Several questions

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by kdm31091, Dec 4, 2006.

  1. kdm31091

    kdm31091 New Member

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    Dec 4, 2006

    Hi. My name is Kevin, I live in Delaware, and I’m 15 years old but have always wanted to be an elementary school teacher (3rd, 4th, or 5th grade level would be good for me). I always used to play school, love making plans, grading (well, I’ve pretended to do it before – lol), I love decorating rooms (which is a small part of teaching too!), and I like the teaching basic schedule – I know teachers aren’t “done” at 3pm, but I still enjoy the type of job as teaching with a set schedule, and I am disciplined enough that I think I would do all my weekend work for teaching on Friday, so I’d still have Saturday and Sunday for myself.

    Is it realistic to think I can get most work done Fridays after school and Saturday mornings perhaps? Or do you teachers put in all-weekend work usually? Is elementary a good way to go? I like it because: less kids to teach (middle/high you have many classes) so you form better relationships with them; more fun to teach (no confinement to one subject); and (among many other reasons)! I am gay, and I realize that younger kids won’t pick up on it or harass me, because they simply won’t know (I’m not flaming or fruity in ANY way…)

    The point is, I have some teaching questions.

    1) As asked. How do teachers work on the weekends? Is doing most of my weekend work on Fridays and early Saturdays a realistic idea?
    2) Do you honestly get summers off is there requirements for you during the summer like meetings or such?
    3) This is a LITTLE unrelated, but is college hard? I’m worried that keeping a high GPA (as is required in college) will be hard or difficult. I’m not dumb. My high school GPA average is about 2.8, which is just a plain old B. Is the fact that my high school performance is pretty average going to hurt me terribly? Also, can you really do your bachelor's in 2.5 years with summer classes? that sounds really good to me! :)
    4) Is becoming a teacher EXTREMELY hard, or fairly doable? The reason I want to know is because I am not prepared for huge levels of doctor-level work to become a teacher, but I figure it is more moderate, not easy, not extremely hard either.
    5) Any tips/advice/etc for a teenager aspiring to be a teacher?
    6) Doesn’t the pay improve yearly? My mom told me teachers are fairly in demand at the moment, and starting salaries are about $30-35k, which, combined with my partner (yes, I believe we will be together; he wants to be a teacher too!) would be enough to live in an apartment together, right? Would we be able to support ourselves and have minimal extras (be able to buy food, snacks, a nice tv etc on the combined salary of about 60k)?
    7) Pros/cons in general of being a teacher?

    By the way - I want to teach in either Pennsylvania, New Jersey (preferred possibly) or Delaware. My teaching lisence/cert would be good in all states right? No hassle? Cause most of my college ideas are in PA but I probably wanna teach in NJ. Good districts in any of those states, with good benefits and such to balance the low pay? Which of the 3 states has the lowest living costs, taxes etc? Which of the three is best to be certified in, which one has the biggest demand that won't go away in the next 5 years?

    And in any or all of three of those states, two starting teachers together could support themselves in an apartment (one bedroom so probably like 700-900 monthly)? Thankfully, we already have a bedroom set (mine, I get to take when I move), and a couch, etc so at least not as much to buy initially for living.

    One more question - do apartments (yes, I'm stupid lol) have "home" insurance or just the rent + electric etc?

    Sorry for so many requests – I’m eager to learn about this! It’s so fascinating to me. I can already picture my classroom…already know some ways I want to organize things!

    Thanks!
    -Kevin
     
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  3. ellen_a

    ellen_a Groupie

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    Dec 5, 2006

    Welcome to the forums! :D

    I won't answer every question but here are a few responses...

    Generally speaking, a doctorate will not be required to teach; if you are pursuing administration positions or teaching at the college level, a doctorate may be necessary/advisable. Becoming a teacher is not extremely hard, but it does require work. Many states require teachers to obtain a masters degree, and all require ongoing professional development, often in the form of courses.

    Yes, the pay typically improves yearly. Most districts publish pay scales on their websites so you can investigate this very easily. A combined salary of 60k would likely be quite sufficient for funding an apartment; make sure you are considering concerns like school loans, insurance, etc. when selecting the actual apartment.

