Thinking of a long term exit plan?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Peregrin5, Apr 25, 2015.

  1. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 25, 2015

    So I was debating whether or not to post this, but I might as well...

    I'm thinking of leaving teaching. It's not because I hate it. I actually love it. It's very hard for me to imagine doing anything else. But I started teaching right out of college, and I'm feeling that I kind of want to try other things as well.

    A big part of it is just me wanting to explore other possibilities. I expect that I will probably want to come back to teaching in the future. I understand this seems like a poor move considering how pay works in most districts, but I think I'm heavily influenced by my co-workers.

    Not to mean that I dislike my co-workers. It just seems that many of them came to teaching later in life, after having a career. This is particularly true of other science teachers. Most have had a career in science or in engineering. I teach science because I love it. I've had limited experience over the summers working in science jobs, but always as a teacher just getting "experience" rather than as an actual scientist or engineer. I feel that they are able to use this experience to enrich their students and give them honest outlooks on their prospects as scientists or engineers in the future and know best what kinds of skills that they need to succeed in the field.

    I also feel that at this point in my life, I still look too young. I know many argue that age doesn't make a difference. In the long run it doesn't. But I believe that outward age elicits an automatic response in most students. My older co-workers automatically elicit respect from students simply because they look older. No whether or not this respect is maintained, again depends on their skills.

    However since I look younger, I automatically elicit a sense of less respect, and am seen automatically as a peer. This usually disappears after a while when I assert my presence and management as a teacher, but it takes work. This has been increasingly clear to me with the struggles I've had with new students coming in 3/4ths of the way through the year. Their disrespect for my authority is clear and I believe it's because they weren't here with the rest of the class at the beginning when I proved to them my ability and authority as a teacher. I have to prove it all over again, and it's exhausting. Adults even tell me that they probably wouldn't listen to me if they were my students because I look so young.

    I think if I came to the field older, and with more varying experiences, I could be a much better teacher for it, and I'll have been satisfied at least exploring other options for my life.

    I don't plan on leaving any time soon. I like my school and my team, and I want to stick with them for as long as I can, but I think I will start to formulate a long-term exit plan (perhaps over the next two years or more).

    I want to get a degree, and perhaps pursue a job in photonics engineering.

    I am curious also as to whether or not I'll really want to leave after two years anyway.

    Any advice?
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Apr 25, 2015

    I had dropped out of the teaching program as an undergrad, thinking I might go to seminary to become a rabbi. That fell through, and I spent a long time regretting my decision. However, when I did finish my certification and started subbing, I think I was able to bring more to the table. I was more mature and further separated from the generation in school. When students would ask, "Why do I need to learn THIS?", I could give them real-life answers. Now I'm the same age as many of the parents, and it helps me gain that perspective.

    This is NOT advice, just my opinion.
     
  4. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    I don't think it's a bad idea. I've thought about this, myself. However, I'd lose tenure completely as well as my place on the salary scale. Also, I don't know what else I'd do?! This is the only real certification I have.
     
  5. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Apr 25, 2015

    I completely understand where you're coming from in terms of wanting to explore other jobs. My advice is that the grass always seems greener, but the reality often lets you down.

    Getting another degree will give you more opportunities and potentially higher pay even if you keep teaching, but it's also a financial strain to pay it off.

    I would take a close look at financing this plan, look into good schools, and think about future jobs/salaries. Some questions to ask yourself -- what is the job market like? What is the level of job satisfaction in this field? What will my workload consist of as a new employee? What will my salary & retirement savings look like compared to where I could be at my current job?

    Also, your physical appearance will affect you in virtually any job. My boyfriend looks very young (32, looks 22 -- if that) and feels like he is treated differently by older people at his work. And to some of them, he's their manager. Adults can be just as bad as kids.

    Not trying to be negative, just offering some points to think about... because I'm in a similar boat. You only live once, so if it truly is something you want to do, go for it. :)
     
  6. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    This can go both ways. Overwhelmingly, every science teacher I have had that worked in the field brought a very negative attitude towards that field. I was told by various science teachers not to pursue a career in science unless it was to end up teaching.

    With regards to your desire to test out the private sector of science, that is a whole other story. I really think if you are being tugged at exploring other fields you should listen to your heart. If you are young, you should go for it, you only live once.

    I personally look at teaching, especially at elementary level, as so much less about content and so much more about process, teaching students how to learn, classroom management and culture. I can really understand how someone with advanced degrees in a content area really wanting to dig into that profession or area of expertise. The actual application of that knowledge.

    IMO, teaching is the perfect profession to come back to latter in life, I really do not see much of a stigma in it.
     
  7. linswin23

    linswin23 Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2015

    I think it's very brave of you to consider this. If it's your dream, go for it! You are clearly a very thoughtful person and are going to go about this in a prepared, informed, and planned way if you decide to do it.

    I don't really have any advice, but perhaps give yourself a deadline. You said two years in the future? Start researching all you can in the next two years and then decide your next move.

    Best of luck in your journey! I have been in your same position, but with law. I have realized that becoming a lawyer is not for me, but for a year or so I researched it and seriously considered leaving teaching to get a law degree.

    The great thing about having a teaching certification, however, is that you can always come back. Also, if you receive an advanced science degree you could become a professor and get your teaching fix :)
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Apr 26, 2015

    Just FTR, this is totally opposite of my experience. About half of the science teachers I know had a career in science before teaching. They don't bring negative attitudes to the classroom at all. In my own experience, it is great when relating to students. Often they see teaching as something someone is *stuck doing. As in he/she couldn't get another job with his/her degree so teaching was left. When they find out that their teacher A) had what it took to get a "real" job, B) actually gave up a "better" gig to be with teenagers and C) took a huge drop in pay to follow her interests they learn a few life lessons. That teaching deserves respect. That money isn't everything. That teaching was a choice. That she WANTED to be there with them.
     
