Teacher bees, tell me about your job!

posted 3 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
1681 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2013

@roweboat:  There is absolutely nothing in the world I love more than teaching. Teaching fufills my every day and gives my life a purpose. I could go on for HOURS about the things I love, but the real question is this.. where do you live? If you live in the Northeast, it is extremely difficult to find a job.

When you do find one, internal fufillment makes it rewarding.. not financial income.

Post # 5
Member
4474 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

This past year was my first year of teaching. I worked as an assistant teacher the year before that while I was finishing college, which was also my year of student teaching. I teach 4th grade, by the way. My husband and I are moving out of state in about a week, and so at my new school I’ll be teaching 4th grade in the afternoon and 6th langauge arts and social studies and 7/8 combined social studies in the morning. 

Things I love are just being with the students. I love closing my door and just having the freedom to chat and learn in a laidback way. I love instructing, I love running groups and stations, and I love running a student-centered classroom. I find the relationships I develop with my students to be ridiculously rewarding, and I just love them to pieces. I also loved working with my co-teacher this year. There were obviously times when we got on each other’s nerves and all of that, but we had a fabulous relationship and I learned an incredible amount from her. I also enjoyed developing personal relationships with the other teachers in the building and learning from all of them. 

Things I dislike are administrators who micromanage you, give you backhanded compliments and have a critique no matter what you show them. Also, when they steal your ideas. However, these types of shenanigans go on in any workplace, so that’s not really teacher specific. An example of something that can get annoying on the job: I always utilize my plan book and am prepared for every class. But when I have to hand in lesson plans for the week by a certain date I get frazzled. Although it ultimately helps me, my brain is like, WHERE IS ALL THIS TIME YOU THINK I HAVE ADMINSTRATORS??? Having no time in general is another aspect I dislike (like no time to grade, no time to plan, no time for bathroom, no time for certain aspect of the curriculum). Professional development and growth can also be a PITA, but I wouldn’t say I dislke it because I love growing and expanding my knowledge, so no matter how annoying it can get I always find it worth it. I also HATE evaluations where they all come and watch me teach, but that could also be because I’m new to the profession and always looking to be a perfectionist so I get super nervous. Like I love hearing and learning about what I can do better, but at the same time, I hate criticism! (I’m sure I’m not the only one.) The last thing I would say that I highly dislike is how overworked and underpaid we all are, but it’s something I knew going in. 

Post # 6
Member
4072 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: January 2014

@star_dust:  I’m only a student teacher, but man, evaluations freak me out too. I feel so comfortable being in front of the kids even if I do make mistakes and everything isn’t perfect. Throw an adult in the room? I panic, I get jittery, I forget what I was doing. I am just so nervous with evals that I feel I can’t even show how good I am.

Post # 7
Member
5017 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

I love teaching! I’m a special ed teacher and working with the kids is awesome! I love building relationships with them and seeing them grow and learn. They also say such funny things some times! I am definitely a person who wants to succeed in her career- but I could never see me being the type of person to manage others and I hate having a boss constantly looking over my shoulder. Teaching is perfect for me – I can be in my classroom and not see my principal/administrator all day – and the only ppl I have to manage are my students! 

Of course, with every job there are things I don’t like…..

– parents calling and asking if their kid can go to gym instead of to my resource classroom because gym is way more important than reading! 

– the drama (teachers are DRAMATIC! It’s like they’re the high school students sometimes). This is the case in my school, at least. Someone’s always crying – always feels left out – etc. I try to stay out of it, be friendly to everyone, and do my job how it’s supposed to be done. 

-the administration who doesn’t have a clue (I teach a specific reading program -I get observed 3X a yr – and the principal literally said “I hope your observation made sense, I don’t really know the program”). SO HOW CAN YOU JUDGE ME?! I guess it works out in my favor because I get good observation notes all the time. 

I think teaching is such a rewarding profession, but like someone else said, there is a shortage of jobs in the north east so it’s hard in this area. Teaching can also be VERY political, you may get turned down for a job because so-and-so’s daughter is interviewing too and they will give it to her every time. 

 

Post # 8
Member
3084 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

@roweboat:  I love teaching! I teach high school kids and they can really be grating, especially with how much they talk. But the first year is the worst. It’s just a matter of making it through the year. And if you are going to be a teacher, invest in a good pair of shoes. My feet kill me at the end of the day sometimes. 

