Should I leave my current career to teach?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bsum, Jul 23, 2010.

  1. bsum

    bsum Rookie

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    Jul 23, 2010

    Hello all,

    Has anyone else ever left behind another career to pursue teaching? While I certainly understand that this is a personal decision I must ultimately make myself, I was curious if anyone had any thoughts on this or have actually changed careers over to teaching and have any advice on the process.

    I'm currently a manager in an insurance claims office (7 years now) and the work has grown quite boring. The reason I'm thinking of teaching is that the part of the job I enjoy the most is coaching and teaching new employees. While I understand this is not identical to teaching in a school setting, I really do like the feeling I get from helping someone understand a new concept. I would be taking the alternative teacher certification (Texas) route.

    Thanks for any thoughts!
     
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  3. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2010

    I'm a career changer, too, and I did an alternative certification program in Texas. Which program are you thinking of using?

    It's harder to get your foot in the door for that first year of teaching as an alt. candidate, but once you've completed the first year and have your standard, it doesn't really matter how you obtained your certificate.

    It's difficult to find teaching jobs just about anywhere these days, and schools do prefer teachers with some experience (even just student teaching) over an alternative candidate with no experience. It's not unusual to work at a charter school your first year with the hopes of moving to an ISD later on.
     
  4. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2010

    Oh, I should probably mention that I am WAY more satisfied and fulfilled with my teaching career than I was when I was an office manager. Even on the really difficult, stressful days, it's fun to be around the kids and know that what you do really matters.

    I had the mother of a special ed student stop me in the hall and thank me for working with her child last year. She said, "I don't know what you did, but my daughter has made more progress this year than she ever has with any other teacher." That's why we do what we do.
     
  5. tb71

    tb71 Cohort

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    Jul 23, 2010

    I did this. I just finished my 1st year of teaching. Before I was teaching I was an office manager for 8 yrs.
    A few things to consider, make sure you get into a good ACP program, I used Region IV. I have heard of a few others out there and I'm not sure of the cost difference but Region IV was great, very supportive. With region IV you have a choice of being a student teacher for 12wks or teaching with a probationary cert the first year. I was lucky and got a job and was able to teach with the prob. cert. However, my job is 42 miles from my house. This year I applied to several schools and I got a few interviews but it just didn't work out. I will be going back to the same school as last year, which I do love the people I work with I just wish it was closer. I have heard that it's been harder the last couple of years to get a position. Overall, I am very glad I did it.
     
  6. bsum

    bsum Rookie

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    Thanks for the reply.
    Actually I could use a recommendation for a good alt program as well. There seems to be so many!

    I wasn't aware that it's difficult to find a teaching job right now. I certainly need to factor that into the decision. I thought I had read somewhere that alot of teachers were retiring (boomers I guess) and new teachers were in demand but you can't believe everything you read obviously.
     
  7. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    Jul 23, 2010

    I just sent you a PM with my opinions on ACPs.

    One of the problems with teacher training programs is that they DON'T tell you that it's hard to get a job. All those Texas Teachers billboards that say "Wanna teach? When can you start?" drive me NUTS. Yes, at some point, you'll probably get a job. Will it be your dream job? Maybe, maybe not.

    My first year, I was at a sketchy charter school, but it allowed me to fulfill my one year internship and get my standard, which allowed me to move onto my dream job. It just takes time, but eventually you'll get where you want to be.
     
  8. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jul 23, 2010

    :welcome: bsum!!!

    The programs I've heard of are ITeachTexas and the regional service centers around the state. Since the economy tanked, many teachers who were going to retire are sticking around for a few more years so there aren't as many openings as were expected. Also, many districts are tightening their belts and not replacing some positions (this happened in my district). And of course, colleges are cranking teachers out left and right so not only are you competing against experienced teachers coming from other states or who were let go, you have new graduates as well. As heymiss stated, some districts won't look at alternative certification candidates; however, my sister is an ACP and did student teaching and she didn't have any trouble getting a job. Of course that was 4 years ago.
     
  9. heymiss

    heymiss Comrade

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    I just wanted to mention that in no way am I discouraging anyone from enrolling in an ACP. It was the route I took, and the only one really available to me at the time as a full time MBA student. Just be careful about the ones you choose. If you're interested in working for a certain district, check with them first and make sure they accept your program. They generally cost about $4k, so if you find one for $99.99, it's probably best to steer clear of that one.
     
  10. bsum

    bsum Rookie

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    Thanks for the reply. Can I ask were you able to still work while going to classes through Region IV? I assume they have night classes?
    Glad to hear that it worked out for you!
     
