Post # 1
Hey Teacher Bees!
I am starting my M.Ed. program next month and was hoping to get some words of wisdom from some experienced teacher Bees out there!
First, I have already taught in a public school, so I know, on some level, what I am getting myself into. After graduating college, I got certified in ESL (elementary and high school) despite not having a background in education. There is an alternative teaching certification process in my state, and because ESL is so in demand, I was able to get a job an urban elementary school. I LOVED the kids (so stinking cute), but the school culture was AWFUL. Every grade level team hated every other one, and because my classroom was mixed grade levels (1st & 2nd graders), I was caught in the middle. The principal was also terrible, and really provided no support whatsoever to me or any of the other first year teachers in the building. All of the teachers hated her. My mom is an elementary principal in a similar school and when I would tell her what was going on in my school, she was appalled.
Anyway, the point is that after that year, I left and was really discouraged about teaching in general. Since then, I’ve been working at a non-profit that works with court-involved kids. I like my job, but I really do miss teaching, so I am going back to get my Master’s so that I can pursue teaching again. This time around, I want to work with older kids and am getting dual licensure in history with a certification in teaching ELLs (and my ESL license won’t expire until I’ve completed another 4 years in the classroom). I am getting my Master’s because I feel like I would really benefit from the pedagogical coursework that I don’t have, and also to learn from a more experienced teacher in observation and through student teaching.
So Teacher Bees, what do you like about your jobs? What do you dislike? It would be great to hear a couple of pros and a couple of cons from those with much more experience than I have. I’m excited to be back in school, but also nervous!
Post # 2
- Wedding: June 2014 - Ontario, Canada ♥ EDD- April 2016
I’m not a teacher, but my mom has been teaching for almost 15 years (: I can give you a brief summary of her pros and cons!
Pros – The kids. She teaches Kindergarten and loves the kids and just teaching in general. She’s taught other grades too, but loves Kindergarten the most. She loves having the summer off and breaks during the year (this was especially helpful when my brother and I were younger). She likes the hours and she likes that she’s always learning and always improving her knowledge by watching the kids and through courses and workshops.
Cons – The ‘politics’. Stuff similar to what you were saying; lack of support from other teachers and principals, some schools don’t have a teamwork dynamic and it just seems like some grades/teachers are against each other, some teachers only want to do the bare minimum and so there isn’t collaboration on school projects or class trips, etc. Also, a lot of the time it seems like some teachers can get really manipulative around the time when the principal is deciding teaching assignments and classrooms for the next year.
I know my mom loves the pros and tries to just focus on the kids when the school culture isn’t ideal, but I also know that the cons really exhaust her. I was actually going to be a teacher, but the job market is HORRIBLE for it here (so bad that teacher’s college – in Ontario at least – is actually going to be two years now instead of one to try to space out how many new teachers there are) and after observing those cons year after year I decided it wasn’t for me aha. I do love to help out in her class though 😉
Post # 3
- Wedding: July 2014 - Prague
I’m an ESL teacher. I worked in Title I public schools for my first 12 years and loved it! I’m sorry the school you were at had such a bad climate. It’s hard to break those (usually has to be done by an EXTREMELY strong principal and involves breaking up “teams” and moving around teachers who’ve become entrenched in one grade). They’re not all like that!!!
I think the CONS of teaching are all about school politics, at every level: personal, “team,” site, District, etc. And some crazy crazy parents. It’s also hard to teach students who are coming to school with so many other issues– many of which literally stall their learning.
But the PROS far outweigh the cons, in my opinion. Teaching is so much fun! I think when you’re doing something worthwhile that you can SEE making a difference in front of your eyes… that makes for a totally different kind of job. The connections you make with your students is what it’s all about. And if you’re lucky enough to find a site that works, where teams are collaborative and you can solve problems, then you’ll be amazed at how rewarding it can be.
I recently moved from public elementary to an International school where I’m teaching Middle School ESL. I NEVER thought I’d be happy in MS, but I really love it! I think keeping your job interesting — for me that means not sticking with just one grade– makes it fresh and easier to deal with the hard stuff. I also admit that summers off RULES.
Post # 4
- Wedding: October 2014 - Restaurant
I am not a teacher but a school librarian… kind of the same thing!
- The students make you laugh everyday
- I feel like I have control and can be creative in my job. Teachers and coworkers respect and acknowledge what I know and what I bring to the table – it’s rewarding!
- You really feel like you are doing something with your life that MATTERS
- The pay!
- The politics – feeling like you just don’t matter sometimes
- The negative attitudes and constant complaining of coworkers – the WORST
Post # 5
I’ve taught for 3 years, and am going into my 4th. My takeaways:
Like @lucygirl1 said–some students are just amazing. They can be hysterical, and can also shock you with their insightfulness.
The variety and pacing: the days tend to fly by, because no hour is the same as the next.
I love my subject, and I enjoy trying to make that love contageous.
Yup, the pay.
The time drain. I easily put in 65-70 hour work weeks every.single.week (though granted I work at a school with longer school days to begin with). I also went months at a stretch without a single day off: Saturdays & Sundays (at least 2 hours) were spent grading, lesson planning, etc.
Lack of perks. I always turn a little green with envy when the people I know with “real adult jobs” (as I jokingly call them) talk about things like espresso machines in their office, and flex time, and overtime, and compensated travel, etc. Oh, and being able to take a vacation when ALL THE CHILDREN IN THE WORLD aren’t vacationing, too.
Fear for the future. Teaching seems to be turning into a 4-year career: you start at 22, get burned out by 26, and move on. And, man, it’s easy to get burned out. See above.
Post # 6
annb9: I taught preschool for 2 years and then went back and got my M.Ed. I just finished my 3rd year teaching second grade SEI (sheltered english immersion). For me, the biggest con is the money. I am also the ESL District Coordinator because my teacher salary just doesn’t cut it. So, with the extra job, it’s also a lot of extra stress. Besides the money issue, some other cons would be having to take vacation when all the kids have vacation, the politics, and dealing with some of the older teachers who are very negative. I’m not saying everyone is like that- because it certainly isn’t true- but plenty of teachers who I work with are just so negative.
Pros- I honestly thinks it’s a great feeling knowing that I made a difference. I enjoy watching the students learn and I feel like I am respected by administration, my co-workers, and the parents. I also like that I get a new class every year. I love the feeling of starting off fresh and it’s also nice knowing that there is a finish line in sight (June!) every year.
Post # 7
I’m reposting what I wrote in another thread… I hope it’s helpful!
I teach ESL 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
…basically what I’m saying is, don’t let a crappy school climate dissuade you from an amazingly rewarding profession. There are some great schools out there with passionate teachers and supportive principals. Maybe you weren’t as lucky as me to land in a place that feels like home immediately after getting your masters, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be done! Working with high-school aged immigrants is awesome. I say go for it. Hope this helps…
Post # 8
I just finished my 12th year, and I’ve taught third and fifth grades.
good hours ( I don’t take work home anymore)
the kids (sometimes, a lot of them can be challenging)
having a job where I’m busy makes the day fly
The pay- I have debt and it’s hard to pay off due to salary
Parents (a lot of them complain and don’t appreciate teachers. I do have some good ones, but feel like they don’t look at me as professional
not enough time to get everything done
alot of diverse learners and needs, with only 1 me!
While I like being busy, sometimes I crave being left alone and having peace
i definitely don’t think I can be in the classroom until retirement, it just has worn me down a lot. Sadly, if I could do it over I would choose another career. I will say this- if you do it a few years and aren’t happy, get out. its hard to get out once you’ve been in a while.