Is it really that bad?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education Archives' started by andreakg, Oct 24, 2005.

  1. andreakg

    andreakg Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2005

    I'm an education major and when I started my education classes I was so excited. I'm still excited, but something is concerning me. Every time I tell people I want to teach high school, I get the same (negative) response, such as "that age group is horrible to teach," "those kids are so disrespectful," "it's dangerous," etc. These people aren't teachers, but there are enough of them to make me wonder if I'm making a mistake in wanting to teach older kids. Is it really that bad?
     
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  3. tntutsie

    tntutsie New Member

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    Oct 24, 2005

    I too receive the same response from people when I tell them I want to teach at a high school. I am currently student teaching at a high school, and I love working with this age group. Throughout my education classes, I observed and worked in various grades, from elementary to high school, and I know that high school is where I am meant to be. My advice is go with your gut instinct and do not listen to what others have to say.

     
  4. Mamacita

    Mamacita Aficionado

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    Oct 24, 2005

    Those people are WRONG. Middle school is the most fun of ALL to teach. They are old enough to be able to do just about anything, and young enough to still obey you.

    Middle school kids will always be my favorites, even though I finally did resign and am now teaching at the college level. I miss them a lot.
     
  5. Nobodyknows

    Nobodyknows Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2005

    You'd best resign yourself to the fact that all responses to anything following the statement: "I'm going to teach ______ grade," are negative. Most people don't realize teaching is a very enjoyable and rewarding (as well as difficult) experience.

    Then again, I'd push it back and tell the person, "Well, there's no way I'd be a ___________. So, we're even." :)

    Enjoy, and good luck!
     
  6. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Great advice, Nobodyknows!
     
  7. dillonr1

    dillonr1 Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2005

    andreakg!
    Don't listen to them!!!!
    I was in the same position you were in a semster ago. Now, for one of my education classes, I'm observing high school. Let me tell you, I absolutley love it!!!!! I was so worried at first, I heard stories about students throwing desks and all that junk, and i was sooo worried. But now that i'm in there with them, it's awesome and I can't picture doing anything else. If you think you really want to be a teacher, then do it! Do not worry about the students, it's just a stigma. You'll soon find out, and you will love it! :D

    -Ryan
     
  8. mccwen

    mccwen Comrade

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    Oct 24, 2005

    If you feel high school is a good fit for you, you are probably right. I know high school would not be a good fit for me. I teach kindergarten, but I know that it's not for everyone. Thank goodness everyone has different preferences otherwise we'd all want the same grade level! :D
     
  9. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oct 25, 2005

    I have worked in pre-school up to 12th grade. I like all the grades. I truly enjoy kindergarten but also enjoyed working in middle and high school. As long as you enjoy working with the students and listen to them then you will do a great job at what ever grade you teach! I think the students responde well to teachers that show they want to be there.
     
  10. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Oct 25, 2005

    What do YOU like?

    My degree is in secondary teaching. I chose that because I wanted to teach high school English because I loved the curriculum. I also KNEW that little kids got on my nerves.

    My first year out of college, I worked as a sub. I was primarily a high school sub, but I'd take pretty much whatever if they needed me. I discovered a few things. . .

    1. I love 12th graders until after spring break.
    2. I like 11th graders, but hated the curriculum.
    3. I found 9th graders to be pretty immature, at least enough of them were immature to be annoying.
    4. I learned that 10th graders are OK.
    5. Kindergarten and first grade kids are WAYYYYY too needy for me. I'm not a touchy-feely person, and they like to hug and crawl around on you. I also learned that I don't like opening milk, tying shoes, buttoning pants, taking them all to the bathroom at the same time, or keeping the same kids all day.
    6. Grades 2-4 weren't my cup of tea. Too many "little kid" traits and not enough "on your own" abilities. Too many "why" questions, too!
    7. I'd be in JAIL if I had to deal with 5th grade boys on a regular basis.
    8. I might be in jail if I had to deal with 6th graders regularly.
    9. Seventh graders are fun some days, challenging some days, and completely ornery some days.
    10. Eighth graders are a lot like 7th graders, only with more attitude.

    I taught high school for a couple of years, and LOVED my seniors. When they switched schedules, my job was cut and I went to an opening at the middle school. People told me I was completely NUTS to even try it, but I did it anyway. For the first couple of years I began to wonder if I WAS out of my mind. Then I got into the swing of things and learned a few key "need to know" items for kids that age and I've loved it ever since. I've taught middle school full time since 1996, and I've mostly had grade 7.

