Can all High School Teacher please respond to this question!?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Aspiringinstruc, Nov 24, 2009.

  1. Aspiringinstruc

    Aspiringinstruc Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2009

    :)I am a Mathematics major with a concentration in secondary education. I want to become a high school teacher but I wanted some advice and opinions or any comments from teachers that are already teaching in high school. Do you love your job? what are the pros and cons? is the your salary really awful? is teaching really rewarding? tell me anything you can tell me. im in the process of beginning my major courses and i need to be sure i am in the right field. Thanks so much! God Bless
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Nov 25, 2009

    I've been teaching HS math since 1980, with the exception of 5 years I spent home with my kids. There's no other career in the world for me!

    I'm in a Catholic high school on Long Island. Classroom management is pretty much a non-issue; the administration is incredibly supportive. That said, I'm pretty sure we're an exception. As a new teacher, you can probably expect to struggle a bit with classroom management until you develop your own style.

    As to the salary: as Catholic school teachers, both my husband and I are paid a bit less than some (though not all) of our public school friends. Again, I think we're the exceptions-- private schools have the reputation of paying considerably less. Right now, with 3 kids and Christmas right around the corner, we're pretty broke, but that's because SOMEONE spent too much time shopping online :) We're able to afford vacations, our house is decent, and our kids aren't running around barefoot.

    As far as the job market goes: this is a rough time to be graduating and looking for ANY job. But math, chem and physics seem to be the exceptions-- there ARE jobs, though you may have to look a bit harder than in the past. In that respect, you're incredibly lucky to be looking at math-- the job market in most areas of education is simply absymal!!

    So my advice would be to continue with your plans. I LOVE teaching HS math. Each day, each period, is different from the one before it. I'm bad at a LOT of things (the fire department was here in June after I made a meatloaf... need I say more???) but I'm GOOD at teaching math.
    Read the posts here.
     
  4. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Nov 25, 2009

    Yes, I love my job.

    Pro: the students (I teach juniors and seniors, love them), the challenge, the creative element, it is never boring

    Con: coworkers that hate their job

    My salary is great for the part of the country I live in. I am a homeowner, I drive a new truck, I do what I want when I want, I have money left over at the end of the month, I have a retirement plan and investments ... all on a teacher salary. Cost of living in my area is low.

    Teaching is a HARD job. It is exhausting. BUT, I love it. I can't imagine doing anything else.
     
  5. Aspiringinstruc

    Aspiringinstruc Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2009

    Thanks so much for responding and that helped a lot.
     
  6. really?

    really? Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2009

    I teach 10th grade English, speech, drama, and I'm the speech coach at our school. This is my fourth year teaching. I like my job, but if I am honest, I am often completely overwhelmed!

    I am finally getting to a place where I'm not constantly creating new materials to use in class. I have some notes and handouts already created.

    I guess I never would have guessed how much time I would devote to my job. Right now, we're getting ready to do our school play, and I do have speech tournaments. But even if I didn't have that, I would have plenty to fill my time outside of school hours. I brought home a basket of things to be graded over Thanksgiving break. I still need to finish planning the week we go back, and I have forms that need to be filled out for the curriculum director. My husband, who is a respiratory therapist at a hospital, never brings home work from his job.

    Still, I do like my job. I can't say that I love it yet, but I think I will someday. I do have some great relationships with some of my kids and colleagues. I like doing projects with the kids and watching them improve (for the most part). I just feel like I'm still in the "figuring it out" stage.

    The pay was not great at first, but I've been lucky to have raises every year. I do have a great principal that I can talk to honestly about anything, and I know that is something not everyone has. After all of this, I would still encourage you to be a teacher!
     
  7. Aspiringinstruc

    Aspiringinstruc Rookie

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    Nov 25, 2009

    Thanks rookie
     
  8. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    Nov 25, 2009

    I'm in my third year..I love my job..can't imagine doing anything else..and quite honestly always knew deep down I'd be a teacher, though I ran from it.

