Is being a teacher REALLY THAT BAD?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by anna, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. anna

    anna New Member

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    I am studying to become a special Ed teacher, I enjoy the fact the job is always different everyday, tons of interaction with people. (I worked for a year as an assistant and it was very fun)

    My question is the following.... whenever I look for information regarding teaching, what I find all over the internet is teachers complaining about crappy salaries, not being able to do all the work they want because of endless amount of extra-stuff to do, standardized tests, children driving them crazy, quitting after a year because they hate it and are mentally affected by the whole thing, working 12 or 14 hours a day and then taking work home, being tired with no life, being stressed to the point they're depressed and so on.... I even read about teachers taking second jobs because they cannot make it to the end of the month with the salaries they get!!!

    It freaks me out and makes me feel as if maybe I am making a mistake!!

    I want to know, is it that horrible???? I mean, a lot of teachers on the internet make it seem as if it's an absolute nightmare!!!

    I am the kind of person who doesn't really give up and I can be quite persistent, and I know that ANY profession regardless of how nice it is, will ALWAYS have things that drive those who work in those professions crazy but most of the stuff I read on the internet really kills my desire to become a teacher!!!!

    I wanted to know what are the options for a person with a bachelor degree in Special education? it's that the only job you can do? or can you work elsewhere counseling or doing some other stuff?
     
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  3. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    First, most of what you read on the internet is going to be posted by disgruntled people.

    Second, a lot of what you posted about teaching is true.

    Third, if teaching is your passion, go for it. Just remember to keep yourself out of debt for the first few years until your salary gets higher and you should be fine.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I don't think that teaching is horrible. I really enjoy my job most of the time. With that having been said....

    Salaries in my district are fairly low.

    It can be difficult to do every mandate handed down by admin and the district, but it all needs to get done.

    The emphasis on standardized tests is pretty out of control. That's not changing any time soon, though.

    Some kids can be challenging. In my experience, most of them are pretty cool.

    Some people aren't cut out for teaching. It's too bad that they have to complete their programs before they figure that out. The system is flawed in this way, in my opinion.

    Some people do seem to experience some mental health issues. I suspect that those people would experience mental health issues in any type of career with lots of stressors and triggers. It's all about developing coping skills, having a strong support system, and being willing to ask for help when necessary.

    Some people do work excessively long hours, both at school and at home. I do not. I never have. I have good time management skills and am pretty organized. I am 100% focused and on-task while at school. When my contract time is up, I go home, where I am 100% focused and on-task when it comes to my family. I strongly believe that this one is all about choices. If you want to spend more time with family and less time at school or working on school stuff, then you will find a way.
     
  5. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    1. Public teaching salaries for an area are public knowledge. Look it up to see if you will be ok with what the salary is.

    2. Teaching is awewome. To me it has far more benefits that outweigh the negatives. Not to mention almost all of the negatives are outside the classroom.
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    I can't imagine doing anything else. While there are certainly day-to-day frustrations, and I sometimes feel as though I am drowning in paper, I love my job. I earn a generous salary and am fortunate that here in Ontario, I don't need to worry about "the almighty test".
     
  7. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    From reading this board, I think teaching a similar to other professions in that where you work (company or school) and who you work for (principal or manager) can greatly influence how much you like (or dislike) your job. I am fairly new to teaching (in my 4th year) and love it. But I know there are teaching jobs in other districts out there that I would not enjoy due to the external factors I mentioned. Best advice I could give any young person embarking on their professional career (regardless of their field)...be selective about employer. Do your due diligence. Speak to teachers that work at the school(s) you are considering. Best wishes.
     
  8. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    I agree that you should find out about salaries in your area. If you are concerned that the salaries in your area/state are too low then you'll have to relocate. I never understood why people knowingly take jobs then complain they can't live. You have to be proactive and do your research. As for the rest, it definitely varies by district. Some problems you will see everywhere.
     
  9. Rockguykev

    Rockguykev Connoisseur

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    Oct 22, 2014

    Everything on the internet is horrible. That's the internet.

    Teaching is the best job in the world. The percentage of time actually spent doing your job versus doing garbage to do your job is lower than just about any industry regardless of what you hear.

    That said, teaching isn't easy. People don't want to admit they are bad at it so they complain and blame the job conditions for their lack of success. Of course there are valid complaints against it (as with any industry) but the amount you hear is way out of proportion.
     
  10. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Oct 22, 2014

    Depends on your persepsctive, why (if) you want to teach, and what you're looking for in this job.

