What's with the negativity for being a teacher?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by acehigh, Dec 27, 2014.

  1. acehigh

    acehigh Rookie

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    My parents recently told my WHOLE family about how I am not going to be a software engineer anymore. I'm actually going to be a teacher which is what I've always wanted to do. I got so many negative comments such as I'm going to be bored to death or that those kids are not going to even pay attention to you so why waste your time. What's up with the negative ideas on being a teacher?
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    You might need to ask your family this question.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I agree.

    I've never gotten negative comments from my family about being a teacher.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    I'm sorry your family is reacting so negatively. I'm from a family of teachers, so the computer engineer in the family is the odd one (we support his choices as well).
     
  6. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

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    I'd be interested in their reasons why they think you'll be bored. I can't imagine being bored while teaching!
     
  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    lol...So true! A teacher experiencing boredom??? That will never happen...You´ll be so busy you´ll often times have to work really hard to fit a bathroom break into your day...not to mention a minute or two to get something to eat. The truth is that many people actually have no idea what a day of as a teacher looks like...They don´t know what the profession entails...at all...
     
  8. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

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    My grandfather is very anti teacher. Every time I call him he asks which break I'm on. He thinks teachers are inherently lazy and don't work hard.
     
  9. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I have several relatives like this, also.
     
  10. Jerseygirlteach

    Jerseygirlteach Groupie

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    They might mean intellectually bored. Some people think teaching is very easy, lessons are all scripted and planned out in advance, and teachers just get up and parrot them out.
     
  11. acehigh

    acehigh Rookie

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    Yes this is where I think they were going with that comment. The odd thing about the whole negativity thing is that my mom is a teacher. So it struck me twice as hard with the unsupportive nature of the comments.

    Something my mom brought to my attention though, she's a private school teacher and she says going public is a lot different because you don't get a lot of leverage as far as disciplining your classroom as you would in a private room. Therefore more controlling and babysitting than actually teaching. Any thoughts or comments from experience?
     
  12. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Private schools (in general, not always) have better work conditions... smaller classes, more involved parents, less behaviors, etc. They make up for it by giving laughably low pay.
     
  13. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    My family has a few educators. They are very supportive of me doing what I want, but because they know what education is like right now, sometimes I hear why do you want to be a teacher?

    When I do hear negativity about my choice, it is saying that kids today are super disrespectful and that they pay isn't enough. It doesn't have to do with my ability to teach but rather their desire for me to be happy in life.
     
  14. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    I haven't taught in a private school before... but I also have never felt like I'm babysitting while teaching in a public school (Ok, that's not entirely true -- I've subbed a few classes where I go into survival mode and just try to maintain some form of calm in the room) but when I'm actually *teaching* a lesson, I would not consider it just "controlling and babysitting." Especially since I babysat for like 8 years and it is NOTHING LIKE TEACHING haha.

    It sounds like some of the negative feedback you're getting is just ignorance of what teaching involves, and I would say just ignore them. Sorry you have to deal with so much negativity toward your career choice though, that's tough. :(
     
  15. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    I wouldn't advise anyone to go into public education knowing how things are now. Many people gave me the same advice and I didn't listen. My advice would be to only go into teaching if you truly feel like you aren't passionate about doing anything else. If you have another interest, I'd go with that. My mom taught in private schools for her entire career and it is an entirely different world. She had tiny class sizes, few behavior problems, parental support, and pretty much every kid she ever got was on grade level. She literally never had a student that failed any of the state tests, and she didn't have to do things like interventions or data tracking either. I can't remember her having to bring work home or stay late (unless it was a school concert or something) EVER. Like others mentioned though, they make up for that in the salary- she never made above 30k a year even with a master's degree and 25 years of experience. If I could afford to live off of that, I'd do it in a heart beat!

    As far as being "bored"- I heard that a lot too. Several of my college professors even encouraged me to look at teaching high school, saying I'd be bored with the content in elementary. I don't find that to be true at all. The challenge comes in when you have to figure out to get kids to understand the content!
     
  16. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    The "bored" aspect is all about perspective and also a lot about personality. If you are in the wrong age group, you may be bored with the content. When I taught preschool, we reviewed the same stuff each day... calendar, days of the week, numbers, letters. It can get very repetitive. Waterfall is right, the challenge is how to make the idea stick. And while the content may be similar, no day is ever the same, especially with little ones. The spontaneity of the kids makes up for the repetition of the content. With any age group, but especially with young kids, the behavior will keep you on your toes.
     