    Sure, there are days when I want to run screaming from the building, but they're fewer and fewer. I really like the people I work with, and I like my kids. . . well, most days, anyway. ;)
     
  11. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Oct 25, 2005

    Ima,
    I loved your list! I totally understand all of it! At this point I would teach any grade but if I had to pick between a 3 to 5 school or middle school I think I would go with middle school.
     
  12. aussiejenjen

    aussiejenjen Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2005

    I teach year 10 - 12's. I have taught in some of South Australia's toughest schools, and am currently teaching in a location known (wrongly) for being a rough town, full of hoons and derelicts. What do I think of teaching? and more so, what do I say when people say they are thinking of teaching as a career?
    I tell them DON'T DO IT! and follow this with, I LOVE teaching the kids, but it is ALL the other guff that goes with it, (we are overworked and underpaid here) that makes it soooo NOT worth it anymore. The stress levels, and teachers continually going out on workers compensation for stress related conditions should be warning signs enough.
    I do not know what classes or the kids are like in America, but in Australia the students do not listen to or respect teachers anymore (swearing in our faces is getting to be the norm and believe me there are few consequences!) Violence in and around the school is gaining momentum (I have had several occasions where a brawl has broken out in my class, due to yard fights coming into the classroom!)
    Anyway, my point is..... be very sure you are up to the challenge!
    If you really do want to make a difference in your students lives, despite all the crap that goes with it, then you will enjoy your challenging career choice.
    When people give me a hard time about teaching the youth of today, I just smile and tell them I love a challenge!
     
  13. belovedrebel

    belovedrebel Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2005

    It's not just you. Everyone is so negative about teaching lately, even people who don't have any way of knowing what they say is true. It is part of the reason I didn't pursue it for so long, and am only starting graduate school in my early 30's.
     
  14. jen7-19

    jen7-19 Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2005

    Like others have said, you will get that no matter what grade you teach. I teach 8th grade and really enjoy it. I really love teaching 10-12 grade. But the little ones I could not handle. I can not teach anything below 7th grade and 7th is pushing it a little. I get all the time that it must be a tough age. I look at it that I get to watch this kids start to develop into their adult personalities. It is amazing to see.

    If you enjoy it then teach it. That is what matters.
     
  15. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

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    Oct 26, 2005

    People are going to think you're crazy no matter what grade you want to teach. I get so many people who look at me and say "why would you want to teach kindergarten?!?! They're so needy and helpless!" but I love that age group. Do what you want to do and what you think you'll enjoy, and don't let negative opinions get you down ;)
     
  16. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    What gets to me is that I get that same reaction from teachers. "Why do you want to torture yourself like that? THere isnt something else you would rather do? Wellluuuuummm No I just spent 5 years and thousands of dollars so that I could become as jaded as you about being a teacher. hahah
     
  17. inneedofchange

    inneedofchange Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2005

    I think the thing is, in regards to "is it really that bad"...the answer is, it can be...we just had two teachers in our area taken by ambulance to the hospital because they tried to intervene in a physical conflict between students. And yes, there are teachers who cry nearly every day because of unfounded comments hurled at them about their weight, general physical appearance, etc. and the general frustration they expereince over their long hours and comparatively poor pay. Our recourse with these students- detention/conferences/parent phone calls/meetings...accomplishes very little to counteract what seems to simply be the result of years of bad parenting and inner mental conflict within these teens. And I am at what is considered to be a "good" school...just a warning...be prepared to have your self-esteem and inner strength tested daily.
     
  18. sdhudgins

    sdhudgins Comrade

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    Oct 26, 2005

    Ok before I start I didn't read all of the posts...

    I LOVE high school age kids. They can be tough. My favorite group is that 10-12 group so many people don't like
    I can't STAND middle school age kids... I want to wring their necks half the time because I don't have th epatience to deal with some of the things that go with them...

    I think a lot of it just depends on the individual. If it's what you want to do... go for it! We need some more good excited teachers out there!!!
     
  19. SYMBOLSTeacher

    SYMBOLSTeacher Rookie

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    Oct 26, 2005

    Andreakg:

    I suggest that you get into the local schools and spend time observing the daily routines. Contact area high schools and set an appointment to meet with a representative. You should explain that you are exploring career options and want to interact with teachers who are "in the field."

    I suggest that you visit at different times to gain exposure to different teachers and different areas of the school. Another major benefit to this approach is that you will establish a local network of professional contacts.

    Dress appropriately for the environment you will be in... Our school is "Casual Business."

