Advice Of Current Teachers (Please Help)

Discussion in 'General Education' started by mcelnp, Dec 19, 2012.

  1. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Hello everyone. I am currently enrolled in a university, as I just finished my general A.A. from a community college. I am really now trying to figure out what to do with my life, and teaching seems ideal. Great hours, lots of change, etc. I don't want a monotonous job.
    Well, I am just not sure what grade I would want to teach, and the university I go to makes you specify.
    I need advice on if this is a good career, and if so, what kind of degree should I aim for if I am not 100% sure on what grades I would like to teach. My forte is math, but I do not know whether I would be better with children or teenagers. Elementary Education seems to have more job prospects anyways.
    I would much rather get a B.A, then get certified, that way I wouldn't be "limited" to a specific grade or subject... (also, if I hated teaching I wouldn't want my degree to be stuck in education).

    What are your thoughts and experiences?:help::help::help:

    I live in Florida, btw.

    Thanks so much for any advice/input,
    Michelle
     
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  3. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    I've never heard of an area where your prospects are better for elementary teaching than math. Having said that, your university should prepare you for the subject area. More importantly, you need to learn how to be an educator, to actually teach the subject (not just know it). My recommendation would be to observe several levels of classrooms (elementary, middle school, high school) and see what seems to click.
     
  4. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Don't go into teaching for the hours. Most take work home, plan on weekends, take professional development classes in our spare time.


    Math offers better (but not great in this climate) prospects for hire than elementary. Plus elementary teachers are 'generalists'...we teach everything, not just math.

    Perhaps you could spend some time volunteering with kids or tutoring to see if there's an age group that appeals to you.
     
  5. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Great hours? I get to work at seven and very rarely leave before five, and work some at home and on weekends.
     
  6. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Well, here they have a program that is called "Educational Preparation Institute" a program that you complete as an alternative certification for people who have a non-education B.A. You can complete it afterwards in anything, even elementary ed. It's a year I think.
    I have already applied for subbing, in hopes that it will help me decide, but it's employment so I'm not sure if I will get the spot. I am still waiting. Can you simply contact schools and sit in?

    Thanks!



     
  7. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Well I suppose I am thinking summers/holidays/etc. I just don't want my life to revolve around work 365 days of the year. I want a family life. It seems that school teacher hours somewhat correlate with that.
     
  8. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Alternate route candidates aren't always considered as highly competitive as traditional route. :sorry: the current climate is tough.
     
  9. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    Hmm, is that why I'm so tired? I'm at work by 7:15, leave between 4 & 4:30p.m., working the entire time, except for the maybe 20 min. I take to eat lunch.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Call some schools, set up some observations, and try to get a few interviews, too. I am only in my 6th year teaching, and my work load is heavier than ever this year. Part of me wants to quit and go manage a grocery store. I'd make more money, work about the same hours, and I wouldn't take work home. I love working with kids, but the rest of it sucks. I am so overwhelmed right now that I have to remind myself that I like kids and that is why I do what I do.
     
  11. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Well, is your jobs worth it, though? Like even if you take work home, and spend all day at the school, do you find it a better/more fulfilling job than something else?
    I'm really in between this route or a health trade, so I just don't know....
    I need some experience in the school system so I can see if it's something I want to pursue.
     
  12. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Yeah I am just trying to figure out if it's all worth it. I would be going to school for 3 more years, to get a bachelors of science IN EDUCATION. What if I hate it? I just don't know? It's a really hard decision. .
     
  13. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

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    Go with your gut. Honestly. If it is not a calling, you won't be happy. You might be able to do it, but you will be miserable every step of the way.
     
  14. Myrisophilist

    Myrisophilist Habitué

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    I definitely recommend doing some observations and/or volunteering in as many different school and grade levels as possible. Talk to teachers in person and get the low-down on their responsibilities and joys involved in the job.
     
  15. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    The hours aren't that great. Looks like I'm at work less than a lot of people here and I'm in the office from 7:15 to 4:15 at a minimum.

