Would I be crazy to go back to school at age 57 to become a teacher????

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by FuntoLearn, Feb 1, 2013.

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  1. FuntoLearn

    FuntoLearn Rookie

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    Would I be crazy to go back to school at age 57 to get a teaching degree? (I guess I don't feel that old because I had my children late in life--my youngest is only a freshman in high school. ) Would anyone even hire me being a "newbie" at that age? I am mainly interested in teaching elementary school. I'm not fussy about what grade, and would consider teaching in a private, Christian school, though I know they don't pay very well (to put it mildly!)

    I have a degree in architecture (I did originally start out, though, as an education major!) and enjoyed that career "somewhat" for many years, but grew tired of it and longed to go into teaching. I did substitute teach for three years before having kids (18 years ago), then became a stay-at- home mom, and ended up homeschooling my kids through 8th grade (and taught at some co-ops and a hybrid classical homeschool/school called a "tutorial" service .) I am now subbing again. I would prefer to be the regular teacher, though! I don't think I've ever met a child that I didn't like (even the trouble-makers--though they can be difficult to deal with at times.) I would love to be able to come up with my own lesson plans, and to really get to know the kids.

    I have been exploring the options for getting a teaching certificate. I could get a Master's of Ed or Teaching, or a "post-badclaureate "teaching degree in a few years and even do it online. However, it would be quite an investment in time and money. And when I was done, I would be near 60. Would anyone even hire me at that age???? How do districts look on online graduate degrees with first-time teachers?

    Most of the teachers in our district (a relatively nice public school district, I might add) seem to be so young. It makes me wonder if teachers tend to burn out or get tired of the profession before they get older? Do districts tend to "push-out" the older teachers? Or do they just have fantastic early retirement incentives or what??? Or do educators tend to get frustrated with all the latest "new-fangled" educational ideas that keep coming down the pike and quit? Just curious why they all seem so young. I remember having several gray-haired, grandmotherly type teachers when I went to elementary school. You don't see many of those these days-- in my district at least.

    Thanks in advance for any thoughts or feedback you'd care to share. Care to talk me into or out of this crazy idea??:unsure:
     
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  3. mcqxu

    mcqxu Comrade

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    I'm not in any place to talk you out of doing something you're clearly passionate and excited about - it seems like you're already aware of the potential drawbacks of going into this career later in life. I wouldn't suggest going into debt for it though.

    You are right that the elementary job market is just saturated with applicants. Generally speaking, I don't think public districts are allowed to "push out" older teachers like that - tenure is supposed to protect that from happening. If you're in a state w/a good retirement system, maybe the older teachers have already retired, LOL! In our state it used to be they could retire as early as 52, but that's all changing soon.

    I'm in a private school w/o tenure or grand retirement benefits, but there are many older teachers at my school. However, one of the oldest is probably in her late 60s, she's been teaching for over 30 years and has announced she's retiring at the end of this year.

    I will tell you unless you're just genetically blessed with incredible energy and great health, education is a career that can be rough on the body, and stressful. Again, it takes a lot of energy - I'm in my early 30's and even find myself wondering sometimes if I'll "burn out" at some point! I work with K-5 and teach foreign language, so I need to be very animated and energetic with my subject matter.
     
  4. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    I would be afraid you'd have great difficulty being hired. :unsure:
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    To be honest, I think you would find the field very difficult to enter. Would you incur any debt by continuing your education? If so, that would be a deterrent for me at your age. I don't mean to sound negative, but given many factors my personal opinion is that it is not a good idea.
     
  6. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

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    I almost take offense at some of the responses... almost. I am 50, and am in my 5th year teaching first grade. I held a number of positions while raising my daughter, then decided to return to school. Yes, it is physically demanding. Yes, student behavior and admin/state, etc., mandates can be frustrating/ridiculous/whatever.

    All that being said...

    I love my job. I love my students. I can't imagine what else I would be doing that would be as interesting and fulfilling. I have $40K in student loans, but I'm still teaching.

    I didn't find it hard to be hired, but I aimed my job search at low-income, urban areas (it's kind of a ministry for me). While I often wish I had a more diverse student population, I still love it. I received my certification in December, subbed for a semester, and began my first teaching job in August. I think it depends upon the area in which you live as to how hard it is to find a job.

    Just my random thoughts....
     
  7. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    It's not difficult to find a job here, but I still think someone who is just trying to begin her teaching career at nearly sixty would find it difficult to impossible to be hired.

    What have you been doing career-wise?
     
  8. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I don't mean to offend anyone with my post. It's just that the OP is 57, so he/she is about 8 years away from retirement. He/she needs to complete a credential program first. Then he/she needs to find a permanent position. I don't know how long that would take. In addition, if the OP has to take out a loan it could take many working years to pay it back which needs to be a factor in making this choice. If the OP does not have to take out a loan, then I would be more apt to say go for it, but still consider whether he/she would be financially stable in the event that he/she left another field to pursue teaching and could not find a permanent position. Those are the factors I would want to thoroughly consider first.
     
  9. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I agree.:sorry:
    The OP is nearly 60. You were 45 when you were hired, pwhatley. Thats a big difference.
     
  10. swansong1

    swansong1 Maven

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    I disagree with the other posters. Who says the OP will want to retire at a specific age? If this is your dream...go for it!

    I have worked for may districts who like to hire older, more experienced people.
     
  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Fanatic

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    I think it is never too late to go after your dream. I don't think 57 is too old at all. Will it be a bit more challenging to get a job than if you are 27?--probably. I think if this is something that you really want to do, than it can happen. I think the job market is tough right now because of the economy, but in most states I think it will get better in a few years.

