Will I Enjoy Teaching?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by matt123, May 5, 2015.

  1. matt123

    matt123 Rookie

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    May 5, 2015

    I just recently made an account here and wondering if you could all help me out with my question. Recently when discussing possible things to go to college for (currently a junior in high-school) my dad brought up becoming an elementary school teacher. After some thinking I looked into it and I absolutely love teaching people things. One of the best things in life is getting somebody to say "oh NOW I get it". I feel teaching kids would be fun as well, I don't mind kids and would love to teach somewhere around 2nd-5th grade (or up until middle school).

    I do have some concerns that I am afraid might hurt me going into this field.

    My first thing is being financially secure. I don't need to be making six figures a year but I want to live comfortably. If I choose to go out with friends one night I want to have the money to do so. I always hear my teacher complain about money but how truthful is this? If it helps I would love to coach a sport as well. Currently I live in New York but I plan on moving down south for cheaper living (perhaps North Carolina if it helps with my question).


    My second thing is how am I going to be able to control a classroom full of kids? Does this come with time or is there always a level of "excitement" shall we call it?

    Now my third question is how in the world will I be able to get kids to do well on all these state tests? What if they don't do well? Will the school blame it on you generally? How does this work?



    How long does planning take? Do you do it day by day or plan weeks in advance?

    How hard is it to get a job in this field? I've been told being a male will help but the people that told me this ironically were not teachers.


    My last question is how much do my high-school grades really matter? I currently have an 80 GPA but I take all AP/Honors classes and could easily pull a 90 taking your average everyday class. Sorry for the really long post but I did not know where else to go for this question. Teaching seems like a fun job especially with the younger kids.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Finances:

    This is a toughie, no question. Money is tough. Generally, teachers will make a living wage, no matter where they work though. It's definitely worth looking into places where you might want to permanently end up. If you want to coach, elementary probably won't be the best place. Unless you end up at a K-12 school, most coaches will teach in the same building. As far as places to teach... STAY AWAY FROM NORTH CAROLINA.

    Classroom Management:

    Classroom management is the hardest part of teaching, in my ever-humble opinion. It's one of those things that comes with experience. I'm much better now than when I started. When you actually get into college, you'll get lots of really good recommendations about books. If you're sure you want to be a teacher though, and you're really concerned about classroom management, it would be a solid investment to just go ahead and buy "The First Days of School" by Harry and Rosemary Wong.

    State Tests:

    BLEH. The day that state tests die forever will be a great day for the country. Until then though, they're a reality. Really though, there's no sense worrying about them much. They are what they are. You can only control you, you can't control what the kids do.

    Planning:

    Planning gets easier the longer you teach and are in the same grade level. You're first year will be made up of long hours. It gets better. To answer your question... yes and yes. I do long-range planning, but I also do short-range planning. Over the weekends, I usually do rough plans for the next couple weeks, and then every day/every other day, I tweak them based on how the kiddos are doing.

    How hard is it to get a job:

    If you're a New York teacher willing to relocate? Not hard at all. A New York teacher certification for elementary education, plus being a male, and willing to move? You'll get a job immediately after college, don't worry. Just be warned... New York teachers get dual-certified Elementary and Special Education. Your first (out of state) job will probably be using the special education certificate. Take those classes incredibly seriously, even if you think that isn't the direction you want.

    High-school grades:

    Your high school grades will not matter to a single person on the planet five seconds after you get your first college acceptance letter. Your college grades are much more importantly professionally... although even then, nobody will give a crap about them either once you get your first job.
     
  4. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

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    May 5, 2015

    Hi,

    Wow, you sound like me as far as the concerns I had before I went into teaching. I worried about if teaching would pay enough money. I would say it depends on you. First, I would try to not start too deep in the hole. Try to take as few loans as possible in college. Work and save up money to pay for college as much as possible. Also, it depends on your life style. You will be able to afford to go out, just not to go crazy with $$ when you do. If you are someone who drops $50/$100 when you go out, that won't work too well. Also, what kind of car and house. If you are practical and look at getting a dependable car that gets you from A to Z and don't need something fancy, you can save for such a thing.

