teaching is not such a great career after all is said and done

Discussion in 'New Teachers' started by traeh, Sep 25, 2007.

  1. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    I don't like teaching. It's too frustrating teaching kids who don't want to learn and kids who have no respect for others. I'm doing all this work for absolutely nothing in return but grief. I think that when I dreamed of becoming a teacher, I was thinking of an ideal world, where kids actually want to use their brains and learn something. I teach hsers and my kids either complain, just sit there and don't listen, or chat while instruction is taking place.

    Then on top of all that, I have no life because planning/school consumes my life. I worked my ass off in college, and this is no release.

    I'm a Spanish teacher... does anyone have any career-switch suggestions?
     
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  3. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Could it be a combination of first year and the wrong school?

    By and large the HS kids I teach are good kids, anxious (or at least willing) to learn. I'm in a college prep Catholic HS.. the trade off in pay is well worth the change in attitudes.

    If you're serious about changing careers and you're bilingual, I would imagine there should be lots of doors open or almost open. Why not go to monster.com and look under "bilingual" ??
     
  4. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Do you have a mentor teacher?? Is there a teacher in your building that seems to "have it all together" that you can ask for some guidance??

    I stongly believe that most college programs do not prepare you for all that teaching requires - other teachers do. Seek out help from those you work with before you totally give up.
     
  5. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I agree that you should seek out a mentor to talk to you. Sometimes you have to leave school work at school. Can you set a time everyday that you make yourself leave the school? If you have to take work home, only work on it one day for no more than x hours. You are always going to have students that don't want to learn or do the work or complain. You just have to engage students and make the learning meaningful for them.

    I agree with you that college does not prepare teachers for the real world of teaching. It takes experience in the "real world" to really understand what teaching is about.
     
  6. Hamster

    Hamster Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2007

    If you don't enjoy being around kids. You had better quit now!!!
    Kids are just being kids. There are no perfect classrooms or students. Get use to it. I love kids and realize I was just like them.
     
  7. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    Sep 25, 2007

    I agree with Hamster. There are no perfect classes. If you could be transported back into your high school classes and see them from the point of view of a teacher, I imagine they'd be similar to what you're experiencing.

    This is my experience--it's easy to feel antagonistic towards your students in the beginning. I had wars with my students where I announced we wouldn't continue walking if they couldn't be quiet, and they just kept on talking. I made them stay after the bell. I made it clear I was turning my tape recorder on when I was getting attitude and didn't know how to deal with it. We were butting heads instead of working together.

    Now, in my sixth year, I've gotten past that. When kids overreact or do silly things, I've seen it before, and I know they're just being teenagers. I goad and cajole them into caring about my class. I make jokes to diffuse the situation and get their attention back when I probably would have flipped out in earlier years. It took a bit of experience and perhaps more of an age difference between us before I could see them that way.

    I'm not saying this to discourage or judge you for being inexperienced or young--I just want to let you know that it can be a great career. I love my job so much that even though we are in a position for me to stay home when we have children (and I absolutely believe that if you can stay home it's a great thing to do), part of me doesn't want to take a several year hiatus from something that gives me so much stimulation and joy.
     
  8. traeh

    traeh Companion

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    Okay so maybe I'm still thinking about this. I think in part, my frustration derives from the lack of structure in the language department. We have no textbooks and so I'm constantly running around trying to plan plan plan and reinvent the wheel because I have nothing to work with. We do have like 1 copy of several different series, but I can't make copies or I'd be violating copyright laws. And I don't feel like spending my entire life typing up exercises similar to these texts and searching online. I need structure!!! This is my first year for pete's sake. Then I have rude/disrespect from the kids on top of that and it's driving me mad!!!

    Oh how I wish......... something would change.
     
  9. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    You need to check about copyright laws - classroom use is different than coping to sell. Ireally think that you can copy texts and workbooks.

