Should I take the leap and become a teacher?

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by mrsmalone, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. mrsmalone

    mrsmalone Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 11, 2017

    Hey y'all! I just signed up today and I'm not actually a teacher (hope that doesn't get me kicked out), but I am considering making a career change to teaching. I currently work in a business role which is what I got my degree in. I graduated with my bachelors 3 years ago and have been working in this field almost 4 years. So here's what I am hoping to hear from you... advice on making the jump to teaching from business. I'll give you some background on how I ended up here...

    When I first started college I wanted to get an English degree because everyone said to find something you love. I love English. Writing, grammar, linguistics, editing, literature, all of it. I've always been a bookworm and nerd and once I got to college I found my English classes absolutely thrilling. Then I became afraid that I couldn't be a teacher because I had been homeschooled most of my grade school life. I was terrified that I didn't know what I was getting into and that I would be terrible at it or wouldn't like it.

    Enter the psychology / English double major. I thought this would give me a backup route where I could teach while I got a master's and become a personal counselor afterward. And then I began worrying about the pressures of bills and getting out on my own and didn't know if I'd be able to afford getting a master's anyway and was afraid I'd never find a job out of college.

    Enter the change of majors... I switched to a business degree and picked management with a concentration in HR because I enjoyed those classes the most out of my introductory business classes. I got an internship during my senior year and was then hired full time for that company after graduation. I worked there for a while and did not enjoy the political environment and constant fear of layoffs (it was an oil & gas company). So I decided to sign up as a sub and use some vacation days to sub and pursue an alternate certification.

    Plot twist- my husband got transferred across the country. The new state didn't have an alternative certification program and it would take me two more years of school to even become certified. I applied for another job in HR and I got it, so I've been doing that for the last year and a half. But I still don't enjoy it. Mostly I don't enjoy working 50-60 hours each week, feeling like I can never not be working, checking email on my phone, etc, and spending most of my time on meaningless paperwork to adjere to pointless federal laws. I like it when I can help an employee and make someone happy, but for the most part, everyone hates HR.

    Now my husband and I are hoping to move back home and he has some leads for jobs. I am contemplating what to do when we do move. I have already paid for an alternative certification program (from the last round of this) that is still active. I currently make less than teachers with no experience make in the area we're from, so that's no issue. I'm a good test taker and enjoy studying, so the exams don't put me off. I really just worry that I won't be good enough or won't know what I'm doing without an education degree.

    I love kids, love learning, and enjoy helping others learn. I would love to teach English or special ed, or maybe ESL. But I have so much fear about taking the leap. What if I'm a terrible teacher or what if the reason I don't like my job is that I'm the problem? In my head, teaching seems like this career that you can really put your heart into and constantly learn to be better and keep improving, but I'm afraid I am idealizing.

    If you're still reading, thank you for taking this much time listening to me. I appreciate any guidance or advice any of you can offer. I'm quite stumped about what to do. I've never been a person to follow my heart and now I'm not even sure exactly what my heart is saying. X, K
     
  2.  
  3. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    4,995
    Likes Received:
    568

    Jan 11, 2017

    If you don't want to work 50-60 hour weeks, then teaching might not be a good fit. In Texas, contract hours are typically 40-44 hours a week. Working an hour a day more than contract is expected at my school.

    But if you can't see yourself doing anything else, the long hours won't be so bad.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
    MLB711 and Caesar753 like this.
  4. mrsmalone

    mrsmalone Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 11, 2017

    Well, I eventually want to have a family and at this rate I would never be able to manage that with working 7am-7pm and all of it having to be in the office. I know a lot of teachers with kids so it must be manageable. It seems like a lot of teachers can do stuff from home which is a lot different than being chained to a desk because you're told you need to get enough "face time."
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,994
    Likes Received:
    434

    Jan 11, 2017

    Everyone's opinion on this is going to be different, so take them with a grain of salt.