  17. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    My mom taught and then became a school social worker before she retired and my Dad works as a SPED coordinator for a Board of Ed in NJ. Both of them thought I was crazy to want to be a teacher and warned me against it ... although, they both agree that between the good pay, good benefits and pension; it can be worth it.

    You can be busy and bored. Teaching is boring in the sense that it is not mentally stimulating or mentally challenging to me. It may not be a job you can do on auto-pilot since you never know what to expect, but that does not make it exciting - at least not a good exciting. It just is what it is.
     
  18. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    ICAM. I would never encourage anyone to teach but I will admit that the non-teaching related job factors make it tolerable. Where I teach, the money is good, I have a 7.5 hour work-day, I get the summer off, I have great benefits and a pension plan.

    The act of teaching itself is where the headaches and stress lie.
     
  19. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    I got negative comments more along the line of "Teaching is easy. Anyone can do it. You'll never find a job. You'll make no money. etc."

    I got a job immediately and it was a heck of a lot better than working at Safeway. My family's original aims for me however were in the medical field, so I think a large part of it was that I missed their higher expectations (which might be similar in your case if your parents thought you were going to be a computer engineer).

    I don't see how people can think you'd be intellectually bored teaching however. Every week I have to plan new and exciting lessons, and learn new strategies to keep my students engaged (what's exciting to them is also exciting to me, as I get to do fun and new science experiments I never taught with before and learn all about how to tie them into what we're learning). It's one of the most intellectually engaging occupations I've ever seen (it's almost addictive to get into lesson planning!). When I see my BF working in computer programming, while yes, he gets paid a BUTT-ton more than me, I could never do his job. It's far too repetitive and boring to stare at a computer screen all day and type things onto a screen. I feel like his job would seem intellectually boring to me.

    He admits he could never do my job, as I stand all day, and deal with hundreds of 13-14 year olds and all that they carry with them.

    He gets more money. I get more vacation time. I willing to make that trade-off. I'm not complaining, and people shouldn't complain about the time I get off because they could never do what we do.
     
  20. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    I never heard any negativity when I told people I was a teacher.
    When I said high school they looked even more in awe, or with respect (not sure why).
    When I tell them I teach English, we laugh (I'm obviously not a native English speaker, so I often joke that "only in Amerrrica you can have a foreigner teach Americans English" lol)

    As far as boredom... I don't get it. I will never be bored as long as I teach, I have to create my own curriculum, and I can't reuse anything for another 3 years, because we have the same students, so i have to wait until they cycle out. And by then I wouldn't teach the same lesson the same way so it would be still creating new things. And being bored in the classroom? No way.
     
  21. TamaraF

    TamaraF Companion

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    My family is supportive, even though my mother is not a fan of the education system. The negativity we (my husband is also a teacher) hear is from friends. There were a lot of comments like "must be nice to be done for the day at 3" and "I sure wish I could have all summer off and be paid". We finally made a rule that in our house, nobody was allowed to be rude or snarky about teachers. Have your own opinion, but in MY house be respectful. I've also told people "Hey, you're welcome to shadow me for a a few days if you really want to know what I do WITH YOUR CHILD all day." That shuts them up.
     
  22. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    My standard response is "Yeah, it's awesome! It must suck to be you." They usually give me a blank stare because they expect me to get defensive.

    I'm not going to waste my time complaining or explaining to those people.

    No matter what people say, our job has way more stress packed into each day than most other jobs, (with the exception of the armed forces, the emergency/operating room, fire fighting, or police work) so that extra time off is needed.
     
  23. ku_alum

    ku_alum Aficionado

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    MY RESPONSE: It's no secret; you could have earned an education degree and become a teacher. So, sucks to be you, huh?

    (Peregrin - we could be friends!)
     
