looking for some sage advice

Discussion in 'General Education' started by jz3377, Jun 18, 2018.

  1. jz3377

    jz3377 New Member

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    Jun 18, 2018

    Hey folks, I will try to keep this as brief as possible. I am a (male) police sergeant with 23 years of service in northwest Florida. In two years I will be eligible for retirement, but I will be only 53. I am considering an encore career in teaching. I've always loved being a teacher/trainer for my agency, and I'm really wanting to make a difference in the lives of kids (as opposed to just arresting some). I have been researching alternative certification programs (teacherready) and substitute teaching as a way of getting some experience. I have a BA in Criminal Justice and I'm leaning toward grades 4-5 if possible.
    Does anyone have any experience dealing with graduates of an alternative program? Do you think that those types of programs produce a quality teacher, or would you prefer to work with a teacher who came up "through the ranks" as a sub?
    I have a million other questions, but this will be my start. I look forward to learning from y'all!
     
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  3. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2018

    Personally, teaching is not the career path that I would choose going into retirement. Subbing might not be so bad, but I would want to enjoy retirement more than a teaching career will allow. That said, if you are determined to do it, I would recommend going through a traditional route masters program (you may or may not choose to sub while you do this). It may depend on the supply/demand for teachers in NW Florida, but, around here, we have enough traditional route teachers to go around. It would be difficult for someone certified through an alternative program to get a job. In teaching, we don't really think of subs as going through the ranks. People sub because they need temporary, flexible work, because they are certified teachers who can't find a job, or because they are retired and need something to fill their time. Subbing rarely earns you any status towards finding a full-time teaching position. If you want to "go through the ranks" (which would be the preferable option based on my experience), then you should go with a traditional route certification program.

    Again, I'd really do your research before you start any program. Teaching may not lead to the retirement lifestyle you're hoping for. It's a lot more work than it appears to be to an outsider.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2018
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  4. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jun 18, 2018

    Teaching is a lot of work, but so is being an officer. One of my alternative certification mentees was a retired Marine who taught first grade. He was old enough to be my dad when I was his mentor, but he listened to my suggestions and looked for answers on his own. He was the best of those I’ve mentored in the past 25 years.

    I don’t know about hiring in Florida. It might be wise to call your local district’s HR and ask them about which program you should pursue.
     
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  5. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I completely agree with Bella. I don't think that you'll find teaching to be a suitable "retirement career" and subbing is not really "moving through the ranks." I would suggest you try subbing first to see if you like it before spending thousands on getting certified to teach. Also check into the job market in your area to see if it's feasible that you would find a teaching job after graduation. The job market for elementary teachers tends to be very saturated, and you would likely only have good chances if you're in an area that's not so great for teachers to begin with.

    Subbing would allow you to still interact with kids without spending tons of money on a certification program and without the requirements outside of school hours that regular teachers have, and will still allow you to earn some extra money.

    I agree that if you're absolutely determined to do it, traditional programs are best. AR (alternate route) candidates don't tend to be very prepared, IME. Two years ago, I agreed to take on a "resident teacher" from an AR program. She would be with me for the full year while taking classes over the summer and at night, which I thought was a whole lot better than some programs like TFA which give you five weeks of classes and then throw you into your own classroom. It was really difficult for both of us. Not having any background in teaching really made a huge difference. When I thought about it more, it would be like me walking into my student teaching placement day 1 of freshman year. Of course it didn't really go well!

    Long story short, after a miserable year my resident teacher determined in May that teaching wasn't for her and decided not to pursue it. Between that year and the year before, we had 6 resident teachers in our building and only one was successful. She happened to get the position in the same exact classroom she did her residency in when that teacher resigned at the end of the year, so I think that really helped her. My school decided not to continue partnering with the program.
     
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  6. dpatriots1

    dpatriots1 New Member

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    Jun 18, 2018

    I started teaching when I was 41 in a career change in Southwest Florida. I came from the fire service, and I will warn you teachers don't get any of the respect that police and fire does in Florida. With that said, I love teaching. I wouldn't have had the patience when I was younger, working different jobs taught me alot about myself and how I would teach. I subbed for almost a year to see what I would like to teach. Originally I thought elementary, but after a couple months of runny noses and crying kids I decided high school was where I belonged. Since I had a bachelors degree I just had to take 7 more classes to get my alternate certificate, which was better for me than getting another degree. The key in Florida is the certification exams. You have to take the General Knowledge exam, and then whichever subject area. You can get hired on a temporary certificate in Florida with just the exams, then you have 3 years to get the classes done. It can be done easily and successfully, I am proof of that, happily in my 5th year of teaching:) Good luck!
     
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  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jun 18, 2018

    That's exactly why I was suggesting that it might not be the best "retirement" job. After all of those years of hard work as a police officer/sergeant, I would want to go into something a little less demanding than teaching. But, that's just me.
     
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  8. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Comrade

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    Jun 18, 2018

    If I were you, I'd go with a master's program. The alternative programs tend to produce underprepared teachers who lack sound pedagogy. Since you've got some time before retirement, I'd say try out subbing or even coaching before committing to a program. You may find that the work environment is not what you were expecting.
     
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  9. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Jun 18, 2018

    If I were in your shoes, I would probably want to volunteer in a 4th or 5th grade classroom in school that is representative of the area where you would hope to work - before making any decisions about entering any certification program. I would also seek out a male teacher about my same age (there are definite gender differences) who is known for running a tight ship. If you like what you see, feel comfortable with the students and are happy with the answers to your many questions, then proceed with your second career plan.