    And the alternative route is like a kiss of death. If I could do it over again, I'd go traditional college. The money I saved by not taking another loan out to pay for another year of schooling (and having to quit my job) was not enough to outweigh the difficulty of finding a job. Any job. Alternative route is also very poor preparation. If I didn't already have education classes in college, I'd have been up a creek.

    However, if this is what you want, then you've gotta start somewhere. Alternative won't be a pretty start, but it will get a foot in the door.
     
  16. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    So you did an alternative route? You did get a job, though.. I just am not ready to commit to teaching or to a particular grade level, so I felt that maybe getting my B.A in something else was a good idea. I can see how it looks better to have your degree in education, but for my own future, with all the crazy layoffs and teachers not finding work, it seems smart to not limit yourself to a particular degree.
    Can I ask what you teach?



     
  17. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    I have a degree in Music Education. When it came time to student teach, my options were A) Quit my part time job to work full time for free and take out yet another loan to pay for that year's tuition or B) Graduate, pay a program $500, then work with pay, benefits, and retirement, then pay back the program through my first year.

    Choice B seemed obviously right. What they don't tell you is that no one will hire you. I did find a job, but it took years of subbing and sending hundreds of resumes each semester. When I finally was hired, it was for a job that kills me a little more each day.

    You are math, so you will have a much easier time finding work than someone looking to teach music, but many places will not even consider a teacher with alternative certification. Especially with all the certified teachers that are clamoring for jobs. It's a brutal job market and having ACP on your resume is an easy way for a school to immediately thin the crowd of applicants.

    The good news is that after a year or two of teaching, the ACP stigma should wear off and we can be considered for more/better jobs later. Hang in there. It's a bumpy ride.
     
  18. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Hm, well is your actual bachelors degree in Music Education? Or did you get certified to teach that specifically?
    Also, not sure if you know, but is it possible to be certified for more than one subject (say I pass the math, and social studies exam)..

    Thanks for you input!


     
  19. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    My degree and certification are both in music. And, yes, you can get multiple subject areas, but I set out to teach music specifically. I enjoyed being the best music sub in the game more than I would have enjoyed being a mediocre-to-poor math teacher!
     
  20. MissApple

    MissApple Companion

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    You're on the right track with signing up to sub. I did that to see if I'd like teaching, thinking maaaybe I'd like elementary school and that was about it. Turns out I love teaching seconday and chose that path.
     
  21. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My boyfriend has a full-time job as an IT guy working year round.

    I work longer hours than he does, and my "vacation time" is never really "vacation time". I regard my Thanksgiving and Christmas break times as professional development time in which I need to re-evaluate my classroom management and lesson planning strategies, read up on techniques and ideas to use in the classroom, get all my grading and parent contact avenues in order.

    There are more than a few days that I get to school at 6:30 am, leave at 5pm, and then work the rest of the night at home doing grading and planning until midnight, just to wake up the next day at 5 and do it all over again.

    I'm burnt out. And I have to carefully plan all the professional development and extra jobs I'll be doing in the summer.
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Most teachers don't get a BA in education. At least not Secondary Teachers. I believe it's pretty optional for elementary education as well.

    My advice, get a BA in whatever interests you. Unless you're doing something like Engineering or something really specific, nobody is going to hire you straight off just for your BA anyway. While you're doing your school work volunteer at some schools and see if you still think the job is for you.

    If you still want to teach afterwards, go for the credential program. It's another year, but it doesn't cost much if you go to certain schools and there are usually ways that you can do to get loan forgiveness or teacher grants.

    A mistake a lot of my friends were making is to feel sorry for themselves because they couldn't get hired right off the bat with just a bachelor's degree. The truth is, everyone needs to specialize and gain skills in a particular area and set themselves apart in some way if they want to get hired.

    That's why I did my teaching credential and while doing that, I did as many things as possible to gain extra valuable experience, including starting clubs during my stay at school, working at an afterschool program, signing up for scholarships, and getting internships instead of unpaid highly supervised less rigorous student teaching.

