What personal aspects of your life most affect your career?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MWMnElmed, Mar 29, 2009.

  1. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 29, 2009

    I know this is a very sensitive question and I don't expect a lot of responses. I have been given some latitude to prepare a workshop and address personal issues that may interfere with a teachers ability to do their job. I have asked many teachers within the district I teach, but I wanted to get responses on a broader scale.

    Some of the responses I have received so far from my district are:

    1. Work/life balance. Being able to get everything accomplished to be effective at work and feel effective at home. (Seriously that was the response and it bothered me that people were driven to be effective at work, but by the time they got home they were willing to settle for feeling effective.)

    2. Managing personal finances. Many new teachers are concerned with the amount of student loan debt they have and the immediate ability to repay their loans. Many other experienced teachers are confided that trying to pay for a house, car, food, kids, and college savings is nearly impossible. They said they spend a lot of time at work worrying about making their check stretch until the next pay day.

    3. Did I make the right career choice? The last issue I'll mention that showed up most frequently was both new and experienced teachers questioning if they made the right career choice in teaching. It may be the unexpected high demands of high stakes testing, or the unrealistic expectations of life in the classroom, or a combination of the issues already mentioned above. Whatever the reason, several teachers who I spoke with were concerned that teaching wasn't for them anymore and were considering leaving the profession.

    I have the opportunity to help teachers outside of another workshop on how to score higher on standardized tests, or some other academic workshop that had been repeated in some form over the past five years and I want to prepare something that is effective and useful to help teachers feel more complete in their personal life.

    These were the most common concerns among the teachers I spoke with, but I'm sure there are others. What areas do you find you struggle with and what suggestions would you offer? I appreciate your help.
     
  2.  
  3. Brendan

    Brendan Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2004
    Messages:
    2,974
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 29, 2009

    1. Managing between my family, teaching, and my other part time jobs has always been difficult. However, I have learned to stay after at least 30 minutes after the school day (usually longer) and come in 30 minutes early to get things done. I also work continually during my preps. Learning to use your prep time wisely is they key to sucess.
    2. Personal Finances: This area has never been a real trouble to me. Even with 5 kids, my wife and I make it work. It may involve me being the DC at my school and picking up extra duties, as well as refereeing basketball for us to survive, but I am doing what I LOVE.
    3. There are days when I think that I want to change jobs. However, there are even more days when I know this is the career for me. In the beginning it was much harder. However, once you get the hang of things it gets much easier.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,596
    Likes Received:
    2,702

    Mar 29, 2009

    For me, it's all about the whole balance thing. It's hard to be running at 100% at school all day and then come home and try to do the same thing. My husband and I don't have kids or anything, and I'm still exhausted at the end of every day. I don't know how all the teacher moms and dads do it!

    Because I rely on a paycheck every two weeks, I have to do what is necessary to keep my job. That means that I throw everything I have into being a good teacher and running an effective class. As a result, things at home sometimes suffer.

    For example, my house is messy. I just don't feel like straightening up when I come home, so I don't always do it. Sometimes when the laundry is done, it just stays in the basket without getting folded and/or put away. Another thing is that I don't get nearly enough sleep. I get up early every day to go to school. When I come home, I want to spend time with my husband and our dogs. That means that I usually end up staying up way too late. Little sleep = stress, crankiness.

    I think that a lot of new teachers are like me in this respect. They could probably benefit from more resources at school to make that part of their lives a little easier to manage. Mentors are great, especially when they are extremely proactive. They shouldn't wait around for new teachers to come to them--they should drop by and check on them frequently, especially near major events and deadlines (like open house, grades due, etc.).

    I'm sure I have more to say on this topic, but I'm watching Twilight (for the millionth time) and it's the part where Edward is about to save Bella in the parking lot....I gotta watch it! :)
     
  5. shouldbeasleep

    shouldbeasleep Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Messages:
    2,233
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 29, 2009

    At this point, it's about health issues. My knees are getting so arthritic that's it's painful to stand for long periods of time.
     
