There are times in your career when it’s time for a change—you’ve maxed out at one district and want the opportunities that come with a larger one, for example. Educators switch school districts every year, and often, teachers are recruited from one district to another. (Sometimes, teachers move states for more money.)
One benefit of teaching: it’s portable. All districts need teachers, and teaching is, essentially, the same job from school to school. So, if you’re being recruited or looking to switch schools, should you make the move?
Here are five things to consider:
1. Cost of Living
Cost of Living: Let’s say you’re being offered a pay bump of $5,000 to move to another district. $5,000 is no small sum, but calculate your budget taking into account the cost of living to make sure that money will go into your wallet and not to rent, taxes, and food. (Use this cost-of-living calculator to figure out where your extra money will go.)
2. Moving Costs
You may not need to move houses, but if you do, this will be a big cost. And, it’s a hard fact of teaching; schools don’t pay your moving costs. So your first year’s bump in pay may be eaten up by moving costs (think: truck, gas, etc). If you’re only going to lose that initial bump and it’ll even out within a few months, then it may be worth the move. But, if you’re going to lose money that you won’t recoup for years then that’s something to consider.
3. Teacher Licensure
Make sure your teaching license will transfer, and that you won’t have to take any additional college courses to maintain your license (college courses mean more money out of your pocket). (Here is information about teacher license reciprocity.)
Are your benefits coming with you? And, how will the benefits at your new district compound over time? Leaving accrued benefits , even when you stay in the same area and just move districts, is a concern when you leave any teaching job.
5. Teaching Besties
When you switch jobs, you’ll leave your friends and have the opportunity to make new ones. As you’re thinking about moving, ask yourself: Did you connect with the staff you met during your interview? And, does the school have the kind of atmosphere that you enjoy and would like to be a part of?
Questions to Ask Before You Make the Move
Outside of the financial aspect, here are eight other questions to ask yourself before you sign up with another district:
- What new opportunities will the move bring? Are there more opportunities along with better pay?
- Is the new school a good fit?
- What is the pay scale progression? How much more will you earn over time in this district?
- Is it a better opportunity for me?
- Where will I live?
- What is there to do for fun? Will I make friends?
- Are teachers happy in this school?
- How strong is union membership and participation?
- Will I learn new things? What is the level of professional development?
- Do the benefits of the new job outweigh the costs of moving?
- Will I love it?
Looking for a job? Here are tips on finding the right teaching gig.
Do you have any insider advice on what it’s like to switch school districts? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.