    I am not sure of your financial position. Teaching doesn't pay very well until you have lots of experience and education. Therefore, realize you might be making small salaries for a few years. I must say the financial part might be the most challenging and the one to look at the most.

    Many teachers are pretty tired out in their 50s of teaching for 20+ years. As you haven't taught before, I think you could have a special physical energy for it that could last for a few years.

    I would suggest getting back and subbing a few more times though before making sure this is what you want to do.
     
  12. donziejo

    donziejo Devotee

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    I didn't have any problem finding a job. I was 56 when I started teaching. I started my career in Utah. I was welcomed warmly by HR. The head of the department was my age. I was able to get a scholarship to pay for my teaching certification. I'm a big believer in following your dream. 57 is not old.
     
  13. John Lee

    John Lee Groupie

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    I wish I could talk you into doing something like this... I really do. I think people who voluntarily choose to go into teaching as a 2nd career bring a different perspective to a profession that needs it.

    But I think it would be irresponsible for a person in education to encourage someone in your position to "follow your dream". Even if you were demonstrably the Michael Jordan of teachers... seniority rules override any/all else.

    I had a fellow sub teacher, who happened to be in a similar situation. She was experienced, talented, and desirous. Her only problem was that she was about 15 years older than me, and no credential. In the school we were regulars at, if you could rank the best teachers from #1-20, she would certainly be one of those.

    Anyway... we got to talking one day about our plight, and I asked her why she didn't go for her credential. She basically explained what I just stated above--that by time she finished... and combined with her age, it wouldn't be worth it to her to try. Today, that GOOD, willing teacher is now back in the financial sector, not teaching young children. It's a shame. As I said, I wish teaching would attract a more diverse group. The ranks are filled with the "vanilla" (color-within-the-lines), organized, pretty, "I wanted to be a teacher since the 2nd grade", married to white-collar caucasian man, 2.3 children in a single-family residence in the burbs -type. I really think it would help to have people of different gender, ethnicity, lifestyle, and viewpoint in life. But unfortunately, that isn't the way it works.

    I wish you luck whatever you decide. I suppose it is possible.
     
  14. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I don't think it's EVER too old to go back to school. Now whether you'll have an easy or tough road ahead, who knows. I've also always believed that what's meant for you will be & if it's not meant to be, it won't.

    If I were you & wanted to start a new career field all over again, I'd get into speech-language pathology. That field is in HIGH demand, regardless of how the economy is, so they don't worry about your age. You could work with whichever age you want: 18 mos to the elderly & you're not limited to working in the schools.

    Good luck in whatever you decide.
     
  15. Grammy Teacher

    Grammy Teacher Virtuoso

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    I am 61 and been teaching for 22 years.
    I would not consider starting college at your age.
     
  16. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Aficionado

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    At the high school level older new teachers are preferred over younger. Not sure that the same issues would be at play in the younger grades, though.
     
  17. FuntoLearn

    FuntoLearn Rookie

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    My background is architecture (see the original post). The last 13 years I have been home educating my kids--so it "feels" natural for me to continue on in the education field. I am subbing now, and it was a pretty smooth transition--I felt right at home.

    I was the type of home educator who went to homeschool conventions and curriculum fairs, read lots of books about education, etc. and tried lots of different curricula, techniques, etc. on my own kids (and at co-ops), so I am already familiar with lots of what is used and done in the schools--and even lots of the terminology. I was also "blessed" with a son who had some vague academic difficulties, so I also had to research everything I could on learning disabilities, etc. to try and figure out what was wrong. (His public school (before homeschooling)had tested him and they couldn't figure it out. We only just figured it out recently, though we instinctively had used some of the right kind of programs to help him. It turns out he has a classic, "text-book" case of a non-verbal learning disability (according to both his test scores and my observations--he doesn't have aspberger's or autism at all, however.) So I am even familiar with the learning struggles many students have, etc.
    But I do have to be realistic about being able to get hired, etc. That is why I am asking here!!! It is one thing to be a sub, and another to have all the day-to-day responsibilities of being a teacher.
     
  18. BaynJess

    BaynJess Rookie

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    Have you thought of going and having a meeting with a few of your local school principals and just asking them "off the record" for their opinions? It may be a long shot and some may not wish to respond but if you get a few that are willing to discuss the issue with you it might give you an idea. At the very least you would get to see if there body language changes when you pose the question!

    Is there a careers centre that you can contact who might be able to advise you? A lot of career centres have statistics regarding these types of things?

    My boys have a teacher at their school who has just turned 73 and yes she has been teaching for a long time but has no intention of retiring just yet and seems to have no problems keeping up with her kindergarten class, she is so passionate about teaching and always so happy.

    Good luck with what ever you decide to do :)
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Guru

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    Ah, I somehow missed it.
     
  20. FuntoLearn

    FuntoLearn Rookie

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    Wow--that is encouraging to hear. May I ask what grade level and subject you teach? I know that secondary math and science teachers are in big demand around here and that you can get certified while you teach those subjects (if you had those subjects in your background). Was that true in your case?

    I am thinking more about teaching elementary school. However, if I did teach at the secondary level, I would love to teach history. but I don't have a history degree. However, I know that there isn't a shortage of history teachers--where else can a history major get a job (and where are they going to put all those coaches when they already have enough p.e. teachers? LOL!)

    Thanks so much, again, for the encouragement. At least I feel like am not totally crazy for considering it.
     
  21. teresaglass

    teresaglass Groupie

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    I worked with a male special education teacher who started his career at sixty. I am trying to become a science teacher at 58. I work as a special education assistant now. I currently work with high school students and I worked as a special education teacher four years ago. I would recommend to go into a field of high need like special education, math or science.
     
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