Should I bother?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by FourSquare, Dec 8, 2009.

  1. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    After working within a classroom and running an after-school program, I'm seriously considering teaching as a career. I love working with the students and learning in general. I've also seen some of the not-so-fun sides of education like un-supportive administration and minimal resources. I feel like I could handle it. Problem is, I don't have a background in education at all, so I'd basically have to do school for two more years or get into an alternative certification program before teaching.

    I've applied to a few alt-cert programs/teacher residencies and the like, but assuming those don't work out, should I bother going back to grad school? The appeal of some alt-cert programs in that you're guaranteed a job after completing a fast program. If I just went back to school I'd have to hop in the applicant pool with everyone else. I'm confident in my abilities, but the job search is not sounding so fun from what I read on this board. Who knows what it will be like in 1-3 years, but I don't imagine there will be some job explosion where districts are dying for a master's level teacher with no experience. :(

    Should I just forget it? It will be costly and time-consuming to do school, and I just want to be realistic about my job-opportunities once I'm out. Is anyone familiar with population projections or "hot" states that might provide more opportunities in the future?

    Also, I am looking to teach K-5 which probably doesn't help any. I could do 6-8, but I'm a big fan of the self-contained classroom. :thanks:
     
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  3. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    I have asked myself if I should return to school. My biggest barrier is my age. By the time I would get done, I would be very old. That is why I decided not to return to school.

    But, if I were younger, I would return in a minute.
     
  4. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Blue, you'll be "very old" with or without the schooling.

    If this is something you want to do with your life, DO IT!! Don't spend the rest of your life regretting not even trying to get what you want!
     
  5. Mrs.DLC

    Mrs.DLC Comrade

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    Do you have a BA or BS degree? Some states allow you to start teaching and then take the classes. I know people here in FL who got a 3-year temp. certificate and then took the education classes while teaching. There are also tests that may be required to get a regular cert. The market isn't great, but there are jobs if you are able/willing to relocate. They may not be your ideal job, but may be a starting point! Good luck with your decision.
     
  6. guest_teacher

    guest_teacher Rookie

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    MsDippel, I don't need to tell you that you have a tough choice to make. It's great that you are weighing the pros and cons before deciding!

    With influential proponents like Michelle Rhee, alternative certification is en vogue right now. If you get in to an alternative program, there is no harm in trying it. Be aware that your eventual employer -- especially if it's an urban school district -- will be more interested in exploiting your energies and talents in the short term than in retaining you in the long term. This does not mean that you won't be able to make a successful career of teaching; it does mean that you will have to pace yourself, and consider switching districts as new opportunities arise.

    If you choose to go to graduate school, consider a field other than education. With a subject matter master's degree in hand, it will be relatively easy for you to become a teacher, if teaching jobs are available when you graduate. Conversely, it will be harder to find a non-teaching job if you obtain a master's degree in education. Key parts of the teacher certification process -- from exams to pre-service courses -- can be completed while you are pursuing a graduate degree in a different field. Find out about the requirements applicable in the states you're considering.

    Regarding the cost of graduate school, keep in mind that federal financial aid programs (notably, the Stafford and Perkins loan programs, and the new TEACH Grant program) offer advantageous terms to teachers. If you find a stable teaching job after you graduate, the federal government may forgive substantial amounts of student loan debt. Remember that this is a forward-looking opportunity: program rules could change at any time, and you would get nothing if you did not find a teaching job or if you were laid off by a school district before you coulf fulfill your service commitment.

    Hope this helps!
     
  7. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    1. Yes, I have a degree....but in Arts Management. Not exactly a content area. And I'm aware of emergency or temp certificates for certain districts, but look at how many highly qualified teachers are out of work. Who are they gonna take; me or somebody with a master's and a few years' experience?

    This is interesting. Say more. Is this from personal experience?

    For elementary too? I thought that mostly pertained to secondary or post-secondary teaching?
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    A number of years ago, an 89 year old woman registered in the GED program at the community college where I taught. She finished that when she was 91, then completed an AA at age 94. She transfered to a 4 year university with plans to major in English. I do not know whether or not she finished, but my guess is that if she didn't finish, she's either still working on it or has passed away. When asked why she returned to school at such an age, she said she spent her entire life taking care of her younger siblings, then her children, then her grandchildren and her great grand children. When those great grandchildren started high school, she decided it was time to do something for herself. If she's not too old to go back to school, nobody is.
     
  9. Beverly

    Beverly Comrade

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    I would say DO NOT limit yourself to early childhood or elementary. Go bilingual, ELL, special education, math, science, reading specialist... some type of specialist, because qualified Elem applicants are absolutely flooding the market. Also, look into tuition reimbursement. Some daycares offer reimbursement for undergrad classes but not graduate, and I believe there are some incentives for special education, but I don't know all the specifics. I just finished my master's and I wish I had done things differently. It's not unheard of for a principal in an elementary school in a podunk town to get 10,000 applications for one position.
     
