Should I pursue teaching?

Discussion in 'High School' started by LionGate5, Mar 23, 2008.

  1. LionGate5

    LionGate5 Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2008

    Hi,

    I'm currently a first year medical student and starting to really dislike medical school. I feel like there is too much bureaucracy within medicine to really make a difference. (for primary care getting the correct diagnosis 40% of the time is very good)

    I come from an interesting background, and was a trouble maker in high school myself - barely graduated. Do you think that would help me relate to the students better? Do young male teachers have less discipline problems then other teachers?

    much thanks,
     
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  3. Mrs LC

    Mrs LC Comrade

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    Mar 23, 2008

    If you don't like bureaucracy, then I don't know that teaching will be much better than medicine!:eek:

    In my experience, young male teachers are no better or worse overall with discipline than others. I've seen teachers who never raise their voice but have their class hanging on their every word, and I've seen others that yell and intimidate and have little control or impact at all. Not something that you can generalise, I think.:2cents:

    Something to consider - if you were a troublemaker who barely graduated, do you have enough respect for the school system to be an advocate for it? Not judging (if you got into Med school something's changed), just wondering. I hated high school myself and would have trouble working in one, but I love primary school.
     
  4. LionGate5

    LionGate5 Rookie

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    I loved high school, i just didn't do well in it. I was more of a class clown in high school then a trouble maker. A few teachers really got through to me in high school, they usually said something along the lines of "if you just applied yourself..." am I being overly naive in thinking that will help me get through to other slackers?ac

    Another thing I wish to encompass in my classroom is compassion. I'm a compassionate person and I feel my personality isn't much in tune with my classmates. In my experience most medical students want to be doctors for money... regardless of what they say in their application personal statement. In the area of the country where I'm from you can live quite nicely on a teachers salary + there is a shortage of science teachers.

    Another reason why I want to to teach is having summers off to recharge.

    Do you feel these are valid reasons to want to be in the classroom? I'm having 14 hour days now, and am learning isn't much room for compassion in today's medicine.
     
  5. sadundercover

    sadundercover Companion

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    Mar 23, 2008

    I was going to tell you to make sure that there is a need for teachers where you are, but you covered that! :) Many of us cannot find jobs simply because there are not enough jobs for everyone who wants to teach.:(

    I completely agree with Mrs. LC about the bureaucracy.

    Having summers off is NOT a reason to want to teach. For many, it is a perk and appreciated, but it should not be a main motivator. :2cents:

    Compassion-definitely a reason.

    I think you need to think about this. Maybe another year of medical school would be appropriate, maybe you just need to make it through that first year. I don't know-just think about it. I met a lawyer who left her firm after a few years to teach and she was content. I know it was a hard decision for her.

    Good luck!
     
  6. teachercat

    teachercat Rookie

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    Mar 23, 2008

    Bureaucracy in education is very frustrating. I imagine it's similar in many professions today.

    My dad is a doctor. I tell him about bureaucracy that forces me to cover the curriculum way faster than my students can learn it. He tells me about bureaucracy that forces him to see 22 patients a day.

    If your heart is to do good, either profession has opportunity. I think it's about striving to do that good in spite of the bureaucracy.

    The question you should as is which are you more passionate about: helping sick people or teaching students? :cool:
     
  7. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Teaching shouldn't be a fall-back or something you consider because of summers off. I'm not suggesting that it would be either of those things for you, but I do think that it should be made clear.

    Teaching is full of red tape, paperwork, rules, and hoops. Everything must be documented, documented, documented. Grades, progress, behaviors, IEPs, 504s, absences, tardies, etc....

    Lots of people seem to have this idea about teaching where a teacher stands at the front of the room explaining a difficult concept which is immediately grasped by a small group of compliant children. In most cases, this image is completely false. In my experience, teaching is like 50% classroom management (dealing with inappropriate behaviors), 40% paperwork, and 10% actual content and instruction.

    While it is infinitely rewarding, teaching is also stressful and consuming. Most teachers I know spend time outside their contracted hours working on school stuff like grading, planning, or club/sport activities. As for me, I don't spend a whole lot of time outside of school grading and planning, but I do think about school a lot (and I post on here a lot!). I also sponsor a club without pay, so I'm at school for an extra hour or two every single Wednesday and at weekend conventions throughout the school year. In order to show my school spirit and cheer on my students, I attend sporting events, concerts, and plays whenever I can...which means that I'm usually at school every single Friday night during football season, at a minimum.

    While the school day is only usually 7-8 hours from 8ish until 3ish, most teachers are at school before and after school for at least a few minutes. Many teachers, especially new teachers, end up staying until 5 or 6 pm in order to take care of everything that needs to be done. As a doctor, you will probably get compensated for your 14-hour days; as a teacher, however, you will not. Any time you spend in your classroom outside your contracted hours is basically volunteer work.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that your heart needs to be in it. People who aren't fully invested in teaching and in their students don't make very good teachers.
     
  8. LionGate5

    LionGate5 Rookie

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    Mar 24, 2008

    I guess I can't truly know until I try. I think have about 3 months off is a bit more then a perk though, combined with tenure, union, and 18 sick days a year those benefits add up.

    During residency where 70-80 hour weeks are the norm I guess technically you are compensated but you getting paid about 40k for 12 months a year.

    It's my understanding that there is a shortage of math and science teachers across the United States - especially in undeserved communities. Isn't that why programs like teach for America exist? But if there is a shortage of job's for teachers could it be that in todays economy being a teacher is a good job to have?

    In my state the school day is from 8:00 - 2:00 so I'm figuring in one being there from 7:00 am - 5:00 pm.
     