    You need to go the extra mile beforehand if you want the job.
     
  23. ATXMusic

    ATXMusic Rookie

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    Absolutely. While it didn't get me a job in the end, many of my interviewers didn't notice my ACP on my resume because they were impressed that before I was a legit teacher I had already taken bands to contest, rehearsed groups, led field trips, and had numerous principals and teachers willing to back up how much positive impact I had on their classes and ensembles before even receiving my certificate. If you can have experience like this and also do a high-need area like math, then your chances improve.
     
  24. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Hm, well do you really love your job though? Like, is it all worth it?


     
  25. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    That made me feel much better. I am just so worried about the education program. It is such a strict program at the university I am going to. I wouldn't even be able to have a job because the hours are 6:30am-5pm Mon-Fri for 5 entire semesters. It's a cohort program so you have no choice. I just can't handle that if I am not even 100% sure teaching is my destiny.

    So you got certified alternatively? What was your degree in?

    I really just need time to sub, volunteer, and figure things out. Then, if I don't end up enjoying teaching, I can use my B.A in other ways.
    Do you have any suggestions in what to major in? I am actually a psychology major now, actually I have a few numerous child developmental courses. My forte is math, though, so do you think even with a math MINOR and certification, I can land a job eventually?

    I am just so lost.



     
  26. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    There are as many answers to this question as there are people reading this thread.

    I work very long hours, spend my own money for basic supplies, get frustrated with parents and at times administration, but I would absolutely hate doing anything else.

    The answer to your question can only be answered by you, but if you don't have a desire to teach above all else, please do not go into teaching. If you can't imagine doing anything else, then welcome to the family!
     
  27. ecteach

    ecteach Groupie

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    Maybe you should volunteer at a school or after-school program to see if you like it. I have found that people who are really passionate about their content area do not automatically teach it well. For example, I am HORRIBLE at math, but I love reading and writing. It's really hard for me to teach reading and writing, because it comes so naturally to me. However, math is super easy for me to teach. It's easier because I have to break it down to myself just like I have to do for the kids. Like others have already said, the hours are not that great. But, the job is rewarding most of the time.
     
  28. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Teacher credentialing works a bit differently in California (Peregrin5's state) than in most other states: in fact, there (still) aren't very many programs in which it's even possible to major in education and/or take credential coursework concurrently with one's bachelor's courses. The vast majority of credential holders majored in whatever they majored in, graduated, and then entered a fifth-year program to get the credential.

    In most states, however, the usual path to a teacher license is by way of a bachelor's in education, typically with some kind of subject-matter specialization for the secondary licenses, that results (with passage of the appropriate basic-skills and subject-matter exams) in a teaching license.

    Florida's system is a little unusual, if memory serves, in that the ACP requires one to get hired before one can be issued a license.
     
  29. mcelnp

    mcelnp Rookie

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    Well, you can get hired without your license as you work with a temporary one. You have a few years to complete the actual tests and certification process. It is easier getting your degree in education, and become certified, but then you result in a B.S which is less versatile that a B.A.

    What would someone major in if they were going to pursue elementary education then? Or would they pursue English?


     
  30. mollydoll

    mollydoll Connoisseur

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    A BA in education is limiting. I would go the BS in math then an MA in math education route. This leaves you with many options. Many schools let you start your education MA during your last year of undergrad so that you are finished with both, including student teaching in only an extra 2 semesters.
     
  31. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    I've never had a job other than teaching, and I've been teaching for 20 years. The education field is all I know of as far as work is concerned. I don't bring home a huge amount of work. I get to work about 15-20 minutes early. I get my room ready to go before I leave each day, so I go home about 4:00-4:30. I don't work on weekends except for Sunday afternoons. I do have some PD in the summer. I'll probably work one day on my classroom doing a mid-year clean-up and reorganize.

    Here we have a hard time finding math teachers. Elementary is saturated.
     

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