  6. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Mar 30, 2009

    To do the job right, I have to work a lot more hours than bell to bell time. This is compounded by the fact that I have to work two jobs to make ends meet.

    Call parents??? Yep..I do it when I can, but it's not nearly as often as it should be.

    Create relevant lesson plans??? Yep, I can do that and it happens on rare occassions. (The book certainly doesn't give me much to work from so they all come from scratch.)

    Differentiated instruction??? Yeah RIGHT. It takes two to three times the planning time and I struggle to do the planning that is needed for non-differentiated.
     
  7. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 30, 2009

    1. Work/life balance was a big problem for me. When my girls were teenagers, they needed me to be home and available for them. It was such a rough time for them and us. It took years for them to overcome the issues and decisions they made during their teen years.


    2. I was lucky to get a four year scholarship, so paying back loans was not an issue. We tried to create investments that would pay back--but rentals did not pay off, and now the stock market is really hurting our retirement funds.

    3. Did I choose the right career? I don't know, as I am still experimenting. I have held about every type of teaching job there is--and I have loved each one. I can't wait to try something new.
     
  8. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,563
    Likes Received:
    4

    Mar 30, 2009

    Wow, I wasn't expecting those answers.

    I agree with the balancing act but that is also true with many professions. The financial aspect I can totally see.

    I am shocked that the biggest distractor for teachers was whether they chose the right career.


    Here is mine:

    Concern of family members' health, coworkers' health, students' health, and friends' health. My husband was very sick this year, two teachers on my team had major health issues, two kids in our school family have cancer, and one of my own students had staph infection. So, yeah, health issues of people I care about.
     
  9. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Mar 30, 2009

    Well, this year it's been my health. I missed a month of school following my mastectomy, left early a bunch of times to go to the doctor, left 3 minutes early for 6 weeks to get to radiation, left early last week to go back to the doctor, will leave early again tomorrow for the Pre-Op workup, and will miss proctoring trimester exams next Monday and Tuesday after Monday's surgery. Each of those days, I had to cancel extra help, and as a math teacher, I need to be available for extra help. My principal and AP are fine with it, and have told me so, but I still hate it.

    Then, of course, on a typical basis, there's my family. When my husband got home from the Senior trip to WDW yesterday, he told me that one of these years I really should go on mine. My response was: "No, I couldn't, at least not while the kids are young. I'm the mommy." Peter is a phenomenal dad, and of course could manage without me, but I'm the one who signs the homework, knows the schedule, knows which teacher is which and which days Kira has speech from which days she has gym.
     
  10. Doug_HSTeach_07

    Doug_HSTeach_07 Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2007
    Messages:
    363
    Likes Received:
    7

    Mar 30, 2009

    I struggle so much with tuning school out once I leave the school. I'm serious, I will be watching TV, a movie, or reading a book and my mind wanders to my lessons that are planned for the next day. Are they enough? What am I missing?

    Also, I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I have DVR, which is a self-defeating combination. I teach 5 subjects so I feel like I have to be a master in all areas, and when a documentary or show comes on, I tape it and watch it so that I'll be able to use the material in class.

    Yes, I'm doing what I love and I wouldn't trade anything for my job right now. But I really wish I could just leave everything at school instead of obsessing over it long after the school bell rings.
     
  11. becky

    becky Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2004
    Messages:
    2,247
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 30, 2009

    Believe it or not, as a homeschool teacher I have some of the same issues you guys do.

    Work/life balance- Most times, my house suffers, but school work is prepared, trips are lined up, and classes get found. Since I'm with Jeannie 24/7, by the time she's tucked in I just want to gel. I don't want to speak, think, or move. I do wish I could find time to exercise, because I'd really like to lose weight. Again, since I'm with Jeannie 24/7, the only me time is later in the evening, so getting up before the chickens to exercise is not going to happen.


    Finances- I have to pay for all her books, my books, her specials classes, and any other nifty things I find during the year. One year- 1st grade, I think, I paid close to 2,000.00 just on classes. On top of all that, I try to put her in a camp of some kind at least every other week during the summer. Camps are between 100-130.00 per camp here.

