Considering being elementary teacher- Help me Decide

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Frida Gee, May 14, 2019.

  1. Frida Gee

    Frida Gee New Member

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    May 14, 2019

    I'm considering applying to grad school to be an elementary school teacher. One of our friends is a high school principal is trying to convince/ scare me out of it. So from you actual teachers- Convince me or don't to apply to be an elementary school teacher.
     
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  3. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

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    May 15, 2019

    Is the decision you're facing about teaching or secondary vs. elementary?
     
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  4. Joyful!

    Joyful! Habitué

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    May 15, 2019

    Why do you want to be a teacher? Do you know how much work is involved? What kind of undergrad degree did you earn? What would you do if you elect not to pursue teaching?
     
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  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    May 18, 2019

    I believe some things in life are highly personal--what person to marry, what house to live in, and what career to choose. Teaching is a career that some love (such as myself) and some can't wait to find the exit sign.

    Most of the best parts of teaching come from personal choices that teachers make themselves. They find unique ways to make a difference and ways to make teaching fun for themselves, their colleagues, and their students. I have found that those who don't have much initiative and like to be told what to do all the time, might enjoy a different occupation. Oh they can "succeed" in teaching, but they will find many of its challenges and opportunities for improvement to feel like burdens.

    Some helpful skills to develop when you are in college are: public speaking, problem solving, leadership, risk taking, working with a variety of people, and a love for learning.

    Good luck!
     
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  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    May 18, 2019

    I would throw out a few things to consider:
    1. It's hard enough to do the job even if you feel that this is the job of your dreams. Getting an undergraduate degree in something other than teaching makes me think you don't fit into this category.
    2. Elementary education jobs are among the most saturated in terms of number of applicants vs. number of jobs. If you doubt that, read through some of the Elem. Ed. threads.
    3. Getting a job is a first step, to be sure, but keeping the job is actually much harder. Until you have tenure, if in a tenure state, it is possible to be let go because you are not a good fit, which means for vague reasons.
    4. For most teachers, we earn a master's degree to strengthen our skill sets or add skill sets beyond the basics - think SPED, or ESL as two examples. Going just to acquire the education basics really makes more sense (to me) when you have strong content knowledge, which will tend to make you more desirable as an applicant. Elementary education doesn't fall into that category.
    5. Contrary to popular opinion, teachers work more behind the scenes and after the bell rings than most people could imagine. If it is all you ever wanted to do, then it is much less likely to cause stress and resentment, because you realize that you are learning, too. Teachers also tend to take classes in the summer to become a better teacher, so your summer isn't totally free, as many assume.
    6. Similarly, you spend many hours every week in lesson planning, grading, lesson prep, and the list goes on.
    7. You may not get your "dream job" - you may work in a school that tries your patience, is a longer drive from your home, and not at the top of the pay scale. There is a reason why 50% of all teachers who enter the field have left the profession by year five.
    8. You will be taking on college debt (probably) just to get the basics, with no guarantee that you will find a job. Once again, if you read through the job seeker posts/threads, you will hear the horror stories of teacher applicants who, at best, can only find jobs as a sub. That is a job that won't pay a living wage (with a couple of exceptions).
    9. If the state you are in offers the possibility of going Alternate Route without earning the master's, that may have a real upside to it - no college loans to pay off. As a teacher with a job, later on you may be eligible for tuition reimbursement, making graduate school on the employer's dime so much more efficient.
    10. Some of the hardest elements of teaching is dealing with the parents, and/or having the parents assume you are to blame if their "brilliant" child is not getting straight A's. Some teachers are overwhelmed by communications with parents and the resulting scrutiny of administration.
    I freely admit to coming into teaching as an AR candidate, but I had strong science skill sets that gave me varied opportunities. I have continued to take grad courses to become an even better teacher, but I haven't acquired any tuition debt to learn. Before jumping in to get your master's, why not sub and make sure this is the job you want? Most states hire subs who aren't certified teachers, but have a degree. It might save you time and money.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2019
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  7. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    Jun 1, 2019

    So are you debating between elementary and secondary?

    I once heard the different levels summed up this way. Teachers at the elementary level need to be with the fact that they are in charge of all the decisions and responsibilities in the classroom regarding the students' education. "I do it." Middle school teachers are working more in concert with the students and guiding them to be more independent and responsible for their education. "We do it together." High school students have teachers who teach and do a lot, but they are more responsible for taking charge of themselves and their responsibility is greater than at previous levels "You do it."

    Honestly, choosing which level is a best fit for you largely boils down to personality. I can't teach a classroom full of primary kiddos without going nuts because they are so needy. At the same time, middle schoolers aren't my cup of tea either. I feel most at home teaching grades 3-5. Other teacher I have worked with can't imagine teaching these grades because the kids are too big, too loud, too immature, whatever. If you have worked with kids in the past outside of the classroom, what ages did you enjoy the most? Teach that level. Otherwise think about how much independence you would want your students to be able to handle.
     
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  8. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 2, 2019

    Do you like working with small children through the GOOD and BAD? If not, I suggest you stay away! That's pretty much the only question you need to ask yourself.
    AMIRIGHT?
     
  9. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Jun 3, 2019

    They both seem like good options, although elementary would allow you to teach all of the subjects. Then again, if you want to focus one (or two) subjects, consider secondary education.
    I am currently a Mid-Elem Special Ed teacher. Been in this setting for 9 years. I get to teach 3 grades all the subjects (it sounds worse than it actually is).
    Before I was an Elem teacher, I actually taught Math 7 (two years), Inclusion Elem (three years), and HS 9th Inclusion English (three years). Basically, I know about both worlds, but highly prefer Elementary. Elementary students typically have better attitudes, better motivated, are not tied to their cell phones, and there is really no major issues. The world has not been able to screw up elementary students (although some of my HS students were pretty good and did very well in my english class).
     
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  10. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 3, 2019

    Although, I would argue that a lot of these younger kids are becoming more... corrupted... than they used to be. The sh** I hear from some of my colleagues and SEE with my own eyes is something.
    My advice is always the same: spend time with the kids and see if you'd want to work with them all day every day.
     
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  11. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jun 3, 2019

    The OP hasn’t been back since the day this was posted.
     
  12. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Jun 3, 2019

    I do see your point. However, I have taught the same setting for 9 years and love it. The students are very good (typically). I will be completely honest, my school district is in a bit of a bubble for the elementary schools.
     
  13. futuremathsprof

    futuremathsprof Aficionado

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    Jun 4, 2019

    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Jun 4, 2019

    Live the dream!
    :D
     
  15. Teacher234

    Teacher234 Cohort

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    Jun 4, 2019

    I certainly am. I do not have to worry about school district drama, which allows me to focus completely on my instruction to my students who are rather unique.
     
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