A few questions...

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by futureteach21, May 20, 2009.

  1. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    May 20, 2009

    Currently my major is in elementary Education (k-6). I have been doing some volunteering in K, and also in a 5/6 grade classroom. I have always thought that I would want to teach the younger grades, maybe 1st or second... But I'm thinking that isn't the correct path. I find that I love the maturity of the 5/6 graders, and have thought a lot about changing my major to secondary education (7-12).

    I guess my questions for all you secondary educators are, What made you choose secondary over elementary? What are the advantages and disadvantages of teaching secondary? I would probably major in English (I know... saturated job market) but is it hard to get certified in more than one content area?

    Any other helpful information would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 20, 2009

    I teach 9-12 and I love it. For me the decision was very easy.

    I don't really like little kids. They're cute and everything, but they're so energetic and frenetic. I know myself well enough to know that I would get easily frustrated with them.

    I like teaching secondary because I can focus on one subject. I know that I wouldn't be good at switching subjects every 30 minutes like elementary teachers have to do.

    Secondary teachers often get longer/more prep periods. I get 85 minutes per day (one free period), plus my contracted minutes before and after classes. Elementary teachers sometimes don't get any prep time. Even if they do, it's often only around 30 minutes during specials.

    As an English teacher, you'll get to teach a lot of fun content. You'll also have to grade a lot of papers. English teachers, moreso than teachers in other content areas, seem to spend so much time grading. That's something you'll need to be aware of.

    It's not very difficult to add a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) endorsement to your license. If you can be certified in English and TESL, you'll be extremely marketable, especially in areas with growing ELL populations. I just added a TESL endorsement to my license....It has given me a greater sense of job security.
     
  4. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    May 20, 2009

    I teach 9 -12 also and I LOVE my high schoolers :) I am a secondary teacher for many of the same reasons Cassie has already mentioned. My biggest reason for my choice is content area - I don't like science or math so I couldn't really see myself teaching these areas to students and doing it justice. I also can not imagine how you teach someone how to read :) and the overwhelming responsiblity that teaching reading must bring to elementary teachers.

    I have never regretted my choice to teach secondary. I really enjoy working with teenagers and impacting them as they start to become young adults.

    Have you tried subbing in high school or middle school yet? I would suggest you give it a try.

    Good luck and keep us posted
     
  5. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    I'm certified in both K-6 and Family and Consumer Science K-12. I did the switch to high school because I knew FACS was a subject area I'd enjoy teaching. I'd rather teach FACS all day than have to teach reading, writing, spelling, math, science, social studies and goodness knows what else! Plus, I enjoy the age group.

    In PA, once you have a certification in one area you can add on most other subjects by passing the Praxis exam. So getting dual cert is not all that hard. You just need to know the subject area well enough to pass the Praxis exam.
     
  6. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I'm currently certified EC-4 and 4-8 in Eng/Reading/Social Studies. I've taught kinder and 2nd grade. Not a huge fan. I've subbed in the higher grades up to 8th grade. I've found my niche in those grades. Give me a classroom where I can teach ONE subject all day and I'm great!
     
  7. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

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    May 21, 2009

    Im glad you guys mentioned how you enjoy teaching just one subject... I was worried that would bore me but I think I was wrong. Im definitely leaning to secondary education... Thanks for all your help!
     
  8. justfluttering

    justfluttering Rookie

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    May 21, 2009

    I would love to teach one subject. I teach Earth Science and Physical Science. For next year, my friend is teaching Human Biology, Biology, and Physical Science. It would be OK to teach various Biology classes because there would be some overlap in lesson plans and materials. But mixing totally different sciences in one day is hard. My big stumbling block this semester has been teaching four periods of Earth Science and then having to switch gears to Physical Science. Different bell work, different lab set ups, and different everything. I end up losing my prep time to sub for other teachers about once a month too. I get extra pay for it, but I need my prep time and somedays there is no else to sub.
    Secondary is great and I do like it but I had visions/expectations of what my cooperating teacher had: a great classroom, respectful students, a big staff room, a prep room full of awesome science supplies, a copy center that made all your copies and plenty of paper. Where I teach right now: no lab supplies, no lab area, we are out of copy paper again, no staff room, a workroom that may or may not be able to make your copies due to old machines breaking down, and the students are very immature. High school is cool, but some schools really struggle to provide the very basics to teachers just like in elementary. So do your research and pick a great school that is going to support and mentor you. I got handed my keys and told to go teach. It's been rough to say the least.
     
  9. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    May 22, 2009

    I teach high school algebra. When I first started into it, I thought I would love 7th and 8th grade science as there is a lot of earth sci in those classes and I spent 15 years doing environmental engineering.


    After being in the classroom, I find I really prefer high school juniors and seniors. They are far easier to manage, have much longer attention spans, and are easy to get back on track when you screw up.


    Apart from management, I can have far more complex discussions with my upper classmen. I can throw out concepts to explore or discuss and moderate the scientific side while letting them run with the other aspects.

    In short, my upper classmen give me a LOT more options from a teaching perspective because of their maturity level and I love it.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    May 22, 2009

    I agree Muttling.

    I took 6 years off as a SAHM, so I'm currently back to teaching the younger kids-- freshmen.

    They're cute and enthusiastic.

    But at some point I would love to get back into teaching the older kids. For one thing, the material is so much more interesting! And they're a lot more adult-like (though not always as much as they think :) )

    And I much prefer having 2 or 3 different preps. Teaching one thing all day long can get just a bit boring.
     
  11. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    May 22, 2009

    I don't teach just one subject - I teach one content area :) This year I have three preps/subjects - AP European Hisory, AP US History and World History. I think most of teach one content AREA but multiple preps within that area.
     
  12. MrsTeacher2Be

    MrsTeacher2Be Companion

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    May 22, 2009

    Secondary is the only place I could be. I love the little ones, but not 30 at a time. I teach 9th graders and they're an interesting bunch to say the least! We all (myself included) had a lot of fun this year and learned a good bit. I too get a little bored with one thing over and over, but I've only had one prep once. This semester I had 2 different maths. The interesting side to having 2 certifications is that next year, I'll have 2 sections of math and 1 section of social studies.
     
  13. ANGRY AL

    ANGRY AL Companion

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    May 22, 2009

    One of my first professors said, "If you don't feel that you can walk into a classroom 180 days in a good mood, DON'T teach elementary school, because they won't understand." While he was correct about that, it now seems that the high school students I deal with have such a low maturity level, they're essentially on the same level as elementary school kids.
     
  14. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    May 22, 2009

    retracted
     
  15. ancientcivteach

    ancientcivteach Habitué

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    May 23, 2009

    Future, you may want to consider middle school. To me, it seems to be the best of both worlds. You generally will teach one subject, you get to work on a team where the four/five of you all teach the same kids just different subjects. The kids are old enough to get your jokes, but young enough to appeal to that side of you that drew you to elementary in the first place.
     

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