    I teach in the social studies dept and have 9th and 10th graders. Its challenging, they can drive you insane and make you want to shake them-but those are MY kids, even the ones I can't stand I'll reluctantly still adimt they are MINE. I tell them that they are my 'darlin's' from august-may then I give them up. (They think its funny)

    Alot of scenarios are different in all the levels of schools..elem, middle, high. Each have their own "things" that the other doesn't. Teaching CAN be rewarding, you may not feel it every day, but it can be. No the pay isn't outstanding-be a doctor for that-however, it pays my bills and leaves me some left over for various other things. I'm not rich by no means, but don't always live paycheck to paycheck hoping I don't overdraw my checking account.

    You have to just feel that its right for you-no one can tell you it is or isn't. I suggest sub teaching to get a feel for it. Good Luck
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Nov 25, 2009

    Do you love your job? This isn't a job for me, it's a career and a calling. I tried other lines of work and am finally happy (despite the occasional massive facepalm).

    what are the pros and cons? My particular teaching job lets me teach from home, so my school day tends to be spent wearing Ren and Stimpy slippers and no makeup. :whistle: The down side is that so many of my students are in personal crisis but I can only do so much to take away some of that pain. You have to have a thick skin sometimes or you will take a large burden home with you.

    is the your salary really awful? I'm in a charter school, so it's considerably lower than the public schools around me. On the other hand, it's higher than other local charter schools AND I don't have to worry about gas money.
    is teaching really rewarding? This is the closest I will ever get to being a parent. It is truly where I belong.

    tell me anything you can tell me. This isn't a vocation for everyone. You aren't just teaching your subject; you are teaching children with their own sets of emotional baggage. Try to learn to love them a little.
     
  10. MsMar

    MsMar Fanatic

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    Nov 25, 2009

    This is my second year teaching high school. I have also taught 6th grade for 6th months, student taught Kinder and worked at a child care center for three years working with every age from infant through pre-k. I would consider switching to middle school but not back down to elementary.

    Do I love my job? Well, right now I really enjoy one of my classes, have gotten pretty happy with another, and cannot wait until January to be done with my third (I teach on a block schedule and of the 5 blocks in a day I have three blocks that are for teaching). In a nutshell, the students are both what I love and what drives me crazy. Last year I pretty much had all good classes and am optimistic that I simply ended up with a challenging bunch and things will get better again.

    Pros - I love what I teach (Foods and Nutrition) and I love when the kids are enthusiastic. I love that they're a bit older and somewhat mature (a lack of maturity BTW is what is driving me bonkers in the class I am having a tough time with). I love that they'll come by and chat with me during their free time and share things about their lives. I think I'm a pretty good teacher considering how new I am, and I just generally enjoy what I do.

    Cons - high school students will sometimes act like elementary aged children and that's rather annoying. I work in an urban environment and although we have a supportive administration there are definitely discipline issues. Every week I have 1-3 students out 1-5 days for suspensions. Most fall behind when out and then they may or may not care about getting caught up, but I need to do what I can to get them caught up. That can get frustrating.

    Salary - I think it's good. Could I make more doing something else? Sure. But as a high school teacher I'm home by the time my kids get off the bus at 3:45 (home, but not done with work as I take work home regularly) and I have the summers free to be with my kids. My husband is also a teacher and he brings in extra money by teaching summer school. We do need a morning babysitter as we both leave by 6:15.

    Rewarding? Definitely.

    Best of luck to you.
     
  11. Emily Bronte

    Emily Bronte Groupie

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    Nov 27, 2009

    As others have said, teaching is a calling. There are days when I dislike it, but those days aren't too often and I haven't had any of them yet this year. As time goes on, you bring home less and less. Now, in my 5th year, about the only thing I bring home is grading work. Keep those lesson plans because you will use them again. It also makes changing things up easier. The pay...it would be nice if it were more, but, it is what it is....and it does go up. It will be emotionally draining...
     
