Post # 1
In my last thread, I mentioned pursuing a M.Ed and getting into the field of teaching. I was doing some research on it last night and came across a teaching message board.
Many, many of the teachers on the board were discussing how terrible it is working for the current educational system and how all creativity in teaching has been stripped away. They also mentioned that everything revolves around standardized testing. They went on to say they hated the way they were treated by the administration and they hated the politics. So many of them just sounded miserable … a ton of them were thinking about switching careers because they were so exhausted and burnt out.
I mean ..it was just depressing to read this. Please tell me some of you teachers here feel differently about your jobs!
Post # 3
@pokie45: Hey OP! I know this is a really old post, but I just came across it and I’m hoping to revive it. I teach English as a Second Language to grades 9-12 at an urban high school just outside of Boston, and I absolutely love my job. Yes, there are aggravations such as pressure to teach to the test, as well as non-teachers who want to tell us how to do our jobs, people who think we’re overpaid and have it made because we have summers off, and the general lack of understanding that poverty, not lax teachers, is actually the root of the problems in academic performance… but overall, it’s incredibly rewarding to know that you’re making a difference in kids’ lives and are oftentimes their primary role model.
That being said, I think a lot of my satisfaction stems from the fact that I am in a high-paying district in a newly-constructed school (rare!) and I teach ESL, so my kids are all immigrants and I’m sort of their gatekeeper to this culture, so they’re genuinely grateful for my instruction and see a clear link between what they’re learning and their success in this society. So my passion is very linked to the population that I teach, and I’m not sure I would feel the same way if I taught mainstream American adolescents.
At any rate, I am very happy with my chosen profession; I think of it as applied anthropology 🙂 You have probably already made up your mind and started a grad program at this point, but if you still check this, I’d love to hear where your path led you! Also, I’d love to hear from any other teacher bees about their experiences, especially ESL teachers.
Hope someone reads this. Have a great night, bees!
Post # 4
Bump? I’d love for this thread to start back up…
Post # 5
There are so many things I love about my job, and there are so many things I hate. I just wrote this on another thread:
I am an advocate for public education…but let’s be honest, the public education system SUCKS. I work with kids every day who are two or three years behind their grade levels…and statistically, even with intervention, they’ll never catch up. They have to do THREE TIMES as much work as their peers just to get on grade level…um yeah not going to happen. There isn’t time in the day. So we have that problem. Then there’s the fact that many teacher training programs don’t make teachers think critically about culture, race, diversity, TEACHING, instruction, et cetera. Also, since teaching pays so little, anyone can become a teacher. (I am not saying teaching is easy…I’m saying that anyone can get the degree, and then get a job, and do it poorly or well depending on her skills.) That means you have inconsistent levels of teacher preparedness, large groups of kids who are behind and will always be behind getting the most attention, and a test-prep focus that undermines quality education in the first place. Not to mention lack of attention for gifted kids, lack of arts/music/drama/etc…et cetera.
Teachers don’t get paid enough, either, and there are more problems than there are awesome things. BUT…on NPR the other day they were talking about the happiness factor of being a parent, and they said that basically you cannot quantify the JOY you get from being a parent. I think what I feel for teaching is similar. I cannot quantify the joy I get from being a teacher. There are so many moments during the day when I am truly happy in my job…but overall I am dissatisfied with the state of public education.
Post # 6
I have a Masters in teaching, and I’m in my 4th year teaching high school English. I would LOVE to switch careers at this point.
Post # 7
@pokie45: I think it completely depends on your school. There will be politics and horrible policies no matter where you go – it depends on respecting the people you’re working with, and finding the right “fit”.
I worked at one school in a northern part of Manhattan. The administration lied numerous times to me, to my parents, to the union rep, and to outside evaluators. Fingers were always pointed at the teacher. A classic case of someone too incompetent to do their job, so they blamed others and pretended they did things that they didn’t. One superior clique – and if you weren’t part of it, you were labeled as a “bad teacher”. I stayed for three years and seriously considered a career change.
I transferred to a school in midtown – same socioeconomic backgrounds, but a much more ethnically diverse population. My principal is down to earth, and asks for our (teacher’s) input. Teachers collaborate to help each other all the time. Parent’s can’t come in making wild accusations and expect to be taken seriously. I’m on committees to help better the school (ones that didn’t even exist at my old school… or if they did, I wasn’t allowed to know about them bc I wasn’t part of the clique). I can honestly say that I love my job, even though I’m not in the grade that I’d like to be (I teach 4th, rather be in 2nd). The school culture is absolutely everything.
I hope that standardized testing and teacher evaluations don’t deter good teachers from teaching. Once you find your niche you’re good to go.
