Advice for a new "teacher"...

Discussion in 'Substitute Teachers' started by Khoriah, Jun 23, 2018.

  1. Khoriah

    Khoriah New Member

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    Jun 23, 2018

    Hey! I know I'm new here, but I really need advice on this:

    I'm not a full-time teacher (yet). Graduated a year ago with my education degree; currently subbed for one year. Applied for a few teaching positions; if nothing happens, I guess I'll sub again for the following school year.

    My question (and I know it's a loaded one) is: should I be a teacher? I kind of just went through the motions in college while pursuing my education degree (too afraid to "make the wrong decision" and explore other fields of study). My student teaching last year also sucked. I was completely new to being "an adult" (my parents are kind of controlling), am extremely introverted, and had never been to a public school before (so my knowledge of what "demonic" behaviors kids are truly capable completely threw me for a loop xD). My classroom management, needless to say, sucked. At any rate, I'm a "sticker-outer," so I stuck through my whole placement, tried to improve on my teaching/lesson plans/classroom management as much as I could, and graduated with my bachelor's degree in education. When I came out of my student teaching experience, I realized that I lacked a lot of pro-activity/taking up responsibility; it was a real "growing up" experience for me. It also made me really question whether I wanted to go into teaching in the near future.

    Anyways, fast forward a few months after graduation, and I started subbing. The beginning of my subbing experience was still absolute turmoil (I majored in secondary education and thought subbing for a 2nd grade class would be easy, but whew, was it not, haha!!). But like I said, I am a sticker-outer (and my mom encouraged me to just stay with it and see what happens), so I stuck with it, and my teaching experience has been improving. I'm getting better at it, opening up to others more, knowing my likes and preferences (after subbing for another 3rd grade class, I made a rule that I would never sub for any grade lower than 4th :p). I still struggle a little with classroom management, but I'm learning how to be more firm in my expectations and how to better tow the line between "cool" and demanding respect. Many of the kids that I've subbed for like me, and I've been told by some superiors/teachers that I've done a really good job a few times.

    Despite this, I'm still not sure if this is the career path I want to take. The other day I was practicing answering for some interview questions, and the question "why I want to be a teacher came up, and I realized that I wasn't really sure why I wanted to be a teacher in the first place (well, I mean, I kinda do. I always wanted to be a teacher when I was a little kid. I wanted to be a teacher because my mom had always been invested in my education and I loved learning (or "excelling" at it, perhaps, is the more correct way to put it). I still strongly wanted to be a teacher until about 3rd grade, and then the priority of school/getting good grades kicked in, and I didn't really think about what I wanted to do with my life until it was too late. At any rate, I settled on "wanting to help other people learn/understand the world" and "overcoming the fear of learning something new" as the two reasons I settled on for why I currently want to become a teacher). I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm not sure if this is something I want to do with my life, especially since I haven't exactly "tried" the real thing. I know student teaching, subbing, and teaching aren't all synonymous, but at the same time, they kinda are (I'd say teaching involves a lot more stress + grading, and I'm really enjoying the stress-free life that I've had after I'm done subbing for a class and can just "shut off" and not think about my students or job after I've checked out of the classroom/school). Sure, I've had some great moments while subbing/teaching—and I certainly enjoy the more social aspects of it and the feeling that I'm making a difference—but at the same time... I don't know if I (fully) enjoy it?? Or, at least, as fully as I'd expect someone who "wants to be a teacher" does. But how can I know that I enjoy it—or will?? So, in my situation, what should I do to better find out that this is what I want to do?? Stick around with subbing a little longer?? I do feel that I should stick with subbing for another year or so just to kind of better develop my teaching (and social) skills.

    Thanks to anyone who stuck around and got to the end of this long post, or any who could offer some helpful advice!! :D
     
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2018
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  3. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    Jun 23, 2018

    If it's your passion, go for it! But if you are waking up every morning dreading the day ahead and wanting to call in sick, then maybe it's not for you.
    Expect to make many mistakes, but don't be too hard on yourself.
     
  4. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jun 26, 2018

    I think the only you’ll know for sure is to try it. However, it is going to be stressful, and you don’t sound particularly passionate about it.

    A few things stood out to me in your post:
    - You like a stress-free lifestyle where you don’t ever think about work outside of work. Teaching definitely isn’t that. Truthfully, many jobs won’t be. This is just part of growing up. You don’t sound like you’re ready to be a grown-up, but, unfortunately, you’re going to have to get used it in one career or another.
    - You said you are learning to tow the line between having students perceive you as cool and also giving you respect. You want them to like you. You’ve got to get over that. Wanting them to think you are cool is probably hindering your classroom management.

    What else will you do if you don’t teach? Start thinking about that, because it doesn’t sound like you want to be a teacher. In my experience, you have to really want to teach in order to survive it over the years. If you lack the passion for it, you probably won’t last long. But, again, there is no harm in trying it and seeing how you like it. Subbing is fine for now, but it’s probab not your best option for the long-term.
     
  5. Khoriah

    Khoriah New Member

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    Jun 26, 2018

    Thanks for the advice! Yeah, I'm definitely not dreading going in everyday, at least for now while I'm subbing. I agree that I'm not necessarily dreading the work as much as I dread messing up/doing the wrong thing. Thanks for the encouragement; I'll keep that in mind!

    Thanks so much for this! I definitely don't feel particularly passionate about it, and have been looking into other interests/jobs. I'll definitely try teaching full-time if the opportunity arises, but you might be right on it not being the best option for me long-term. From my student teaching experience, I know that full-time teaching will be a lot more stressful.

