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Need Advice ASAP
Old 07-10-2013, 09:04 AM
 
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Hi everyone, I just got an interview for a social service type job. Yay! But then I was informed that I need 2 reference letters and a reference form given to someone and filled out. I don't have reference letters and school is out of session, even the secretaries aren't in the buildings. My interview is a week from today.

I had a couple reference letters from college, but only have one of those now. It's been 6-8 years since I got those. I don't know if they'd remember me clearly. I don't think one of the professors is even at the college now to ask if they have it saved and can make more copies. Also, the college they originate from is over 2 hours away.

I've been subbing for 5 years now. I used to go all over local schools, but there's 1-2 schools I sub at most now. It's a small school district. I haven't done any long-terms/my degree is outside education. Sure people are nice to me, but I'm not super close with anyone (friends outside the school). One teacher has called me at home, but it was some time ago towards the beginning of the year. She's asked me if I'm available to sub for her a few times, last time I had to turn her down. Most of the teachers aren't too picky about requesting subs, so the secretaries set up the days, and the principals call early morning or late evenings for last minute jobs. I talk to a couple of the secretaries on a regular basis, but seriously this is strange it'd happen in the same year, but they both got married this summer, and I don't know their new last names and one moved out of town. Then, the year before last, I asked a principal if he would write me a reference letter. He asked if I needed it right away, I told him, they hadn't asked yet (I was interviewing for a job somewhere else), he said to let him know if I needed one, and he'd write one. They never asked at the job, so I didn't ask him to write one again. But, he retired last year. I still have his home phone number. I'm worried too that he didn't write one on request (but said he would if I needed it), so did he feel uncomfortable giving me one?; he's never observed me, but it's a small school, and teachers talk. I work there a lot. So, my issue is I don't feel comfortable asking (since I don't work on a consistent basis with anyone), and school's out, so that means I'd have to track people down at home (which makes me uncomfortable too). Then, if I don't get the job, I'll be working with the people I'll be asking, so hopefully no one feels uncomfortable with me next school year.

What do you think about this? Any advice/suggestions would be very appreciated! Thanks!


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Old 07-10-2013, 09:13 AM
 
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I also hate asking for references and letters, but you need them! And people generally understand that you need them. So...suck it up!

I'd start with the principal. If he's unavailable (or refuses, but I doubt he'd do that), move on down to any teachers whose contact info you have until you've got what you need. It's been my experience that people generally like to be helpful, once I get over my fear of asking them.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:35 AM
 
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Thanks, grav_def! You're right about the fear of asking; it's getting to me. Needing the letters in such a short period of time makes it worse. I'll have to ask if I can pick it up at their house. It might be easier if I worked with the same people, but it's stressful asking people I'm around for brief periods once every couple months. But, you're right, I have to ask...too bad they don't make a courage drink, oh wait, maybe they do; I may need that after I make all the calls! I'm shaky, not how I wanted to feel leading up to the interview! My sister made me laugh when she asked if I was trying to get into Heaven! I hope so, because I need a decent full-time job.

I only have 3 teacher's cellphone numbers; one I only subbed for some this year (not the years before), which the secretary setup for once a week for 2 months (the teacher didn't request me and she never misses). She's very quiet, and I never could tell how she felt about the job I did. I'm quiet too/not a good trait for references and interviews. Another I haven't subbed for but 1 time all of last year; I got her number 2 years ago (I subbed for her several times that year). She gave me her number because she was concerned about something that was scheduled the day I subbed, so she wrote her cellphone number down in case I had questions. She didn't miss much last year. Then, there's a teacher who requests me, but she was pregnant, and I think she was due the end of June. There's a couple other teachers who have been friendly, one said, she was glad I was her sub one day, but I don't have her number. Feeling the pressure!
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checks in
Old 07-10-2013, 11:06 AM
 
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Our Principal used to check his emails in the summer. I would try that, as well as the teacher's whose number you have. She/he might be able to tell you how to proceed in getting in touch with people. I too hated getting references....Good luck~
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Old 07-11-2013, 06:58 AM
 
