(Closed) Education degree….how to decide who to teach??

posted 6 years ago in Career
Post # 3
Member
4464 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

I can share a little about my experience.

I just graduated with a degree in Special and General Education K-6, and am about to start my first year of teaching (last year I was an assistant, but almost like a co-teacher, so I guess maybe my second year). When I first set out to become a teacher I was actually going to be pursuing Deaf Education for the younger grades (think K-2). As my college career developed, I actually ended up being pulled in many different directions, and got away from that original directive of Deaf Ed.

My first education job was in a preschool/playgroup type setting (even though at the time I was studying elemen. ed.). I loved being with the kids, but I think I liked it because I was like ‘mommy’ (and I can’t wait to have kids) more than actually liking my teacher-student relationship with the kids.

After that I ended up student teaching in a program for students with disabilities and I knew after a few weeks that that track wasn’t necessarily the best for me (most students in the class had autism). I finished my time there and then decided to just look for something else.

My job last year was working with 4th and 5th grade in a school within a school for dyslexia. (I was utilizing my special ed. background, but in a very different way.) It was so amazing, I absolutely loved worked with the oldest elementary grades because the kids are so wonderful, great personalities, really can develop a relationship, but they are still fearful enough of consequences, etc. that they are mostly respectful and in line (at least during classroom time, I don’t know how they conduct themselves on their down time). I spent some time with 1-3 while I was there, and it just didn’t strike the same chord with me. 

The truth is, I actually find that I don’t dislike teaching any elementary grades, but I do find that because I am not ‘rainbows and sunshine’ ordinarily, I have a better time with 4th or 5th and I am able to form the student-teacher relationship that I find enriching. I love that I can still have fun with them on a kid-level, but there is a tone of seriousness that isn’t there in K-3. 

As far as higher than elementary school, my mom teaches junior high and loves it. Many people can’t understand, but my mom just has a certain type of personality, she’s able to have a great relationship with her students because of it – like they get her jokes and things like that – and she really loves it. My mom and I are similar, but being so young, 22, I just don’t think I could teacher higher than elementary right now. There are still some days that I think I have more in common with my 5th graders than my older co-workers, and for sure that would be the case if I taught kids in junior high. As far as high school, that was never even an option for me or on my radar. I prefer the type of interaction that being an elementary school teacher gives me, as opposed to being boxed into a subject.. Just nothing about high school was ever for me (including the age of the students).

This year I’ll be teaching 4th grade. I left the school for dyslexia after I received a verbal contract from my current school, only to be offered the job later. For personal reasons I decided to leave. I know that I would be somewhat happy if I had stayed, but I’m ready for a new challenge, as well. Even now, I still have no idea where I’ll end up, if I’ll stay in general or move over to special, what I’ll (hopefully) get my master’s in and maybe specialize in. It is very hard to say how you’ll feel after only spending a couple weeks at something. The first few weeks of being on any job are always the hardest and then it gets easier and you’re really able to tell how you feel. I still have no idea how I’ll even feel in general ed. 4th grade this year, as really, my experience thus far has been in special ed. 

I just wanted to share my perspective, since I feel that I’ve really been a lot of different places on the education wheel throughout my short time studying it, and just to reassure you that if you do go to elementary it doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be ‘rainbows and sunshine’ all the time. 🙂 

Post # 4
Member
282 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I think that you’ll know after volunteering or sitting in on a few different grade levels.  I worked at a summer camp where I had the opportunity to work with K through 8th graders & it was clear to me right away that kinder was my favorite.  More because of their personalities (and my personality) than because of the content.  At least in California, an elementary credential allows you to teach K-8, and I subbed in a variety of grades after I got my credential.  After a year of subbing I knew that I would be happy teaching K-3, but that anything above that wasn’t a good fit for me.  I lucked out and ended up with a kinder position the following year.

Post # 6
Member
4464 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: February 2012

@Crazyhair:  I have always found that in 4th and 5th I am able to talk to the students like they are ‘people’ for sure. And yeah, I don’t know if I could deal with all the hormones of puberty in junior high but trust me, last year we got our fair share in just 5th. 

Post # 7
Member
8042 posts
Bumble Beekeeper
  • Wedding: December 2013

@Crazyhair:  Not a teacher, but you have to be a very strong person to deal w. junior high. High school might not be as bad.. usually kids mature a bit by then. I think grades 4-5 would be alright as well.

I’d just keep your options open as much as possible.

Post # 8
Member
56 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

I am qualified as a secondary teacher (7-12) and am currently teaching grade 7…I LOVE IT! My first year I taught grades 7-9 and the 7’s we definitely my fav! I’m not sure what it’s like where you are at, but around here teaching jobs are becoming very competitive, so my best advice is look for teachables that will make you stand out from your competition. I took French, Math & Science as my teachables and scored my dream job teaching Math & Science to French Immersion & Integrated French students in my second year! Having French allowed me to stand out from my competition. So follow your heart and think about what will make them want to hire you! 🙂

Post # 10
Member
236 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2013

While I love elementary aged children, I decided to get my certification in secondary education (6-12).  I figured that I would have more longevity with older students while the younger ones might burn me out.  I also considered that the deeper subject matter in the higher grades would keep me more interested in furthering my own learning and thus, keep me excited about my subject matter. HTH!

Post # 11
Member
750 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2013

Hmm for me it was just sort of obvious. There is NO WAY I would be able to handle being around children all day every day. They gross me out, they annoy me, I don’t get them…Let’s just leave it at that. So that is how I chose Secondary. As far as choosing what to teach, there is only one thing I absolutely love, and that is Spanish! Plus Spanish teachers are pretty much always needed (especially in the south), so it’s a better chance for me to get hired. Then for choosing my minor I just looked at the approved list that was OK for Spanish majors, and Psychology was the only one I liked, so I chose that! lol Overall it was easy for me. By the way I am in my last year of schooling, and will be student teaching in the Winter.

Post # 12
Member
29 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: November 2012

Mine was by chance. I really thought I wanted to teach k-2nd. I was a little bummed when my student teaching placement was in 4th grade. I ended up absolutely LOVING it! The kids are still willing to please you, yet they are more independent. I finished my student teaching in December and got hired on to teach 4th grade for the remainder of the year. Last year I was moved to a different school to also teach 4th grade. This year because of my engagement I moved cities, so I had to leave my 4th gr position to teach middle school. I’m a little scared but excited. I love working with the older kids now. You definitely have to sit in classes and observe and help to know what you want. 

Post # 13
Member
746 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: August 2012

I think it’s a great idea to sit in on some classes. Watch the kids closely and try to imagine what your reaction to the things that they say and do would be.

I student taught 7th grade and I’ve taught high school for several years. I also used to volunteer in a pre-school, which was definitely not for me — I felt like I couldn’t connect as well with the little ones.

One things I’ve heard people say about the difference between elementary and secondary teachers is that elementary teachers want to teach the person, and secondary teachers want to teach the subject. I don’t totally agree with that, because I grew very close to a lot of my high school students. But I think that if you don’t have a content areas (English, math, science, social science) that you’re passionate about, you should probably go for elementary. Is there one subject that you really want to teach, or are you more interested in the development of a person?

Post # 14
Member
9917 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2013

Are you getting a master’s or bachelor’s in education?  

 

 

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