Post # 8
I am also a teacher in nyc. I teach high school social studies and I love it so far. I’ve only been at it for a couple of years, but it’s just something where if you have the passion for it and you love being with kids… that is going to be what drives you through. There is always going to be red tape to get around, tests we have to get them to pass, and all other sorts of things that aren’t ideal, but I love those kids. And I want to help them, so I just try to have as much tunnel vision as possible and do it all for them. (Gets hard when they don’t seem to appreciate it!) But I certainly try hard. I hope I last in the profession for a long while, but it’s so early in my career and I can’t tell yet how things will shape up in the next handful of years.
Post # 9
Nope. Can’t disagree with what you said. I cringe when people say they want to be teachers. But I never say a word. It’s for some people, but has certainly changed for the worse.
Post # 10
@peachacid: Someone I work with was telling me that all you need to have to be a substitute teacher in my area is an associates degree in anything. I couldn’t believe it. He makes $90 a day doing this.
I am so thankful for the dedicated teachers who deal with all the politics and work for a song to educate our children. I think when the US government decides to make our kids and their education a priority, it will preclude so many other social issues we are facing in our country. I especially appreciate high school teachers. I could NEVER do it. They should get hazard pay and candy dishes full of xanax.
Post # 11
@Bridey77: I considered substitute teaching in NH once, and called my local district to ask about qualifications. They said you need to be working toward “a degree”. ANY DEGREE. That was in 2005, so things may have changed…but seriously.
The subs in my district are awful. They yell at the kids, are mean, don’t do anything (even when teachers leave amazing plans), etc.
@Rubbs: You’re a teacher, right? What grade/subject?
Post # 12
@Bridey77: In my state, to be a substitute teacher you only need a high school diploma or equivalent …. yupppp!
Post # 13
I am a first year Spanish high school teacher and LOVE my job. There are of course things I don’t like about it (standardized testing, parents, meetings, low pay, etc.) but there is nothing else I would rather do and I think there are things everyone does not like about their job. I think I have gotten really lucky in my placement because I work with a great group of kids as well as coworkers. The environment I work in is a really supportive one.
Honestly, one of the most difficult parts of being a new teacher is hearing my coworkers complain about it and talk about how they “are going to find new jobs.” I have stopped eating lunch with them everyday because they are so negative and unwilling to try new methods and openup their minds to new ideas. Luckily I have an amazing mentor teacher though 🙂
Post # 14
I just finished my second day of student teaching and I want to cry because I feel like everything I’ve worked for the last four years has been a waste.
I’m supposedly with the best teacher of my subject in the whole state. So far, I’ve seen her be disorganized, vindictive, revenge-seeking, snarky, dramatic, and gossipy. I have seen her complain – to students, other teachers, admins, me, etc about the most minute inconveniences. She told a kid she was going to “cut his tongue out of his face” today. Staff meetings are a joke and all the teachers talk SO MUCH SHIT about each other and my teacher more or less failed a girl today because she found out the girl requested to be moved to the other teacher of this subject and so my teacher was offended. (The girl had several assignments missing, and my teacher said she would allow her to make them up and would more or less excuse her for this last quarter and factor them in to next quarter’s grade. After she found out the girl asked to move classes, she went into the computer and gave her zeros for those assignments, then went to the office to make sure the grades were changed in time so that the F would go on her report card.)
She’s been a teacher for 30 years and the other teachers seem just as petty. I can’t handle the drama and the politics. I just can’t. Idk what I’m going to do after I’m done student teaching …
Post # 15
@208bride: oh no I’m sorry to hear that 🙁 Not all teachers like that! Although sadly a lot of them are… Teachers should stick together and be positive role models but sadly many are not. It’s crazy to see it in real life… Really makes you wonder why they got into teaching in the first place. If it’s something that you love, DO IT! Don’t give up on it just because some old teachers have. They are stuck in their ways and have lost hope, but that doesn’t mean you should. Students NEED teachers like you and you can really make a difference in their lives 🙂
If you want a success story here you go: I work in a very large high school and have only been there since September. I just graduated in August. I have gotten the highest possible ratings from my boss during every observation, positive remarks from coworkers who work with me, and had multiple students transfer into my class because they love my teaching style so much more than others who work there. I love my job, I work hard, and I think it shows through. Good things will come to you if you love what you do and stick with your passion. I have extremely negative coworkers (some of them) and I just ignore them. Dont’ let them bring you down!
Post # 16
@208bride: Request a change and be persistent with your advisor. They won’t want to change your teacher, but if it’s that bad and you stay on them, they will eventually listen. Student teaching should be the greatest – don’t settle for a horrible experience.
Some schools have a lot of gossip and complaints. I don’t eat in the lounge with the other teachers because of it. Others are great. I stick with my team. We’d still complain lightly, but nothing overboard, and we were still positive people. It’s much better.