long career

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, May 18, 2017.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    May 18, 2017

    My colleague is retiring this year after 30 years teaching. She has so many incredible stories and has touched so many lives. I will miss her, but I think it's good for her to be going. Being an educator has kind of destroyed her mentally and physically. She says it was mostly the last 10 years that have been hardest.

    Is it realistic to think we can do 30 years, anymore? There are plenty of threads talking about how insane this job is. I'm a little old-fashioned wanting to work somewhere forever, but so many of my friends have changed careers entirely in the past 10 years. Almost all of my teaching friends have changed schools one or more times, some even leaving education all together. I'm already on my 3rd school in 6 years. Dare I say that this field isn't even stable?
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    May 18, 2017

    While I imagine it'll be a huge adjustment when I eventually have kids (hopefully sooner than later), I can't imagine myself not hitting 30 years in this career. I love every minute of it, even today, as I sit here after a long day of testing, eating too many extra things of Smarties (from giving it to students as today's state testing pun), exhausted as nothing else.
     
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  4. Sab

    Sab Rookie

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    May 18, 2017

    Don't like 1/3 of teachers quit teaching within the first three years or something high like that? I'm not even teaching yet and I'm already thinking about what else I might want to do after, honestly. Though I think I could last longer in high school, student teaching unfortunately made me realize I don't want to be teaching elementary forever!

    And I should add, I loved my students and definitely enjoyed a lot of it but it is exhausting and the pay is really unsustainably low especially in some areas.
     
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  5. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    May 19, 2017

    I was just talking about this very topic with a colleague.

    I am completing my 11th year with the school district and I am not sure I can keep this stride going until retirement. I absolutely love what I'm doing and don't see myself ever leaving the field of education; however, I am not certain I can stay in admin for the next 20-25 years.
     
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  6. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 19, 2017

    I'm finishing up my 11th year. I love my current position and could see myself in it for the long haul. I'm not sure I can see myself staying in the district until retirement, though. The extraneous garbage we have to deal with is starting to feel like a lot, and I worry that soon it will be too much. My district has a new pay scale that makes it very, very challenging to get raises. I was already at a fairly good spot on the scale, but I'm about to top out and there aren't many options for me to get a raise without a considerable amount of time-consuming work. My district has also been having issues with our health insurance, and that's turning into a serious nightmare. Next year our evaluations will include student test scores...to the tune of 40%. That's just incredible to me and I hate it. I've enjoyed working for this district for the most part until recently, so I'm willing to give them some time to get their act together. If they can't, though, I may have no choice but to begin looking elsewhere, which for me will mean an out-of-state move.
     
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  7. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 19, 2017

    If I hadn't been at home with my kids for 10 years, I would have more than 30 years in when I retire. While there are certainly frustrations, I can't imagine leaving teaching to do anything else. (Job satisfaction aside and thinking strictly financially, I get paid very well and we have an exceptional pension plan--much better than I would get in the private sector!)
     
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  8. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    May 19, 2017

    I have decided next year will be my last. I will have taught my youngest PE for all six years of elem. So all four of mine had PE with me from k-5th.
    It will be my 40th year. Too hot now. Too much sun on my body. Im in great health and will have enough in SS and retirement. I know I will miss the kids like crazy and probably be an emotional mess as it comes to and end. I was very fortunate to work in a small school most of the time. I have taught Math, Reading, computer skills and even gifted in addition to PE. I loved almost every minute of it.....................
     
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  9. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Habitué

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    May 19, 2017

    Entering my 3rd year at the same system, I thought I'd beeeze into decades of teaching. Now looking at back-to-back non-renewals, I'm not so sure if I could even make it to 10 years. That's when my pension vests. I started teaching at 38. My state has the Rule of 80 so I wouldn't be able to draw until I reach my 21st year at age 59.
     
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  10. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Aficionado

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    May 19, 2017

    For some reason, I envisioned you being in your 20s.
     