    While I do not enjoy the day-to-day of being a teacher; I make very good money for 190 days of work, I have great benefits and paid holidays off. It's all about persepctive for me and when I look at it like this, then teaching is not that bad.

    When I look at the job of teaching alone, outside of my pay, there are far more cons than pros or things I like about this job.
     
  11. teacherguy111

    teacherguy111 Cohort

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    Oct 22, 2014

    I like teaching overall. There are some negatives… but overall I wake up and am happy to go to my job (except for the long drive!) Students can be frustrating at times, but they are good kids really. I teach middle school where the kids can be very ambivalent towards school, they do need some extra nudging.

    One thing I don't like is 'forcing' kids to work… I find it frustrating making them do something that they really don't want to do.

    I am also looking into adding a intervention specialist endorsement to my license. I know that can have its own frustrations but I feel like I might be better suited to that kind of role.
     
  12. Mr. Nobody

    Mr. Nobody Rookie

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    You are absolutely correct. There is quite a bit of this in education.

    However, I have many friends and family members in other fields such as law enforcement, medicine (doctors and nurses), law, politics, maintenance, etc and all of them have many of those same complaints.

    A doctor friend of mine's job requires that doctor's respond to any and every email from their patients within 24 hours, or else they get a "ding" to the corporate office. This is difficult because my friend has a panel of at least 1,000 patients.

    Enough "dings" and the doctor gets called in for a conference with their superior and it effects your raise/bonuses.

    A law enforcement friend works part-time as a security guard on weekends because she is putting her daughter through college. A lawyer friend has a hard time leaving work behind and feels they have no life and has had to miss out on a lot of events due to their casework.

    I feel no matter what job you do, there are going to be headaches. The difference with ours is that we get much more time off than most other professions so we have time to recuperate and get back into the ring.
     
  13. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    My answer to your question is "yes."

    I'm in my 7th year of teaching. Up until about halfway through last year, I just absolutely loved coming to my job every day, even with challenging classes and students. Now, I wake up every morning and wish I could just go back to bed.

    The kids aren't the problem-it's everything else. I truly feel that teaching is, without a doubt, my passion. I love creating and teaching fun lessons. I love setting up my classroom, attending workshops, reading professional texts, getting kids excited about reading, etc.

    However, this is only part of the job. The assessing, paperwork, analyzing data, and meetings are endless. It's daunting and exhausting and I think about quitting almost every day. There is so much "extra" stuff to do that I have a difficult time forgetting about it all and focusing on the kids when they're there.

    I never realized how much I really need reassurance from others until I started this job, and I'm always being told that I should be doing something more. My principal's motto is "Good enough never is." I NEVER feel "good enough." I NEVER get told that I'm doing a good job. When you pour your heart and soul into something that you're very passionate about, and you never even get so much as a pat on the back, it starts to wear you down over time.

    I'm also very stressed out with the amount of work I do outside of the classroom. After 7 years it isn't getting any better. The thing is, we're given prep time, but it's full of meetings. I have 9 meetings this week alone, in addition to parent teacher conferences. In 7 years, I've gone into work almost every Sunday. I've taken maybe a dozen off.

    I'm sure it's not like that everywhere, but that's the way it is in my district.
     
  14. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    9 meetings in one week...lol...you have some truly crappy teachers that they promoted into administration. I don't even know what they are about, but I am confident at least 8 are a gigantic waste of time.
     
  15. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    There are so many wonderful things about teaching, but teachers obviously won't complain about them. We have had many threads on this forum where dedicated specifically what is going well in classrooms. They're wonderful reminders of why we stay in those classrooms and give this craft everything we have.
     
  16. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Oct 22, 2014

    I think it can be horrible, or it can be amazing.

    I have a pretty low salary, but I LOVE my job. I'm provided with everything that I need in order to do my job well. My principal is hands-off, and the head of my department always emphasizes that teaching is an art, and we should develop our own effective style. I have sufficient support from SPED teachers and parents.

    On the other hand, I have a friend who is in a school that's in danger of being closed. My friend teaches middle school and works with a tough population of students. It took her 2 weeks to get procedures down pat, deal with students that tested the boundaries, and establish a classroom climate of learning. It seemed to be the start to a great year.

    2 weeks into the school year, the principal is fired. 4 weeks later, a new one is hired who revamps the entire school. He got rid of all low/special education classes and changed everything to "push in". They changed the whole school schedule and classes the teachers are teaching. In each class, my friend now had 6-8 new students with IEPs, and they are still working on hiring paras, so she has no support. They found out about the changes on Friday. They were implemented Monday.

