Teaching profession then and now

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Jlaney22, Sep 17, 2012.

  1. Jlaney22

    Jlaney22 Rookie

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    Sep 17, 2012

    Many veteran teachers (still teaching) talk about how things are so different today in education. My first question is what are the biggest differences then and now?

    I know quite a few teacher that taught 30-40 years ago (retired) that claim teaching was not stressful for them. They didn't have to bring work home with them, and had little to no discipline problems. While this may not be the case for all, what do you think changed? How did teaching become one of the most stressful careers (as indicated in many surveys)?

    Please provide how many years you have been teaching- all thoughts welcome :)
     
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  3. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I've only been teaching for 5 years; however, I think that some things have changed:

    1) the paperwork
    2) the technology
    3) the dynamics of the family

    I'm sure there are more...those are just the ones off the top of my head.
     
  4. CindyBlue

    CindyBlue Cohort

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I've been teaching for over 30 years, and I can tell you that I've always taken work home, and I've always had "those kids" who were discipline problems (and a couple of "those classes!") What I've noticed is that over the years the increased administrative paperwork and the new technology requirements have added about 1 to 1 1/2 hours to my day, literally. What makes the job more stressful are the increased hours of work, and also the largely unrealistic expectations from parents and from society in general about what a teacher is expected to be able to accomplish in addition to teaching the curriculum.
     
  5. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Sep 17, 2012

    From what I've heard, there's been a shift towards pretty much raising kids for parents because parents simply aren't there for their kids anymore, and are busy, in extreme poverty, or having addiction or criminal problems.

    When you change your job from just teaching kids, to pretty much becoming their parent, you add on a LOT of work.
     
  6. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Sep 17, 2012

    Here comes the Socrates quote... any minute now...
     
  7. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I haven't been teaching anywhere near 30-40 years, but I've seen huge changes. I loved the creative, hands-on aspect of teaching. I think the push for "accountability" and "data" has come at a huge cost.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I've been teaching since 1980.

    I think the biggest change is that schools are now seen as the agent for any sort of social change we want. (Then again, Johnson's Great Society tried to accomplsh the same thing, so perhaps it isn't so new.)

    Obesity a problem? Turn to the schools and change the cafeterial offerings. Teen pregnancy? AIDS? Heart disease? It seems that the school is the go-to agency of any sort of change.

    Technology has made teaching a bit different. Our kids are used to instant gratification. If they have a question, they'll email it instead of asking in class tomorrow. And if they have a gripe, expect their 3,000 facebook friends to know about it before the schoolday is over. Likewise any news event MUST be dealt with as it happens, since there's no "waiting till after school" to find out about it.

    But the kids are the same as they always were. Teaching at it's most basic level hasn't changed, only the way we present the information. It's still all about connecting with your kids as a professional and as a person who cares about them.
     
  9. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

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    Sep 17, 2012

    When I began teaching (27 years) there were far more paid support specialists. My first school (pop. 600) had a P, VP, two counselors, two reading specialists, nurse, three custodians, six classroom aides. Reading specialists did all reading testing and placement plus teaching small remedial groups.

    There was a music program both instrumental and choral. One classroom was devoted to storage shelves of worksheets for every lesson in reading and math. These were run off and filed by school aides and clerical staff. Field trips (transportation and fees), teacher school supplies and workshops were paid for by the district and rarely questioned. There were no elementary prep periods. Class size was 34-6.
     
  10. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    Sep 17, 2012

    My mother, my aunt, and my uncle all began teaching in the 1970s. They will all say there were discipline problems then, although probably not to the extent there are now. I definitely remember my mother bringing work home.

    I think the biggest issue is the concept that anything that is wrong with society or an individual child is the product of the schools. I've heard many a friend say that if their child didn't learn something, the teacher failed in some way. It used to be that the child was at fault or perhaps even the parent. Now, it is pretty much a given that if the child fails to learn, it is the teacher who has failed the child. I won't argue one way or the other on this, but it is definitely a philosophy that was not around previously.

    As Alice said, schools and teachers are responsible for solving all of society's problems and if they don't, they are the ones at fault.

    Also, in the past, teachers were respected. Most people thought that the majority of teachers were "good." Now, so many people think of teachers as lazy, overpaid leeches. Heck, even a lot of teachers will tell you that a great many of their colleagues are just in it for the paycheck.

    Personally, I find all this more stressful than any extra paperwork.
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I've only been teaching for eight years.

    However, I can reflect on my elementary school years. I teach in the same district that I attended as a child (K-12).

    I clearly remember each teacher having an instructional aide for the entire morning.

    Secondly, I remember my school having art and music programs.

    Also, I remember being with the same teacher for the entire day. We didn't switch teachers for ELD instruction, math/reading intervention, or anything else.

    Things seemed so laid back back then.
     
