Going into teaching--what would you tell a HS or college student?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by scholarteacher, Jan 23, 2015.

  1. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    If you talked to a high school or college student who is considering going into teaching, what would you tell them? I've been teaching 32years, and I'm in the worst state for education., although our school is tops. But the with the way teachers are held accountable for things beyond our control, and the overwhelming paperwork and long hours, honestly, I would tell a possible newbie not to go into teaching unless they can't see themselves going into anything else. Being a teacher is all-consuming and has to be WHO you are, not just what you do. I love teaching in its purest, intended form, not what our legislators today have made it. What do you think?
     
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  3. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I would tell them to talk to a lot of teachers, and observe at a lot of schools before making that choice. It's not for everyone, and it gets a little more difficult every year. If I knew the kid well and didn't think they were suited for it, I'd tell them to run, not walk, and change their major to something with math or engineering! :)
     
  4. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    You have stated it well.

    I would also tell them to consider private school jobs if they want to avoid all the "stuff" that is public school teaching now.
     
  5. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Well, what I have told them is "don't." Don't do it. Find another way to serve society where you can be appreciated. Even if it is scrubbing dog pens at the animal shelter.
     
  6. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I tell my students who are considering it that teaching is more of a calling than a job, and it takes a great deal of passion to overcome the obstacles.
     
  7. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    This seems to pick up right where the negativity thread http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=186152 from last week left off, and I find it discouraging. The only people I ever hear say to not become teachers are teachers. I have been working in industry (multiple positions) for 4 years, since graduating college, and I have seen a lot: screaming at employees, extravagant Christmas parties, cutthroat politics, working late into the night, working mandatory weekends, free meals, long driving commutes, short driving commutes, trains into the city, happy hours that advance you more than doing your job well, zombified worker-bees who gave up aspiration years ago... its been an adventure. The things that resonate with me most are (a.) no one tells you that you are doing a good job until you after you quit
    (b.) being well-liked is of utmost importance
    (c.) no matter what the rewards, it will always, always be a grind
    So I have my sights set on being a teacher. I want to teach high school physics. I have wanted to for years, so I am finally starting to chase it. I accept the politics. I accept the paperwork. I can play the game. I don't expect thank you's. But maybe, just maybe, I can actually help someone else out and get to teach something I love, and if I am really lucky, learn something myself. So I am going to tune out the negativity, its the only thing I can do, and I am going to continue on the path I choose. Perhaps in 32 years, or heck maybe just a few, I will be posting saying "why didnt I listen?!" but it is a risk I am willing to take.
     
  8. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Most of my university professors, especially those in science siad exactly the same thing about going into their chosen fields as a career. They all said the same things, it is not worth it.
     
  9. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    It is a great job. It has ALL the pros and cons that you would find at most other jobs.
     
  10. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    You have your priorities set, Bartleby. I'm a career changer because, after ten years after graduating from college, I realized I had severely erred in dropping out of my school's education track. It was what I was meant to do, and I wasn't happy doing anything else.

    That being said, there are days that I have to remind myself why I deal with the other aspects of being a teacher in the 21st century. Sometimes the non-teaching aspects of the classroom feel like a quagmire. That's when I get a huge "thank you" from a student, verbally or otherwise. It all balances when your mind and heart are in the right place.
     
  11. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    I tell everyone that teaching is the best job in the world regardless of any garbage that comes my way. People actually pay me to help kids every day.
     
  12. dgpiaffeteach

    dgpiaffeteach Aficionado

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    I tell people I love it. I deal with kids every single day. They aren't fully developed yet and I get to help them on their paths. I tell them it's not just a job, it's a career. I tell them I'm no more stressed than my other friends in different careers. I tell them finding the right school is so important but a great boss is key.
     
  13. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I love teaching public school. I get all types of kids, instead of the ones that just have enough money to get to a private school.

    I also love teaching, but that is mainly due to the fact that I love the subject I teach, and my kids are pretty darn cool. I have a great hardworking bunch this year. We have fantastic admin, and a fantastic team of teachers. I don't really have any real complaints about my job.
     