    So. Teaching can be AMAZING, but it can also be very, very frustrating.
     
  17. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Wow! :eek:
     
  18. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    WOW. My principal's motto is, "I'm happy to be of service to you."
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    My principal starts every meeting with, "We can't thank you enough for all that you do for our kids each and every day."

    Having a great admin certainly does make the day to day frustrations easier to bear.
     
  20. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    That should apply to administration also if that's the motto!
     
  21. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    but never does:(
     
  22. a.guillermo

    a.guillermo Rookie

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    It can be trying; especially as a young teacher. The biggest challenge you will find is battling for patience. There are going to be tough times ahead with no obvious light at the end of the tunnel; mainly because there is no light at the end of the tunnel. You need to accept that your job will be hard---but I guarantee you, it will be rewarding. Just think of the kids you are helping. They will never forget the effort you put forth. That is the reward. That is what makes teaching worthwhile.

    Yes, you can get a higher paying job elsewhere, but if this is your passion, you can certainly live your life this way. I'm not super rich, nor do I have any desire to be. I don't make 100k, never have, never will, and I'm more than comfortable.

    Just understand that life is a journey, and if there are no hardships to undergo, is that journey going to be exciting?
     
  23. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    The time with the kids is great. The time without the kids sucks. Unfortunately, the time without the kids seems to grow bigger every year.
     
  24. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Tell me about it...Try living up to that standard!
     
  25. kootles

    kootles Rookie

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    This is my first year teaching and I was extremely frustrated and at one point, considered quitting mid-year. Once you get into a rhythm, it gets much better. Make sure you get a mentor; if he or she is like mine, everything will become much better. Now I'm excited to continue after Christmas. I've learned that in your first year, no one is expecting you to re-invent the wheel and if a lesson doesn't go well, don't become discouraged. All in all, you'll have good days and bad days but only 180 of them and the good usually outweigh the bad by a long shot.
     
  26. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I think if you talk to 100 people, you will hear 100 different opinions.
    I don't think salaries are low, I am extremely happy with my salary, and as a second year teacher, I now make $5000 more than when I first started due to annual raise I got, the raise we all received and the insurance rate going down we also all received. (as soon as I'm turning in my additional credits I earned this past year, this will go up with another$1500).
    So I am very happy with my district.
    I'm also very happy with my principal, and because I'm overly happy with everything, and I love teaching, I don't mind that I do extra work at home or on the weekends. I mean my day is from 8 am to 2 pm, and I don't spend more than 2 hours / day grading or planning. (not nearly).

    The kids... well, it's up to you. Chose the age group you like (if you don't know what it is, figure it out). I chose alternative ed with the roughest kids there are. I like it. Some days are exhausting, like today, but it's my choice to work at that school.
     
  27. SF_Giants66

    SF_Giants66 Cohort

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    As far as low pay is concerned, I look at it as it as a teacher has holidays and summers off, and can also plan their evenings and weekends flexible. Very few high paying jobs offer that, and teachers have flexibility to work a part time job as well.

    Doctors, lawyers, and many other high salary jobs also require graduate school to begin. Business managers can make a high salary, but usually work evenings, weekends, and holidays. Commissioned sales... Well there is a small percentage of them that are actually successful, and they have to usually pay many expenses out of pocket first.
     
  28. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I do agree that the financial salary is low for the responsibility, demands, and challenge that teaching requires. As others have stated, teaching is not an easy job.

    The non-financial benefits to me are incredible. The ability to make a difference with students each day, and the joy of enjoying your job. Also, teachers have more autonomy than other jobs I have held. You are the leader in the classroom, and you get to decide how things are going to be taught and how things are going to be done in the classroom. I sure didn't get that in other jobs I had. I was an assistant manager at a major corporation and I felt I had about 10% of the freedom that I have now.

    If you go into teaching for the pay and the time off, you probably will either quit or continue in teaching and be a very grumpy person. Also if you are more of a follower and just does what the boss says, I doubt you will like teaching as much as other jobs which require less leadership.

    If you are going into teaching to really make a difference and you don't mind lots of challenges, I think teaching is as rewarding as it gets. I have taught for over 20 years, and while there are some tough days, I really enjoy it a lot, and I don't regret it one bit.
     
  29. live

    live Companion

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    The salary at my school is very low, but it is replaced by a supportive administration and wonderful co-workers. Certain days are muddled with the "extras," but I don't think I can find a better group of people to work with in any job AND we get a lot of freedom in our teaching. I got lucky there, and I think it offsets the negatives. Without a doubt, being with the students is the best part.