    What you said about most (if not all) jobs being stressful is true; I need to grow up, lol. What I really didn't like about student teaching vs. subbing was that I was constantly worrying about whether I was doing the right thing or not. I was always scared that I'd teach something wrong or mess something up, especially since I was working with actual human beings, so I'd overthink every little decision I made. I'm not sure if that's normal for any teacher/profession, but it felt like I was always super-concerned about my work and had no time to catch a break or de-stress from it.

    As to your second point, yeah: I realized soon after getting into teaching that I needed to stop thinking about what the kids thought of me and that I needed to put my foot down in order to establish boundaries/my authority. That desire to be liked still lingers from time to time, but I'm getting better at establishing my rules and following through with them, and it's definitely helping my classroom management!
     
  6. Aces

    Aces Habitué

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    Jun 26, 2018

    Take a deep breath, it's going to be okay!

    That being said, I will say that I think a lot of your negative first experiences was a situation of 'everything wrapped into one'. You've been forced to grow up extremely quickly, and you've been thrown to the wolves right to start with - seriously, 2-3 graders are the worst in my very honest opinion...yes I'll stick to my stinky teenagers all day every day. But I digress... You have to take that into consideration before you decide that this isn't what you want to do.

    Teaching is a HUGE thing and "stress free" it's definitely not. It's the kind of thing that seeps into your everyday life, and it's not an 8-5 job, even if the higher powers that be like to be delusional and think that it starts when you get to work and stops when you leave work. It doesn't work like that. I've spent so many nights hanging out with the family we kinda do our own thing. Maybe hubby is watching TV, kids are doing kidly things or whatever. I'm grading homework, tests, working on lesson plans, getting labs ready, etc. It's just part of the life. There's been so many nights I've sat up with my husband fussing about one student or another "Would you look at this!? It's so easy and he still doesn't try! What is wrong with this kid!?" But you know what? It's worth it. It's so worth it because that student walked across the stage a couple weeks ago and got his diploma.

    I'm with Bella on this one, there has to be passion in teachers. We owe it to our students. After all, we have the power to effect them for the rest of their lives. If there's no passion, you're going to be absolutely miserable every single day, and more importantly you stand the chance to negatively effect students which is the last thing you want to do.

    Now if you decide to try and stick with teaching, well, "Ye better be tough as nails!" You have to have rules, you have to have discipline in the classroom, you have to be in control of the classroom, not the students. It's as much for the learning environment as it is a safety thing. Kids getting hurt in the classroom is not okay. It's okay to be a well liked teacher (I consider myself well liked), but you have to have the discipline. And there's a lot of ways to go about doing that, you sort of have to find a balance that works for you. Take me for instance. I hate actually having to discipline students and send them to the office and what not. I'm not considered the strict disciplinarian. But I am considered crazy as bats and students don't push the boundaries... See crazy works for me. It might not work for you.

    All of that taken into consideration, teaching is an amazing career if you stick it out and it's worth it to you. Everyone talks about doctors because they save lives, lawyers because of what they do, mechanics for keeping complicated machinery running, or pilots for flying planes. But teachers? Well... We do all of that. We create those doctors, those nurses, lawyers, mechanics, pilots. We set all of those students up for success so that they can change the World. It all starts with a teacher who believed they could do whatever they set their minds to.
     
  7. That Business Guy

    That Business Guy Rookie

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    Jun 29, 2018

    Only you can decide if you want to be a teacher or not; however, if you are questioning the decision A LOT then it might be a good idea to explore other options. Not trying to steer you away from teaching but we only have one life and you should enjoy what you do on a daily basis. You will always have "bad days" in any profession but if you truly enjoy your work then you will have more good days than bad.

    Teaching is a lifestyle. If you do not enjoy spending time with students and working to improve your overall teaching abilities, then do not teach. If you are willing to put in hard work and try to improve, then stick it out a little bit.

    Hope this helps!
    http://thatbizguy.blogspot.com/
     
  8. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    Jul 1, 2018

    I had a lot of doubts similar to yours for many years of my life. Definitely, by the time I got my teaching license and starting teaching... lot of doubts..... uncertainly... not knowing how to make a decision. And the problem with growing up and the fear of taking responsibility for my decisions
    ==============
    these kinds of problems often arise because "according to cognitive neuroscientists, we are conscious of only about 5 percent of our cognitive activity, so most of our decisions, actions, emotions, and behavior depends on the 95 percent of brain activity that goes beyond our conscious awareness."

    And the unconscious information is what you really want to get to in order to understand yourself better. It's that part of that you feel is telling you it may not be a good decision. However, you are not sure why, or how serious it is.

    What really worked wonders for me was meditation. Try it. However, if you've never done it before don't just do it by yourself. Find a program of some kind where the real teachers can instruct you and you do with other people.
     
  9. Christy McDaniel

    Christy McDaniel New Member

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    Apr 9, 2019

    Have you heard the Learning Station's safe and calm song, it might help you and the class meditate!
     
  10. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2019

    I tried teaching for 3 years. It ruined my health and family time. I have always been introverted and extreme OCD, but teaching triggered complications. I started stuttering and getting panic attacks in class. It was embarresing. Even though I am now working as an editor, one day I would like to go back working with kids, not as a classroom teacher though.
     
  11. pommom

    pommom Comrade

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    Apr 10, 2019

    I agree, you need to try it to find out if it is for you. It is the only way. Subbing is still experience, but it is not the same. I have subbed too.
     

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