Where are they now? Ex-teachers tell their life-work stories

Discussion in 'General Education' started by MWMnElmed, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

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

    Jul 10, 2009

    A great article profiling teachers who left the profession, the reasons why and what they have experienced since leaving teaching. Would love to see your comments after reading the article.

    http://www.iier.org.au/iier19/buchanan.pdf
     
  2.  
  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,339
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 10, 2009

    THanks for the link. I'm reading it now. Wow! I'm engrossed.
     
  4. Yank7

    Yank7 Habitué

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2007
    Messages:
    870
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2009

    I find this article interesting in that it points out there is life after teaching,but in some ways it fails to emphasize the pluses in teaching.
    Teaching is a very demanding and difficult job and it is impossible to realize how much so until you actually are involved in it. Our teacher preparation does not prepare us for the enormous paper work,planning and demands that are made on you.I never realized the behavior problems I would encounter,nor the attitude of some administrators I would have to face.
    However this can be true in other jobs where my friends cannot do without their blackberry, as they are always on call and they certainly are forced to work long hours and face some unfair and nasty bosses. Some work much longer hours then I do and face the same lack of support from their fellow workers as some of us do.I think in a way I see the same jealousy in their jobs that I have encounted in teaching.However,many of my friends are very jealous of the pension and health plan that I have.
    I do think that teaching does provide us with many verbal and communication skills that can be transferred into other professions and we should not look out teaching as the only profession we can succeed at. There is life after teaching for those who find teaching is not for them or find it difficult to find a job.
    A few years ago I fainted for no apparent reason and the doctor suggested I report to the emergency room where I remained overnight. While there I got to talk with he head doctor and he told me that he had been a middle school science teacher
    and he found it much easier to deal with the chaos of the emergency room then the chaos he faced in teaching.
    Yes, I certainly feel the teaching profession does not get enough credit for the for the difficult job we have to do.
     
  5. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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

    Jul 10, 2009

    OK, call me a crank.

    But I love teaching. I know that, like any profession, it's not right for everyone. And I know that there are plenty of things about the profession, and about every school, that need to be fixed.

    I'm no starry eyed teenager. I've been teaching for most of 3 decades.

    But I hate reading the perspective of those who couldn't or wouldn't find success in the field put it down. Kind of like the old "he's my brother-- no one can pick on him but me" attitude.
     
  6. holliday

    holliday Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2006
    Messages:
    398
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 10, 2009

    I see many of my gripes represented in this paper! I am especially in favor of changing the way teachers are prepared by giving more practical, realistic training and waiting on all the educational theory until later. I also like the idea of giving new teachers fewer responsibilities so they can have a little more time to focus on the often overwhelming task of getting their first classroom off the ground.
    And...I also agree that teaching can feel really isolating. I find myself craving adult conversation and support - wouldn't it be nice if there were more ways to combat that?
    Good article! I love teaching, but there are some negative aspects of the job that can be alleviated if we made it a priority.
     
  7. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

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

    Jul 10, 2009

    @ Aliceacc

    I don't hate reading or hearing anyone's perspective, I just don't want them to impose it on me, as if I don't have a right to my own opinion.

    I think each person is entitled to their own opinion, positive or negative. They just need to realize when they speak, they speak for themselves only.
     
  8. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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

    Jul 10, 2009

    You said it far better than I did.
     
  9. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,339
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 10, 2009

    Something our district is "trying out" is a different kind of mentoring. They actually hire former teachers (they must be certified, had at least 5 years successful experience, be willing to work every day for the first month of school, and part time for the 2nd month, and they can't have been out of the classroom for more than one school year) to come in and guide new teachers daily while they learn the ropes. Mostly we get

    I'm not sure what the end results will be, but the pilot program seemed to be very successful this year. Only time will tell.
     
  10. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,339
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 10, 2009

    One part of the article really hit me. THe part where the one person said that in medicine, they worked long hours, but where welcomed into the community -- and that didn't happen in teaching.

    That is so true in many cases.

    I always go out of my way to befriend new teachers, help them out where ever I can. I had one new teacher come to me at the end of the year and tell me that while many people offered to help at the beginning of the year, none of them actually followed through on it when she specifically asked -- except for me. ANd she said that I was the only teacher who had been friendly to her, talked to her, asked her how things were going, during the entire year.

    That is really sad.

