I don't know what i want to teach!

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Archmera, Jun 27, 2008.

  1. Archmera

    Archmera New Member

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    Jun 27, 2008

    Oh boy do I have a problem!
    Long story, brace yourself!
    I am an aspiring teacher, hoping to one day teach High school. However, I have NO CLUE what I want to teach. I currently live in Dover Delaware, where they have the "highly qualified" criteria for a teaching certificate. I have been told by many individuals, that this pertains to a degree with the subject area I wish to teach (i.e. Math teacher = Math degree).
    Now here's where my problem comes in... I do not desire to tie myself down to one in particular topic of high school education! I enjoy math, but wouldn't know what to do with a math degree. I enjoy teaching government or perhaps sociology, but can't stand history. English is a great subject, but literature puts me to sleep. I have an aptitude for sciences, but biology and chemisty kill me.
    I enjoy bits and pieces from the major studies, but just can't justify to myself tieing myself to one particular field.
    Please help! What can I do?

    ~B
     
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  3. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    IMO - unless you have about 10 years to spend in higher education, you will have to pick at least two subject areas in which to concentrate. You will surely be more marketable if you can teach mutiple subjects but it will require some time to become HQ in each subject. BTW - if you would like to teach government and soc, there is no reason WHY you would have to teach any other types of history. The social sciences cover a wide variety of courses so you would not necessarily have to teach history. I am not at all familiar with the state of Delware and how college approach secondary education. My degree is actually in Secondary Social Studies. Regarding English, and I don't teach English but just going on what appears to be happening in our classrooms, in high school the major emphasis appears to be on literature and writing skills so I am not sure what you would feel comfortable in teaching.

    With a math degree, you would teach math.


    Have you tried contacting the college and universities in your area to find out the course work, testing and other procedures necessary to obtain a secondary teaching license? I think they would have the best information for you.
     
  4. Chef Dave

    Chef Dave Companion

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    Jun 27, 2008

    It sounds like you want to be a generalist. Would you consider switching over to elementary education?
     
  5. Archmera

    Archmera New Member

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    Thank you both for your quick reply. Dave: I have not thought about teaching elementary classes because I do enjoy the intelligent conversations that only "older" students can provide. In depth conversations about complicated issues, etc. Though I realize elementary would provide a very general base of knowledge, I want to teach more than 2+2, or how to spell "shade", or why a plant can photo-synthesize.
     
  6. wig

    wig Devotee

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    Jun 27, 2008

    Are you at the point where you have to declare a major yet? You have a year and a half to two where you have to take the classes required of every teacher. Choose your two favorite subjects and go for it. Social Studies teachers seem to have a more difficult time finding a position, but if you combine it with English or Science, you will do OK. Just keep in mind that a double major will make you more marketable.

    Frankly there are very few that love everything about their overall subject area. My major is Social Studies. I love history, but am not fond of Geography. I teach 2 levels of History and 2 of Geography. We can't always get what we want.
     
  7. MiddleGradesLA

    MiddleGradesLA Rookie

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    Jun 27, 2008

    I'm sure an elementary teacher would argue she/he does way more than that.

    If I were in your shoes, I would look at a copy of your state's standards for the grade levels and subjects you are interested in teaching (you can find this at your state's BOE website). The standards will give you an idea of what you would be required to teach. If you are uncomfortable teaching a standard of a certain content, then that subject is not for you. I understand how scary it is to commit to one area of certification, but unless you want to spend an absurd amount of $ and time in school, that's your best option. Take a few content classes in your university and see what interests you the most. I assure you, if you do not like literature, HS English is not for you. We don't teach grammar and writing in isolation any more.
     
  8. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Jun 27, 2008

    You are going to have to pick a subject. You have to get a credential in something. And most jobs at the high school level are going to be for a science teacher, or a math teacher, or an English teacher, not for a teacher that likes to teach a little of this and a little of that. IIWY I would go with the subject I most enjoy.

    The "highly qualified" requirement is a function of NCLB (No Child Left Behind--federal law relating to funding of K12 education). The exact method of meeting this requirement varies from state to state, but in general, part of it is proving subject matter competence. Most, if not all, states allow you to do this by course work or by examination. This requirement is in addition to the requirements for a credential. You must be "highly qualified" if you teach a core subject such as English, math, science, etc. There has been some wiggle room in past years because of difficulties in hiring "highly qualified" teachers at certain schools or in certain subjects, but it is quickly disappering in many districts.
     
  9. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    I taught fifth and was able to have some really great conversations about our environment, about the treatment of Native Americans, our bodies and drugs, etc. That said, I've decided to go back to school and obtain a science degree. Teaching elementary level has really helped me to see what subjects I enjoy and do not enjoy teaching. While I love literature and reading, I found that I do not really enjoy teaching it (was forced to use a reading program that I did not 100% agree with). I would also double major. It will take more time to finish your education, but then you'll be more marketable and you'll have more options. I really wish I had done that before.
     
  10. Chef Dave

    Chef Dave Companion

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    Jun 27, 2008

    So why not teach upper elementary?

    Take a look at this 5th grade curriculum. It may not be as basic as you think.

    http://www.marlborough.k12.ma.us/currbrochure/5thgrade.htm
     
  11. princessa48

    princessa48 Companion

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    I'm sorry but I do take offense to this quote. :down:I think it is disrespectful and hurtful to many of the elementary teachers on this site. I first read this post in an effort to help someone. I would love to invite you into my classroom for a day so that you can see exactly what goes on in an elementary classroom. I'm sure that you did not mean to offend anyone, but your remarks make me feel that my job is somehow less important than that of a secondary teacher.
     