    Another option that you might consider would be support positions in the schools. These are often less demanding and more enjoyable part-time positions (paraprofessionals) that would enable you to work with students. They may require some related experience which you can acquire through volunteer work this summer, before applying for fall positions. I knew a former California Highway Patrol officer who worked as a classroom aide and later as the school librarian - she would ride her fully-loaded Harley to work every day! In response to all the school shootings, some districts may be hiring their own security officers for which you would be highly qualified.
     
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  10. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    This isn't a bad idea. I could definitely see someone retired from a first career working as a paraprofessional or other support staff. Little to no take home work, a regular schedule and salary/wage, belonging to one school rather than subbing at many... and still getting to be in the classroom.
     
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  11. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    My best advice is that the only way to really know if you will enjoy teaching and succeed at it is to get in a classroom. Substitute teaching, student teaching, whatever program will help you to get in the classrooms will help. I have bumped into ex-cops who decided to become teachers later. Some loved it and did very well. Others couldn't find the door fast enough. I guess non-cops are like that too. Good luck to you.
     
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  12. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jun 18, 2018

    I'm going to disagree with the majority of the other posters. They talk like you are ready to sit in your rocking chair and watch the world go by when you retire at the relatively young age of 53. You could have a long career as a teacher when you are done as a policeman. You would be bringing valuable experience to the classroom...and would be a wonderful mentor to the young children in your care.
    I know many successful teachers in Florida who have become certified through the alternative route. And Florida is always hiring.
    I would follow the recommendation to volunteer in a school to get an idea what grade levels would really interest you.
    And I say...go for it!
     
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  13. Been There

    Been There Habitué

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    Full-time paraprofessionals also get health benefits!
     
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  14. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    It's not that I think retired 53 year olds want to sit in a rocking chair and do nothing with their lives. It's just that I'm counting down the years until I can retire from teaching at 54 (fingers crossed). I can't imagine wanting to go into another career with this much stress, pressure, and politics when I don't have to. I can definitely see myself wanting to continue working full-time after I retire from teaching. I just foresee myself wanting the type of job where I go home and don't have to bring work with me. A job where I'm not under constant pressure from all angles. Teaching isn't that job - at least not all the time, for most people. Obviously, the OP may want something different in his/her retirement than I do. I'm just sharing from my own perspective and also cautioning that teaching isn't exactly what it may appear to be from the outside looking in.
     
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  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    I think you would make an excellent asset to the school. With that said, it may not be a teacher. Get into the school and sub as a teacher, secretary, para, bus driver, etc and see where you may be fit. You will make a difference anywhere.
     
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  16. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    This is exactly what I was thinking also. I can't imagine wanting two very demanding and stressful careers back to back. Many people not connected to education think it's an 8-3 job with tons of vacations and summers off. Besides the extra work, people don't realize all of the political nonsense, the crazy data expectations, and disrespect from the general public/media that comes with teaching. I also see myself working after retirement, as theoretically I could retire at 53 also (that is, if the pension system holds up, which is doubtful). I personally would want something not so demanding/stressful and a little more fun.
     
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  17. jz3377

    jz3377 New Member

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    Thank you all for the excellent replies! I knew this was the place for some good advice. I'm nowhere near ready for a retirement home, but I'm definitely starting to show some mileage. I started my college career as an elementary ed major, but after working a co-op job at an after school daycare, I decided I didn't have the patience for it. This was back in 1992. Now, having spent almost a quarter century putting juveniles (and their parents) in jail, I'm looking for a way to make a more positive impact in kids' lives. Almost every call I go to involves a family with no dad in the home and no positive role model for the kids. I know there's not a lot of money to be made (but I will be simultaneously drawing a pension, so that's pretty cool) and there's tons of work and politics. I just want to make a difference.
     
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  18. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    It sounds like you have a good heart and you want to give back. If you can afford it, there are outstanding ways you can help that involve volunteering. Reading your response, you might enjoy one or more of the following:

    1. Big Brothers/Big Sisters program. This is a great way to make a difference in a boy's life who needs a positive male role model. Often there are boys who have a dad who is in jail and has no one to be a father to them. You go out once a week or once every 2 weeks with a boy and have fun together. A great program.

    2. Tutoring. This one you can actually make some money or you could do it for free. Being one on one and helping a child who struggles with math or reading can be so rewarding. I know for me it has been very rewarding. You can get trained to teach children to read and help them for free. I have heard that one of the statistics they look at on how many prisons to build in a state is to look at reading scores. There seems to be a correlation with illiteracy and crime.

    3. Lots of others that are too numerous to mention.

    You can make a huge difference. So many children could use your help. I wish you the best.
     
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  19. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    These are good ideas. Wanting to make a difference is honorable, and it's exactly the reason that I went into teaching after my first career (a very short first career, only two years after undergrad). However, now ready to begin my ninth year teaching, I often think about how I wish I would have found some other to way to make a difference, because teaching is not what I was expecting it to be. I mean, I love a lot about it, but there is plenty that makes me wish that I had just found some corporate office job and then used my time outside of work for volunteering or something like that. I've thought many times about leaving teaching, but factors like student loan forgiveness and not really being qualified to do anything else that pays as well have led to me staying. Everyone is entitled to make their own life decisions. I would just really recommend spending some time in schools - with a close eye on what the teachers do and deal with, more so than the kids - before making a decision to enroll in a program of either kind, traditional or alternative route. There are plenty of less stressful ways to make a difference in the lives of kids, especially if you don't have to worry about earning a lot of income.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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