    Did I make the right choice? I sometimes think no, because there are things I can't teach well, and I can't find a class for her for those things. I sometimes feel very resentful at the lack of time for myself or to just clean the house.
     
  12. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 30, 2009

    I appreciate all of your responses. What I find interesting is how much our job as teachers affect our personal life. The question I asked initially to this group was how your personal life affects your job, but what I'm reading is how teaching affects your personal life, both good and bad. I've served in the military and managed in with a large company before and I have to agree that, other than a deployment, my work hasn't affected my life outside of work as much as teaching does. So if you could get advice, or tips to make your overall work/life experience better what would it be?
     
  13. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Mar 30, 2009

    I did environmental contracting for the military for 15 years before going to teaching. My work life there was even MORE dominant of my personal life as I spent more than half the year TDY. In 15 years, I wasn't home for 3 anniversaries (including my first) and was normally in the field on my birthdays. My ex would have to adjust to me being home when I wasn't on the road.

    When Iraq came around, the industry got much more stressful (not because of danger, but because of day to day demands.) It didn't take long to figure out that it was time for a career change.

    My biggest thing is finding ways to become more efficeint in my day to day tasks. I am still in my first year of teaching and as improve it gets far less demanding on my personal time.

    Teaching in a public high school is a high volume operation and there's no substitute for efficeincy.
     
  14. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Mar 30, 2009

    I would have to say:

    1. Finances I have a lot of debt, and teaching doesn't really provide me with the type of salary to significantly lower my debt. I just came up with a payment plan for myself. If I follow it I will have all of my debt (not counting student loans) paid off in 3 years. It would allow me only about $100-$200 of wiggle room each paycheck. So much for actually saving any money! I also have about $40,000 in student loan debt. The day that I write that final check will be a HUGE celebration!

    2. Location/Balance I'm not far from home, but I did have to move away to find a job. I don't have any friends around here, and I really miss seeing my family regularly. Because of this, my job is pretty much my life right now. I have no balance. I usually go to my hometown every other weekend, and since I don't have any friends here, the rest of my time is spent doing school stuff.
     
  15. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Messages:
    7,507
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 30, 2009

    My biggest challenge is balance...I think about teaching all the time. My dream last night dealt with school. I'm a teacher, and its more of a life than just a career. However, I wouldn't trade it for the world...I just hope I learn how to balance it better once I'm a mom :)

    Its also difficult to feel like the best teacher when you have a ton of stuff going on in your personal life. Family, stress, etc...all have had an impact on my days in school.
     
  16. blindteacher

    blindteacher Cohort

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2009
    Messages:
    568
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 30, 2009

    My main concern is my health. I have two medical conditions that can make putting in long hours (often as much as 12 hours) really tough. It is incredibly hard for me to remain in any one position for a long period of time, which means I have to plan my day around constantly alternating between sitting, walking, and standing. If circumstances make it so that I have to remain in any one position for too long, coping with the pain completely drains my energy.

    On a brighter note, I have managed to find a good balance between school and home life. I arrive at school early and leave late so that I can keep school work at school. It helps me feel a lot less stressed when I don't have to bring home a huge pile of work. And that way once I am home I can focus on quality time with my family.
     
  17. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,596
    Likes Received:
    2,702

    Mar 30, 2009

    I think this is an excellent practice.

    A lot of teachers, especially new ones, feel like they aren't doing their job if they're not grading papers and lesson planning at home. I often hear teachers trying to one-up each other by reporting on how many hours per night or last week or over the break they spent doing school stuff at home.

    The thing is...to be a good teacher, we need to be happy in our real lives. For many of us that means some sort of tranquility or peace, entertainment, and time spent with loved ones. I know that I am more productive and efficient when I'm happier, and I'm sure that extends into my teaching.
     
  18. leighbball

    leighbball Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2005
    Messages:
    7,507
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 31, 2009

    That is so true, Cassie. I completely agree!
     