  12. Reality Check

    Reality Check Habitué

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    Sep 17, 2012

    :yeahthat:

    Additionally, the approach of administration/administrators has changed. When I first started out 22 years ago, they functioned as they were supposed to, as support for the teachers. Now the relationship is adversarial, they see teachers as the enemy (and as a target to take blame/accountability away from themselves), and they use observations as a weapon, not as the tool it was intended to be.

    Which leads directly to "colleagues are just in it for the paycheck." If that's the case, the schools have no one to blame but themselves for a large percentage of that attitude. Their response to teachers who have given, given, given, and given has developed into "I don't care" as evidenced by their treatment of those teachers; I wouldn't blame anyone who has changed their approach to the profession to "just being in it for the paycheck."

    As for the kids; yes there have always been disciplinary issues, but the percentages have changed, greatly. Depending upon your location and whether or not you are in a private/religious/charter school where they can throw the chronic disciplinary problems out, there's a MUCH higher percentage of students you have to deal with now.


    :|
     
  13. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I started my teaching career in a small rural school (2 classes per grade level). Our P was shared between 3 schools. We had a nurse 1 day per week, no library and no counselors or phys ed teachers. Special education was of the "mixed category" variety. I have some of the same observations as the others related to parental attitude toward teachers. However, parental demand has made sure that students have what they need. I'm much more accountable to parents than the old days when they just trusted me because I had a degree.
     
  14. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Sep 17, 2012

    This is the major shift I have noticed in my 39 years in the classroom.

    I was less stressed in the beginning because I wasn't being forced to teach things that were not developmentally appropriate to the age level. It was also more common "back then" for teachers to have more input into developing the curriculum.

    I didn't see as many of my colleagues burning out due to the stress of the job.

    Lots more observations, but that would take pages.
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Sep 17, 2012

    I totally thought of this thread today...we just found out that an instructional coach quit suddenly after being hired only a week and a half ago. He'd been retired from education 5 years, and basically said that so much had changed since he'd been gone that he didn't feel qualified to be coaching others...he was totally overwhelmed with our data teams, smart goals, etc. And that's only a five year difference!

    Personally, I would like to know what it was like to teach in an era free of constant budget cuts/worries. I can't imagine just knowing that you're going to not only have a job the next year, but also get a guaranteed raise.

    My dad has been teaching sped for well over 20 years and he actually speaks positively of the changes made...he says we have such higher expectations now and kids are learning so much more. He works in a fairly high SES school that doesn't have a problem with test scores, so he doesn't have that "burden." I think the "test score mania" has affected low SES scores so much more.
     
  16. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 17, 2012

    :lol:
     
  17. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    Sep 18, 2012

    It's different, but it's not all that new. Just in my 20 years, things that we did when I started teaching are starting to come back around. (I started teaching during the initial part of Kentucky's massive education reform.) New acronyms. New forms. I just go with the flow. No need getting bent out of shape about most of it. Naturally technology has changed things.

    As for kids, I had one student last year who was a real piece of work. He didn't work, and he had a really smart mouth. He was generally unpleasant and a PITA in the classroom. I've heard other teachers say they've never seen anything like him.

    I have. I've seen his exact duplicate because his DAD was that same kid 30 years ago when I sat by him in social studies class.
     
  18. tchr4evr

    tchr4evr Companion

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    Sep 18, 2012

    School isn't fun anymore

    I've been teaching for 11 years, and the biggest change I see is that's it's not fun anymore! My grandmother was teacher, and she always brought work home, she always was talking about ridiculous admin demands, meetings, etc. We have so fallen into test and test and more test that school isn't fun anymore.

    When I was in school, we had a pep rally every month. We had dances 4 or 5 times a year. We had all kinds of stuff going on during lunch--bake sales, candygrams, singing telegrams. We rewarded kids who did well, and didn't put all the attention on the troublemakers--we had field trips and while budgets were always tough, we still had the programs we needed. School was a place where you wanted to be--yeah, you had classes, but the teacher's were much less stressed, so class was more relaxed. We still learned, but we weren't under a deadline--this is on the test in two weeks, so we need to get it done.

    We were able to go out on the quad and take an entire class picture for the yearbook--all 850 of us--and we did it, went back to class, and that was that. We got to hang out on campus after school and wait for our friends if they were at an activity, or tutoring, or even just hang out in the parking lot because we didn't feel like going home. We could watch our boyfriends at football practice.

    We were allowed to daydream, and we were allowed to be creative. We didn't just have to bubble in multiple choice answers.

    I see it in my kids, and it makes me sad.

    I guess this isn't so much about teaching, as about school in general, but I think if the kids are happy, the teachers are happy.
     
  19. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Sep 18, 2012

    I teach in a small, rural district. Do we still have the stress of the test? Yes. But we still make time to have pep rallies every Friday for a football game. Last year we (the entire k-12) went to the football field to take a group picture for the yearbook. Maybe it's just being part of a small district...
     

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