Questions and Answers about Dallas Independent School District

Here's what people have asked and answered about working for and interviewing at Dallas Independent School District.

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34 questions

Was recruited to apply by Clyde Stokes

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I was hired at the Dallas Isd job fair on the spot. This is an effective way to meet and greet the administrators and to market yourself.

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You will scratch for every penny. If you do well enough, it’s because you are a natural rock star or because you have worked well beyond the school day into evening hours, documenting that you have tutored and called parents and microtargeted discrete STAAR “student expectations.” CYA with documentation of PLC meetings, parent communications, kids you’ve tutored and the data showing their progress, detailed exemplars available to evaluators at any given moment.

Losing ANY personnel at campus level means more stress and extra work for those “lucky” enough to have a job. We’re burning out. We’re the proverbial frog in the pot of water, as it gets hotter and hotter. It’s not the kids. It’s the lack of counselors and vice principals and office staff and teacher assistants.

I don’t blame DISD administrators. They’re doing what they must to keep their jobs but that means teachers are expendable. DISD admin has now settled for an annual revolving door with the youngest and least experienced being the desired staff; Teach For America kids who are Northern Exposuring two years of indentured servitude. God bless ‘em. They are working so hard but they won’t stay beyond the minimum two years. If you can teach anywhere besides DISD, you will add years to your life. Caring about your students is not enough to push past the obstacles.

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Don’t if you can help it. There are so many other districts and schools in the Dallas area that are able to respect and value their employees. If you must work for DISD, it is well worth $50 a month for union dues. Trust me. I speak from hard-earned experience.

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Have you worked with data before? How would you respond to a parent who is upset about something? How would you handle a student who is having discipline problems in your class?

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Working hours were fine.

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Middle school teacher hours: 8:10-4:30. Kids: 8:15-3:40

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The registrar gets ok pay and does get paid holidays and summers off.

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Knowing that you, as the teacher of record, are the scapegoat and the bottom of the totem pole. The kids think it’s your fault that they’re bored with the drill and kill activities. How do you explain to them that it’s the way you are *required* to teach by your Executive Director and his or her underling, your principal? When you can make time to call parents, most of them are very supportive, but the trick is making the time with the other expectations upon you: you’ve got 30+hours of PD to earn by December (including compliance training); you’re expected to tutor once a week; you’ve got to get grades recorded and work on remediation and differentiation; attend weekly staff meetings; plan/prepare/post lesson plans AND detailed exemplars two weeks in advance by Friday afternoon. Oh, that’s a new thing - exemplars. Probably a violation of Texas state law by which administrators can only expect “brief and general” lesson plans, but it’s such a recent requirement that it has yet to be tested by the grievance process and AFT Alliance.

What’s the most stressful part of working in DISD? I’ll have to cheat on this and say that it’s the system. I don’t entirely blame the administrators at any level. I’ve heard they’re under intense pressure as well. They can lose their jobs at any time if scores aren’t where they are supposed to be and there is constant evaluation of student “data.” The most efficient thing to do is to just teach the discrete skills which dampens enthusiasm for teacher and student but at least you CYA when you’re evaluated at spot observations - which are five a semester.

If you must work for DISD, join a teachers union. It’s worth it. If you can work anywhere else, do it unless you want to challenge yourself to see how closely you can adhere to a micromanaging, prescriptive, and highly regimented teaching methodology: the “bible” currently on my admin’s desk: Get Better Faster by Paul Bambrick-Santoyo). Read that. If that style of teaching in an “urban” (Bambrick’s adjective) setting appeals to you, more power to you. I would say, maybe it’s me; maybe I don’t have the right stuff. However, I know it’s not just me in my building who is desperately unhappy.

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