Should i be feeding into this negativity?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by ROE_Wedge, Jan 18, 2010.

  1. ROE_Wedge

    ROE_Wedge Rookie

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    Jan 18, 2010

    A bit of a funny title i know...


    I just recently graduated with my BA in Philosophy (best education i have ever received) and have a solid science/social science background. I work part time as a medic and have had 6 years in the military. Basically, i do not like to work normal jobs and i like to help others. I have been considering teaching secondary school in the sciences for a variety of reasons (rewarding career, not your regular everyday job, a chance to make a difference etc).

    However, when i started doing research on these and other forums, i become absolutely swamped by the negative responses about becoming a teacher. Whether it be a problem with kids, parents, administration, or education policy as a whole it makes it seem like the message is "Good teachers are needed.. but please stay away".

    I understand that most people who come to post usually have a problem that they seek advice on, and that could be why there are negative posts about seeking this as a career. Is there any positive comments that i could possibly fish for amongst a sea of negative ones about a teaching career?
     
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  3. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Jan 18, 2010

    I'm surprised that you found so many negative comments here on this site. I find that the A to Z community is generally positive and supportive.

    It's possible that what you're reading as negativity here are really posts describing the real world of teaching, which is a lot more than making a difference in the lives of students. Of course that's why we all became teachers, but I do think it's important that potential teachers really understand what it's like in the classroom, for real. It's a dirty job, with bureaucracy, frustrations, and more stress than most non-teachers realize. I would hate for someone to go into teaching just for the summers off and the grand, idealized belief that teaching is standing in front of a group of compliant, thoughtful learners who raise their hands and do their homework. It's not that way. As long as you know that and are willing to work with that, it's fantastic. :) I love being a teacher, despite all the problems that we hear about and encounter every day.
     
  4. Securis

    Securis Cohort

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    Jan 18, 2010

    It's no bed of roses. It's actually quite a bit of hard work. There are dozens and dozens of things that I dislike about being a teacher and they always get outweighed by that one time when a single child "gets it". I live for that moment. I may not be patient for it. I may not recognize it every time. I may likely complain ever other second about things that do not really matter but I know the rewards are great, intrinsically speaking. I wouldn't trade that one moment for any other job.
     
  5. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Jan 18, 2010

    It's a rough world out there. I wouldn't want anybody to see a teaching career through rose colored glasses. It's a tough, sometimes dirty job, but there's nothing else I'd rather be doing, (that is, of course, if I could get a teaching job again).

    Right now, the job market is brutal. It's a little less brutal if you teach math or science, and/or are willing to teach in the inner city, but it's still tough to find a job.

    Any potential teacher needs to know these things upfront. If you're prepared for the realities of teaching, it makes dealing with the negatives a lot less difficult.

    Also, as others have said, the positives far outweigh the negatives in my book. Every moment of stress and frustration is worth it when those moments that you realize you've really made a difference happen. I still have a letter from a student thanking me for believing in her and a project from another student labeled " ______'s best project ever" and then in smaller letters "I never thought I could do it, thanks Ms. MM". I will always remember the student who told me he refused to join his friends in a shoplifting spree because he was afraid of dissapointing me, nor the gratitude of another student when I chronicled a bathroom remodel in pictures so he could see it stage by stage. Every moment of stress is worth it when these things happen.

    If you really want to teach, then go for it, but be prepared for the realities of teaching. Come to think of it, that's good advise for any career choice.
     
  6. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    Jan 18, 2010

    It's an amazing job! I find there to be some frustrations here and there, but not many like the other folks have said. Perhaps you could ask a local science teacher if you could volunteer and you can look at the whole experience and decide if it is right for you! Good luck!
     
  7. ROE_Wedge

    ROE_Wedge Rookie

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    Jan 18, 2010

    I would be worried if it were a bed of roses. No job is what they try to make it out to be. They will all have their challenges. I just wanted to make sure i could hear some positive aspects about this job other than the glorified recruiting poster sort of comments. Thank you for the comments so far!
     
  8. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Jan 18, 2010

    ANY job has it's share of problems. I can only imagine some of the situations you go into as a medic :eek:hmy:

    EVERY job has it's share of politics, cliques, backstabbers and slackers. I've worked in a number of different industries and settings and found this to be true in every one.

    However, there are some very tangible rewards that go along with teaching; relatively secure industry (despite current situation), decent job security, good benefits and decent pay.

    But the main thing about teaching are the intangible rewards - the type of rewards available in only a very few occupations. The light in the eyes of a kid who suddenly "gets it" when you're teaching a lesson, the praise of a parent whose child was struggling before, comments mentioned already about being a direct influence on the life and achievements of kids in addition to a guiding influence on shaping their character.

    Very few jobs offer these types of rewards - and they offset ALL of the negative stuff any day of the week.
     
  9. ROE_Wedge

    ROE_Wedge Rookie

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    Jan 19, 2010

    You know Cerek when you put it like that i guess there is a lot of crazy situations i go into as a medic. I wonder why i let any other job worry me?! :).

