Why Smart, Ambitious People Rarely Become Teachers

Discussion in 'Debate & Marathon Threads Archive' started by DigitalDiva25, May 19, 2013.

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  1. vivalavida

    vivalavida Companion

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    May 21, 2013

    I appreciate this comment. I, too, feel as though I've been a pretty successful student. People have told me I could "do better" than teaching. Yes, I'm sure I could also succeed in a career with better pay, upward mobility, etc., but I've wanted to teach ever since I was in elementary school. Of course, it makes it much more difficult when society looks at teaching as a "less successful" career. That bothers the heck out of me! I completely disagree with the assumptions of this article. In all honesty, education needs the smartest and most successful individuals!
     
  2. redtop

    redtop Companion

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    May 21, 2013

    Well I may have implied some things that aren't fair, some of the Really Rich people are not also Right Wing. But I think a lot of conservatives would agree with what I said about their view of government. (By the way, have you noticed that every Republican senator, representative, and governor, is a public employee?)
     
  3. stephenpe

    stephenpe Connoisseur

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    May 21, 2013

    Oh the irony. "Gov's is the ENEMY" but ignore the man behind that curtain.
     
  4. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    May 21, 2013

    I have been asked a few times why I only teacher pre-first and not college. Apparently the public opinion is that this age isn't challenging and if you are smarter you should teach an older grade.
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Somehow teachers have become public enemy number one and some of the public look down upon us. We are educating the future leaders! I consider us to do one of the most important jobs there is.
     
  6. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    May 21, 2013

    God I hate over-generalizations--without statistics to prove it. Anyways, I did very well on my SATS, my GREs, scored a perfect one of my subject area Praxis exams, graduated with my B.A. with disciplinary honors in History and was even encouraged by History faculty to go into grad school in history--which is NOT done because of the obscene amount of competition. Anyways... teaching wasn't my first choice (more like 3rd) but life circumstances beyond my control relegated me to one geographic area which limited my career options to: medicine or teaching. I choose teaching because night shifts, weekends, holidays, etc. are not really compatible with starting a family. My choice, nothing wrong with the alternative, but it isn't because I'm dumb or lack ambition by any means. My 4.00 in my Master's program isn't because I'm a lazy idiot for sure.
     
  7. DigitalDiva25

    DigitalDiva25 Companion

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    May 21, 2013

    I have a question for you all. Let's say you are a certified tutor earning 50-70 bucks an hour and you start to have an abundance of clients that you no longer need your job working at a school district, would you leave your students and quit?
     
  8. AdamnJakesMommy

    AdamnJakesMommy Habitué

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    No. My husband makes enough money where I don't have to work at all, I teach because I want to.

    If I won the big power ball I might quit then, and just volunteer in my spare time. Only because I'd probably buy a home in the bahamas and spend 1/2 my year there... :love:
     
  9. Curiouscat

    Curiouscat Comrade

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    May 21, 2013

    No, I would not leave teaching for tutoring because I want to be home with my family in the afternoons and evenings. I like the continuity of working with the same children each day. I wouldn't like the gaps of time between tutoring sessions. Plus, I would never leave my class mid year unless it was a true emergency.
     
  10. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 21, 2013

    I disagree with the statement of this thread. Teachers are amitious only in a different way. Business people often chase money for themselves, while teachers are ambitious to help children and make a difference. The drive I see in lots of teachers are incredible. I know of teachers who have spent over $10,000/year of their own money on things they do for their students. I laugh at politicians who think pay for performance would work. They don't understand the best teachers aren't motivated by money.

    Teachers are as ambitious as anyone out there. They just show it with their hearts.
     
  11. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 22, 2013

    Absolutely. The author of the blog sounds a lot like the CEO in Taylor Mali's poem What a Teacher Makes.
     
  12. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    May 22, 2013

    Wow.

    Most businessmen I know aren't chasing the dollar. Most businessmen I know love the work. They love the process or learning something new from what they do. They love figuring out how to make something work that no one thought would work.

    It seems that there is just as much bias towards business people as people have towards teachers.

    Sure there are those businessmen that do have a drive for money just like there are those teachers whose drive is Christmas break, spring break, and the weeks off in the summer.
     
  13. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    May 22, 2013

    :love::love::love::love::love:
     
  14. peachacid

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    May 22, 2013

    Let's be honest here...you do not have to be smart to be a teacher. I am smart. I use "big" vocabulary words. Other teachers often say things like, "I don't understand when you talk, tee hee." Because it is NOT difficult to get a degree in elementary education. It is extremely easy.