  10. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    I wish my mother had gone back to school. She wanted to be a teacher, but her family would not let her go to college. She tried to make it on her own but life got in the way. I think she would have been a great teacher. If you think it will make you happy, I think you should go for it.

    BTW, my 4th and 5th grade teacher (had the same teacher 2 years in a row) was a career changer. She was probably 45 or 50 when I had her. She was amazing. In her first year she won all these awards. She just had more life experience and it made her a good educator.
     
  11. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    I couldn't have said it better myself!

    MsDippel, I say go for grad school. Hopefully in the spring, I'll be working on my 2nd Masters...& then, I think I'm done, unless I try for my PhD. ;)

    To Blue & everyone else, don't let age hinder you from doing anyting you want to do. Age is nothing, but a number.
     
  12. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I think....I'm gonna do it. I decided today. And it wasn't even that good of a day. :lol: My principal was snippy, the kids were wild, and I was forced to eat in the teacher's lounge due to testing and I had to listen to everyone gossip. But it just felt right when I was making my lesson plans and helping the kids after school.

    If I don't get an urban teacher residency I think I will do a master's with bi-lingual and sped endorsements. Hopefully in a couple years things will be different in the job market, and worse comes to worst I'll only be 24. Plenty of time to do something else if need be. Must be flexible, right?

    Lord, help me! :dunno:
     
  13. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Congrats on your decision!!
     
  14. gottagoodgig

    gottagoodgig Companion

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    If you don't try, are you always going to wonder "what if?"
     
  15. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

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    There's thousands and thousands of teachers waiting to see what the new health care reform bill is gong to be; there will be teachers retiring by the droves if they can retire and afford health insurance. Many are only working because of exorbitant insurance premiums. I'm predicting the job market for teachers will be at an all time high.

    Get your education whether you use it to teach or not. Learning is never a waste of time or money.
     
  16. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Just found out I passed the Illinois Basic Skills and Elementary/Middle certification tests! Yaaaaaay. Now I just need to get into grad school.

    Question: I am confused about my different options. I want to do mild/moderate sped and bi-lingual certification. Should I do a full-blown master's IN special ed....or do I get an MAEd with sped and bi-lingual endorsements? I intend to teach in a regular classroom for the most part, but I figured these two areas will help me in the inner city due to heavy inclusion and diversity within the student body. I would like to learn more about ELL, ADHD cases, and kids who struggle with other disabilities. Currently I feel really lost with these students!
     
  17. JackTrader

    JackTrader Comrade

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    Congradulations, MsDippel!!
     
  18. Kangaroo22

    Kangaroo22 Virtuoso

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    No advice, but congratulations on passing the tests!
     
  19. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

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    I strongly suggest calling some local schools and asking to talk to the principles. Several are too busy to talk to you, but you are likely to find a couple who will talk frankly to you. These are the people you need to hear.

    Endorsements are an important part of it. They determine what you can be hired to do. It is also important to understand what you would be doing. Principles can answer these questions and more, find one who will talk to you about getting into this profession. They have a tremendous amount of wisdom.
     
  20. Beverly

    Beverly Comrade

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    My principles sometimes answer my moral questions, however they are difficult to talk to. Principals are vital sources of educational experience and wisdom to be consulted.

    This was burning my eyes, sorry.
     
  21. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    :rofl:
     
  22. guest_teacher

    guest_teacher Rookie

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    MsDippel, congratulations on your decision to pursue teaching!

    I want to respond to two questions before this thread goes "below the fold".

    My comment about alternative certification was based on my reading. One of the artciles was a feature on Michelle Rhee, Teach for America, etc. The comment was that the sponsors of the program knew that most of the participants would not make a career of teaching, but that it would be good to have them for a few years. This pattern is borne out by different studies, although one must be cautious in making comparisons, because attrition rates in urban districts are high to begin with.

    I do work in a hard-to-staff district with an urban profile (although we are located in a suburban area). I can sum up the human resources policy in two words: "new meat". Attrition rates are high and yet concern about retention is low. My district relies on a steady stream of new teachers to keep its classrooms staffed.

    My suggestion about getting a master's degree in a field other than education and then becoming a teacher applies even more to the elementary division than to the secondary division. Here in California, new secondary teachers can demonstrate subject matter competency either on the basis of a degree program or an examination. New elementary teachers cannot use any degree program for this purpose; they must pass an exam.

    In California, at least, an undergraduate or graduate major outside the field of education does not create a disadvantage, and it can create a big advantage when there are no teaching jobs.
     
  23. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    That's interesting. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I like school, so maybe I can just do two degrees. :lol: I would really want one to be in teaching methods though since I do not come from an education background. As much as I have a bone to pick with traditional education programs, there's something to be said about learning theory, lesson planning, classroom management, etc. I wouldn't even know where to start really...I can make the room look really pretty with charts and word walls, but I probably wouldn't know how to apply them anywhere. :dunno:

    I just know that I loved to learn in school and I want other kids to feel that way, especially students in under-resourced districts. There are a multitude of reasons why these children get a poor education, but having an unenthusiastic teacher with low standards should not be one of them.
     

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