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

    May 14, 2019
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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.
  3. CherryOak

    CherryOak Companion

    Dec 25, 2016
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    May 15, 2019

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

    Joyful! Habitué

    May 5, 2009
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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?
    whizkid likes this.
  5. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

    Jul 3, 2010
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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!
    Joyful! likes this.
  6. vickilyn

    vickilyn Guru

    Jul 19, 2014
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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
    Joyful! likes this.

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