    At our school, we have staggered lunches, and some teachers (I'm one of them) don't have lunch at the same time as any other teacher -- so it is especially lonely. THere is almost no adult contact during the day. The only people who eat lunch when I do are the preK teachers, and by law, they have to sit at their student's tables and eat lunch with them. They are too busy opening wrappers and cleaning up spills to talk. (They get a break later in the day when their aids take over during nap time.) I take that back, there was one cafeteria worker and one custodian who overlapped with me for 10 minutes -- but after a few weeks, we really ran out of things to say because neither one was much of a conversationalist. THere really isn't much contact. What made me sadder is that the other 4 teachers of my grade level all had lunches that overlapped by 20 minutes, so they all sat together in one of the rooms and ate together. My lunch was over at that point. They'd have fun, and talk, and collaberate -- and I really felt left out. It was really hard to walk my class back from lunch and see them all sitting together in one teacher's room -- laughing and talking, while I had eaten alone at an empty table. If I were a new teacher, I don't think I'd survive it very well.
     
  11. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 10, 2009

    I enjoyed the article. I found the following comment to particularly true: “I couldn't believe the people who delighted in watching you get eaten.”

    I realize the mindset is not only in schools, but I have found there are too many teachers, those who are more seasoned than those just entering the field, who sit back and take pleasure in witnessing the mistakes of the newbies. It's really sad...
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2006
    Messages:
    7,946
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 10, 2009

    Regarding the somewhat solitary conditions of teaching, in that some teachers interact very little with other adults throughout the day....well, I see that as a perk! :)
     
  13. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2007
    Messages:
    17,362
    Likes Received:
    46

    Jul 10, 2009

    I agree that preparation should be more realistic. Yes we need to learn educational theory, but that doesn't help us more than knowing what's really going on in the classroom.

    Rain~my former district did this. Regardless if you were new to teaching or just new to the district, we got a mentor who came by as often as they could (mine came by about twice a week the whole week) and we discussed what was working and what wasn't. They did observations, helped out with workstations. They were retired, but I don't think the requirements were the same as your program. I loved this program! And I still talk to my mentor today.

    This jumped out at me too. Would doctors sit back and watch interns get eaten alive...no, because patients lives are at stake...Well, in teaching children's lives are at stake too. A newbie making tons of mistakes and not getting any help can ruin a child's education.
     
  14. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 10, 2009

    Rainstorm- I like the mentor idea! I have never heard of that.

    As for the article, I am currently going to school to be a teacher and I often question my decision whether or not Im majoring in the right field. This article just illuminated all my worries. But I would like to read articles about the problems in other fields and industries. I'm sure they have their share of problems too. Nothing is perfect. I'll just keep plugging along with my teacher education courses and hope that I am dedicated enough to overlook these issues.
     
  15. Bumble

    Bumble Groupie

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2008
    Messages:
    1,225
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 10, 2009

    I like how the article stated that preservice programs don't prepare future teachers. I know I wasn't prepared at all. They always sent us to the well behaved classes. The only aspect of my job that I totally dislike is always calling home about behaviors and yet nothing changes. I really enjoy teaching. Seeing kids understand something for the first time is awesome!
     
  16. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,468
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 10, 2009

    I love what I do. As far as all those people who left teaching and are happier, that's good! If you don't like teaching, you shouldn't be in the classroom. I think it's a good thing they found other fulfilling careers however, I enjoy teaching and I don't spend all hours on school work during the school year. I am not paper crazy. There are many ways to assess besides paper-pencil tasks. I make my job enjoyable by reducing the paper load, engaging my students in activities that promote learning through doing. This, in turn, reduces behavior issues. I seldom have papers to take home or planning to work on. My curriculum is mapped and my lesson plans are pretty much done. I have them saved as a document and tweak as needed. I could make more work for myself if I am unorganized but I don't let it get to that. I make sure to simplify. Keep it simple smarty! KISS..that was a saying of one of my professors and it works. Work smarter, not harder.
     
  17. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,339
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 10, 2009

    I agree with you, but I think you don't work for a district that requires a paper and pencil test on every objective, and does school wide grade-level tests EVERY single Friday in 3 subjects, requires all teachers to grade identically,and requires a paper trail a mile long. Also, as soon as we get comfortable in a grade level (generally after our 2nd year in it) our district transfers us to a differnt grade -- where we can start all over again!

    These are many of the reasons people leave teaching. I literally spend every single Friday -- for the entire morning, adminstering tests I haven't designed (the school issues them -- I'm not allowed to see them in advance.) I am required to have all of these tests hand scored, and each students score on a manual grid (showing every quiestion they missed, along with the class percentage BY QUESTION for each student, in each subject) by Monday morning's data meeting. THese tests are based on where the district says all 2nd grade teachers must be on any given date -- so if you are behind, your kids will fail, and you will have some very serious consequences. Push, push, push -- keep up with the district-wide pacing guide at all costs. Then there are the city-wide tests each quarter in each subject, the classwide DRAs every quarter (that I have to administer one-on-one, with the entire rest of my class present!) and three other standardized testing programs.

    And as soon as I get organized -- the disrict will change the text, or require that somethign be taught another way.