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Thanks ar719, I don't like asking for reference either. In this line of work, where we don't work with the same people on a consistent basis unless we do long-term assignments, which I don't, it's been more stressful than ever to ask people I've worked for/with 3-7 times a year. The same teachers don't miss that often. And if your school is like mine, principals don't observe subs, and really don't take that much of an interest if it goes ok. One principal thought I was someone else for a year. Sure they see me in the halls, but I'm all over the place. Last year was a weird year too; in my main school, we got a new principal and new secretary. I wasn't placed in my normal assignments. I didn't see 4th grade for 5 months. The principal stopped calling me at home as much, which I think it was because I missed a morning call. There was also a new teacher, who was always making negative comments to me (she accused me of something that didn't happen (even another teacher acted like that was bologna when I asked about the incident that supposedly happened when I subbed in her room; she told me not to worry about it), and the new teacher also berated me for a schedule issue that I wasn't aware of and couldn't be aware of unless someone told me, not to mention other things. I spent this year wondering if the new principal liked me or not. I was placed in more challenging positions, where I had to send kids to the office, which wasn't something I did the previous years. One time the principal had to come down to the room due to a kid flipping out (that was a new one). The retired principal was always friendly, so it was a more difficult year at my regular school.

I called 2 people yesterday (one professional and a personal reference), but didn't get an answer; I'm hoping they call me back.


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References
Old 07-12-2013, 06:37 AM
 
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I don't have much advice for you but just wanted to sympathize. I've had to transfer my teaching certificate between countries and needed minimum 3 references and it's been 6-7 years since I finished my degree at university. It was terrifying to phone people up, but in general they were glad to hear from me and get updated in each other's lives. The teachers I substituted for a few times each year the past few years also were helpful. Thankfully for my situation all I needed was their contact information (phone, address, etc) instead of an actual letter as I suspect that might have been more complicated. Hopefully I don't need anything more! The process isn't done yet, so we'll see.

It's so frustrating isn't it
Good luck to you!
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Old 07-12-2013, 06:54 AM
 
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How about thinking outside the box? Have you worked with anyone in any other capacity? Volunteered somewhere? Babysat? Friends with someone in any profession that you could ask to write a recommendation? I have many acquaintances that I could write a recommendation for that I have not worked for/with, but would feel good about writing something up for. I would start working that angle just in case you don't get ahold of your teacher recs.

P.S. If you don't, you might want to consider adding something else to your life so you do.
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Old 07-12-2013, 07:13 AM
 
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Hi Amberlee,

Thanks for the sympathy! It's hard when it's been awhile to ask and when you're not on a the same job consistently. It sounds like the people you contacted were positive! Wow, on transferring to a different country! What's that like?
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Transferring certificate
Old 07-12-2013, 07:51 AM
 
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I moved from Canada to the USA to marry my husband. Even though you'd think the countries were very similar, the process of transferring a certificate is ridiculously complicated and costs money too. I know I qualify for a certificate here- it's just a matter of filling out the endless paperwork, paying the fees and taking the requisite tests within their timeframe. So annoying. Well, sometimes you just have to jump through hoops! I'm making some progress, but still have things to do.
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Old 07-12-2013, 10:38 AM
 
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Hi Kahlua,

Thanks for the ideas; they are good ones! It's been a number of years since I volunteered. I babysit in the summer for my sister, but they don't want family references. Asking some of my personal references to write a letter if I can't get enough is a good idea, but I think I have a good start (keeping my fingers crossed). I got ahold of one person, and they said, not to worry about calling the principal, because he always had good things to say about me. She's writing a reference letter for me, so I have one. Then, she's going to call me today and give me another teacher's contact info., who she said she knows would write one. I still need to call the principal. But, if all else fails, it's a good idea to get acquaintances. I'm hoping professional references will make a difference in getting hired! I still have to find someone to fill out the "reference form" the company that's interviewing me emailed to me. Have you heard of that? Usually they send their own forms don't they or fill it out while talking to the reference on the phone? I'm supposed to have the reference fill it out, then bring it with me to the interview, is that normal? There's a bunch of questions about my quality/quantity of work, and other questions; how would that be objective when the person is handing the form back to me and I'll be able to read their answers.


