    > power.
    >> We have a union but I don't think it gains us a whole lot.
    >> What subject do you teach? What area of the state are you
    > looking
    >> at? I'm sure you have gone to the State Dept. of Education
    >> website. They have a job search you can access through there.
    >> Sorry for the delay in response. I don't check this board very
    >> often. (You can find me on the English board or hs board more
    >> quickly if you want an immediate answer.)
    >> On 4/04/07, Jeffrey wrote:
    >>> Thank you very much for taking the time to get back to me. I
    >>> really appreciate the "real world" feedback. I looked at a
    >>> bargaining agreement contract from a district (I can't
    >>> remember which one), and the evaluation process was very hard
    >>> to understand, and I imagine it must be even more confusing to
    >>> go through. That is promising to hear that some district do
    >>> still pay benefit costs, because my jaw keeps dropping when I
    >>> see the employee costs for benefits. (I would be insuring my
    >>> family, so I do know I would pay more anyway, but my jaw still
    >>> drops).
    >>> Can you (or anyone else who reads these postings), an
    >>> apporximate number of students that you have? I teach at the
    >>> secondary level, so is there a class size limit in CO? (My
    >>> district in CA is approximately 35:1). No to get to
    >>> political, but do the unions have any power out there? It
    >>> sure seems like they do not, based on the wages and benefit
    >>> costs, but I am a union man, and I do not want to judge.
    >>> Thank you again for taking the time to respond to my posting.
    >>> If you (or anyone else) can offer me any more information, I
    >>> would greatly appreciate it.
    >>> On 4/04/07, tle wrote:
    >>>> I teach in a small town (not the metro areas) so my
    >>>> experience isn't the norm. The teaching environment in my
    >>>> area is alright, though by far not the best system I have
    >>>> taught in. I was certified in California (and a product of
    >>>> California schools myself) and have taught in New Mexico,
    >>>> Texas and Colorado. This system seems the most backward in
    >>>> attitude and achievement. It may be because it is a smaller
    >>>> system, but they have quite a lot of turnover both
    >>>> administrative and teachers.
    >>>> The evaluation system they have implemented in this system
    >>> is
    >>>> very difficult to feel positive about. I had always had
    >>>> strong evaluations in all previous systems, and yet in this
    >>>> one, I often feel that they don't appreciate the challenges
    >>>> and strengths of their staff. Sometimes it feels like they
    >>>> have to knock you down so they have something to say
    >>>> you "developed" in later. They are not using performance or
    >>>> merit pay in this area yet. The district does pay insurance,
    >>>> but the pay overall is very low (but again I'm in a small
    >>>> district).
    >>>> I hope this is some help.
    >>>> On 4/01/07, Jeffrey wrote:
    >>>>> I am looking to relocate to Colorado, from California, and
    >>>>> I am trying to get a feel for the teaching environment, as
    >>>>> well as the market. From the little web research that I
    >>>>> have done, it doesn't look promising
    >>>>> Can anyone please help me with a dose of what the reality
    >>>>> is like for teachers in Colorado? For instance, how do
    >>>>> you pay your health insurance costs? From the district
    >>>>> information that I have looked at, your insurance costs
    >>>>> are quite high, to say the least. How many districts are
    >>>>> using perfomance-based, or merit pay? Coming from CA,
    >>>>> where that idea was recently shot down by voters, it
    >>>>> appears that several districts are using it. How do you
    >>>>> like it? Does it destroy the collaborative environment
    >>>>> among teaching colleagues? I thank you all for your time,
    >>>>> and for any tips or suggestions. Thank you.