  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I've been asked to advise a couple of my daughter's friends over the past few years. I've told them that I love what I do, but that it isn't easy (in spite of what the media says). They also need to realize that getting a job can be a long road; they need to be prepared to put in time subbing, being an aide, volunteering, etc. I also tell them that, for me, there isn't anything I would rather be doing!
     
  15. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    I teach at a private school and love it. I love teaching my students. We have small class sizes (under 20 students), supportive administration, and strong staff morale. 75% of our students receive tuition assistance and of that number 25% of our students attend tuition free. We still have pretty strong parental involvement. We have proper support and don't have too much paperwork to do. All elementary school teachers get 90 minutes of planning time per day.

    After working here, I don't think I would work at a public school.
     
  16. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    I was in private school for 22 years and thought I'd never switch to public. Then the school asked me to change grades for a lazy student whose grandparents were big contributors to the school. That's when I said goodbye and went to public.
     
  17. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    When I am asked this, I tell people that I love my job and have a passion for teaching, and I knew going in that I'd have very long hours and relatively low pay, but I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

    I also say that if you have a passion for teaching, then this is the career for you. If you are only choosing teaching because you perceive it as an easy job, one with short days, and "three months off", then perhaps you should rethink your choice.
     
  18. GeetGeet

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    I tell students that it is a great job and I love it, because I do. I also tell them it is MUCH harder than it looks--MUCH harder!! And that you have to make sure you have a good school. I have a wonderful school with great kids, and that makes it a pleasure.
     
  19. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    I answer honestly - teaching was not my first job, but it is the one that speaks to my heart. Once I understood that, nothing could prevent me from teaching and growing as a teacher. The job is harder than it appears, has a steep learning curve right out of college, but is tremendously satisfying. I make good money, it is an honorable way to make a living, and it allows/stimulates me to continuously learn new things, which I value. I am proud to be called a teacher.
     
  20. anna9868

    anna9868 Habitué

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    I have a friend, a single mom who's been teaching in public school, 1-2nd grade for 5+ years. She tells her daughter that when she grows up and if she wants to go to college she'll pay for any degree that she chooses... except teaching.

    I cannot say I disagree with her. However, I keep hoping (since I've never been a regular teacher other than preschool) that things are that bad only in elementary schools.

    My daughter decided from maybe age 5-6 that she wants to be a teacher. And as the years go by (she is 9) she is more and more sure about it. I try to keep my mouth shut.
     
  21. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ICAM.
     
  22. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    You'll get crap pay for somebody with a master's degree, you'll deal with administrators that don't know what you're doing, politicians actively hate you and presume that you are incompetent, and your job will continue to get harder as the "reform" movement gets worse. The kids are great and make up for a lot of the nonsense, but you have to decide how much it's worth.
     
  23. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    And this may not always be the case.

    Sometimes I think to myself, "I have a Master's degree and I spend my days being disrespected/ignored/ arguing with/fighting with teenagers ..."
     
  24. vickilyn

    vickilyn Multitudinous

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    You are assuming that things are a lot better in the corporate world, and I can tell you that the assumption is as false as the one that we all have perfect students to teach. My long term observation is that the grass is always greener somewhere else. If you or I knew of a job with better hours, pay, and day to day experience, wouldn't we be there? I make more money than a nurse, don't have to work every other weekend, and I spend my summers doing what I want to do. I am not claiming the job is perfect, but please, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Perhaps teachers should do a better job of portraying the real effort it takes to teach, but that can be said about many jobs that people only know from the outside, looking in.

    Sometimes I think to myself, "I have a Master's degree and I spend my days being disrespected/ignored/ arguing with/fighting with teenagers ..."

    Having a master's and being disrespected is not unique to teaching.
     
  25. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    AMEN!!!!
    I can't count on one hand how many times a college professor told the class to stay far away from that discipline's profession.

    Every career has disgruntled emplyees that tell their children to stay away from the profession...etc.

    I don't see any hidden secrets in teaching, it is what it is.
     
  26. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I would tell them to talk to as many teachers as possible before making that decision. I think observing in classrooms isn't going to help, because then you only see the real "teaching" part. For me, the majority of the stress happens behind the scenes. Someone who came in to observe and just saw my day to day with kids would probably think it looks like a great job. Our art teacher's daughter wants to be a sped teacher and she spent the day with my teammate and I the other day. We really tried to tell her about the realities beyond what you see going on in the classroom, but I definitely don't think it sunk in. She wants to work with students with severe disabilities. We practically begged her to do talk to our significant support needs teachers before making that decision!
     