    Use the internet for lesson plans. I "borrow" some of my best lessons from the internet already typed up and ready to go. Ask to borrow from other language teachers.
     
  10. wunderwhy

    wunderwhy Comrade

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    That would frustrate me too. Do the other departments have textbooks? Why would foreign language be different? :(

    If I taught a class like that (and I kind of do, because I teach journalism and use parts of a bunch of different textbooks and workbooks, but we also spend time working on the paper so I don't have to do as much lesson planning), I would keep a binder of what I do for the year. Do any of the other teachers have anything like that you could look at?

    Here's what I'd probably do in your situation (it'd be great to bring about a miracle and get them to buy textbooks, but that's too much to expect you do):

    Look at the different textbooks. Choose chapters/pages from each of them, and put them together in a new way with maybe 20 units (ser/estar, subjunctivo, whatever you teach that year). Copying a few pages is ok; copying a whole chapter is less ok, but I would probably still do it from time to time. If the copyright gestapo comes to get you, it's your school's fault, right? All that will happen is that your school will be embarrassed and have to buy textbooks the next year.

    Give the kids a packet of pages from one or two textbooks for each unit. That will be easier for you and easier for them. Otherwise they'll just have a gazillion handouts that get put in the wrong order.

    Really, this whole thing is making me mad. How are you supposed to make sure you don't teach them what they are supposed to learn in the other years if you're not all following the same textbook series?
     
  11. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Reality check? You do all this work for nothing in return but grief? No one said this was easy. Nothing that is worth anything is. There are plenty of teachers out there who would give body parts to have your job. If you are going to stick it out consider reading up on and taking classes in motivation, classroom management, and cooperative/positive discipline. You are getting bogged down by the challenges that come with the job. Either rise above them, do something to take control (you can do it) or seriously find another career- you are not doing yourself or the kids any good if you are hating it.
     
  12. SittinInATree

    SittinInATree Companion

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    Sep 26, 2007

    "teaching is not such a great career after all is said and done"

    I agree!
     
  13. trayums

    trayums Enthusiast

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    Sep 26, 2007

    "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder". I truly believe that teaching and education and children are what YOU make them. If you are going into this with the mindset that you talk about, they won't want to work for you and won't want to try. Children need positive and motivating teachers. Children do not respond in a positive way to negativity.
    I say that you do some major soul searching. Think about what it is you REALLY want out of teaching. What are you goals as a teacher? I agree that perhaps this might not be the school for you... maybe next year there's a better fit. Good luck whatever you do!
     
  14. BurnedOut

    BurnedOut Rookie

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    Sep 26, 2007

    I also agree.
     
  15. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Misconceptions about what teaching is really about are IMHO the main reason 50% of new teachers leave the profession within 5 years. If teaching doesn't make you happy, run! Life is too short to do something you don't love.
     
  16. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    Malcolm, I agree with your statement. When people think teacher, they think cute and bubbly.... surrounded by cute little well behaved children all day....

    Sometimes that's true,,,, but, the truth is..... you work very hard to turn those children into well behaved children....


    All people considering teaching need more than 8 weeks of actual classroom time.
     
  17. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

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    traeh,

    The wrong position can do it to you. You say you are the Spanish teacher...I'm assuming that can be equated with the French teacher here in Canada - which has to be by far the worst position to be in for getting respect from students AND often staff. My first year, I was the French teacher and was stressed to the max. I dreaded going in everyday. My second year, I was a classroom teacher, no French and started by loving it, but quickly things fell apart because I hadn't developed good classroom management skills yet. This year is my second year as a classroom teacher, my management skills are much better and I am teaching French along with the other subjects (so my job is not solely the French teacher) and things are going smooth as silk. If you can, find a position that suits you better, maybe even a different grade/age group or subject. Give yourself some time to develop skills. Then, after you've done all of that, if you still hate it, move on to something more suitable for you. Another thing that struck me as I read your post: I know it can seem like you are getting nothing but grief from kids, but what you are often not seeing is the real impact you may be making on them of you try to look past the crap and work with them to bring out their best. You may not bring out the best in all of them, but it's so worth it to know that you may have reached a few (who will likely never forget you for it). That's a very privileged place to be.
     