  11. bsum

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    Ah, that makes sense with the economy and all.
    Now I'm wondering how those hiring would view a fresh college grad with no real-world experience versus an ACP candidate with real-world (albeit not teaching) experience. :confused:
    I'm probably over-thinking it and just need to decide whether or not to do it and let the chips fall where they may!
     
  12. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    To be blunt, I think that rumor was circulated by the same people who invented the "teacher shortage."

    I think the reality is that many boomers who had hoped to retire have seen their retirement funds and pensions pretty much disappear.

    That said, if you're hoping for math, Chem or Physics, the outlook will always be good. Just about any other specialty, and things are a bit less encouraging. And every year, in just about every district and school, SOME people DO leave and there are jobs. They're just much less plentiful than the media would have us believe.
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Every district is different....I haven't figured out what makes a P hire someone over someone else. If teaching is something that you really want to do, then go for it!!
     
  14. HeatherY

    HeatherY Habitué

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    Biggest lie of the decade!
     
  15. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Jul 24, 2010

    I changed careers (in my forties) and am VERY happy.

    It likely will be hard to find a job. Teaching is much harder than I anticipated. I make a lot less money than I did before. I'm so glad I changed.
     
  16. DrivingPigeon

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    That and districts are taking advantage of retirements. My school has seen 2 retirements in the past 2 years, but the teachers weren't replaced. Class sizes just increased.

    There definitely isn't a shortage. About half of my college friends that I keep in touch with still don't have a teaching job, and I graduated in 2007.
     
  17. shikshak

    shikshak Rookie

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    Jul 24, 2010

    Changing carreer to teaching

    I changed from a lucrative career for similar reason. I also loved teaching new employees in my company. Teaching kids is totally different than teaching adults. Now i wish i could reverse my decision. In addition, the laws are skewed too much against teachers (in most states). It is becoming very demanding. Expectations from teachers are very very high and teachers have very little power over students to be effective. We are made responsible for students' scores even if they do not do homework, nor study for tests.
    This is my view, from the trenches. Someone else may have different view.
    Good luck in your decision

     
  18. bsum

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    Jul 26, 2010

    Thanks all for the feedback!
     
  19. ecochick

    ecochick Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2010

    I left a career in healthcar to persue teaching 4 years ago. I teach middle grades science and didn't have any trouble finding a job. I think it all depends on where you live. In some areas there is a teacher shortage and in others not so much. Right now one district very near me, is still looking for high school math teachers and school starts in 2 weeks.
     
  20. Genmai

    Genmai Companion

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    Jul 26, 2010

    1. Market sucks; drive is important.
    The job market is wretched in most places right now and may not improve for a few more years. Job market conditions aside, the most important consideration is fit. If you are convinced that being a teacher is what God put you on Earth to do, then you'll weather any type of recession and land a teaching job because your drive and motivation will get you where you want to be. My suggestion is to keep your job and do some homework on the side.

    2. Get experience before you take the plunge.
    To know if it is for you, you need to get experience in a classroom. Take a bit of time off from your job. Volunteer or sub in a variety of classrooms - rural, suburban, urban, public, private, religious, charter, vocational, etc. Every school is different from the next, and real classroom experience is critical.

    If you land a job in an inner city school, classroom management becomes a *much* more challenging issue which may or may not suit you. If you land a job in a posh private school, classroom management is arguably less of an issue, but then you have the high-maintenance parent management issues which some feel are worse. There are countless types of schools out there. Keep an open mind and get experience in as many classrooms as possible in as many types of schools as possible.

    Speaking to working teachers is also a good idea. Most teachers are pretty good about sharing. I'm not a fan of education professors because I feel that many are clueless about real conditions in real classrooms and prefer to stress theories over properly preparing students for the everyday realities of a teacher's life (go figure). Speak to the folks who work in the trenches and avoid getting advice from the ivory tower.

    3. Math, Physics and Chemistry are good bets.
    Compared to a 1000+ applicants for every elementary job opening, a secondary school math, physics or chemistry vacancy will see much less fierce competition. Although there are no guarantees these days, certifications in high school math, physics and chemistry are good ways to make you more marketable in this terrible job market.


    Do your homework, know thyself and make an informed decision.

    Good Luck!


    References:
    Alternate Certification: http://www.teach-now.org/faq.cfm
    Math / Science Teacher Shortage: http://www.nsta.org/publications/news/story.aspx?id=53821
    Books for new teachers: http://forums.atozteacherstuff.com/showthread.php?t=56030
     

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