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Old 07-12-2013, 11:12 AM
 
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Amberlee, I feel for you going through all that! It seems everything is like that anymore. There's so much paperwork. One job I applied to had me get my application notarized by a notary. I didn't know where to do that, and had to go around asking. Finally, I found someone who would do it. It took me a week to do the book of an application, and run around to find someone. I was so disappointed to not even get an interview. Later, I heard they already had someone for the job, but had to post it for legal reasons.

In order for me to sub this year, I have to get re-fingerprinted and pay for a renewal license. I'm glad they finger-print people for the safety of the kids, but it comes out of my pocket. With my pay, it's a big chunk. After driving, doing the fingerprinting and license, I'll spend about $120. I'm paid close to minimum wage subbing in the local schools. It's 2 days pay.

If I get this job, I know I'll miss working with the kids and some of the people at the schools, but I need full-time, especially with the cost of living going up.
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Paperwork
Old 07-13-2013, 11:34 AM
 
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The bureaucracy is unending isn't it!

By the way regarding what you said earlier - if you have someone fill out a form about you and bring it to the interview, they probably have the option to put it in a sealed envelope if you or they are worried about it. On the other hand it would be nice for you to see and maybe photocopy for the future too.

I'm so nervous studying for this one part of the teacher test-- math using the imperial system. Totally new concept to me from Canada. At least the metric system is simple!
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Old 07-14-2013, 09:04 AM
 
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Amberlee,

At least the metric system will be easy! It'd be the opposite for me. I don't understand why the US hasn't changed over to metric since it's the universal system. The students who go into science have to use metric measurements. My son loves that stuff, so if something like that comes up, I ask him. It's something if you don't use, it's forgotten. (or at least in my case ) What's the test consist of and are you taking it soon?

It's still odd to me I'm doing the work of getting "their" reference form filled out, when I thought that's something they would do when they called my references. Maybe it's done like that and I've just never ran into it until now. So, I don't know how I'll take it in yet. But also, when the human resource person called me for the interview, she initially told me not to bring anything. A couple days later, I got an email from her saying for me to bring a filled out application, references letters, the reference form, and other papers. I'm hoping it's a good sign that they are leaning towards hiring me, not a red flag that it may be a difficult place to work.
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Forms
Old 07-14-2013, 09:42 PM
 
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Singfree,

That is odd that she told you not to bring anything and then totally turned around. I'm hoping like you it's a good sign and not a bad one. Hope you make it through all the paperwork!!

The test is actually a few tests.. Coming up I am taking a reading test, a writing test, and a math test. Then I have to take 'endorsement tests' which imply my area of specialty. They can be things like math or science but mine will be two tests on 'elementary education' and cover everything from history to science. My knowledge of US government structure and past presidents, not to mention all the details of history is pretty rusty so I am hoping to wait till the first set of tests is done. It costs money to take them so I don't want to until I'm ready!!!!
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Old 07-15-2013, 06:14 AM
 
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From what I heard, the PRAXIS tests are expensive. I was looking to see if the place, who is interviewing me, might ask me to get licensed as a social worker, but my degree is in psychology. Anyway, unless there's a loophole, they used to license people with bachelor's degrees in psychology, but they stopped in the 1992. There were a few tests, one around $300 and some listed on the state website. So, I understand waiting until your ready! I bet you'll do fine, especially you're taking your time and studying, but I can imagine the stress with the loads of stuff to study.

The job I'm interviewing for didn't say I need to be a licensed social worker in the ad, but after researching those type of jobs online, I'm positive it requires it, so I'm confused even more. Things seem off. Is there a way they can put me through training there and get me licensed, or are they interviewing me for a different job. It seems not quite right and with the reference form; I can't help but wonder if something is not right.

I hate having people I work with jump on the gun and write reference letters, then it's a nonsense job anyway. Because I'll have to go back to subbing, and in a way, it's embarrassing, since I think it's not until most employers decided to hire you, they generally ask for reference letters (unless it's a field where you have field work, like being a student teacher). I think reference letters are usually part of the background check, and if you pass everything, you're offered the job. Maybe I'm just worrying! I appreciate your input!
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Just...Ask?
Old 07-17-2013, 03:22 PM
 
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Before you go through all the hassle involved with interviewing for this job, why not just ask them if a license is required, and if so will they put you through a training program for it?

Am I missing something?
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