  24. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    I have been considering going back for my masters in education and becoming a teacher for a number of years. Honestly, I mostly get positive feedback from non-teaching friends and family. They tend to think that it will be stressful but could make me happy, especially since I have been considering it for years. What actually has discouraged me from making the move is talking to actual teachers. I find they are way more negative about it than non-teachers. I feel like when I ask teachers about their careers they: work 14 hour days, are stressed all 14 hours, spend the day taming wild animals, have parents banging on their doors with shotguns, administrators dangling a noose in front of them, impossible standardized tests to prepare for, a government out to make their lives miserable, and no appreciation from anyone ever... BUT that they enjoy actually teaching in the classroom. I am not saying this to be critical, but saying this as someone who wants to go into the field but keeps hearing this and going "yikes, am I sure about this?" ... honestly it makes me sad to hear this since I am still so interested in teaching :(
     
  25. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    In my experience, and maybe because it's mostly non-Americans (living in America) look at being a teacher as being an intellectual. Their view is that you must be pretty smart to be able to teach others, and they know you must have to be educated yourself, and these people value education.

    By the in Hungary right now is horrible. The minority group there are Romas (Gypsies) and they must have their kids in school, but they don't care for education. So when teacher gives a lower grade, the parents often go to the school and physically assault teacher, at times they beat them up!! There's nothing anyone can do, no security, etc. The teachers don't get paid a lot, but they still have to go through a similar system as we do, for 5 years (there are teaching credential colleges for 5 years, they must also study the subject they chose for years, etc). Yet this is the treatment they get.
    Can you imagine?
     
  26. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    You only work 14 hour days if you allow yourself to work 14 hour days (which I sometimes do). It's all about learning to balance your work and personal life and flipping that switch to forget about school at certain times. I've gotten to a point in my career that teaching rarely becomes too stressful, but a lot of it also has to do with the fact that I'm in a wonderful school where the principal doesn't care too much about the standardized tests, and only about good teaching practices and engaging students. She also backs up the teachers when the angry parents come a-knocking. When they say that you are interviewing your boss every bit as much as she is interviewing you, take that seriously. I turned down several jobs after meeting their principal because I knew it would be horrendous to work there after talking to the principal for all of 5 minutes. (I remember one interview where the [very new] principal told me flat out after I gave her a sample lesson: "Yeah that won't work. There will be absolutely NO activities involving fire at MY school." I was like "Okay then, bye.")

    Your first year will be hard with the students likely overrunning your classroom unless you can take the time to learn and practice good classroom management. For me, that was a TON of self-study reading all kinds of books, because I wanted CM to get as easy as possible as fast as I could. (while it's still not perfect, it is no longer a major stress issue for me and I'm glad to say my class is well managed)

    The government makes everyone's lives miserable no matter what field you go into except maybe politics.

    So if you keep those things in mind, I find that teaching is a fantastic job, and I'm enjoying a year right now where I have not had to make a support call or class suspension even once, and where I'm not worried sick about how some student will act in my class on Monday. I've even got my planning down to where I'm 3-4 weeks ahead most of the time. Mostly I'm just worried about buying materials for my labs, and getting it all set up in the morning (because our copy machine is a piece of junk).

    ku_alum: :thumb:
     
  27. bartleby

    bartleby Rookie

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    Thanks Peregrin, I appreciate the feedback, especially the heads up about really considering your potential boss. I know I am eventually going to become a teacher, but the tips and advice go a really long way, both practically and emotionally. Thanks again!
     
  28. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    I became a teacher for these reasons

    a) I LOVE learning; the more I know the better
    b) I LOVE teaching
    c) I wanted summers off and breaks with my children

    It worked out well for me. Bear in mind I live in the state (NC) that is ranked 50th of 50 for teachers, and I still overall love my job.

    Several things surprised me and showed I had many misconceptions about teaching.

    a) Teaching is a very demanding and stressful job.
    b) You have to watch everything you say and do with the kids, parents, colleagues, admin, curriculum specialists, everything!
    c) You do take work home with you; I live my job 24/7 (except on summers/break).

    I would NOT change professions if given the opportunity. I was in nursing school, ranked 2nd in my class, when I left and went back for my Graduate certificate in Middle Grades Social Studies (my BA was in History). I left because I became pregnant with child #2 and knew I needed a profession that aligned me with their schedule and I knew nursing would be (at least initially) an evenings, weekends, holidays, job. Now I have three children, and I know I made the right choice. Plus my student loans are forgiven after 10 years.
     
  29. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    HOW?????
     
  30. GeetGeet

    GeetGeet Companion

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    I agree with many of the responses here.