    Develop a list of thoughtful questions that demonstrates your genuine interest in gaining something from this opportunity. Examples would be:

    ***"What do you enjoy most about teaching XXth grade English, Social Studies, Science, et al.?"

    ***"What do least like about teaching XXth grade English, Social Studies, Science, et al.?"

    ***"What do you think is most important to learn in Teacher Preparation programs?"

    ***"What are things I can do outside the class to improve my "employability"?

    ***"What are your tools to effective classroom management?"

    And so on.....
     
  20. Mom2Sarah

    Mom2Sarah Rookie

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    Oct 29, 2005

    I LOVE HIGH SCHOOL. I like there are good and bad points about teaching any grade. Like so many have said before you need to find what works the best for you. Just think what shape the education field would be in if all secondary teachers secretly wanted to be 1st grade teachers? The thing I like the most about high school is that there are after school activities to interact with the kids. They appreciate what you do for them. I also feel that the kids are very inspired by the dedication of HS teachers. My kids say to me all the time "I can't believe you did that for us" or "You really spend a lot of time getting ready for us." It is nice to see that they are old enough to know that their teachers truly want them to succeed. They will also know if you feel any ill will towards them. Stick with HS is it a wonderful place to be. (Well unless you are a fifth year senior)
     
  21. andreakg

    andreakg Rookie

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    Nov 2, 2005

    I appreciate all of your responses. Last week, I had to complete my 16-hour internship, which is a requirement every semester where I am. Unfortunately, I could only choose a school on the approved list, and there were no high schools on the approved list. There was only one middle school and it was 45 minutes away. So, I ended up interning at an elementary school in a 3rd grade class. After that experience, I absolutely without a doubt know that I could not teach in an elementary school. I don't even know if I could deal with middle school kids, unless they were 8th graders.

    Before, I said that all of the negative comments I was getting were from people who aren't teachers. That has changed also. I visited with some teachers during my intern hours who had the same opinion as all those other people. One actually said to me, "Well, I guess some people have to be prison guards and high school teachers to keep the rest of us from having to do it." I couldn't believe her attitude. Most of the teachers I met during those two days were incredibly jaded and some of them referred to their students as "lost causes." The whole thing was sort of depressing. :(

    Sorry this post is getting so long, but I have noticed another thing that bothers me about this whole situation. This class is the first education class I have taken so far, and it seems to be really biased toward elementary ed. First there was the thing with there being virtually no secondary campuses on the approved list. There is also the fact that almost every assignment is geared toward elementary. How am I supposed to answer a question like, "What sorts of jobs might your students be able to perform in your classroom," or "What types of centers would you include in your classroom?" We are supposed to base our answers on our preferred grade level of teaching and I can't come up with an answer that doesn't sound ridiculous for high school kids. Oh well. I'm sorry this kind of turned into a rant! :sorry:
     
  22. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Your school doesn't have classes specifically for secondary education majors? At my school, all of my education classes were geared specically towards the grade level we were going to be licensed for after graduation. I was an elementary major and I never had any early childhood or secondary ed majors in any of my education classes.
    It doesn't seem to make much sense to have the different majors in the same classes. That isn't fair to any of you.
     
  23. andreakg

    andreakg Rookie

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    This is just an intro class since it is my first educ. class, but it still seems to be geared more toward those who want to teach elementary. We all have to take the two general intro classes before we can take specialized classes, so we are all lumped together, regardless of what we are interested in teaching. I won't get to take classes that are strictly for secondary ed. until next year. I guess I just thought these intro classes would be more well-rounded and informative for everyone. I also don't understand how observing in an elementary school will help me as a hs teacher, but I still have to do it. :(
     
  24. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    Unfortunately, that is an attitude you are going to experience from teachers at all grade levels. Teaching is a profession that burns people out and with the lack of funding in the schools and what-not that many teachers experience, people can get very discouraged about what they're actually able to do in the classroom. That on top of the fact that there are always going to be people becoming teachers that probably shouldn't be means that there are always going to be teachers with very negative attitudes. The cooperating teacher of a friend of mine during our 16 week student teaching placement was like that. She is 55 and is just counting down until her early retirement. It really wasn't a good experience for my friend and other teachers in the school felt bad that she ended up being placed with that woman. She was a very nice person, just not the greatest teacher.
    Anyway, it's something that we've all come in contact with. You just have to try not to get sucked in, that's all. :)
     
  25. Beth2004

    Beth2004 Maven

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    That seems really strange to me. If they're going to lump everyone together, you'd think they would at least allow you to observe at your preferred grade-level. Like I said, though, at my school even the intro classes were specialized.
    Maybe you could speak with the professor or the dept. chairperson about your concern...It really just doesn't seem fair that you're not getting the experience in the grade-level that you want.
     