  19. Cranmans

    Cranmans Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2009
    Messages:
    43
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2009

    Your health should be your first priority. It is hard to teach when you are in pain.
     
  20. Lives4Math

    Lives4Math Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2008
    Messages:
    342
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2009

    Honestly...for me..it's the job itself. I'm so stressed out over the job...the students...dicipline....that I can't do my job the way that I should/want to be able to.
     
  21. SouthernBuckeye

    SouthernBuckeye Companion

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Messages:
    217
    Likes Received:
    3

    Mar 31, 2009

    Personal finance. I am living on a strict budget so that I can pay off the small amount of debt I do have. I can't wait for that day so I can have breathing room and instead of paying bills, travel the world on my school breaks!
     
  22. Crzy_ArtTeacher

    Crzy_ArtTeacher Comrade

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2008
    Messages:
    351
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2009

    I agree on the finance as well. Due to finances I took a second job and it takes time away from things I could be doing towards my 'real job' teaching.

    Family too. I want to spend as much time with my loved ones as possible.
     
  23. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2009

    When I taught, I constantly struggled with balancing my husband's idea of work with my idea of work. I would gladly stay in my room for 12 hours a day and then come home to work. I'd spend half my paycheck on my classroom, obsessing over books and resources. This drove my husband crazy. I felt like I had to sneak work in, or scrounge money for my classroom. The pressure was intense. I couldn't kick my over-the-top passion, but my husband wouldn't back down. I felt like I was walking a tightrope most of the time. I would have rather put all my time and energy into the classroom, which meant things didn't get done around the home, so then I carried guilt around with me.
     
  24. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 31, 2009

    Time management. I felt like I was always grading, planning, going to events. My mind was constantly on school and my 5 HS preps.

    I used to work out, until my 2nd school started scheduling conferences and meetings at the last minute. I'd finally get home and be too tired to even eat, let alone cook, clean, or exercise.

    DF hated the 2nd school I was at - I was always grumpy, always tired, never in the mood, and always spending more money on my classroom. I was always upset over something that my boss said. Parents found my phone number and would call me at home - to the point where I changed my phone number and made it unlisted.

    I also worked totally opposite hours from him - I worked 6:30 to 6:30, he worked 10 to 10.

    Speaking of money, I also had to waitress on the weekends just to pay my bills. Fortunately we worked at the same place, so that was really the only time we spent together. For 9 months.

    To be perfectly honest, my relationship got much stronger after I quit teaching. I'm worried about getting back in, but I hope I can find a better balance between being the teacher I want to be and the fiancee I need to be.
     
  25. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Mar 31, 2009

    That's totally how I am, too. My boyfriend just doesn't get it because he thinks work is simply work. When he comes home he wants to forget about everything. I can't, plus I don't want to. He just doesn't understand at all.
     
  26. treysmom

    treysmom Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Messages:
    262
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2009

    Never once have I wondered if I made the right career choice. My biggest hurdle was very personal. My ex husband passed away suddenly two years ago when our son was 16. It has been a huge struggle being the only parent in every aspect. My child was very close to his dad and this really threw him for a loop. Just keeping him in school and getting him to graduate was tough. He is now finishing up a year of college, but doesn't plan on going back. As for the teaching side, I must be there 100% for my child while giving 100% to my class. I am also struggling to make it financially. The survivor benefits ended when my son graduated from high school. I am trying to pay for college (we qualified for $800/year in fed. aide) and keep my head above water. We get paid once a month and it gets really tough right before pay day. I love my job, though; sometimes I feel it is my only refuge.
     
  27. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Mar 31, 2009

    I couldn't imagine having to do 5 preps. It also adds to your grading time as you have to shift gears for each different set of assessments.

    I lament having 2 preps as it is. 3 would really bite......5??? OMG
     
  28. oldfashioned

    oldfashioned Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2008
    Messages:
    310
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2009

    1. Family finances are ALWAYS on my mind. My husband is also a teacher so our combined income is not high, yet the cost of living in our area is high. Two daughters in college, a hefty mortgage, and retirement knocking on my door are ubiquitous concerns. Immediate concerns are the horrible losses in our 401k's and worrying about how I'm going to pay our '08 income tax bill - how I envy those of you who get tax refunds!
     