    I would caution you to investigate your mother's statement about teachers being fairly in demand--many areas of the country are saturated with teachers seeking work (go check out the job seekers board!). I'm not saying don't pursue teaching, but be aware of the job climate in the various certification and geographical areas you are considering.

    The easiest way to determine reciprocity is to check each state's DOE website or to call the DOE. In checking PA's, PA does have reciprocity with both NJ and DE, but additional testing is often required despite reciprocity.

    Tenants have renter's insurance available to them; some states (like NY) mandate the purchase of this.
     
  4. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Dec 5, 2006

    Hey Kevin! Here are some quick answers to your questions...I'm a high school teacher in the South, so grain of salt.

    You will work after school every day. Not all teachers take work home, but I think most probably do at some point or another. If you are a diligent worker, you can probably take most Saturday afternoons and Sundays off.


    I teach summer school, so I don't get much time off. But there are generally no requirements (an occasional workshop, maybe) during the summer. A lot of teachers start itching to get in their rooms in August, though, and begin getting things set up. Oh, and you mentioned decorating. I actually think that's a huge part of being a teacher. Not that your room must be trendy and fashionable, but that it should be a reflection of you and a place where kids are in a safe learning environment.


    Bachelor's in 2.5 years? Yeah, probably not...especially with student teaching. Maybe someone else can weigh in here. But is it hard? I'm not sure. My undergraduate degree is Literature (which was laborious if nothing else), and I have a secondary English certification (which required the student teaching and about 30 other credit hours). Was it hard? Um...it was time-consuming and physically demanding. Man, student teaching is sometimes rough. You are working full time and paying someone else for the right to do it. Manage your money well, and be prepared for it.


    You don't need a PhD or EdD to be a teacher. Many teachers have Master's degrees, but not nearly all of them do. [/QUOTE]


    Enroll in teacher-prep classes if your high school offers them. Mine does, and many kids who want to be teachers take the courses. And make good contacts. In other words, make sure a few college professors notice you. Teaching is one of those professions where references are important and good references are very helpful.


    By the time you two are teachers, your combined starting pay will be more like 80K-90K, depending on where you live. Heck, maybe more.


    Read the threads on this forum. All of them.


    Renter's insurance, as Ellen_a mentioned. It's very inexpensive and
    may be required by law in your state.

    Stupid? No, you're young. When my wife and I got married, I'm surprised we survived, knowing as little as we did about these things.

    Good luck.
     
  5. kdm31091

    kdm31091 New Member

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    Are online colleges a good idea? I feel I might be happier and more motivated working at home for college instead of going to a campus. But is online credible enough these days? :(
     
  6. Mr. M

    Mr. M Rookie

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    Dec 5, 2006

    I would caution against it. Yes, there are universities that offer degrees via distance learning, but accredidation is an issue.

    Teaching is a profession that requires your presence. In a classroom. With other people.

    I vote for face-to-face classes at a traditional university. Anyone else have any thoughts?
     
  7. ozteach

    ozteach Comrade

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    Dec 5, 2006

    My undergraduate degree was on campus, masters by distance. I think it's good to do some time on campus - make contacts etc, especially if you're just starting. Besides, it's FUN on campus!!

    think about attending college at least for the first year or so, you might enjoy it!
     
  8. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Dec 5, 2006

    It really depends on what age kids you like. I'd go out of my mind if I had to teach elementary kids. They drive me nuts. I perfer the older kids. I like being able to teach one subject I really enjoy, and I like the older kids.

    Certain times of the year and certain years I'm busier than others. Typically I bring most things home during the first two and last two weeks of the school year. That's several hours every night . . . just because of being so much extra stuff to do those times of the year. The rest of the time I pretty much work for a few hours on Sunday afternoons. I occassionally bring other things home, but not usually things I have to do right then, just things I need to get finished and might as well do then. Sometimes during my planning time I just need a break, and I'd rather take the work home.

    We have a certain number of in-service hours we have to get, and I usually have a workshop or two to attend.

    Some of my classes were hard, especially some of the classes that weren't actually my area . . . like chemistry. I had to work harder in some classes than others. I actually did better in grad school because all of the classes were in my field, English, and I liked it.

