Transitioning from Georgia to Ohio

After my first year of teaching, Jeremy and I started the transition from Georgia to Ohio. I wasn’t excited to be moving back to where it’s colder, but I was excited to live in Columbus. The move itself was a lot less stressful than the one from Pennsylvania to Georgia, but there were a lot of other things that made the transition difficult.

Job Search

This time, Jeremy didn’t have to find a job. He had been accepted into graduate school at Ohio State University, which is why we decided to move to Columbus in the first place. For the first year, he had a teaching contract where he would be teaching beginner-level courses in exchange for his tuition being covered and a small stipend. Small being the key word.

That left only me needing to find a job. As soon as we decided to move (sometime in March), I started looking into getting my teacher’s license transferred to Ohio and started applying for open positions. I thought since I started applying early, and that I was already certified in two states, it would make me more marketable. It did, but that didn’t find me a job.

Hiring Timeline

After recently learning more about the hiring timeline in Ohio, I found that even though I started applying in late March, I was almost too late. The fact that my certification wasn’t approved yet made it more difficult, but it turns out that it’s hard to get into a district that late in the game. Districts start the hiring process in late February, and a lot of positions fill quickly with internal candidates.

There’s also more to simply “applying for teaching jobs in Columbus”. Each district is different, but a lot of districts have a protocol that includes a screening interview. Some district requires you to schedule a personality-type assessment at the central office and others require an interview from upper administration prior to getting a school-level interview

Since I didn’t know this, I had skipped over that step and it made my application basically pointless. Living across the country made it difficult to find out more about the districts prior to applying anyways. Learning about the application process is even harder if you don’t know who to talk to.

Certification Change

As soon as I knew where we were going to live, I applied for my Ohio license. That was in March. After multiple emails back and forth with people who worked at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE), I thought I had everything I needed for the transition. I was wrong.

I found out months later–sometime towards the end of May–that I had to take more assessments for my license to be approved. If you read my article about my transition to Georgia, you might remember that all I had to do was pay $20 and submit some papers. I expected it to be the same with the reciprocity laws.

Not only did I have to pay hundreds of dollars for the test, but I had to take the test and wait for my results. If I didn’t pass, I would have had a wait period before I could register for the assessment again. The cycle would continue until I passed.

After I passed, I would have to submit my scores to ODE and wait for their approval. Only then could I upload my licenses to my application for a job. As I already mentioned, I was already too late. Que the panic attacks.

Luckily, school was out for the summer in Georgia, so I had some free time to sit and refresh my memory on teaching theories and the technical terms of child development. I studied for hours and watched videos trying to remember everything. I was terrified that I wouldn’t pass the first time as I’m not the best test taker.

Luckily, it worked out and I ended up passing all of the sections in one sitting! I think a lot of stress could have been avoided if there was more transparency with ODE from the start.

Here are the differences with my certifications in the three states that I am certified to teach in:

StateEarly ChildhoodSpecial Education
GeorgiaPreK-5PreK-5 (or PreK-12 Consultation)
OhioPreK-3 (with a 4-5 endorsement)K-12 (with a mild/moderate endorsement)

The Interviews

When I hadn’t heard back from any administrators, I started opening my mind and looking into different types of teaching positions. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do general education since my first year of teaching had been so difficult. I was applying to everything, and some of the places that I applied at weren’t public schools–the only thing I’ve known.

I applied to charter schools and to a business in which the districts contract out special education teachers through. The only places that called me back were a small charter school for a first grade position, and the education business for an “intervention specialist” position–which is what I learned is Ohio’s fancy title for “special education teacher”.

The business did a phone interview with me in the middle of April, then I never heard from them again. Assuming that I didn’t get the job, I moved on and forgot about it. The charter school didn’t contact me until we were about to move, so I set up an in-person interview for after we moved.

After months of silence, I missed a call from the education business again (I’m going to keep referring to them as this so I can keep it anonymous) because we were packing up the Uhaul. When I called them back, they told me that they had a position open, but didn’t technically offer it to me. I asked if they needed me to come in to talk more, and the woman agreed. So, I had two interviews lined up for the first week of being in Columbus.

The Offers

My interview at the charter school was bizarre to say the least. The people interviewing were nice, and I enjoyed talking with them, but it was the strangest interview I’ve had to this day.

I was told to have a lesson prepared to teach to the interviewers, and they acted like kids during it. I have to say, they must have a blast interviewing people. After my lesson, they asked me questions like a typical interview, but it was strange answering questions for adults who were just crawling on the floor and hitting each other.

The position was also strange because there were two first grade classes, and three teachers. We would be the ones to rotate–meaning we didn’t have a home classroom. The school was also in a huge building, and was only using a small section of it. The kids didn’t have any specials–just learning all day.

I turned that position down.

Then I had my interview at the education business. The positions that were open were described to me, and I was asked which one I wanted. Two of the positions were self-contained with a limit of six students per room. The students were higher needs, and required more one-on-one attention. One of those positions was for an elementary unit, the other for a middle school unit.

The last position offered was a new program where students are in an inclusive setting, and I would work as a resource teacher to help with behaviors, social skills, and academics when needed. It sounded like the perfect position for me.

Not long after, I got a call from human resources offering me the job, which I excitedly accepted. I was an intervention specialist now!

In Summary

After everything, I found a job, and one that I was ecstatic for! I had a list of trainings that I was to attend before school started, and I couldn’t wait. The process was long and ugly, and horribly stressful. I didn’t get hired until towards the end of June.

I worked for the program for two years, but I’ll talk about that in my next post. Until then, happy learning!