  18. LCFMOM

    LCFMOM Rookie

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    Sep 27, 2007

    copying out of textbooks

    Copyright law is federal. That means it applies to everyone in all of the states. It applies to classroom use just as any other use now. There is no special "educational use" law anymore.

    Without permission, for classroom use, you can use 1000 words one time. In other words, you can copy, say 2 pages from a textbook, for your 80 students to use this one semester. 1000 words - one time.

    If you need to use more than that or use it more frequently, you can get permission from the publisher. Of course, if it is posted on a website that is distributing or making available stuff like lesson plans, etc., then you can use whatever you want. Most of the textbook publishers release a tremendous amount of material that is available for free.

    Please consider this: some people make a living (or try to) writing textbooks. They get paid a very small royalty for each book that is sold. If you are photocopying their books or parts of their books, and not paying for the book or the use of the material, you are stealing from them just as if you tore a paycheck out of their hands. And what does it teach the students? Stealing is okay? Don't think of it as stealing from The Big Publisher. It is stealing from some poor retired teacher or struggling author. For every workbook you photocopy and your students don't buy, that's money from that person's pocket.

    If your school doesn't use a textbook (which seems to be a trend) they need to tell you that up front...that you will have to write your own text and, yes, reinvent a wheel. It's alot of work the first year BUT at least you can write your class exactly the way you want rather than following what someone else has written that perhaps is not exactly what you would want.

    I'm sorry that this first year is turning you off about teaching. There are great kids and terrific schools out there -- and they need great language teachers!
     
  19. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I LOVE my job. I said at back to school night that I love what I do, that I'm passionate about teaching, seeing the kids' joyful discoveries and the journeys I take with them everyday. It truly is a blessing for me- evn this year with a VERY TOUGH class. If you truly feel that this is not the career for you please GET OUT. There are plenty of great teachers out there who want your job. The kids deserve someone who cares about making a difference.
     
  20. RainbowsEnd

    RainbowsEnd Rookie

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    I think that we all WISH for that ideal school, but the reality is that it doesn't exist. As a first year teacher, I have to look at the small wins . . . when a kid confides in me, or cracks a joke it means that they like me and respect me and THAT is the biggest motivator. I'm not going to lie . . . I find it disappointing that someone would be so new and want to change careers. I spent my first year after college HUNTING for a job, and couldn't get one. You need to look at the positives, instead of dwelling on the negatives.

    Positive attitudes from the teacher go a long way with the students. If they can tell you don't want to be there, why should they respect you or do what you ask? You're going through the motions because it's your job . . . not because you want to. You expect students to WANT to learn if you don't model that yourself.
     
  21. MissFrizzle

    MissFrizzle Virtuoso

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    If I were fortunate enough to find a teaching job, I'd put up with some tough days.... it's that worth it to me.

    the key is having realistic expectations.... Teaching takes a lot of time and effort... it's not effortless. Is that something you want to devote your time to? If not, then you will never be happy. Life's too short not to do what you love.
     
  22. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    AMEN to that MissFrizzle!!!
     
  23. ddb23

    ddb23 Companion

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    Sep 29, 2007

    As a teacher, our job is to motivate those kids who don't care about school, guide those kids who don't have good parents to guide them, and then to deliver the material they need to learn.

    Everyone else is correct - there are no perfect classrooms. However, as the teacher you are in complete control of the environment in the classroom. I know of no other job that someone fresh out of school is given 100% control of their day to day activities. If your classroom is not up to your standards, then you need to look at yourself and see what is going on. The kids can sense your frustration and will feed on that. It's human nature to seek the least amount of work and avoid trouble (haha).....

    db
     

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