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Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 5:56 pm
Hey PsyGuy, Is there an age limit at Dodds? I get a kick out of your posts, BTW.
Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 7:03 pm
Not officially, DODEA is prohibited to discriminate based on age. Unofficially you dont see many CONUS hires in their 50's
Re: Age Limit
Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2012 11:06 pm
[quote="anon"]Hey PsyGuy, Is there an age limit at Dodds? I get a kick out of your posts, BTW.[/quote]
FWIW I know some "actual DoDDS teachers" (:P) have said that teachers hired in their 40's and 50's are quite common.
Posted: Sun Apr 08, 2012 1:23 am
I "know of" some "actual DoDDS teachers" who say the same thing. I also have a friend who is "know, know" who says the majority of CONUS hires are in their 30's to mid 40's. The issue they report has to do with the minimum number of years of service for retirement/pension, and DODEA caps service credit at 10 years.
It's Called DoDEA Now!
Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 1:13 am
I work for DoDEA/DoDDS now. We're DoDEA now. At any rate I'll try and answer all of your questions. I'm stationed in Japan.
In truth, yes you do get blackballed if you do not accept an assignment if you checked that you were willing to move to the region on your application profile. They do have a lot of applicants to choose from, however not all of them will be eligible to work for DoDEA/DoDDS.
You can ship your car to anywhere in the world, including Japan. In Japan you will pay a major tax on it and will have to have it modified to meet Japan's emission standards. Used cars a dirt cheap here in Japan. I paid $4,000 for a used mini-van with great miles and very clean.
We do get a very generous housing allowance, called LQA (Living Quarters Allowance) that varies based on where you live and how many dependents you bring over. We also get COLA (Cost of Living Adjustment) which also depends on where you live and how many dependents you bring over. COLA is the % of cost-of-living over Washington D.C. In Japan, where I am stationed, with 3 dependents I make an addition $700 per paycheck.
We can live off-base, or on. Some bases require us to live off-base. Some bases require us to live on-base. It is up to the CO (Commanding Officer) of the base to set the policy.
We can shop tax-free on base at both the commissary and BX/NEX. Some bases have really nice, and big commissaries and BX/NEX's. Some have really small ones that are no larger than a 7-11, or even smaller. We can even eat on base tax-free at various fast food places like Burger King, McDonalds, or Subway. Some bases have Chilies. Others have Outback Steakhouse, or another chain like that.
Academic standards are about as low as you can get. There is no bar whatsoever. Due to the lact of professional development DoDEA/DoDDS is at least 5 years behind their stateside counterparts. The teachers have a very strong union that fights everything. Teachers show up to work in shorts and flip-flops, or jeans and tennis shoes. There isn't a high level of professionalism among the staff and they are all very old school in their teaching. There are very few teachers that would be considered cutting-edge.
Up until this year you could transfer to other locations, but budget cuts cut that down this year. Only about 140 teachers were able to get transfers.
The good news for those of you looking to join us is that there are a lot of open positions that didn't get filled, mostly in Korea, which they will be hiring from CONUS if there aren't any military dependents qualified to fill the position. We are 2nd class behind the military as we are here to support their mission. So while we make more money than they do, we get lower priority for everything. Korea is also a 1 year RAT (Return Authorized Travel). So if you get hired in Korea you'll get to go back to your HOR (Home of Record) every year. If you take RAT you are agreeing to teach for an additional year, 2 years if you are at a 2 year RAT location.
Behavior issues are generally mild depending on where you are. Here in Japan it's stupid stuff like sagging, ditching and smoking. Rarely any fights, or anything serious like drugs, since they are banned in Japan.
We do travel on Offical Passports, but they don't get you any special priviledges unless you are flying with an American carrier. Some of them will upgrade you to to Business Class when they see your passport. We also get issued Military ID cards which does get you military discounts on things back in States.
We are here under SOFA (Status of Forces Agreements) and are subjected to many of the same laws as our host-nation. Serious crimes committed off-base can be tried in their court system. We must follow their rules. Weapons of any kind are banned in Japan, so if a member of our bases security force leaves base with their weapon and they are caught they could go to Japanese prinson.
To be honest the gig isn't all that it's cracked up to be if you want to work with dedicated professionals that want to collaborate, and try new ideas. If you want to just get by by doing your mininium then DoDEA is the place for you. You'd be surprised at how many teachers barely even do that.
If I can answer any other questions please feel free to ask them. I'm new here as I'm looking at going the International School route. I really want to grow as a teacher and have access to the latest in PD, which DoDEA doesn't have. We are PowerPointed to death constantly.
Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:50 am
@WeDoDude: Thanks for all the great info! Is there any chance at non-military people getting hired or should we not waste our time?
Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 5:52 am
Non military DoDDS teachers are hired all the time. Though the competition is about 750 applicants per vacancy.
Posted: Wed May 09, 2012 3:52 pm
Non-military get hired all of the time. But here's the pecking order.
A position opens, say in Germany. The position will go through the local hire phase first. Local hire means that they are searching for a person in the area that qualifies for the position. Local hires are spouses, or the military term, dependents.
If the position comes out of local-hire without being filled then the admin can hire from CONUS. But there's also a pecking order for that as well.
Troops to Teachers, or Veterans that meet the qualifications get higher priority. If there are none that fit the position then it opens wider.
The pool may be large, but again not everyone that applies for DoDEA/DoDDS is qualified to teach for DoDEA/DoDDS. Case in point, we had a position open up last year that took until October to fill. So the admin spent the entire summer and first quarter trying to get the position hired because the first and second choices were both rejected by HR.