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  11. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    May 19, 2017

    I'm leaving next year, and while this year was terrible, and I am forever glad to be leaving this district forever, I did enjoy teaching. Even this year, with being asked to essentially parent kids for the parents and admin in addition to teaching, and dealing with some kids who were brats, I do enjoy the majority of my students. They are finally starting to grow up a little bit (too bad it only started happening the last month of the year!!), and I have pretty good relationships with most of them. But this experience taught me that the teaching profession is incredibly unstable. You never know if you're getting a good district or a bad one or a good admin or a bad one, and it can make all the difference. Unfortunately, I think the number of admin who don't support teachers, who pander to parents, and show utter disregard for the jobs their teachers do by piling more on top of them while being ungrateful for it, is actually growing, rather than decreasing.

    The current political climate isn't shaping up to look too good for teachers in the near future either with a lot of public funding for public schools being siphoned towards "school choice" charters, and private schools. I believe we'll see schools with wider gaps between the haves and have-nots, with some schools getting all of the best students and most involved parents that all of the strong teachers will flock to, and others getting what's left. Schools will be pressured to cater more towards parents with ridiculous expectations and demands otherwise they'll lose their "customers", and the admin will feel that pressure the most, so they will probably reduce support for their teachers even further to pander to parents. I have to say, I am very glad to be leaving teaching. It was fun while it lasted, but unless I'm teaching as a kind of after-retirement labor-of-love kind of thing, I don't see how I could make it a worthwhile career with the lack of respect, low pay, and extra responsibilities they keep piling on. It asks too much, and doesn't give enough back in return to make it worth it. I could make much more money doing less work at plenty of other jobs.
     
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  12. janlee

    janlee Devotee

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    May 19, 2017

    I taught for a total of 32 years prior to my retirement 2 years ago. I taught 8 years in my first school, stayed home for 10 years to raise my 2 sons, and then was hired by a small NY district located near Rockland County. This school was a K-4 ( later went to K-3) and were like family. Great support by administrators, parents, and colleagues and a strong union. If you liked the grade you taught you stayed there. I would have remained for at least another 2 years but new curriculums were being introduced and I basically did not want to learn them knowing I would be leaving. Plus the district was offering an extremely generous incentive to anyone retiring. Needless to say I retired. I read how discouraged many posters are and feel what a blessing my career was to me. I don't regret any of it.
     
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  13. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    May 19, 2017

    Everything Peregrin said is true...........it does not bode well for teachers in the future unless common sense returns.......
     
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  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    May 19, 2017

    I think about this sometimes. I'm 5 years in, and I probably have 30 to go (or more...I'm sure retirement age will be higher by the time I get up there!) I've had a rough year this year that made me question this career and whether it's for me. At the end of the day, though, it's my passion. I knew that was true when I got hired for a new position next year and immediately felt the old excitement and motivation come back.

    I'm moving into a big district, which I chose in part because of opportunities in the future. I have no desire to be an administrator, but maybe I could do intervention pull out or something else eventually. I could also just change schools/ grade levels if needed - this district has tons of elementary schools. I figure I could easily stay in this district for the long term and move around and change within it if needed.

    But I don't ever see myself leaving education.
     
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  15. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    May 19, 2017

    The job tires me and stresses me out, and I love it anyway. I'm fully planning on lasting until I get my full retirement from Virginia and then seeing if I can get myself vested in some other retirement system.
     
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  16. Pi-R-Squared

    Pi-R-Squared Habitué

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    May 19, 2017

    Nope, I am a late career changer. Got in the game after not knowing what to do during my mid-30s. I don't regret my decision to become a teacher. I just realize how hard it is to keep a job. Previously, I had worked where I lolly-gagged for 6 years and didn't even come close to getting fired. Of course, job satisfaction was low. Going into the same building doing relatively the same thing gets boring. In teaching, every day has the potential to be different!
     
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  17. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    May 19, 2017

    I will have a long, varied career. In my first eight years I have taught four different grade levels and now I am a literacy coach. I'll go back to teaching my own class in the next few years and probably switch grades every few years to keep it fresh.
     
