Post # 1
I am considering going into teaching, and have all of my prereqs to enter an elementary, middle years, or secondary (high school) program. What do you suggest, and why?
I’ve heard if you train for high school you can teach lower but if you train elementary you can’t do higher. I am working with young girls and I have always wanted to teach elementary but I want to make the best choice.
ETA: My specialty is English
Post # 3
Having just graduated with twenty to thirty education major friends now looking for jobs, get certification for secondary and then you open yourself to more positions. Many of the elementary edu people at least around here are getting aide positions or nursery school part time, not full time teaching. The others with higher grade level certifications have been able to apply to more places to get more call backs.
Post # 4
My brother teaches high school math, and at least in California, he can’t teach college but he can teach elementary school.
Post # 5
I like working with all age groups, and each provides a different set of learners. That being said, the teaching market is awful right now. Get certified in English, and then try to add other certifications.
Though since you’re in Canada, it is probably totally different. If there are plenty of jobs available, go for what age group you like best.
Post # 6
I teach kindergarten. I’m certified to teach all grades but I would never go higher than 2nd grade. My advice is to teach what you love. Choose the age level, and the curriculum, that you like best. Don’t make your choice based on which one has the most job openings.
Maybe you could volunteer or observe in several different classes and get a feel for which one you connect with most.
Teaching is difficult. And wonderful. But it’s only wonderful if you love what you teach and who you teach. Otherwise it’s just difficult.
Post # 7
I’m a teacher in NY, but here, certifications and requirements vary by state. I don’t know how teachers are being treated in Canada, but here we’re public enemy #1 always….I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I was like 4-5, but I think if I could, I’d go back and tell younger self to go into nursing or occupational therapy. Anyway, since you asked, here the certifications are super specific….there is elementary ed certs, which is for grades 1-6, early childhood ed cert for birth-2, then each subject area 7-12. For special education, there’s students with disabilities birth-2, 1-6, and a new 7-12 cert (it used to be 5-9 then 9-12).
Post # 8
@chasesgirl: Good to know, thank you! I appreciate the insight!
@Hyperventilate: Thank you for confirming what I believed about teaching down!
@peachacid: If I do education I think I’ll just do it for 5 years until we are settled, then get my masters and focus more on the administrative side of schools. It is discouraging to know the market is terrible, and I think it’s OK but not good in Canada (you can get a job but will have to relocate). Thanks for the advice!
Post # 9
@MrsWishyWashy: Thanks for the advice! I would volunteer but I live in a big city and it’s very competitive- even for volunteering. There are year long wait lists and even then you are not guaranteed.
@WhatMaeBee: I appreciate people even turning me away from teaching. I am really only minorly attached to the idea, but I want to specialize in something temporarily until I find my “true calling” and go back to school for a masters degree. Thanks for responding!
Post # 10
I would say it totally depends on your personality. I am in my last year of my education program to teach history and English from grades 7-12. I prefer the personalities of older children, but will be student teaching in a middle school to see if I like that as well. I agree with PPs, though. Teach what you love, not what has the most job openings. Good luck!
Post # 11
I’m not sure how it works in Canada but in CA they’re two different credentials. If you teach secondary (single subject credential) you can’t teach elementary, if you teach elementary (multi-subject credential) you can teach up to 8th grade but not high school. If your preference is elementary, than go for elementary. Even though job prospects may be better with secondary, you’ll be miserable if you don’t like the age group. They can definitely be a challenge if you’re used to working with little kids.
Post # 12
@BrookeBQ: You’re welcome! The idea of teaching, IMO, is so romanticized…and many times, the actuality of it is not as rosey I’m-making-a-difference-in-their-lives way…if it’s not something you’ve dreamt of doing for quite some time, TBH, you may be too discouraged by the nepitism, issues with administration, disrespectful students, uninformed parents, ever-changing systems and tasks. I’ve been a teacher for 6 years (not forever, I know), and it’s very trying…FWIW, I also teach in what was rated the #1 most dangerous school in NYC for many years, and I teach high school special ed algebra & living environment, so my experience isn’t as sweet as someone who is in a younger grade, a nice neighborhood, etc. I used to teach in the school that I went to (for 4 years) but they had mass layoffs 2 years ago, and I wound up where I am now. It can be brutal, but very rewarding. Update us on your journey 🙂
Post # 13
You need to know which groups you vibe with. I teach high school, and this year I’m at a combo middle / high school. I have SUCH a hard time meshing with my 7th graders, but I love the juniors. I would never take a job teaching elementary.
There are so many elementary school teachers who feel the same about high school, though!
Can you get into volunteer groups working with kids, especially in a group setting? Contact schools to drop in to tutor after school programs.
I’m not familiar with how it is in Canada, but in California, it’s not super quick and easy to transfer degrees to different age groups. It requires a credential in one area, plus passing a multi-section, difficult, expensive test that is not reimbursed. You really should know which age group you want before starting the program.
Post # 14
@WhatMaeBee: Thank you for your account! You are absolutely true about it being romanticized, and I appreciate your honest story, which will help me make a thorough decision 🙂
@hisprettygirl: It is definitely not easy to transfer to different age groups, which is why I am trying to decide now but it is so difficult! I definitely think I vibe with younger girls and frankly working with teenagers scares me a little, but I don’t want to end up jobless or babysitting, though I am sure it won’t come to that… I hope.
Thanks to everyone saying I should stick with elementary if that is the age group I enjoy!
Post # 15
I’ve been teaching high school for 13 years. Teach the age group you enjoy. I love teenagers and teaching them. I could NEVER teach elementary kids; I love them in 1-2 but not 30 all by myself! I also like that my kids don’t pee on themselves, if they Adele sick, they leave the room, etc. elementary kids don’t do that 🙂
Also realize that you’re specialty is English (so is mine). In a middle/high school setting, you will be teaching English or electives related to English (speech, theatre, etc). In elementary school, you will be teaching ALL the subjects – math, science, history, etc. it’s something else to take into account.
Pim also going to say this – don’t use teaching as a place holder until you figure out what you want to do UNLESS you are planning to stay in the education field (administration, leadership, etc). Teaching is HARD and a pain in the ass and there is SO MUCH CRAP that you deal with other than actually teaching (IEP’s, parents, meetings, mandatory testing, paperwork, grading, etc). I LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE my job but is it HARD, with the first 2-3 being by far the hardest. At 13 years in, I’ve got a large bag tire inks to pull from on days that I need something. When you’re starting out, you don’t have that.
Post # 16
@WhatMaeBee: +1 “but here we’re public enemy #1 ” I was just having an argument about this today, I said we are the only city workers who are picked on, my friend looked at me like I was crazy saying firemen and policemen are always in the paper being written about.
I’m a teacher in NY too btw!