  9. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Apr 26, 2015

    My opinion...life is too short to not "go for the gusto!"

    I can speak from a much older age than you, and life has a tendency to creep up on you. One day you think "What happened to the years?"

    I don't regret staying in teaching all these years, but I have often thought about trying something else. The schedule worked for me all the years I was raising children, then the job was just comfortable...

    You are at a time in your life when exploration is really possible. I think you should truly give some thought to enjoying a new career, or two. Like you said, you can always come back to the classroom when you feel ready.

    Good luck, and have fun!
     
  10. GTB4GT

    GTB4GT Cohort

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    Apr 26, 2015

    I would say...if you are interested in something, go for it. At least in my state, it would be fairly easy to transition back into teaching for a science teacher. as the old saying goes, we regret the things we didn't do rather than the things we did do. Life is too short to play the "what if" game.

    to 2nd time around's point, I had a "real job" before teaching (students term, certainly not mine). Kids do like hearing examples of real life application of math and science. in general, they like hearing any discussions about work. There is a certain "street cred".

    I will qualify by saying that you still better do all the other things required of a teacher as well - planning, content knowledge, management, etc. Another teacher in the building has outside experience as well but fails in the other areas - he has not earned the students' respect. I have overheard some of their conversations.
     
  11. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Apr 26, 2015

    I should clarify this a bit. They all had fantastic attitudes towards science. They absolutely loved teaching science and working with the students.

    They had very bitter and bad attitudes towards working in the private industry side of science.

    Like I said, it goes both ways, at least that is my experience.
     
  12. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 26, 2015

    Thanks for the encouragement guys! This really helps me to put things into perspective.

    I do want to have a diversity of experiences in life by the end of my life.

    GBG4T: I understand. I have also met teachers who had prior experience but were probably not cut out to be teachers. I have also met those with experience who are fantastic teachers. I know that teaching is always a viable pathway for me, and believe I am pretty good at what I do.

    Pashtun: I have also met certain teachers who look on science with a negative attitude. However I have also met a lot of teachers who have negative attitudes about their jobs. I think a good portion of it is about the attitude you choose to have and bring with you and the rest is the actual working conditions in most cases. Though I do think academia these days is not all it's cracked up to be.

    I have put aside savings over the past few years, and while it's not quite enough for a full ride of any sort, it would be a good supplement while I work other jobs while going through this transition.

    Again thanks guys!
     
  13. MikeTeachesMath

    MikeTeachesMath Devotee

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    Apr 26, 2015

    I've been thinking about this a lot too. Part of me wants to focus on my band. Another part wants to become an emergency room physician. Yet another part wants to get a doctorate in math.

    So yeah, I know exactly what you mean. It's not an easy decision to make.
     
  14. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    I understood what you meant. My experience is radically different than yours.
     
  15. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    Apr 26, 2015

    Peregrin,

    I know that I see lots of junior high Science teachers in their 20s. I can't think of another teaching job with a higher rate of turnover than junior high Science. Are you sure that it might not just be the school you are in?
     
  16. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I LOVE my school. And I love my admin team and co-workers. I also love our students! I'm not disengaged at all from teaching. It's just that I want to experience other things before I blink and my life has passed me by. It's actually rather alarming me how fast these past few years have gone (after college) and it's got me thinking.

    Also most of our teachers are in their 40s and 50s.
     
  17. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    Sweet, wasn't sure if I was clear.
     
  18. Koriemo

    Koriemo Comrade

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    Apr 26, 2015

    Hmm. I'm not sure how many years you have been teaching, but I think it's wise to teach for at least 5 years before leaving.

    I can relate to feeling like you don't want to blink and miss out on things, too. Go with what your gut says.

    Personally, I plan on teaching for 3-5 years and then having children. I've always wanted to try to be successful as a writer of children and young adult books. My tentative plan is to do that on the side while I raise children, and go back to teaching after the kids get bigger.
     
  19. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Middle school science & middle school music are two positions that have alarmingly high turnover rates in my district. Not too sure if they're resigning (to go to the high school district) or getting non-renewed.
     
  20. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Apr 26, 2015

    Have taught for 3 years already. By the end of my two year exit plan, it will have been 5 years.
     
  21. daisycakes

    daisycakes Companion

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    Apr 27, 2015

    Sometimes I feel this way, but then I realize I don't want to be at a desk from 9 - 5 and then sit in traffic at peak times. Isn't it nice to be able to leave at 3? Even if you have more work, you can do it at home. I also like the flexibility of this job compared to other jobs. However, I agree with all of your concerns. Teaching is really hard and worse than other professions for many reasons.
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Teaching is hard, but I never said it was worse than other professions. I intend to simply see what else is out there. I can foresee myself coming back to teaching.
     
  23. horned_Frog89

    horned_Frog89 Companion

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    Apr 28, 2015

    I definitely think you should go for it, Peregrin - because, as you said, life is too short to not try out different things in life!

    I just hit my 2nd year in my cube and I'm so ready to be in my classroom! As much as I dislike my current gig, it showed me that cube life is NOT for me. I have had some great bosses and coworkers here, I just can't do the cube.

    But after teaching for a few years, who knows, I might miss my cube or I might think transitioning to teaching was the best thing for me.

    Also, as others have said, I can't wait to tell my students how they will use math in the real world. I will probably be teaching 7th grade, and the things they are learning I use almost EVERYDAY not only in my job, but also in my life. I use middle school math much more than any math I learned in High School.
     

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