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Now that you have an offer (or maybe two or three offers) how will you respond? Treat this step of the job search as carefully as you treated all of the other steps. Instead of saying "yes" or "no" immediately to any employer, thank him or her in an enthusiastic manner and ask for a day or two to consider the opportunity.


Use the following checklist to help you evaluate an offer or compare more than one offer. For each numbered question below, check "yes" or "no." Then focus on the items most important to you. If you give a school more than two "no's" on items important to you, think twice before joining that faculty!


Is the School Right for Me?
  1. Q 1. Will I enjoy the community setting (the lifestyle, socializing opportunities, and loca-tion)?
  2. Q 2. Are the school facilities adequate? (This includes classrooms, storage areas, teaching tools and resources, faculty room, and general architecture.)
  3. 3. Is the average pupil-teacher ratio and total school population agreeable to me?
  4. 4. Will I be comfortable with the staff's level of involvement and its personality makeup?
  5. 5. Does the school's management style, in particular, its decision-making process, reflect my own management style and expectations?
  6. 6. Will I enjoy working with the principal (or other supervisor)?
  7. 7. Do I agree with the school's philosophical direction-its educational beliefs, strategies, and goals?
  8. 8. Does the school have a good reputation?
    Is the Position Right for Me?
  9. 9. Are the job requirements compatible with my work skill, strengths, and experiences?
  10. 10. Will the position interest me on a day-to-day basis?
  11. 11. Will the position broaden my work experience?
    Will it lead to other career alternatives?
  12. 12. Will I enjoy working with the students that this job is designed to serve?
  13. 13. Will I enjoy working with their learning styles,age range, scholastic abilities, etc.?
  14. 14. Will I find the additional obligations and expectations of the job (i.e. extracurricular responsibilities, committee work, etc.) chal-lenging?
    Are the Salary and Benefits Right for Me?
  15. 15. Is the salary adequate? Is it competitive with state standards? Will it allow me to live comfortably?
  16. 16. Are health benefits adequate?
  17. 17. Are dental benefits adequate?
  18. 18. Are life insurance benefits adequate?
  19. Q 19. Is the retirement package acceptable?
  20. 20. Is the time-off acceptable? (Time-off includes vacation days, holidays, sick days, personal days, and maternity days.)
Delay, If You Must

Suppose you have one offer, but you really want a job in another school/district. It is perfectly acceptable to take a few more days before giving an answer to the second choice employer.

If you sense that an explanation is in order, be truthful. Tell the employer who made you an offer that you have not yet concluded employment discussions with another school/district and that you need a little time before you can adequately evaluate all of your opportunities. The time you can reasonably ask for varies with the needs of specific employers and the time of the year. At the early part of summer, you might get up to three weeks; while near the end of summer, you might get only a few days.

Next, call your first choice school/district and let the employer know your general situation (try to avoid mentioning specifics about the other job opportunity). Then ask if he or she expects to make a decision within the time period you have been allotted by the other employer. If the answer is "yes," hang in there; if it's "no," and you feel you can't buy any more time from your second choice, you'll have to decide between a definite job offer and a indefinite, yet more preferable, one.

Sign On The Dotted Line ? ? ? Carefully

In most cases, when you accept a job in education, you will be asked to sign an employment contract. Signing a contract is a professional and legal commitment. If you try to break it later, the district may take you to court or try to have your certification revoked. Only sign a contract you intend to keep. Contracts can be broken for legitimate personal hardships such as illness, a spouse being transferred, or unexpected family obligations. But trying to get out of one contract and into another may result in your losing both contracts.
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