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  18. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Phenom

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    May 19, 2017

    If I teach to age 55, I'll get full retirement benefits. That will put me at 33 years. I see myself doing it.
     
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  19. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    May 19, 2017

    I'm in my second decade of teaching. Used to be proud to be a teacher. Now, I'm ashamed and feel I let my family down. The kids become more violent and disrespectful every year. Roughly half the school has significant mental or emotional deficits—some times both. My pay drops each year. My benefits cost more each year but cover less. Our superintendent hates teachers and openly mocks us every day. The district will lose most of its staff this year. This is education in Indiana.

    Teaching was great a decade ago. Now, I wish I had not gone into education. I tell every young person I meet to do ANYTHING else. Even if your state supports you today, it can all change tomorrow. For the love of God, do not teach in Indiana. Our legislators won't be satisfied until teachers work for minimum wage. Teaching is no longer a viable career in Indiana. Even if you could tolerate the conditions, stagnant pay and inflation will eventually leave you working for less than a kid at McDonald's.

    Vermont might be all right, however. Goose-stepping fascism is not as popular there as it is here, I suppose.
     
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  20. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    May 20, 2017

    My parents (both teachers) have been talking to me about this for years. I speak some Spanish (poorly, and I took YEARS of it in school) and my mom keeps pushing me to try to improve it so that I can have another career option. She keeps saying, "Nobody teaches for 30 years anymore. What's your plan B?"

    I think it's good to remember that teaching is a job. Yes, it's an important job, but it's a job. Letting it take over your entire life is a personal choice. I actually worked with someone a few years ago who was an absolutely amazing teacher, but her whole life was teaching. She retired 2 years after I met her, and instead of enjoying her retirement, she was miserable. She realized she basically had nothing without the job. No hobbies, no friends, no interests. I used to put in signifcantly more hours at school than I do now. I truly mostly stick to contract time now- I would say in an average week I might put in 2-3 hours extra, but most of that is stuff like after school meetings. And you know what- my students are just as successful as they were in the past without all of the "extras." In fact, this year every single one of my kids made over one year's growth, which is pretty impressive when you consider they are making much less than a year's growth to get in sped in the first place (and our RtI interventions are similar in time/intensity as to what I provide).

    Personally, at this point if I were to leave it would be a money issue vs. a stress issue. I get paid very little compared to the COL in my area and I do worry that there will become a point where I am simply "priced out." My concern is that it's not like there are many other high paying jobs you can get with an elementary degree. I'd have to go back to school, which of course would cause bigger financial problems than just sticking with the lower salary. If my degree was in a subject area that could easily transfer to a higher paying field, I would absolutely consider it.
     
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  21. AmyMyNamey

    AmyMyNamey Comrade

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    May 20, 2017

    Therein lies the rub:

    Once states define teaching as a job, rather than a career, those states will be unable to find teachers willing to work under frequently miserable conditions for criminally low pay. Surely, there will be idealists who think they can change the world from within a classroom, but precious few are that naïve. There will reckless souls with little direction who blunder into teaching, but these will not stay more than a year or two. What the state has then is a vacuum of critical services being mishandled by a clueless and transient workforce.

    In most cases, legislators simply do not care. They see public education as an entitlement for the poor and minorities, who rarely vote and do not matter. Why waste tax dollars on tax payers?

    My own state of Indiana is a segregationist hellhole that diverts the lion's share of education funding largely to affluent white communities (who will vote, albeit recklessly) at the expense of poor rural and urban communities, which are further disadvantaged by the forceful inclusion of cheap, under-serving for-profit charter and voucher services.

    Working in a state that has defined teaching as a mere job and not a career, I can say with some authority that the policy scares the informed away from teaching and cripples the bulk of our youth with lifelong deficiencies. But since most Americans are either poor or minorities, that does not matter?

    Teaching needs to attract good people and keep them for life. Teaching must remain a career. It is not menial labor, and to treat it as such is a despicable, condemnable evil.
     

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