  29. ACardAttack

    ACardAttack Companion

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2009
    Messages:
    184
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 31, 2009

    Glad to hear this, this is one thing I have planned to do when I start teaching get their a little bit early, gives me time to grade and do a little lesson planning plus my planning period and plus a little time after school...to do some of that at home, too many distractions.
     
  30. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Mar 31, 2009

    I've had as many as 4. That kept me on my toes!!

    I like 2 or 3.
     
  31. Arky

    Arky Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 31, 2009

    I think a career as a teacher can consume your life if you let it. There are times I have enjoyed always having something to do relating to school if you want it that way and then other times I am like some of the posters that cannot let it go. It is with me 24/7. It is the first thing I think of when I wake up and the last thing when I go to sleep. There is alway something more you can do. I am not sure how I feel about the fact that all administrators seem to feel it is not only okay but necessary to put a tremendous amount of yourself in the job. My first year I was so broke. I had student loans, an old, old, car, debts, and my principal wanted me to go together with her to buy a pair of pajamas for one of my poor students that was put in the hospital. I remember I was sort of shocked as I did not even have enough money to pay my own bills. That seems to be the mentality of many. It is a profession where you are expected to smile, take on lots of extra work, and if you ever think of questioning your duties then you are not a good teacher. I don't feel I am expressing this well. Tonight is not a good night for words to come forth. It can mess with your mind and your finances! Not a go to work job and leave it behind at the end of the day.
     
  32. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 31, 2009

    5 preps was... not pleasant. Up til 1AM planning and grading, back up at 5:30 for school. I had no life outside of my job and my health was not good.
     
  33. Arky

    Arky Comrade

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2008
    Messages:
    477
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 31, 2009

    When you say 5 preps do you mean preparing for 5 different subjects? Would that compare to preparing for 5 different subjects in the elementary school? I have always felt crazy trying to plan out everything I have to do, reading, math, writing, language skills, spelling, science, social studies, and now we are not getting books for these subjects as they want us to follow the state standards and there are not books available with just our state standards. Is that similar to preps?
     
  34. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Mar 31, 2009

    In high school, it means 5 differnt courses, generallly all in the same department.

    When I had it, I prepped Intro to Calculus, Precalculus Honors, Consumer Math (all Senior courses) and SAT math prep.

    This year I have 3: Algebra I Honors, Algebra I for our slower track (very often I can piggyback them, so it's more like 1.5 preps) and SAT MAth.
     
  35. chebrutta

    chebrutta Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2008
    Messages:
    2,489
    Likes Received:
    1

    Mar 31, 2009

    Different grade levels/areas. I taught 9th-11th grade English, plus two elective classes. Being English, it meant non-stop paper grading. And it's Florida and FCAT and graduation and hey! NONE of my students are on grade level in reading!

    Just not a good year.
     
  36. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    64

    Mar 31, 2009

    I'm not teaching yet, but I do have some challenges. Major depression, on meds, had therapy, already had a severe breakdown as a student.

    So I'm concerned sometimes, especially after reading these teacher sites and blogs....I pray hard and daily that I can handle it all.
     
  37. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Mar 31, 2009



    Been there, done that.......burned the f...ing tee shirt.


    Any job you do with passion requires you to balance your passion with your life and that's not easy. Trust your therapist!!!!! Mine was a lady who smiled uncomfortably when I called her Hannibal Lector with Boobs. She was never comfortable with my odd sense of humor, but she always knew me better than I knew myself and she changed my life in a very good way.
     
  38. webmistress

    webmistress Devotee

    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,084
    Likes Received:
    64

    Mar 31, 2009

    Ok, LOL at Hannibal Lector with boobs.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

Total: 368 (members: 1, guests: 352, robots: 15)
test