Pros and Cons: High School v. Community College

Discussion in 'General Education' started by porque_pig, Feb 13, 2011.

  1. porque_pig

    porque_pig Comrade

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    Feb 13, 2011

    I just submitted my application for a community college teaching position in NC. I always planned on teaching high school, but I haven't ruled out the idea of teaching at a community college (assuming there are jobs available, which is not necessarily a given). So I have two questions:

    1. Do community colleges allow instructors who are also high school teachers to teach CC courses in the summer?

    2. What are the pros and cons of each environment? I teach at a university at the moment, and the biggest advantage is that there are relatively few discipline issues. The biggest con: not enough time in the classroom with the students. In high school, the biggest disadvantage was the massive workload involved (multiple preps, lots of grading and paperwork, etc.), but the length of each class allowed for a lot of freedom.

    Thoughts? Thanks in advance for your input!
     
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  3. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Feb 13, 2011

    I know of several high school teachers here who teach at one of the local CC's during the summer. So I think it's possible. Of course, your area will have its own rules.

    What field are you hoping to teach? I know that CC's receive a ton of applications from PhD's in areas like history and English. In those fields, competition can be fierce.
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Feb 13, 2011

    There were many HS teachers, and a few MS teachers who also taught at the CC where I worked. Not only did they teach over the summer, but taught courses in the evenings and on weekends as well. As long as you can get hired and there's a class in your discipline that works with the rest of your schedule, and you have the appropriate degree, you shouldn't have a problem.
     
  5. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Feb 13, 2011

    You should be able to get a job at a CC as long as you have a degree (I think preferably a masters or PhD) and there is an opening in your subject area. I know a number of teachers who teach at area CCs, usually in the evenings during the school year.

    There are a lot of pros to working at a CC, including not having to deal with AYP or parents. There's probably a lot less documentation and paperwork in general. There might be some flexibility in scheduling and you might be able to teach online courses or only one or two days per week or on the weekends or whatever suits you. Your students are adults, probably ones who are either returning to school or paying for it themselves--either of which makes them more likely to take things seriously and do their work. Behavior problems should be non-existent.

    Some cons might include lower pay and benefits. If you work part time, you likely won't have any sort of benefits and your pay might be much lower than you'd expect. Also, if you are part time, you might be subject to budget cuts and thus not have as much job security. A lot of the universities and colleges in my area cut their part time employees by as much as 80% when the economy started to turn.

    I've taught at the university level as well, and I really enjoyed it. One thing I didn't like was the whole "publish or perish" mentality, which is generally absent at the CC level. I think that teaching at a CC gives you the best of both worlds: freedom in your subject area and students who are adults and do their homework without the pressure to research and publish. I've often thought about moving to a CC, but I'm worried about losing the benefits I have in the public school system.
     
  6. Ron6103

    Ron6103 Habitué

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    Feb 13, 2011

    I teach high school during the school year and started teaching for a community college last summer (and will continue this summer). I absolutely love the change of pace, and the better discussions I can get from the students.

    The biggest difference for me was the length of each session. At the college, each class was 4 hours long (with short breaks provided). This required a major shift in my planning and teaching style. Otherwise, it was great. The pay was also quite good at the time (in comparison to my public school work).
     
  7. KatherineParr

    KatherineParr Comrade

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    Feb 13, 2011

    I wouldn't count on the absence of discipline issues. Many, many different kinds of people come to CCs for educational opportunity. As a result, you can get anything and everything from brilliance to outright crazy.

    I think CC teaching is a good option, and I agree with pretty much everything Caesar says about its benefits. Just be aware that grownup angry/unfocused/tired people can be as disruptive as any 12 year old.

    Also: are you talking about full time work or teaching at a CC on the side? Tenure-track positions at CCs are often very well paid and come with good benefits. That's why PhDs apply. There are plenty of easy-to-get adjunct positions teaching one or two classes. But a full time gig might prove a lot harder to get.
     
  8. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    Feb 14, 2011

    I teach high school and community college.
     
  9. sanjacteacher

    sanjacteacher Rookie

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    Feb 14, 2011

    My wife taught both high school and community college. She loved the transition.
     

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