  12. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    Nov 27, 2009

    These comments have been realistic, yet inspiring. Thanks.
     
  13. ambritlit

    ambritlit Companion

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    Nov 29, 2009

    I'm in my third year of teaching high school English, after several other career/job paths. I'd always wanted to be a teacher, despite my dad's opposition to the idea. Finally, at forty-something, I did it. I can honestly say that this is the hardest job I've ever done - I need the holiday breaks and summer break just to catch my breath and turn off my mind - but I can't imagine doing anything else. I love interacting with the students.
    I have found that administration sometimes puts unrealistic expectations on already overloaded faculty - I've had to learn not to stress over that sort of thing.
     
  14. MathNrd

    MathNrd Rookie

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    Nov 30, 2009

    I have been teaching HS math since 1991. I love it. It is like riding a roller coaster with high highs and low lows but that is what makes it such a fun ride.
    The pay is relative to where you teach. I went from teaching in the poorest district in the state to one of the best paying districts in the state.
    Pros: the kids, the feeing of making a difference and the vactions
    Cons: the kids, apathy, unprofessional colleagues and the correcting and planning are tedious if done well
     
  15. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    Nov 30, 2009

    My first year I taught middle school math. Loved it. If you have an affinity for sports you might do come coaching in the HS you work at and that is a positive in terms of securing a job. If yo teach the higher math (trig/calculus) that might get you the AP or honors classes which have the serious students usually. And with a math degree you can always fall back on jobs with real salaries.:rolleyes:
     
  16. ambyhendy

    ambyhendy New Member

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    Dec 2, 2009

    This is a great question to ask. I am currently in my third year teaching Spanish (having picked up middle school computers this year) and have finally reached the point where I feel comfortable with my classes and I truly enjoy coming to school everyday.

    My first year, however was completely the opposite. I went home and cried every night for the first couple weeks. These are some of the things I learned my first year:

    - students really don't like change, and those that had the
    teacher before me were not happy with the switch in
    teaching styles - Dont take it personally!! They do it to
    everyone!

    -your students are going to test your limits and are very
    good at it, be very prepared with your classroom
    management plan, as well as prepared to use it immediately

    - ask tons of questions to your mentor teacher and anyone
    else who is willing to help. This makes a huge difference!

    - connect with your students as soon as possible. Find out if they play sports, like the same type of music as you, have a favorite sports team, etc. I know everyone says this, but it can make all the difference with your students.

    I live in Montana, and we are one of the lowest paying states for teacher salaries, so isn't as nice, but I coach volleyball, speech & drama, and track during the school year, so that helps supplement the salary. If you truly enjoy what you are doing, the pay isn't such a big deal.

    Some of the things you should be aware of are the extras you are asked to do, such as lunch duty, studyhalls, class advisors, group meetings, connecting with parents, IEP meetings, etc. For most of these activities you aren’t paid extra either.

    The biggest thing I have learned is you have to be flexible and willing to try something different if what you are doing just isn’t working. The ways students learn and relate are changing, and as a teacher, you need to be able to change with it to some degree. I’m constantly experimenting with new activities and I am honest with my students, letting them know this is a new project and they are my guinea pigs. They actually like being the first class to try something! And when you get to the student teaching portion, just remember it’s not going to be the same as when you have your own classroom and your own set of guidelines and lesson plans.

    If you have any questions about anything, feel free to ask!
     
  17. sambiron

    sambiron New Member

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    Dec 5, 2009

    Keep in mind that besides teaching you will be a babysitter, counselor, friend, enemy, surrogate parent, entertainer, preacher all in one. The pay is definitely not enough for what we do. You have to like teenagers which can be both delightful and spiteful. Above all, if you do decide to become a high school teacher, do not take anything too personal. Teenagers love you one day and dislike you the next, however if you leave a positive mark which most teachers do, they will never forget you.
     

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