Becoming a teacher at nearly 40

Discussion in 'General Education' started by InquiringMind, Mar 14, 2023.

  1. InquiringMind

    InquiringMind New Member

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    Mar 14, 2023

    Hello,

    I am wondering if anybody on this forum could perhaps give me some advice. I am going to turn 40 soon and I would like to change careers. I have a background in law but have come to hate my current field. I think I may have missed my calling in not becoming a teacher. When I was younger many people suggested that I become a teacher but I didn't listen. I now regret my decision to go to law school very much.

    I have been thinking of becoming a Catholic high school teacher. I know this sounds very specific but I am Catholic and went to Catholic school K-12. I enjoyed my time in the Catholic educational system and I think it is something that I would like to devote the rest of my life to. I have some questions though:

    First, realistically, am I too old at 39 to become a Catholic school teacher? Second, would I need to go back to school for an education degree to teach at a Catholic school, or a degree in Catholic theology? My bachelor's is in history. Third, what is it like to teach at a Catholic school?

    Thank you very much.
     
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  3. tchr4vr

    tchr4vr Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2023

    1) You're never too old. 2) Unless policies have changed, you do not need a teaching degree or certifications. They may help you get a bump in pay. 3) Catholic schools pay far less than public, so that may be a consideration in the long term. 4) Catholic school may not be what you remember. While generally, discipline is probably better than the public school, there can be parent entitlement issues - "I pay for my child to go here , , , ", etc. If it's what you want, go for it!
     
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  4. Guitart

    Guitart Comrade

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    Mar 14, 2023

    I too came from Catholic schools - grade school, high school, and my undergrad was a small Catholic college. When I was a kid, I did not always like my parent's choice of schools. By choice, I graduated from a public high school and when I went to college I did not attend mass on campus, not even once. As time goes on, my age and the current state of society, has renewed my appreciation for my Catholic faith and education. Lately, I have been interested in making the switch from public school teacher to Catholic school.

    Yes, you're never too old. I switched careers and became a teacher in my early 40's. I already had a BA in graphic arts. I still had to go back to school, full-time, no less than 4 sems. to be a K-12 art teacher. Keep in mind that not every state's requirements are the same. Before enrolling in a teacher ed program, I took a job as a paraeducator and a sub in a public school. That may be a good idea for you. Get a non-certified job working at a Catholic school. See if education is a good fit for you. I currently volunteer in my parish, teaching CCD. So I have a good idea of the student culture and parents but I have never been a paid and licensed teacher in a Catholic diocese.

    I did meet with a principal of a Catholic K-8 school. The pay is less and the benefits package is none to speak of. Catholic schools are often ideal for teachers who are retired or their spouse's job provides the health ins and benefits. My plan is to retire in my state with my public pension and then teach Catholic.
     
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  5. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Cohort

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    Mar 14, 2023

    You sound like one of my "roommate" coworkers (I share space with four other people) who was in banking before kids, had her kids, then changed careers once the kids were all settled in school. This is her first year out of the catholic schools. There are programs specifically for career-change teachers to get certification.

    Depending on where you are, you may or may not need a teaching certification. Everywhere I've seen wants VIRTUS certification, which is Catholic-specific, but you don't need the deeper theology training unless you end up teaching theology. Some schools have the homeroom teachers handle it, others have a specific theology teacher. Most high schools have a designated theology teacher, but with a history degree, it could end up being you.

    Get your finances and retirement in shape before quitting law. Teaching pay is bad period, plus you'd be starting low on the pay scale steps. Catholic schools don't typically have great retirement plans either. If you've got a car payment or student loans, pay those off first.
     
  6. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Mar 14, 2023

    I am Catholic too. I understand where you are coming from. No, 39 is not too old to change professions. I have a very good friend who teaches in a Catholic school. Catholic schools (from what I hear from friends and peers) can vary from state to state in pay and expectations. In the area I live, I know my friend told me that they have teaching certificates. This might be different in other places. Find out from your Diocesan Educational office in your Diocese.
     
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  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    I don't know if schools hire specifically to teach only religion. I have heard some teachers teach a specific subject and then also teach a religion class. It's best to check with the schools in your area or maybe diocese website according to your state.
     