    There are plenty of smart teachers, but you absolutely do not have to be smart to do this job. It HELPS, of course, and it would be nice if everyone were smarter...but it's just not the way things are.

    What needs to change is the degree of difficulty of teacher education programs. I have taken education classes at four different institutions: Bryn Mawr College, Temple University, the University of Pennsylvania, and St. Joseph's University. At Bryn Mawr and at Penn, the focus was on theory and inquiry. At Temple and St. Joe's, the focus was on learning and regurgitating a few facts.

    Teacher education should look something like this: enroll in college, choose a major that is NOT education (psychology, sociology, English, business, math, whatever), complete coursework for that in three years, and then take a year of theoretical education classes, followed by a year of student teaching. Student teachers should be paid to student teach. Then, student teachers can apply for apprentice jobs where they are paid but are aided in everything they do. It takes about three or so years to really "get" teaching, so those three years should be spent continuing to learn.

    If we improve the overall quality of teachers, wouldn't our students benefit? Of course, it will never happen, because the truth is our society does not value education.
     
  15. redtop

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    May 22, 2013

    I had no idea what actuaries made when I decided to become one.

    But in any cohort of people considering a career choice, there will be many factors. Personal preference is of course one, a huge one, but money will also be a factor, and no one will "prefer" less money to more money.

    Because of the large number of teachers required and the fact that they are (more or less by nature) public employees, there's going to be a limit on the salaries that can be paid. You couldn't take 3 million people and pay them $200K each per year and raise enough tax revenue to do it. If there were some other field in which there were 3 million people with enough ability to create "value added" of $200K, then the market would allocate resources to pay them that. But there's no such objective measure for teaching, hence no economically indicated allocation of resources.

    So within every cohort of people considering teaching or something else, there will be at least some people who were "on the fence" and will choose a more lucrative career. But it will be "more lucrative" only if their talents and abilities are such that their marginal addition in profit to their employer exceeds a teacher's salary. This group, of course, will be overpopulated with people who have both the ability and the motivation to be "high contributors."

    Obviously there will be some people who wouldn't teach if it paid a million dollars, and some who would teach for free. But as long as there are careers that pay better, there will be at least some people with the ability to make more who will choose something else, and there is no automatic ability for market salaries to "self-correct."

    You could also say that smart, ambitious people rarely become bridge club managers. The economics of managing a bridge club cause the salaries to top out even lower than teachers. You could say it about any profession or vocation where the most talented people in it have more lucrative options.
     
  16. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 22, 2013

    Those are good points, red, and all very true.

    On the flip-side, we also people who did decide to pursue corporate jobs for a number of years and have then decided to leave that setting and bring their ambition and talents to teaching, so it goes both ways.
     
  17. orangetea

    orangetea Connoisseur

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    May 22, 2013

    I completely agree.
     
  18. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    May 22, 2013

    Our society does value education. The political emphasis and initiatives regarding testing and evaluation are evidence of that. Most employers and parents agree every student needs a good education as well.

    Unfortunately, our society currently does not value educators. Redtop has actually done a good job describing the political and social view regarding educators in our country.
     
  19. msufan

    msufan Comrade

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    May 22, 2013

  20. ChristyF

    ChristyF Moderator

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    May 22, 2013

    I could post the rules of the forum for all to see, but they've been seen. The simple fact of the matter is, this is an education forum; it's not a political forum. There are hundreds of those out there. If you don't like the rules of this forum, then feel free to join one designed for political debate. Political threads and posts will continue to be removed, per forum policy.
     
  21. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    May 22, 2013

    Here's what comes to mind after reading the blog post:

    1) Since when does smart=ambitious? The author truly believes that the mark of intelligence is craving prestige? Really? I could point you to a few not so intelligent celebrities who have PLENTY of prestige, $$, etc...

    I actually consider myself to be an ambitious person in a different way than this article describes. As long as I have enough to live on I couldn't care less about money, and I actually actively AVOID prestige. I guess my own personal ambition lies in bettering myself - working harder, learning more, and becoming the best teacher I can be for my students.

    2) Since when can we measure intelligence solely based on SAT scores?

    This sentence made no sense to me, truly:

    "No more of this warm, fuzzy, “I do it all for the kids” mentality. Much more focus on increasing prestige and career mobility instead."

    HUH? So this author wants teachers in this country to care more about their own careers, money, and prestige than the education of children?

    No. I am not in teaching for the money. If I wanted to make a lot of money, I wouldn't have gone this route.
     
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