Post # 9
Member
4827 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: June 2013 - Upstate NY

@OnceUponATime:  She’s right. It’s IMPOSSIBLE to find a teaching job up here.

I teach 10th, 11th, and 12th grade Spanish in an upper middle class district. I love it. I would never do anything else. I swear, the only 2 things I can do well in this world are teach and DIY.

I have a great schedule. I no longer am staying til 4:30pm like I used to (my school gets out at 2:40!!! We start at 7:30). I am home by 3:30 and can enjoy many other things because of the schedule. My colleagues are great and supportive. My administrators kind of come and go but they are for the most part supportive and a nice bunch.I have been teaching for 8 years so I have it pretty much “down.”

Here’s my thought on the profession teaching… it’s a lifestyle that is very conducive to happiness!!! But YOU MUST LOVE NOT ONLY WHAT YOU’RE TEACHING, BUT WHO YOU’RE TEACHING. They will make you or break you down. You need to work very, very, VERY hard to stay positive in today’s educational climate. There are so many things and people that will speak negatively of everything you are doing. I love my high schoolers. I had a great high school experience myself so I think that helps. I teach sophomore-year of college level Spanish so I am always getting challenged too; I am never bored at school.

And of course, don’t do it for the money. But the money you will lack lets you experience life.

Post # 10
Member
4474 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

@bowsergirl:  OMG yes!! You totally get me. I’m the exact same way! We just have to be confident in our abilities! And remember to breathe lol. 

Post # 11
Member
3112 posts
Sugar bee

@roweboat:  

High school English teacher here.

Pros: the students, the holidays

Cons: the pay, the parents, the high school mentality (which is strangely present in faculty and staff), the inability to take time off if sick (substitutes cost the school money and being gone is HIGHLY discouraged), the early/late hours (typical day–I get up for work at 5:20, stay at school until 4 or 5,  eat dinner, and then grade until I go to bed), the high level of stress (you don’t get to go to the bathroom when you need and you never get a break; you are in charge of 20-30 kids no matter you feel up to it or not)…this is not a definitive list.

Do I like teaching? Yes.  Do I dream of a cubicle lifestyle?  Yep!  (My answer is c&p’d from what I said on http://boards.weddingbee.com/topic/any-teacher-bees#ixzz2ZuSRs3Gn)

Post # 12
Member
4474 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

weatherbug brought up some points that I didn’t mention in my original post. Probably because I’ve blocked it all out. I worked at a school this past year where the parents run the school. The parents were extremely demanding, could be quite rude to your face, and were all together almost impossible to deal with. I know the school culture in the school I’m going to is very different, but there will be difficult parents no matter where you go (just like there will be difficult customers or clients in other jobs), even if you’re busting your behind to make sure their kid succeeds. And 100 times yes to all the drama and politics. Although when I go on weddingbee and other forums and look through the career and workplace threads I begin to realize it’s not just schools that have major political issues and drama. 

Post # 13
Member
1884 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I’m also a high school English teacher (about to start my 3rd year), and I love it. Like others have said, you really have to love what you do because there are quite a few things that can bring you down if you it let it such as the low pay, testing pressures, and negative attitude from some teachers. I love working in education though, and I’ve never had a day where I said or thought “I hate going to work.”

Post # 14
Member
627 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: May 2014 - Scottish Rite Cathedral (New Castle, PA)

I’m in kind of a unique position as a teacher. I’m an itinerant teacher for students with hearing loss. So, I don’t have a classroom. Instead I drive from school and school and pull out the students who have hearing loss for short one on one sessions.

 

Pros: I love the kids, love that I see them one on one so classroom managment is a breeze, love my specialized field, love that I get to break up my day with the traveling and different schools, love the flexibility and that I don’t see managment/adminstrators very often, no lesson plans required, I get to keep my kids for more than 9 months because itinerants are broken up by Early Intervention and School Age. I’m EI so I meet them when they’re 3 and keep them until they decide to go to Kindergarten. I’m extended school year so I still work 189 days but instead of all summer off I get longer holiday breaks and work 5 weeks of the summer, I like the opportunity to work in different communication styles (spoken English, sign language, cued speech, etc). I see a lot of growth in my students because they’re learning so much at that age so it’s really rewarding. I work in preschools so I get to wear jeans and tennis shoes. Since I’m specialized my pay isn’t low, it starts about 10k higher than a regular education teacher.