    Most people who say negative things about teaching are ignorant about it. These people are the ones that need to be educated, and quick, before they continue to spread their nonsense. If they think that teaching is so easy and that it comes with all this free time and benefits, I would like to know why they didnt get a teaching degree. That's when we might find out that they really deep down think the job is hard or that it doesn't pay well.

    Teachers who complain about their jobs are often burnt out, and I think that the lack of respect for the profession is a contributor to this. Most of us feel that we are on the defensive; we are sick of hearing that our job is easy and that we don't work that much, so we are ready with a list of reasons that our job IS hard.

    That said, teaching is great. I teach in a great public school, and I love it there. Public and private can both be great--but I believe in the public system, and I would much rather work in that environment. In my opinion, it provides the most opportunities for the most kids (but the private-sector-loving politicians and testing companies need to get the F out of it). Just look for a school that you think you will like and yes, trust your guts about the school environment. Perhaps try subbing at a few schools for a bit if you can to feel out the cultures.

    Good luck--and stay positive. Learn as much as you can so that you can argue back at the naysayers.
     
  31. otterpop

    otterpop Phenom

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    10 years in any public service job gets remaining loans forgiven. However, if you are paying the standard payment, most loans will be paid off by this point. This program is available to cops, teachers, firefighters, ect.
     
  32. Peregrin5

    Peregrin5 Maven

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    Mine are paid off in 5.
     
  33. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    To do this, you do IBR (income based repayment), where what you pay on loans is based on your income. It's VERY HELPFUL when loan payments are out of control based on your current income...
     
  34. acehigh

    acehigh Rookie

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    I really appreciate all the honest replies! It was getting discouraging to only negative opinions. It's definitely stressful changing your career path but even more so with little support, so thanks. :)
     
  35. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    I think it will depend a great deal on where you teach. I love the classroom, but I experience the same negative stresses many people here are citing. I work in NC, a right to work state in which the Republican controlled legislature considers teachers to be lazy slackers no matter how hard we work. We are judged as to whether we are good teachers or not based on six criteria, supposedly. The only one that matters is how well the kids do on the ridiculous state tests. I can be rated at the highest level in all five of the other criteria, but if my kids don't care about the test, or do not test well and my numbers are low I am rated as an 'ineffective' teacher by people who have never spent a day running a classroom.

    I am happy that Peregrine (who I have a lot of respect for) has found a way to flip the switch. I have been teaching for more than twenty years and have not. I typically work ten to twelve hours every day, and there is never enough time to get everything done. Some parents are great, others are a real problem. I am lucky in that I have a very supportive administrative team. The stress level is quite high, though not from the kids. Its all the other stuff you have to do. I have told my daughters if they ever want to teach that is fine- as long as it is not in this state. We recently scored 51st in the US for teacher work environment.

    Go into teaching if you want, but please do it in a state with a strong union (they are illegal in my state), and one that has specified contract obligations (we do not have that) and a decent salary structure (again, not in NC).

    Just my advice, and I welcome questions.
     
  36. acehigh

    acehigh Rookie

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    What grades do you teach? I'm having a hard time getting opinions on middle versus high school students. I want to teach math, and I will probably work in low income schools for a bit. I want to be the teacher that shows students that there are options for them past drugs and gang activities. I feel like middle school they would be more impressionable but high school would be more mature.
     
  37. PowerTeacher

    PowerTeacher Comrade

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    Jan 13, 2015

    I teach middle school. You can make a really big impression on them there. Sixth graders are still on the cusp of being babies, need lots of hand holding, though they would be offended to hear that. I teach 7th grade where the kids are largely, well, nuts! Seriously, their brains and bodies are going through tremendous physical and chemical changes. You just have to keep in mind that they are not really sane yet by adult standards. Eighth graders are surprisingly more mature, but think they know more than you and are WAY too cool for school!

    High schoolers are more mature, and I often think about switching. I have taught high school before. They are more mature and your lessons can go to much greater depth, and include more abstract concepts. The drawback is that it seemed to me that they were set. Some of the kids in middle school can still be turned to have a good go at school. Most high schoolers have reached a point where they are pretty set as to whether or not they will be successful, minds made up if you will.
     
  38. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Any negative comments I have had from family were mainly just about how they were worried I wouldn't make enough money being a teacher. I make a good salary so now they know I'm fine in that regard.
     

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