    The first few years might be a bit tough financially, but that is true in a lot of proffessions. Employers don't pay recent college grads very much in many fields.

    How to deal with classroom management? You get some good books on it, and you find some teachers who are really good at it. Tools for Teaching by Fred Jones is an awesome book on classroom management. You can find a used copy on amazon.com for pennies plus shipping.

    Good luck to you.
     
  5. matt123

    matt123 Rookie

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    As far as places to teach... I don't want to end up in New York but you say stay away from NC. Where would you or anybody else for that matter suggest a new teacher like me go?
     
  6. matt123

    matt123 Rookie

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    If it helps my parents were willing to pay for college as long as I go to a community and then go to another college to finish out. I am not the type of person that has to go out every single weekend. Honestly? When I hang out with my good friends we can watch a sporting event or even just play some good old Playstation. I don't need a crazy car but something that is nice. I can be happy to say I own it (like a house for example).

    As crazy as it sounds many teachers here in New York are making $80,000 easy, but other places it is not that much. My health teacher makes close to $150,000....
     
  7. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    You never know if you'll like something until you try it. If you're unsure, you can always take classes in college and experience being around children. The more time you spend in a classroom or using behavior management skills, the better.

    Financially -- You CAN live comfortably as a teacher, but it depends. Schools vary widely in what they pay and what benefits they give. Usually Title I schools pay the best, but are more stressful to work at. You can also work during the summer and after school, get more education, etc. Honestly, most of the teachers I know who can spend money freely have a partner who makes a good amount of money, and/or don't have kids... so keep that in mind.

    Behavior management -- This is learned. Sometimes it's very, very hard.

    State tests -- How to make kids do well is anyone's guess. At my old school, most teachers taught to the test simply because that's what their pay was based on. If students don't do well, yes, the school will blame you. You won't get your pay bonus, your contract might not be renewed... hopefully your school district won't be like that, or you'll work for a charter school that doesn't base teacher pay on testing.

    Planning -- This is done at different levels. Your team will plan the year together and usually plan units together. You're usually responsible for your own classroom lesson plans, unless your team/a teammate is willing to share theirs with you. I used to spend several hours every Sunday writing the detailed lesson plans my principal wanted, but now I have a new team that shares everything with me. Win!

    How hard is it to get a job in this field? -- Depends where you're trying to work. Generally, if you're willing to work in a Title I school, you'll have an easy time finding a job. Some states have very few teaching positions, and you may have to sub for a while. Others are desperate for teachers. I'm not sure about North Carolina.

    Your high school GPA doesn't matter. Your college GPA would be more relevant, but even then, you don't have to put it on your resume... and if it's below 3.5 (I think I'm used to a different GPA system than yours?), I wouldn't include it anyway.

    Hope that helps. Teaching IS a wonderful and rewarding job, but there are a lot of challenges that come with it. It's good that you're doing your research.
     
  8. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    I agree with what gr3teacher says except the dual certified thing in NY. There are programs where you can get dually certified in gen Ed and special education but not all. I'm certified in gen ed from my undergrad degree and technology from my masters. I'm from NY.

    I will say that you need to think long and hard if special education is something you want to get into. There are more jobs in special education and if you are dually certified they will almost never consider you for gen Ed.

    If gen Ed elementary is where you feel you heart is and you don't want to add the special education cert I would recommend getting your ESL cert as many school here look for dually certified gen Ed and ESL OR gen ed and special education.

    You have quite a bit of time to go before you teach and I'm sure requirements will change by then.

    I will say an 80 average will not hold you back. In HS I had a solid 70 something average and I became a teacher.
     
  9. matt123

    matt123 Rookie

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    Ok and just to make sure here. Is New York the only state that does this? Also this may be a dumb question but by ESL do you mean English as a Second Language? I do not have much interest to go into the special education field, so I will probably have to do what you said.



    Thanks for the replies guys. I did not know too much of this and glad I now do!
     
  10. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    In North Carolina starting pay is in the 30k range. And I believe it tops out at around 40k with 20+ years of experience. I think teachers from NC on this board can clarify that for you. Plus the pay combined with the cost of living isn't that great.