    That is the reality in many school districts. My day is so overscheduled, I literally have to rush-rush-rush every single day just to keep up. If I don't keep up, I won't do well on my evalautions, and teachers with low evaluations end up getting moved to undesirable classes, grade levels, or schools. They also tend to find their class filled with hard-to-discipline students the next year.

    I am extremely organized, but our district will give us a totally new reading program on the 2nd day of school and tell us we must implement it starting the next morning -- and oh yeah, some time next month, they'll give us some training -- but figure it out yoruself until then.

    My organization skills have very little to do with it. I am always having to redesign everything to meet constantly changing requirements.
     
  18. WindyCityGal606

    WindyCityGal606 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,468
    Likes Received:
    12

    Jul 10, 2009

    Too much! Wow! Sounds like the district you work for needs better organization, not the teachers. Hang in there. I admire you for doing it all.
     
  19. MWMnElmed

    MWMnElmed Companion

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

    Jul 11, 2009

    RainStorm,

    Don't hang in there, go to another district that doesn't require all of that B.S. (I don't mean bachelors of science)
     
  20. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,339
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 11, 2009

    I thought this article went right along with this topic. http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Social...an_Education/Chapter_6/Are_teachers_isolated%

    I think many teachers, but new and experienced, feel very isolated. If you have a very full family life outside of school it isn't so hard to deal with, but for those who are living alone and who haven't started a family or whose family are grown and gone, it can be very isolating.
     
  21. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,339
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 11, 2009

  22. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 12, 2009

    I also absolutely love my job - warts and all. I worked in an office and wouldn't trade teaching to go back to that job for double the salary! I love the challenge and how every day is different. Every year is different. It's never boring!

    I do think if we were more realistic in training teachers there would be less naivete going into the classroom. I can remember being in a pre-service class for new teachers and the facilitator was telling a story of mayhem she once encountered. One of my fellow new recruits turned to me very wide-eyed and said - "do you think that really happened?". I worked in daycare for 5 years - I went into it knowing kids and knowing management is not just a stoplight system. Not all new teachers know that.

    I agree with Rainstorm that it is so sad new teachers are not supported on a campus. I know what I see at my school and I really think sometimes experienced teachers feel threatened by these new and creative ideas. They don't like that the spotlight is not on them anymore. My mentor teacher, when I started, did not even tell me anything about the standardized testing we do or what objectives to teach to prepare the kids. In November the Reading Coordinator came in and said-you are doing practice tests with the kids right? Practice tests for what? The other teachers had done them since September and could have very easily given me a copy-but how would it look if my kids did better than theirs?

    Paperwork is one of the downsides of this profession! I have to keep spreadsheets of data, do monthly benchmark tests in Kindergarten! I never expected that. I think sometimes if you have valid expectations of difficulty starting out then it's not so surprising when you do run into obstacles.
     
  23. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,339
    Likes Received:
    788

    Jul 12, 2009

    You see, now I've seen just the opposite. I've seen new teachers told over and over about standardized testing by experienced teachers, and resources given to them -- only to have them not use the resources and give off an "I"m not going to teach to a test" attitude. Preparing students for a test is not the same thing as just teaching to the test.

    Then they are shocked when their students don't do very well.

    At our school, we tend to worry about all the kids on the grade level, not just ones in our class. We share and help like crazy. It is incredibly hard to watch a newbie come in, ignore the most helpful advice, and watch those children get behind.

    Recently, we had two new teachers at our grade level. One taught rigorously, accepted help and resources, came by and asked questions, made suggestions, and guess what? Her students did a fabulous job. THe other constantly said "Nobody told me that!" (even though we had ...over and over), never used any of the resources we graciously gave her, always wanted to do things "her way" even though she had absolutely no experience with the material, taught some of the material incorrectly because she didn't understand it, skipped some essential material because she felt the state curriculum was "too hard." She missed 9 out of every 10 grade level meetings we had (never even told us she wasn't coming) and then complained that "she didn't know" when she missed deadlines that had been announced in those meetings, or couldn't get something done because she missed the training she needed to do it. Guess what? Her students did very poorly. They are incredibly behind by any measure (city-wide assessments, standardized tests, DRAs, etc.) Of course, she just transfered to a different school (her 4th school in 4 years). I feel really bad for those students next year, because they are going to be lost, and they have to pass a state test next year.

    It works both ways. Not every experienced teacher is helpful or shares, but not every new teacher accepts help or collaborates either. Many are so engrossed in their "dream" of how the perfect classroom "should be" that they won't listen to anyone -- until they are so far under there is no saving them. It works both ways.
     
  24. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 13, 2009

    I think the isolation of teaching is why this forum is so beneficial. We don't have time to really talk to our colleagues at school, and I love "teacher talk".
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. teoria
Total: 374 (members: 4, guests: 350, robots: 20)
test