  9. HMM

    HMM Cohort

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    That sounds horrible.
     
  10. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    I few misconceptions - my summer "off" is already scheduled with two classes for my continuing ed. and one seminar for more Advanced Placement training. We are also getting new classroom management software that will require summer training at no compensation. Also, my contract states that I get paid for 180 days. So I don't not get paid for the time I don't teach - summer. I can opt to have my salary divided in 26 paychecks so I recieve a paycheck throughout the year but I am not paid for those summer days. I have been teaching almost 15 years and I don't have 18 sick days. That seems like a lot.

    If you read these boards you will find various thoughts about teacher's unions. One thing is that you have to pay to join the union and on a first years teachers pay that can be tough. Tenure usually comes after at least three years at one school although is does vary from state to state. Tenure does not prevent a school district from firing a teacher. I have seen three tenured teachers fired from their positions.

    I really get alarmed when I hear people that want to go into teaching because of the "perks." Please believe me - there are perks just like in any other job. My husband is in upper management with many perks - gets to dine at 4 star restuarants, stay in 4 star hotels, travel to Europe, company car, ect... but he works his butt off, has a ton of legal responability and his work day is never really done. Choosing a profession because of perks, espcially teaching, isn't a good idea.
     
  11. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Mar 24, 2008

    I totally agree with this statement. My brother-in-law is currently in his last few months of residency as a doctor. Has it been tough? Yes! Has he had to work hard? Yes! Have we barely seen him? Yes! But he and the family knew that going in so we were prepared for it. Perks aren't a reason to get into a profession, they are extras for the hard work you put into the profession. Depending on your area, you might not get paid $40,000 to teach. I agree with Sadundercover that maybe you should stick medical school out for one more year to see if you really want drop it. A good idea (if you can) is to volunteer or observe in several classrooms to see if teaching is something you really want to do.
     
  12. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    LionGate5, what's your passion?
     
  13. LionGate5

    LionGate5 Rookie

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    Mar 26, 2008

    I think I'm gonna take the plunge. My classmates think im crazy, being in medical school is a great honor but I think I could make a real difference in the classroom.
     
  14. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    Mar 27, 2008

    I've found my squishy and good feeling approach of touching every student and making a difference in their lives has kind of faded since I started to actually teach. Because it becomes a downer and frustrating when you find out that 85% of your kids don't care about anything except if they pass. That's passing with a D, not an A. Maybe it's just the area I work in, but I agree with Cassie has said.

    Teaching becomes this idealistic thing where everyone is having these life changing experiences in the classroom. 90% of the time, it's just getting through the day and trying to teach the kids while fighting them about it on every turn. They don't study, some never do work, some never hand in quality work. The best is when you know they can do better, it gets frustrating.

    Teaching is a job, it's a rough job at times, and that's something you should really think about. It's nothing like in the movies where kids have these life changing moments where they better themselves. Your job is to teach kids, and it's certainly not easy.
     
  15. LionGate5

    LionGate5 Rookie

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    Mar 29, 2008

    Do many teachers regret becoming teachers?
     
  16. historyguy79

    historyguy79 Rookie

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    There is an extremely high turnover rate from what I read and have seen. I've heard the term revolving door used before.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    In percentage terms, probably not; but according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics at http://www.bls.gov/oco/ocos069.htm, in 2006 there were over 3.3 million teachers in grades K-12, and if even 1% of them regret becoming teachers, that's over 33,000 regretting. (In contrast, the BLS shows 633,000 physicians and surgeons in 2006.)

    Here's something you might consider, LionGate5: nursing education. There's a nursing shortage, partly because there's an even more severe shortage of people who are qualified to teach in nursing programs.
     
  18. LionGate5

    LionGate5 Rookie

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    TeacherGroupie, im sorry but your statistics don't make sense to me.

    I appreciate your insight but nursing and medicine are different fields. I would NEVER want to be a nurse and am not qualified to teach nurses. Nurses aren't taught by physicians, they are taught by nurses with Masters and Ph.D's in nursing. hehe kinda ironic don't you think a Doctor of Nursing.. but they do exist...

    In a hospital setting a lot of people think nurses answer to doctors. Nowadays nurses answer to other nurses.



     
  19. Enigma_X

    Enigma_X Rookie

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    In a word, yes. The turnover rate among teachers- particularly new teachers- is famously awful. People go in thinking it's all about inspiring kids and getting summers off, even if they've gone through teacher prep. Then they get plunked down in the middle of a classroom and find out it's really all about trying to discipline teenagers (with no one to back you up, usually) and filling out paperwork to explain everything you did before failing a kid who has never turned in a single assignment. The bureaucracy in teaching is legendary. Furthermore, the teacher is at the bottom of the totempole in a lot of ways, where a doctor is not. I don't know if prestige means much to you, but I just spent the whole weekend enraged over the fact that I had some consultant ask me- a high school English teacher- if I'd ever read 'Romeo and Juliet', and in a very condescending manner. Cassie's statistics in terms of how your time is divided up is frighteningly accurate. I don't know whether or not your past experience will help you or not, but I do know that compassion only helps so long as it has a rock-solid foundation of classroom management skills. Students are manipulative in the extreme, and they'd sooner use your compassion against you than accept it. I started out as a pre-med. As many days as not, I wish I'd stayed one. All that said, the kids really are the best part about teaching. Most of mine are ill-bred thugs, but I have a small handful of diamonds in the rough and they make all the difference.

    I think TeacherGroupie was trying to say that you might consider looking into educating other medical personnel.
     

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