Cons: I don’t have an office so all of my materials are at home and in my car, I don’t have other staff to bond with or rely on, no one at the school’s I visit really knows who I am so I get lots of “can I help you?”, I don’t have a classroom so I have to see students wherever is available, driving in bad weather, paperwork (all of my students have IEP’s). No vacation days, I have to plan around my school schedule.

 

Overall, there’s definitely nothing else I would do. I love my job and I made the absolute best decision. It’s different than regular education though so if you’re only looking at that I can’t help you much. 🙂

 

Post # 15
Member
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@bowsergirl:  I think you’ll get over that fear of evaluations with time! When I was student teaching, I remember being SOOOO freaked out by my EVERYONE’S evals: my mentor teacher’s evaluations, my supervisor’s evaluations, and even the evals by my principal and dean during my first year. Now I LOVE getting my evals and wish they’d be in my room more!  I have my routine down and am confident in what I’m doing, and I enjoy showing my bosses how I run my classes. It takes time to get there, but the nervousness surrounding evaluations does pass!

Post # 16
Member
106 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2014

@ceebree:  +1000! I agree with everything you wrote. 

@roweboat:  Well I am teaching summer school right now, and today was kind of a rough day for me, so bear that in mind if you get down to the “cons” portion of my response. LOL

 

 PROS:

  • Afternoons and evenings off, weekends and holidays off.

  • Summers off can be a pro, but I choose to teach summer school instead. I’m teaching three sessions this summer, so before the school year starts again, I will have had maybe a week and a half off total all summer.

  • On that note, though, teaching all of these summer school courses factors out to an extra $4,000 for me. So the opportunity to earn extra money on top of my base salary is definitely a pro for me.
     
  • Steady checks– I get paid the 10th and the 25th every month and the dollar amount is always the same (or more if I’ve done something extra). Makes it very easy to budget.

  •  The fact that you’re molding someone’s mind. You will make an impression on the kids you teach in some fashion… the most rewarding thing for me, oddly enough, is just hearing the kids talk amongst themselves and quote some little thing I’ve said (usually not curriculum-related!). 

  • Building a rapport with kids. Many of them need a positive adult role model and it’s nice to be that person. You can tell when kids like and respect you, and that’s an amazing feeling. 

 

CONS

  • The widespread belief that I am not a real person with real feelings outside of being a teacher. (“OMG, did you just say ‘fuck’? You’re a TEACHER, for goodness sake!”   “Did you just mess up calculating the tip for our check? Oh my God, no wonder our education system is in such a crisis.” )

  • Kids suck sometimes. People are shocked when they hear me say that as a teacher, but it’s true. I had my purse stolen out of my room last year and dumped in a toilet after my credit cards were stolen. I have a class set of Teen Ink magazines (a magazine published entirely by other high school students across the country), and about half of those issues have been ripped or drawn on. Novels that I had to check out for the entire class go missing and then I get a bill at the end of every school year with a complimentary guilt trip on the side. Very aggravating. 

  • Every day seems to be a battle of some sort. Battling with students to participate, battling with administrators for supplies, battling with parents to get their kids to do their work, battling with coworkers for computer lab time, etc. I get so tired of fighting for things sometimes… it is exhausting.
     

  • Constantly justifying or defending EVERY SINGLE MOVE I MAKE. We aren’t “allowed” to fail a kid unless we’ve contacted their parent first. So I do that, and then of course it’s my fault they’re failing. I “go too fast,” the books “I” choose are “boring,” etc. Always my fault– never any accountability on the kid. Granted, students learn at different paces and have different styles, so sometimes those comments do have validity. But very often, the failing student puts his head down and naps, will not be woken up, and gets away with it because Mommy and Daddy and Admin coddle the kid to death. 

  • The inconsistency of school rules. Teachers may enforce the “no cell phones in class” policy, for example, but when we refer kids to the dean because of multiple offenses, the deans just give them a slap on the wrist. Kids are smart– they catch on quick. It is hard for us to enforce rules when there are no consequences, but we are held accountable when the rules are broken.

    So those are my major frustrations, although I can say I share the frustrations of everyone else who has posted so far, too. And for the record, I am about to start my fourth year teaching, and I am at an inner city high school in Vegas teaching ninth grade. I’ve taught summer school for credit retrieval every year as well, including at a behavior school. The “cons” that I’ve listed are frustrations that I’ve had for the past 4 years across the board, not just at my current school.

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