What if teaching isn't a good fit?

Discussion in 'Student & Preservice Teachers' started by jedipwnces, Aug 20, 2008.

  1. jedipwnces

    jedipwnces Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2008

    I may be posting this in the wrong forum... (or on the wrong site- I promise I have no intention of offending any of you! Quite the opposite!) Let me know if that's the case!

    I have a dilemma. I have assumed I was going to teach since I graduated from high school (I'm now 25). I went to school and, due to some confusion regarding certification transfer between states (Texas & Oklahoma) on the part of my advisers, I was told I would do better to get a degree in a content area that interested me, rather than getting an education degree (big mistake!), and that becoming certified upon graduation wouldn't be difficult at all.

    I enrolled in an alternative certification program shortly after graduating from college, and have had jobs as a tutor (inside and outside of our local school district) and as a teaching assistant for the previous three years. I've really gotten a feel for what a teaching job requires of a person, and (long story short), I don't think I'm cut out for it!

    So I write in a sort of desperation for advice. I am ready to abandon the field of education in favor of just about anything else I could turn into a career. I don't see in myself the kind of organization skills, assertiveness, confidence, or passion that I see in the teachers I've worked alongside, and the people I respect so profoundly for all of their hard (and often unappreciated) work and talent! It makes me really nervous, actually. I am so overwhelmed and miserable about the whole thing, probably moreso than is reasonable. I have qualities I thought would be useful in education: a nurturing personality, patience, unfaltering courtesy, a good sense of humor, an ability to communicate with people (but I'm much better in small groups, especially when playing the mediator... when it feels like "public speaking", I'm a complete teary-eyed mess more often than not), and I work well with kids and they work well with me. However all of those together don't seem like they'd be enough to make up for the qualities I lack (in a big way). Assertiveness, for example, is a *necessity* in teaching. I am a doormat. I'm as organized as a dusty, used book store. This isn't good!!

    That said, I was kind of hoping that someone here would be able to offer some kind of direction. You are teachers, after all! I do not want to commit myself much longer to something I feel both underqualified to do and, increasingly, uninterested in doing. But I also want to find something that makes good use of those qualities I have to offer my community, you know? Where would you suggest that a would-be-teacher look for other work? I had considered like... an HR department, but my mother suggested that was a bad idea as most companies consider that department kind of "fluff", and when people are laid off, HR is the first to go. I dunno if there's any truth to that, but it sounds logical enough. I have my degree in History, but a minor in math and I like math... so maybe accounting... but I have no accounting experience.

    Anyway, you can hopefully understand my problem. Sorry I've written you all a novel. Any advice and/or information you have to offer would be so greatly appreciated!

    Thanks guys,
    Holly
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 20, 2008

    If it makes you feel better, I was EXACTLY in the same mental state when I dropped out of the education track when I was twenty. My heart just wasn't in it at that point, so I went into investments and banking just as you're considering.

    I waited until my mid-thirties when I finally did complete my certificate and that wait was exactly what I needed to make me sure the classroom was my domain. Banking was enjoyable at times, but a decade of it was enough to help me return to my roots.

    This transition back into a classroom may not happen for you, and that's okay. If you're not ready to step into a classroom, take a step back and figure out where your passion is. It may just take time until you're sufficiently older than your students, or you may transition into something you love.

    Good luck in whatever you decide. You can ALWAYS change your mind again further down the road.
     
  4. KLP1220

    KLP1220 Rookie

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    Aug 20, 2008

    Well, I'm starting my internship this fall and I'm not a teacher yet but I'll tell you my opinion! I think that maybe you might want to look into Speech Language Pathology (sometimes the major is called Communication Sciences and Disorders). I have thought about going back to school for this eventually. You can still work in a school, they are paid more and you work with usually one child at a time. Where I am from you don't even have to major in it. You can have a degree in something else with a minor. If you've already graduated you can take the pre requisite courses and get into grad school. I have spoken to many speech therapists and they all say they love their job but they also say it is a lot of paper work!
     
  5. Malcolm

    Malcolm Enthusiast

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    Aug 23, 2008

    You can learn everything you are missing except the passion for it. You either have it or you don't...

    I don't think not having majored in education was a mistake. In California, where I teach, teachers have to have a major in anything except education. We do an extra year or year and a half of course work, either in a university credential program or in a two year long internship program.

    A lot of people go into education with idyllic ideas of what it is about. Nationwide, about 50% of new teachers leave the field within 5 years. So, if you are having second thoughts, you are not alone.

    Life is too short to spend it doing something you don't enjoy...
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Aug 23, 2008

    I truly agree with Malcolm. With that said, I have had similar thoughts as you. My problem is that I am at the student-teaching phase and I just get so nervous about being observed by people. It seriously has me with butterflies in my stomach all the time. If it's just the kids and I in the class, I feel fine and I love it. It's just the observations that are driving me nuts. The oher day I thought "maybe I can't do this." In any case, I am not giving up because I know in the end I will love it. Perhaps you will grow assertive with more time? Have you tried subbing? It's almost more like babysitting, but I think it will help you to build your assertiveness because you basically have to be assertive to survive subbing (especially on the secondary level).I think you really have to think about what you really want in this case, and only you can make that decision.
     
  7. LA/FLnewbie

    LA/FLnewbie Companion

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    Aug 23, 2008

    Have you considered social work? I think social work contains many of the same nurturing, caring, and helping elements that attract us to teaching, without having to deal with large groups of squirrely young people at a time! I actually was torn between teaching and social work, but went with teaching and still sometimes wonder if I'm 100% cut out for it. Social work is very, VERY demanding as well, but in a different way...long hours, low pay, difficult work, but still rewarding knowing you are truly helping work for justice and to help those who need it. You can go back to school for a Masters in Social Work with any background, or you can start as a case manager without any new degree at many social services.
     

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