  12. wig

    wig Devotee

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    What experience do you have working with kids? You may find that you absolutely LOVE elementary age children. Then again you may find out you don't. Your first year in college is a great year to volunteer working in different age level classes..

    Also, keep in mind that while you may really WANT fifth grade, you will be certified K-5 or 1-5 depending on the state. Principals have the right to move you around to which ever grade he/she would be best. My son is certified 6-12 in Spanish and French. Although he is in the high school where he wants to be, he could also be moved to the middle school.

    On the other hand, many of us have been very lucky and have always taught the grade level we wanted to teach. :)
     
  13. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    You may also have something of a romantic view of having wonderful, deep conversations with your high school students. I am fortunate in that I'm able to teach only seniors, hypothetically the most mature students, right? Wrong! Many of them still behave like second graders ("Tommy, keep your hands to yourself!" - wish I had a dollar for every time I said that this past year) and when posed with a question that requires higher-level thinking, will do their best imitation of an oil painting.
     
  14. MissR

    MissR Comrade

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    Jun 27, 2008

    I agree, it sounds like you may want to get a phD and teach college if you are looking for in-depth conversations to occur. What about something like Art where you could tie in things that you like about government, english or math to your art curriculum?
     
  15. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jun 27, 2008

    Have you considered becoming a GATE or G/T teacher? You'd work with students who have been designated gifted/talented.
     
  16. Historyteaching

    Historyteaching Cohort

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    I must concur with many on here.
    Just because they are 'older students' doesn't mean you'll get in-depth conversations. Do you remember high school? DRAMA is the soup of the day in many classrooms. I teach social studies, I hate economics, but guess what I teach for 12 weeks..you guessed it econ. Sometimes you have to do things you just don't like or don't want to do, to be able to teach what you want..for me that's history.
    If you want to truly pick and choose what you want, go for higher education, like colleges or universities. A bit more education on your part-usually requiring a Ph.D., but you make get more of your in-depth conversations there (I wouldn't totally count on it, but you have a better chance).
    although I prefer not to teach elementary education..those are some of the best times to teach a student, they still, for the most part, respect authority, love coming to school and learning and you have fun (not that I don't have fun teaching my fresh and sophs!!) Upper elementary 5th-6th graders can be very insightful..you'd be surprised. If I were you, I'd go visit a couple of classrooms and observe them. Go to elem, middle, and hs..get a feel for it. Its not all sunshine and roses-but the rewards you reap at the end are fantastic. BTW, Find something you really like and major in that. What subject are you passionate about? Oh also, 'highly qualified' is in all states, just each state determines it differently..its all connected with NCLB
     
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2008
  17. teach7_8

    teach7_8 Guest

    Jun 28, 2008

    Princessa48 - I agree that Archmera didn't mean any disrespect -but I don't think anyone who isn't already teaching has a clue about what it's all about. Take heart, your job is what makes our job possible! As a middle school teacher, I am in awe of the responsibility elemenatary teachers have.

    Archmera - the suggestion about 5th grade is a good one. Also, have you considered teaching in a different way, like as a trainer in a field of business? Good luck.
     
  18. obro

    obro Rookie

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    "I do enjoy the intelligent conversations that only "older" students can provide. In depth conversations about complicated issues, etc"
    Where is this school and do they have any openings??? In my year of teaching high schoolers I have had one in depth conversation and one about a complicated issue but they weren't even the same conversation!!!
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    I'm going to have to agree with the others on this one. I think you may be romantisizng what high schoolers are like, while at the same time selling the little ones short. I don't think I'd ever be successful in an elementary classroom not because I don't think that they could insightful, but because, to be quite frank, the little ones scare the daylights out of me. They're too quick on the uptake most of the time...they don't let anything slide. Also, to those of you who have suggested college as an alternative...been there, done that...doesn't happen there either.

    In short, each grade level has it's advantages and disadvantages, but it seems you don't have the experience yet to fully grasp what they really are. You would be doing yourself a HUGE favor to spend some time volunteering in classrooms of ALL grade levels to see where you really belong. You just might suprise yourself.
     
  20. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    Are you sure you want to be a teacher? You don't want to teach the young ones and you don't want to be tied to one subject. Those are pretty much your choices (with rare exceptions). And from what you said you don't want to teach at the college level either since you have to go into great detail with just one subject.
     
  21. Chef Dave

    Chef Dave Companion

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    I agree with Mrs. K.

    In addition to being immature, you'll have problems with young teenage hormones. Some girls will primp and concentrate on looking pretty. Some boys will act up to get the attention of the girls either by cultivating a "bad boy" image or by being the class clown.

    Instead of the deep conversations you're looking for, you'll get whining comments like, "Why do we have to learn this?"

    Students will distract themselves not only by talking and flirting and playing slap and tickle ... but they'll also have Ipods and will try and text message on their cell phones.
     
  22. greatestteacher

    greatestteacher Rookie

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    In my personal opinion, sixth graders are the best because they can have real conversations with you but still present a curious and unsure perspective. I can't really describe it, but I heart sixth graders.


    *le sigh*

    I'll be teaching high school next year.... why did I change?! :)

    In conclusion, you'll learn to love whatever you wind up teaching. A school wound up calling me out of the blue to teach reading my first year and I "became" a reading teacher. Then they moved me to science and I LOVED science, too! If you're a flexible person, you can find something you love about every subject and grade level. Good luck!
     

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