    In NYC by the time you graduate your starting salary will be probably be around 60k for a BA and 70k with a Masters based on projections of our current contract (it only goes up to 2018 at this time). But then again who knows want cost of living will be like around these parts at the time. Current starting is 48k with BA and 54k with a masters. It's livable for sure but it again depends on your lifestyle. I don't work a second job or complain about not having money to go out.
     
  11. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Every state is different it's more about the college you attend. I'm not sure of where you are in NY but there are a few schools that offer the dual certification for gen Ed and sped in undergrad in NYC/LI. And many colleges that offer it as a masters program for people who majored in something different. I have yet to see a program that offers a dual certification in gen Ed and ESL (English as a Second Language). So if you go that route you would have do your gen Ed for your BA and ESL as your MA or vice versa.

    Just know that the gen Ed cert is a dime a dozen here and you need a dual certification just to get in especially for a suburban school. So plan on finishing your masters before you teach.
     
  12. scholarteacher

    scholarteacher Connoisseur

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    Yeah, I'm in NC. No planning time (meetings almost every day), not even bathroom breaks, no duty free lunch, and low pay. It sucks the joy out of a lot of what we do.
     
  13. ACinTexas

    ACinTexas Rookie

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    If you are looking to go south, I would at least consider Texas.

    The cost of living and quality of cities (several of various sizes) is really good here. Novice teachers in my district are making 50k/year next year to start.

    Keep in mind that this is an urban district, which as someone else mentioned does pay a bit more.

    Also, I am just starting out as a teacher and it was not that difficult to get hired for my first job.

    Good luck to you and good for you for thinking ahead and putting serious thought into your future!! Teaching is a wonderful profession.

    :)
     
  14. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    About the pay: Always keep in mind that your salary is based on 10 months of work. So if you're making $40K as a teacher, that's the equivalent of $48K for a 12 month position.
     
  15. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Also, depending on the state and district, it is not always true that urban schools pay more. I am making more in a suburban district than I was in an urban one (in CA). The wealthy suburb just south of me has starting salaries in the 60's! It can very greatly depending on the state and district.
     
  16. Bunnie

    Bunnie Devotee

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    Not true. If our salary is $40k we get $40k pay over 12 months. Pretty sure it's the same in most public school districts.
     
  17. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    I think what that person meant is that *if* we worked 12 months, then we would be paid 48k if the salary was equivalent. We only work 10 months (in theory) so getting 40k for 10 months of work is somewhat equivalent to getting 48k for 12 months of work.

    Personally, I look at it differently: my salary is my salary, and I also get 12 weeks of vacation a year, as opposed to the 2-3 weeks most American workers get (if that!). For me, my time off is worth the money.
     
  18. matt123

    matt123 Rookie

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    Thanks for the thoughtful replies guys. So from what I understand money should not be an issue as long as you are careful where you work. My head keeps saying go for the money that business has to offer but as long as I am smart with my money teaching will be fine.

    So NC seems like an easy no go from what I read according to an actual teacher from there! Texas seems interesting. Although I feel as if that might be a little far away you never know until you go there!

    I was reading some stuff on Virginia paying pretty well. Any news from teachers there?
     
  19. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    I teach in NoVa. My district pays really well, but the cost of living is astronomical. I live about 40 miles away from my school because of how outrageous apartment prices are closer. It's a fabulous district, even if it is a right-to-work state. We also aren't as insane over high-stakes tests as some places.
     
  20. greendream

    greendream Cohort

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    Yes, it is true. Whether you get it over 12 months is irrelevant. You're getting $40K for 10 months of work.
     
  21. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I think it's hard to say if you will enjoy it or not. Teaching is tough. At times very tough (though that is not to say you will not enjoy it). Could you volunteer at a school so you can start to get an idea whether or not you will enjoy it?
     
  22. PinkCupcake

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    The responses so far have been great, but I've got to throw in my two cents quickly. Why is your teacher complaining to you a student about money? Sounds very tacky and unprofessional to me.
     
  23. matt123

    matt123 Rookie

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    Honestly? I have no idea. The most ironic thing about it is that she makes over $120,000 a year for teaching an elective class and has her own business.
     

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