    Thank you for the insight. There are a lot of positive aspects to teaching and i really do think i need to try my hand at it. I heard it is best to either shadow someone or substitute teach.
     
  10. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Jan 19, 2010

    A big part of it is also seasonal.

    It's January-- probably the hardest part of the year. The kids have cabin fever, Christmas is a distant memory, and spring is a long ways off. The kids are restless, the teachers are restless, and there's still a LOT of work to cover.

    Talk to us in August and September. Everyone is oozing optimism.

    I love teaching high school. Even on the rough days, there's no other job in the world for me.

    To quote the ad for the marines: it's "the toughest job you'll ever love."
     
  11. cutNglue

    cutNglue Magnifico

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    Jan 19, 2010

    One of the reasons you will see a lot of "problems" and "negativity" on here is because we come here for support as much as we do ideas. Those I think are equally weighted on this board. The positive comments and moments where we talk about the student "getting it" and so forth is less frequent but still around on these boards. When we spew what looks like negativity on these boards, we are really looking for support from each other because the pressures of the job ARE hard and we can't always vent or ask the same kinds of questions from our co-workers. The biggest thing I learn from these boards is how not to get tunnel vision from working with the same people with the same ideas and the same problems all the time. Here I learn what to expect, how to deal with issues as they come, how to deal with the pressure and how to stay motivated. I learn new tricks of the trade to add to my bag. I learn new ideas and approaches to lessons. This IS my support. I get some at work too but this place has the luxury of having new and veteran teachers from every socioeconomic sector and every subject. I learn from that. I also learn what to take in stride because certain pressures and topics come up frequently and it lets me know that I'm not alone and that I get through it with a little time and patience. Do I enjoy my job? Yes. Do I like every part of my job? No. I sometimes DO feel overwhelmed by all the pressure that is on me. The teaching part itself though is, in my opinion, the easiest part. It's the rest of the stuff you have to learn how to deal with and with time, wisdom and support we grow and learn professionally.

    I personally find vents to be valuable. I don't want too much of it, but I need to know I'm not alone in feeling the way I do. I can't vent to my co-workers quite the same way I can here. So when you see some of these posts, know that they do serve a purpose. They help alleviate stress we are feeling and gives us a chance to gain support, wisdom and tricks of the trade to help us learn and grow and deal with the negative parts of the job. After all, dealing with the fun parts of the job...well....that's just easy. We don't need extra support to enjoy ourselves. Sometimes we like to toot our horns though and I think that does offer a boost to our own spirits as well.
     
  12. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jan 19, 2010

    I read positive posts here everyday-people talking about successes in the classroom. Have even posted a few myself ;).

    I do agree that often people come here with a dilemma, to vent or for advice on a sticky situation. Teachers work with a lot of other people-co-workers, parents, kids - people are human and can cause stress for others. We had a brand-new teacher quit this year after about 3 weeks-she didn't think it would be "so hard". That's what we try to avoid in being upfront about the issues you will face as a teacher; we want people to know going in, so it doesn't come as a surprise. Honestly, a lot of the stressful things you will have to deal with they don't teach you about in education classes, it comes from experience - we are just sharing that experience-maybe someone else will learn from our mistakes.
     
  13. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    Jan 19, 2010

    It's a shame we don't all write about everything wonderful that goes on in our classrooms, but we just dont'.

    I can't imagine myself in other career, it has it's ups and downs. I'm so thankful for my job, my students, and my time off. :)
     
  14. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Jan 19, 2010

    This is a great forum for grousing and getting support during the tough times. At the same time, this is where we share our greatest successes and triumphs over huge obstacles. I refer to this site as my online support group because that is, in essence, what we are to each other.

    Read the negative and the positive in turns and then go out and decide which one seems to fit into your perspective. Observe a class if you can or jump into one, either by volunteering or even subbing. Good luck!
     
  15. BB0211

    BB0211 Companion

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    Jan 19, 2010

    I understand that reading all the posts may be discouraging at first glance, but there is a lot of learning taking place here. We exchange ideas, we vent, we ask for support...it's a community of coworkers who-because we are faceless and usually nameless-can say things we could not with our school coworkers.

    I can say for myself I feel much more comfortable saying what I really feel about a situation..because although I may be judged still, there are no long-term repercussions.

    Teaching really does have so many rewards...when you EARN them!

    Good luck to you and I say trust your intinct. Only you know if this is the right field for you.
     
  16. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Jan 19, 2010

    You hit it on the spot. Where else can I walk out of the classroom with a smile on my face? When the kids thank you and wish you a nice day? And be moved when a child craves your attention because he doesn't get it at home?
     