  26. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

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    Funny how you say that most your classes are geared towards elem. Where I went to school we had classes that were specifially for early childhood, but then general education classes were geared for those teaching to the 4th-8th grades. I am early childhood and really didnt need all that science stuff. They could have given us more classes in early child ed.
     
  27. earthmommy2003

    earthmommy2003 Rookie

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    Nov 4, 2005

    That depends on YOU. I have seven children. I LOVE having a big family. I love the comradarie, chaos, laughter, boisterousness, and joy that comes from having a big family. More often than not when people discover I have seven children, (when they are done picking themselves off the floor) they say something along the lines of, "Better you than me." To which I always reply, "I absolutely agree." For them, having seven children really would be that bad. For me, it's bliss. Teaching high schoolers is much the same.
    Just a tip on high school: In my experience, the best teachers have a balance between "I understand," and "Get over it, kid." Too much understanding leads to getting walked all over and rebellion. Too much "Get over it, kid," leads to teens feeling unappreciated and disrespected. Having both: a firm understanding of what it is to be a teen, and a firm understanding of the reality of what's expected of teens regardless of their personal feelings, situations, etc... tends to keep the teacher's feet firmly planted on the tightrope. :D
     
  28. Casey Fedd

    Casey Fedd New Member

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    Nov 6, 2005

    Hi,
    I Am New To This Kind Of Stuff I am A Seventh Grader At Seminole County Middle School And Where I Go It Is Not That Bad, You May Witness A Couple Of Fights And Watch Someone Fall And Sprang Their Ankle But Its Really Not That Bad Trust Me Go Ahead And Teach Because Just Because Somebody Tell You That You Might Not Like It What The Heck They Dont Know You Probably Love It Just Try Go And Sit In With A 7th Or 8th Grade Class They Probably Wouldnt Act Right Because They Dont Like Their Teacher And They Probably Would Like You better

    Please Email Me Back
     
  29. mmslynxteach

    mmslynxteach Rookie

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    Nov 24, 2005

    In addition, I get the same reply when I tell people I teach middle school. However, I try and turn their comments around and tell them some great stories! I am in my 3rd year teaching now and love it! The kids are great, and I have some wonderful stories. My advice would be to not listen to them, it is a great ride and you can judge for yourself... there are a lot of jobs out there I would never want to do too! But, Teaching Rocks!
     
  30. krystle

    krystle New Member

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    Dec 4, 2005

    Don't worry!

    I do not think high school would be so awful. Of course you are going to have your good students and also your bad, but you will in Elementary school too. Elementary students get to that age where they are sometimes just impossible. People never care to tell you the bad about any situation but seem to never inform you on the good. Any grade you decide to teach will have its’ downfalls; however, there will also be rewards. I would not take everyone’s advice to the extreme. If you want to teach high school, then do it. Most high school students aren’t so bad. They do need credits to graduate so will take it somewhat seriously. Those that act up continuously or will do absolutely anything to get out of doing homework or something will eventually drop out or get kicked out anyway. Therefore, I would just hope for the best and know that I can handle whatever the students throw at me. Good luck to you!

    Krystle
     
  31. AllLevelArt

    AllLevelArt Rookie

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    Dec 13, 2005

    I think it depends on you. If you're the type of person who needs to feel more in control to not be completely stressed out, then elementary might be your best bet. I'm not saying you can 'control ' elementary school kids, but you have to do a lot less negotiating.
    In high school, you have to do a lot of negotiating and you have to push really hard to keep them working. Just an example of this is if you wanted to punish a first grader, then don't let him clean his table. High school kids could care less about stuff like that. Also in high school, if you get yourself in a position where you are in an outright face to face confrontation, you've pretty much already lost.
    Two different worlds. I've taught both.
    But in the end, to paraphrase Maya Angelou, they are more alike than they are unalike.
    I will say this about high school, the amount of preparation time is far less in general. In elementary you're teaching probably about six different lesson plans a week, in high school usually about two.
    Big difference there logistically.
    And that's the tie breaker for me.
    Both age groups offer a lot. I don't think High Schoolers are horrible at all....now I've NEVER taught Middle School. I've heard a lot of stories about that!
     

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