    I personally enjoy thinking about, reading about, searching about, and creating all things related to teaching, so technically I suppose I work a lot of hours each week. However, I can say, without a doubt, I could work about 35 hours a week if I chose and would probably get the exact same "results".

    My school day is 7-2:00 with a 30 minute prep time before school starts and technically 20 more minutes at our lunch time, that currently we are not mandated to use and is currently treated as a 50 minute lunch period.

    So without a doubt, I could work 7-2 each day and that is it. Weekends off, week off for Thanksgiving, 2 weeks off at Christmas, week off for spring break 2 1/2 months off for summer vacation, and what seems like 2 months worth of 4 day work weeks over the course of the school year.

    I take my kids to school with me and they come home with me after school.

    Honestly, the perks of this job are amazing for me.
     
    mrsmalone likes this.
  6. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    28,697
    Likes Received:
    597

    Jan 11, 2017

    Welcome to A to Z, mrsmalone. Your thread has been moved to a forum that's a somewhat better fit for it.
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,027
    Likes Received:
    1,821

    Jan 12, 2017

    This makes me think that teaching might not be a good fit.

    Edit: I really value the whole work/life balance thing. I basically work my contract hours plus an extra 45 minutes or so in the morning. I don't eat, sleep, and breathe teaching, but I'm also a veteran teacher with lots of experience and a solid organizational system. Lots of teachers get sucked into the beliefs that more is always better and that total perfection is both attainable and necessary--neither belief is true, in my opinion. If you can regulate yourself and your time, you can be successful. If you're organized and have good time management, you can be successful.

    What really stuck out to me was your comment about meaningless paperwork. If there is any single universal truth in the world of education these days, it is that paperwork is everywhere. I fill out so many forms every single day--forms for this, forms for that, forms to verify that I filled out other forms correctly and on time (not kidding!). If paperwork isn't your thing, then teaching isn't your thing. You've got to be able to do paperwork correctly, efficiently, and on time in order to be successful at teaching.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2017
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Apr 23, 2010
    Messages:
    2,349
    Likes Received:
    1,017

    Jan 12, 2017

    I firmly believe that after the first few trail-by-fire years, if you're still working 50-60 hours it's either because you want to or have terrible time management. The former is a valid personal choice, the 2nd would signify it's not the best career for you.

    Honestly, I think a lot of the war stories of teachers spending all their waking hours on the job are from those with awful time management or put everything into the job and think everyone else should, too.

    There's no reason, after the first couple of years of finding your footing, why you should be putting in so much time if you don't want to.

    I have two kids and I think it's a great mom job.
     
    mrsmalone, anon55 and Pashtun like this.
  9. anon55

    anon55 Comrade

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2014
    Messages:
    410
    Likes Received:
    124

    Jan 12, 2017

    I think this following statement is true for me: "you can really put your heart into and constantly learn to be better and keep improving, but I'm afraid I am idealizing." It's not always great but the good moments are priceless and this year (my 2nd year), I have way more than I had my first year, that's for sure.

    I start at 8:30, school gets out at 2:30, but most days I stay until 3:30-4:30. This is mostly because I bounce ideas off colleagues and like chatting, but also because I do zero work at home. I never take home grading (except maybe over a long holiday). I leave my work at work and that's it. I found a way to teach which allows me to have a life outside the job, so if I can do it, I'm sure you can too. It takes time to figure that out though. My first year, I routinely stayed until 7 or 8 at night, almost every night. I considered leaving at 5:30 a success!

    Ultimately, I would say try substitute teaching and see if you like that. Subbing is what confirmed for me that I really am good at this and can do it.
     
    DaniB92, jteach89, Leaborb192 and 2 others like this.
  10. mrsmalone

    mrsmalone Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 12, 2017

    Thanks, Pashtun! I really appreciate your perspective. Very encouraging!
     