  17. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 19, 2010

    Like any job, it has its positives and negative. A lot of it depends on what school in what district you land. It helps to be in a school with good administration. Keep in mind that some student populations are very challenging. The workload does not seem to over end. I worked until 2:30, tutored until 3:30, and am still preparing things for work (rubrics, updating class website, writing out center instructions, grading, etc.). But, this is a very rewarding job, and I love it. My first graders are excited about learning, and are eager to please. This is not an easy job, and it seems that many outside of our profession seem to think that teachers have it easy. They have no idea! We put endless hours into our jobs, and for much lower pay compared to other jobs. But at the end of the day, we do this because most of us love it and believe in what we are doing. Teaching is not for everyone, but having the passion for it makes all the difference.
     
  18. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Jan 19, 2010

    I'm curious, ROE Wedge, what exactly do you consider a "normal" job? Working in an office every day? If that's your basis for comparison, teaching certainly isn't that. It's many things. We don't stand up and lecture to an audience of rapt listeners. We have to reach the kid who rushes through the work and the kid who refuses to do the work. We look for hearing difficulties, speech difficulties and vision difficulties. We hear more than we want to hear about students' home lives and we attend meetings we don't have time for, talk to parents who don't have time for us and deal with fallout from people who believe politicians running for office on the premise that all of us are uncaring, lazy and unqualified for our jobs. We have too much paperwork and don't get paid enough for the hours we put in.

    If that's what you consider the complaining, yes, in a certain sense it is, but every job is going to have things that are not your favorite part of the job.

    Good things about it? People have mentioned students coming back to thank them for helping them and believing in them. We also get hugs and an occassional flower plucked from a random garden on the walk to school. We celebrate each holiday and we learn as we teach.

    Most importantly--and I've heard it said before--teaching is a calling. If you're looking at it as an alternative to working in an office building, you won't last long. There has to be a voice in your head telling you that this is what you need to do with your life.

    If it's been a while since you've been in a classroom, why not volunteer to work a few hours with some students to see if you enjoy being with the age group?
     
  19. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    Jan 19, 2010

    I agree with what Jen said. Teaching is a calling.

    Beneath the venting, a common thread here on this site at least is PASSION for teaching kids. While we may vent and seek alternatives to problems, I think most, if not all, teachers here desperately want to do their best because our clients are so important to us. This is a hard job to do well but the rewards are worth it. And I'm not talking about the salaries!
     
  20. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

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    Jan 20, 2010

    The stresses of teaching are insane IMO.

    Not normal or realistic and manageable stress either. For me to be told that I must have 88% of my 5th graders passing every test, every week or I can be fired....
    well some were on a 1st grade reading level, 2 were heavily medicated which interfered with their staying awake in class and working effectively and paying attention, one would miss 3 days a week---every week---unexcused, one would miss half the school year and was only back in school because mom was about to be arrested for truancy, 2 defiant ones would always "crash and burn" from exhaustion...it goes on and on.

    Lots of unexcused absences and missing days just to get their hair done? I'd have to reteach what they missed, reteach anyone who failed a test and keep reteaching and retesting them until they passed, and teach the new material which moved way too fast.

    I still loved my students and don't blame them for anything one bit. It's the system that's the problem. Why should I be blamed for things I cannot control? Are doctors blamed when their patients don't show up for their appointments or don't take their medicine?

    Anyway, I can type forever because what I typed above was only a tiny part of my feeling dehumanized, so let me shut up and say

    I truly have a calling and passion for teaching, as strong as anyone's out there; however, I have to sadly say that the passion, calling, and rewards were not enough to keep me in my former job nor or they enough for me to attempt being a regular public classroom teacher in the near future. (I am carefully looking into private school, homebound, or Title 1 positions)

    ROE, don't take the negativity and horror stories lightly because they are somebody's reality and they are becoming more widespread.
     
  21. ROE_Wedge

    ROE_Wedge Rookie

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    Jan 20, 2010

    I just want to explain a couple things. No this is not an alternative to an office job. When i say i have never worked a normal job i mean that i do jobs that are not 9-5, change scope just about everyday, and that i have new challenges thrown at me. I want a job where i feel like i can make a difference and that i never look at it as a "job" but as you said "a calling". (interesting note: that whole concept is very Puritanical, it is very integrated into American society today whether or not someone is religious.) I would NEVER do a job that i did not have some passion for. Unless of course it was coming down to survival :). However, that is not to say that i would not try my best at anything i do, even if i do not like it that much.

    Thank you all for the advice you have given me. I will definitely look into observing and/or substituting ASAP. I know that this place functions well as a support group and it certainly should continue! The purpose of my post was to just fish a few positive aspects to this job in order to ensure a well rounded research. A lot of blog sites, articles, etc usually have a lot of people getting on and talking about how it was the worst job of all time, how they could never make it by financially, never find a job, etc. I am used to working the odd hours and having to leave at a moments notice (i am actually on call right now!) I am also used to working the 12 hour days. I do this fine even though i have Narcolepsy, which i hope no one ever holds against me.

    While i am thinking about it, do any of you have teachers that are in the national guard/reserves?
     

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