It may seem competitive, but it isn't. If you teach in demand subjects, math, and the sciences, or are technology certified then you'll get picked up really quickly. I was hired within 6 months of applying.
There are other nice perks as well, but again the standards are low and the teachers are by and large not cutting edge. They do a lot of sit-n-get, or skill-n-drill type of lessons. A lot of worksheets still. Technology infusion isn't that widespread and the favorite technology lessons are PowerPoint.
**Some other info** Regarding the 18,000 lbs of HHG (household goods) that we can ship. We also get storage. So if we were to have 18k lbs of HHG and you were say moving to Japan, well you wouldn't want to bring that much as the houses here are smaller. So you could store at government cost the bulk of your HHG within that 18k limit. It doesn't matter the ratio so long as the total storage and HHG shipment doesn't exceed 18k lbs.
Posted: Fri May 11, 2012 10:32 am
[b]WeDoDude[/b] Thank you for all your insight. I am applying for a DODDS position as a CONUS hire and we are hoping if I am picked up that we will be sent to Japan. I'm discouraged to hear your observations about innovative teaching. I've enjoyed collaborating with amazing teachers and it would discourage me to have colleagues unwilling to do this. I have also worked in a school where most of the teachers were very apathetic, but there were always a few who were willing and excited to work together. Have you found that there are at least a few gems in the rough? I think my greater concern would be for my children who would be attending these schools. I want them to have great teachers! Do you feel this is an overall issue with all schools? Have you heard of any bases in Japan with a reputation for good teaching? Thanks in advance!
Posted: Fri May 11, 2012 5:44 pm
It's very likely that you may receive a call for Japan. What are your certs in? We have a few openings at my school that will make it to the CONUS hiring process. More than likely you'll get a call from Korea district. If you do, take it. Korea isn't that bad. It's not Japan, but it's cheaper and you get a 1 year RAT (return authorized return). If you can get Osan AB, you'll be happy. Air Force bases are amazing in terms of what they offer and their students/parents are a bit more educated.
As to answer your questions, yes there are a few diamonds in the rough, but by and large if they don't have to do the extra planning, they won't. You're talking about a teaching body that receives ZERO high quality PD. The PD comes in the form of PowerPoints, or watching a video. There is no hands on training whatsoever. And the union is very, very powerful. Everything requires an agreement. So if the school wants to get new math books, the union will negotiate release time to train, but all that is is watching a PowerPoint, and look through the books. You won't actually get to see high quality lessons in action.
DoDEA/DoDDS is what you make of it. As a teacher you are very, very spoiled. Even a 1st year teacher fresh out of school is making a $100,000 salary when you add up pay + benefits. It's easy to just get by, print off some worksheets, clock in at contract in and clock out and contract out. We have a lot of teachers that do just that. But there are a few that are good and could be great if DoDEA/DoDDS invested in their PD.
Good luck. It's a long grind to get hired. Don't expect a call until at least late June, if even that. You may get called earlier, but the list of CONUS eligible hires hasn't even been open to admins yet. Why you ask? We're waiting for 1 non-teaching position in Korea to get filled. Yep, that 1 non-teaching position is holding up every other open teaching position that is eligible for CONUS hire.
Posted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:21 pm
WeDoDude: I'm certified ESL (k-12), Elementary (Prek-6), and bilingual elementary Spanish (Prek-6). I've taught for 8 years and have a Masters in Ed from an Ivy (not sure if that matters to anyone). I didn't put an available date until January as my husband is waiting on his citizenship interview and can't live abroad until he's a citizen. So anytime after that we would gladly be on our way. I'm not sure how we'd feel about Korea. We've dreamed of living in Japan for a really long time. I'm sure we'd consider it though.
That's so unfortunate about the PD. I live in NYC so I've always had amazing PD opportunities. Maybe I'd have something to offer in that regard as I would certainly bring anything with me that I've been a part of. That said, even with amazing PD, working for a huge bureaucracy has its own challenges. I can total understand your desire to go the international school route. I'd consider that too except i have a few dependents and would probably never get a shot because of that. I've also always worked with high need populations and have an affinity for kids who struggle. I figure DOD schools while not having kids who are economically HN, would have a mixture of different needs due to the uniqueness of being part of the military and all it entails.
We shall see! :) [/b]
Posted: Fri May 11, 2012 10:59 pm
ESL is a high needs position in DoDEA. Unfortunately it's tough to get hired mid year. Positions are usually filled by then. You're more than likely looking at SY 13-14. Still doable. Okinawa, Japan, and Korea are not highly desired locations. Everyone wants Europe. So it's very possible that you'll get Japan, just be flexible. You might not get our bases around Tokyo, but we have a base in Misawa, Iwakuni and Sasebo. Korea is where the bulk of the transfers came from this year, so there are a lot of spots there.
Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 7:25 am
WeDoDude- Your response and feedback are much appreciated! 2013-2014 would be great. I put sooner just in case some fluke opening occurs, but really next year is preferable. Thanks again!
Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 8:05 am
We are a teaching couple - 62 years of age -15 years overseas - now back in the States - retiring next year out of this district, but not ready to retire...
Multiple degreed and certified. DoDEA has offered us positions before, but we were under contract overseas (because of DoDEA late offers).
Any chance at our age?
Posted: Sat May 12, 2012 4:43 pm
Anon, holy cow yes!!! The average age of DoDEA/DoDDS teachers is 56. That average rises in Europe to 58 and lowers in the Pacific to 54. You will have no problems getting hired by DoDEA if your certs are in a high needs area. Those high needs areas are:
I know of a few schools in Japan, mine including, that hired teachers this past school year that were in the 70's. Good luck!