  8. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I started teaching full time when I was 36. My classroom partner started when she was 50. You'll be just fine!
     
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  9. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    I have a fabulous student teacher who is close to 45. He's going to be a great teacher. You might consider taking a traditional approach to getting a teaching credential as the university preparation can make you a much more successful teacher. A public school placement can offer you more rewarding pay and benefits.

    His university is using an amazing book on classroom management called "Teaching the Students of the 2020s". You might check it out. It offers advice on teaching the post-pandemic kids.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    You mention you already have a bachelor's degree. Many who have bachelor's degrees get a postbaccalaureate degree in teaching. This is often 1 1/2 to 2 years. If you wish to teach Theology, probably a Master's Degree in that will set you up for teaching nicely for teaching Theology in a Catholic high school.
     
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  11. Paula B

    Paula B New Member

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    I recommend working in one or more Catholic schools as a substitute (substitutes are in high demand nearly everywhere) before making your final decision. It will help you get a feel for the culture, work environment, curriculum, stress level, etc. It may also help you narrow down what age/grade range and subjects you prefer teaching. You can get to know staff and administration, and they can get to know you. You may be able to find out what positions are open before they are posted publicly. If you find a good fit with a school, you may be able to leverage the relationship you already have, plus your previous non-teaching experience, to leverage a better pay agreement than starting from step one.
     
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  12. InquiringMind

    InquiringMind New Member

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    Mar 30, 2023

    I know this is late but I appreciate the responses from everyone. I will put more thought into this matter with the advice you have given me.
     
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  13. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Mar 31, 2023

    I think you can be too old. But 40 isn't there yet.
     
  14. Caballo21

    Caballo21 Rookie

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    I really enjoyed my years teaching in Catholic schools. Couldn't afford to stay, and it was also just time to move on apart from that. The Catholic school I was at hired ppl who were a variety of ages/stages of life. I think you'll be fine, esp if you are committed to staying in Catholic education - that isn't the case with many teachers in Catholic schools. Best of luck!
     
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  15. InquiringMind

    InquiringMind New Member

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    I would like to thank everyone here for your help. I have another question. Would you suggest that I talk to someone, like maybe a teacher from my former high school or my parish priest about becoming a Catholic school teacher? I have been thinking of doing that after Easter is over but I wonder if that would be worth my time or not. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks!
     
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  16. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    If you could talk to a principal at a Catholic school (especially one that you aren't considering to be a teacher) that might be most helpful to you. You could then openly ask any question you like.
     
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  17. InquiringMind

    InquiringMind New Member

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    Thanks! Sounds like a good idea.
     
  18. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Yes, Talk with anyone who can enlighten you on how the school functions now !!!!
    I'd very much advise you to sub for a few months before deciding on going back for any other teaching endorsements. Schools have changed a lot over the years.
    After subbing a few places, you'll probably see if it looks like what you want to do. I think it is smart to go to a Catholic school because I think the kids maybe a lot better behaved than at public school. Plus, the parents maybe more likely to expect their kids to be respectful. Good luck!
     
  19. maisonnn

    maisonnn Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2023

    As someone who decided to embark on a teaching career in my late thirties, I can wholeheartedly say that age should never be a barrier to pursuing your passion. Becoming a teacher at nearly 40 has been one of the best decisions I've ever made. While it may seem like a daunting journey, the wealth of life experiences and maturity gained over the years have proven to be invaluable assets in the classroom.

    Sure, there were times when doubts crept in, wondering if I was starting too late or if I could keep up with the demands of the profession. However, I quickly realized that my age offered a unique perspective and provided the wisdom to connect with students on a deeper level. I've also observed that older teachers often bring a sense of patience, understanding, and empathy that can truly make a positive impact on students' lives.
     
  20. Gilbert Mendez

    Gilbert Mendez Rookie

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    Sep 15, 2023

    Glad you are moving in the right direction in finding yourself and not stopping at what you have accomplished. To give up the past in favor of a happy future is something truly worthy of respect. Good luck!
     

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