  27. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I would hesitate to tell them to talk to teachers. There is a LOT of negativity in the teaching profession. I still remember being a college freshman, working in an after school program. One of the second grade teachers at that school went on an on about how I needed to choose an alternative career to teaching because of how awful it was and was just getting worse every year. Another second grade teacher AT THE SAME SCHOOL told me it's the best career imaginable and I was making the right choice. These teachers had roughly the same amount of experience and were working under the exact same conditions. A lot is based on personal perception.

    I would tell them to spend time with kids, to decide if they want to spend the rest of their life working with kids.

    My mom is a teacher. She's spent most of her career working with students other teachers have difficulty with. She's an intervention teacher. She never sugar-coated things for me, but she also never discouraged me. Regardless of how much work she has or how frustrated she gets, I have always seen how much she loves her job and how much meaning it brings to her life. That has also been my experience.

    Things are not the same everywhere. I would have a hard time teaching in many of the situations I've read about on here. However, I've recently landed at an amazingly positive, supportive school with great admin. I'm very happy. I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

    And I agree with others - other careers have difficulties, as well. You have to choose the job that you love enough to put up with the frustrations.
     
  28. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I agree (& I have a Masters too, by the way). Knowing how I honestly feel about it, I wouldn't encourage or persuade someone to be a teacher. However, if their mind is set on it, it's their "passion", etc., then I say go for it then!
     
  29. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    I truly couldn't imagine myself doing anything else. I loved being a teacher and I feel as though I have an even bigger influence as an administrator.

    Additionally, teaching allowed me to purchase a beautiful home and very nice car. Obviously, I make much more money now (as a VP), but I made a comfortable living as a classroom teacher.

    If I had to go back to school and do it all over again, I wouldn't change a single thing. Plus, I've known this was my destiny since I was in 2nd grade!
     
  30. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Weren't you a full-time classroom teacher for one year before being non-renewed? Maybe that has caused you to see teaching in a negative light? :confused:
     
  31. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    True. I also have stated on this board more than a couple times when the topic came up how I feel about teaching in general, been a sub for a good 11 yrs in 3 districts (which I know isn't the same as permanent teaching), have a MA in special ed, & been an SLP in the schools for 3 yrs, but I can still have an opinion.

    I don't see where you also questioned 2ndTimeAround who said not to get into teaching. In fact, I ended my post on a positive note.
     
  32. EMonkey

    EMonkey Connoisseur

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    I would probably encourage anyone who wanted to teach to go and observe classes of all grade levels. I also would want to encourage them to talk to many teachers. I personally have found teaching to be very rewarding. I probably would let them know that it is a challenging job.
     
  33. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    I worked on other fields before becoming a secondary math teacher. I am always asked about the transition, especially from my former peers and colleagues. I always tell them that I work 100% as hard as I used to in my old line of work for 67% of the time for 25% of the pay.

    If I were to sit down and list pros/cons of this field vs. others, I could do that. Every job has its own rewards as well as challenges.I have always said, if you have to be paid to do something, there is a reason for it. Overall, for me anyway, the pros definitely outweigh the cons.

    With that being said, teaching would have been difficult for me personally as a young man just out of school. I just don't think I had the required maturity and confidence at that point. i have also witnessed 2 just out of college teachers struggle mightily at my school. One was not renewed. Both of them have the same issues - lacking the will or 'toughness" necessary to manage a classroom.

    my daughter in law taught for 2 years before quitting. She is a very sweet young lady and realized that she wasn't willing or able to do the things required to become an effective classroom manager.I have always respected her for that, although it must be difficult to have spent 4 years of education and the money that goes with that to find out that you don't want to teach.

    In short, as others have said, if you are thinking about education - spend as much time as you can in a school building and talking to teachers as you can before/during college. It IS NOT a job for everyone.
     
  34. Milsey

    Milsey Habitué

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    It is not for the faint hearted. I came close to tears many times because of the actions of admin , students, and parents.
    I would say try it for a year, then you'll know what path to choose
     

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