    Unfortunately, in the near future I'll have to relocate, and I'm hoping to find a school where I can enjoy teaching just as much as I do now. We'll see how I feel about teaching then.
     
  30. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    I feel I must add this. There are 2 types of teaching. The first year of teaching and all the other years. In general, if I had to be a first year teacher and never get more pay and feel as lost as I was that first year, I wouldn't stay in teaching. There are a few unique teachers who really enjoy their first year--for most it is a battle so challenging that it leaves many with a desire to quit.

    Therefore, I would not suggest teaching to anyone, unless there intention is to stay in it for at least 3 years.
     
  31. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

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    Oct 23, 2014

    The pay is okay. It is not high compared with other professions that require advanced degrees.
    The job is stressful, sometimes thankless, and at times dangerous.
    I am making a difference with children with very special needs. I am helping them become independent, skilled, and able to advocate for themselves. This is not easy but I love it. I've taught in other types of classes but this is where I am and would not want to do anything else. It's not a matter of summers off. I work long hours and love it. If you have a life outside of school or other commitments then teaching can be bad. It isn't for me. It has been too hard to deal with from time to time. I've thought, "Oh, wish I had decided to do ____." but that's typically after a tough moment - lasts a minute or two. It is the things that we have no power over that become the frustrated parts of teaching. All the new changes with Common Core and the lack of administrative support. Having a good para or parents that work with their children at home can make a significant difference.
    You have to be thick skinned, creative, and diligent. My students rarely thank me. It is their progress that means as much as a high paycheck.
    BTW - I wish it paid more. I am single income and wish I could afford more in life. Such is life.
     
  32. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Last year I worked for 9 months for a software company. We earned one day off per month that went towards vacation or sick days. By the 9th month I was completely burned out and was so happy when I landed this teaching job.

    I agree with what others have said that most people go onto the Internet to complain. Teaching isn't all bad. If you genuinely enjoy teaching kids and have strong classroom management skills, you should do fine.

    That said, I'm so much of an introvert, that teaching is absolutely draining. By the end of the day, I'm done. It's hard. I also work part-time in accounting and I LOVE it. I love being by myself, getting my work done at a slow, calm pace.
     
  33. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    My former VP once said of teaching during a faculty meeting, "It's an easy job, but it's a hard job." Many faculty scoffed at this assessment, but I've always found it to be true.

    It can be physically and mentally exhausting, depending on your students, your school culture, your admin, your personality, and so on.

    On the other hand, you get ample time off. You will never have to worry about working holidays.

    The pay varies widely, but always take into account that most teaching salaries are based on 10 months of work. So if you're making $40,000 a year on 10 months, that's the equivalent of $48,000 a year if you're working 12 months.
     
  34. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    anna, I was very briefly a special ed teacher...even had my Masters in Special Ed (before getting the job). Back when I did it, it was OK. I sure would never ever want to get back into it now. I switched gears into Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) in 2008, which I think is better in terms of:

    - you don't have to just work at a school. You can work at numerous settings: Schools, hospitals, private practice or have YOUR OWN practice (& you don't need a PhD for that), speech & audiology clinics/centers, make house calls to clients. So there's lots of variety.

    - of course, w/ teaching, you can work w/ pretty much any age level. With SLP, you can work w/ 18 month olds up to the elderly.

    - the demand is VERY high. Districts are so in need, they'll hire you before you're even accepted to a grad school often times.

    I'm definitely not bashing the teaching field. I'm just giving the OP some insight of my experience & opinions. :) I do find it sad though that college-educated people such as ourselves have to often times take on other jobs, tutor, etc. to help make a living & that teaching alone doesn't seem to be enough money. But then, of course it depends on things such as how many kids you have to support, if you're married to a spouse w/ a good job OR a single parent making it on your own, etc.
     
  35. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Oct 23, 2014

    There's no simple answer to your question; there are SO MANY variables that can determine whether teaching turns out to be a good experience for you or not. Too many to list. That's the best, most direct answer I can provide to this thread.

    I will say that Special Education is an incredibly demanding segment of the teaching field. The paperwork, the meetings, the reports.........I most recently saw that the burn-out rate for special education teachers is about two years.

    But if you really have a passion for it, you'll be fine.
    :)
     
  36. deenamathew

    deenamathew Rookie

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    Teaching is a great work than other. As it is like sharing our knowledge with the students and making to lead there life. I really enjoy this work.
     

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