  11. mrsmalone

    mrsmalone Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 12, 2017

    I am hoping to sub once we relocate. The district my mom works in badly needs subs, so she is confident I can get a lot of days there. I have no problem with even working until 5:30. I am working 7am - 6 pm most days now, and a lot of days I'm here until 8 or 9 pm and I can't even cook dinner or do anything besides work with that schedule. Thanks for chiming in!
     
    anon55 likes this.
  12. mrsmalone

    mrsmalone Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 12, 2017

    Thanks for commenting anon55! I totally agree with your perspective and have seen some of my teacher friends be exactly like this. One of them was routinely "working" until 7-8 pm and as it turned out she was actually cheating on her husband with another teacher and even before that started she was just a huge procrastinator who would put things off even after school was out for the day. I am very intentional about my time and am always reading and learning how to manage it better, so I think it's something I could definitely grow into even though my tasks would be different from what I focus on now.
     
  13. mrsmalone

    mrsmalone Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2017
    Messages:
    7
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jan 12, 2017

    I guess I do dislike paperwork, but I am aware of all it requires. My mom is a registrar so I hear her stories about all the paperwork to be done for students with special needs, class changes, etc. And I am not bad at paperwork; I just want to do something with more purpose to it. I'm in a place where no one would really even know if I didn't do the paperwork I'm supposed to unless we ever got audited. And it doesn't help anyone, really. I actually don't mind some paperwork (i.e. an hour worth a day or so because I like the sense of accomplishment after getting things off my desk), but I want to do something with the rest of my time. Thanks for sharing! I appreciate your feedback!
     
  14. jteach89

    jteach89 Companion

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    10

    Jan 20, 2017


    Lol Im still a newbie but I guess my time management sucks. I just feel like I never have enough time in the day to do anything. I go to work, go home and work. There must be something I'm doing wrong however it is my first teaching teaching first grade. I'm having a hard time balancing all of the lesson planning, on top of the activities and modifications of the lesson for all the students. Not only is it the lesson planning but its the data, data, data. I feel like im working harder not smarter. And not to mention keeping in contact with parents. I do not have anytime to do half of what they want me to do; my to-do list just keeps getting longer and longer...
     
  15. Teachertimes

    Teachertimes Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2016
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    50

    Jan 21, 2017

    Teaching has a lot of meaningless politics to go with it, meetings, testing, paperwork, etc. it's not just teach and make a difference. That would be nice but not factual.
     
  16. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    4,995
    Likes Received:
    568

    Jan 21, 2017

    It also depends on your admin. This year, I only put in six or seven hours more than contract time now with two brand new preps and a new school, but my burden of busywork is quite a bit lighter. Last year, my contract time was two to four more hours a week depending on which after school meetings were scheduled that week, more reports on data and parent contacts were due each week, had more duties daily so I had less time before and after students were in my classroom to work on paperwork and planning, and the lesson plan format took an hour in itself just to type and did not include any actual planning time. My planning period was also taken twice a week for meetings. At that school, I either had to do paperwork while students are in the room, which is something I personally do not believe in doing, or I had to do it after contract time.

    It's comparing apples to oranges.
     
  17. jteach89

    jteach89 Companion

    Joined:
    May 20, 2012
    Messages:
    121
    Likes Received:
    10

    Jan 21, 2017

    Yea the politics get to me too at times. I would not want to deter anyone from teaching. Although it comes with its stresses I find it to be a rewarding career choice. I am also inspired by how there are so many teachers today who still have a drive and passion despite many educational reforms. I'd say if its your calling go for it. It will not be easy but if you find it worth it do it. When I was in undergrad I had a totally different perspective on teaching than I do now with experience.

    If you can get some first hand experience in teaching that could be a direction for you to get an idea.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
    Leaborb192 likes this.
  18. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2016
    Messages:
    1,546
    Likes Received:
    691

    Jan 21, 2017

    And plus, like ALL my professors and mentor teachers have said: they've seen the pendulum swing back and forth. Nothing that is here will stay.
     

Share This Page

test