    I've known people who finished a bachelor's in 3 years, but not 2.5. The main problem is that you're going to be limited to the number of classes offered in summer.

    I guess "hard" depends on what you're teaching, where you're teaching, and how ambitious you are. I would find teaching kindergarten hard because I'm not a little kid person.

    As I said earlier, I enjoyed my masters and found it easier because I like the classes. They're actually hard classes, but I just like them and they didn't seem hard. My state requires a masters or rank certificate within 10 years to keep certification. I taught full time and got my masters in six semesters taking night classes during the fall & spring and day classes in the summer.

    Work hard! Find a mentor, too. Several of my former teachers were willing to help me along the way.

    The pay increases with experience and certification here. I earn $3000 more per year since I got my masters. There are also some extra duties that increase your pay some.[/quote]

    [qote]Pros/cons in general of being a teacher?[/quote]

    There are tons of each. Stick around and read.

    The best thing to do is check around. I happen to live in an area with a low cost of living. My income (teacher with 14 years experience & a masters) and my husband's job (less than part time) is enough to support us comfortably. Our house payment is about $100 less than one of my friends pays for her apartment rent. There's not much around here, but we do have good housing prices. We paid $82,000 for our house in 2000. A house the same size--and on 1/3 of the lot--in the town 50 miles from here will run you $350,000 easy!
     
  9. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Just a side note: College is not just about intellegence. A lot of it is dilligence and perserverence.

    I will give you an inspiring story of my neighbor. He was a D student in high school and he jokes that they kicked him out just to get rid of him and his attitude. He joined the military. 18 years later he decides he wants a career when he retires from the service. His job in the service required little from him mentally. He was required to practice blowing up stuff and prep others to do the same. Going back into college the counselors told him to pursue something less mentally demanding and something along the lines of the skills he might already be using. He wanted something that made more money so he chose computers. They cautioned that it required tons of higher math and he was not well suited for it. They tried to actually talk him out of it. He insisted that he was ready and signed up against their advice. He graduated last month with a 3.8GPA with his Bachelors and is now getting ready for his Masters. He was working full time the entire time. I guess my point is you can do whatever you set your mind to do but you should go in knowing that you will have to work for it and really want it. Aim high!

    One reason why some young college students don't do as well is they treat classes like they did in high school...half way. Again, work hard and AIM HIGH and you will make it perfectly fine.
     
  10. kdm31091

    kdm31091 New Member

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    I'm a little nervous. My high school cuum. GPA as of now is only 2.3. Are there any colleges that would be okay with that? I'm really scared, even though I'm only a sophmore.
     
  11. JHenry

    JHenry Rookie

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    Dec 5, 2006

    I completely agree with this. College is mostly about dedication. College is hard in general in comparison to high school but it is also a much more enjoyable experience.

    In college its key to keep up with the readings, study, and put in the effort.

    Some people have a hard time adjusting to college.

    I also know of people who did not do well in high school that did quite well in college and I also know people who were valedictorians in high school that flunked out of college.

    Well you still have time to raise your GPA.

    Just be confident and study hard.
     
  12. boogaboo214

    boogaboo214 Companion

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    Dec 7, 2006

    If you can over the summer or if a surrounding county goes to school longer than your county for a few weeks or starts earlier. go talk to the principle of the school and see if you can volunteer in a classroom so that you can get the feel and 1 or 2 days in a real working classroom will answer a lot of questions.

    as for college, I go to college in tennessee and I will start on my bachelors in the fall but tennessee only requires a bachelors to teach but you have to continue classes and workshops as a professional development.

    for my program you only have to maintain a 2.75 GPA but to me my Gpa is everything, I is the key to scholarships and a lot of other stuff. i have a 3.75 now. I don't know about other places, but at my school the easiness of the class is all in the professor(anyone else agree?) you can have one professor that is impossible to make an a with and another that is so easy you have to put forth little effort. so ask around see what professors other students suggest, you can pick your teachers in college. Make friends with a couple of good professors this can always help. Also check your teachers out on ratemyprofessor.com it has other people's opinions of professors that they have had. GOOD LUCK!!! And work hard!!
     

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