Post # 1
So I’ve been doing some career research lately before officially declaring my major next semester (leaning towards business) and I always make a pit stop on education simply because it was a childhood dream. It seems however every opinon on teaching from teachers is negative. From rowdy kids, unsupportive administration and aprents, low pay etc etc etc, I feel like I see more ppl trying to get out of education than in. So are there any teachers out there that not just love what they do but love the “job” of it all….or at least have a positive experience to share? I’m not even sure I’d go in that direction but I was having a conversation with mother-in-law today who’s an elementary teacher and I just walked away thinking well gosh, does anyone love this field?
Some specifics for the happy teachers out there: How long have you been a teacher? In what area of the world do you teach? What grade do you teach? Is the pay really that bad? Would you ever go into administration (I wonder about this one often)?
Post # 2
I teach 9th and 10th grade English, and most days I love my job. It does have its pitfalls and things I wish were different, but I can’t see myself doing anything else. It’s definitely stressful at times, and there are days when I leave work wondering how I didn’t lose my mind, but I really do enjoy the teaching aspect.
Much of it depends on the district or particular school you work for. I am lucky to work for a district that respects its teachers and to have an administration that really backs us up. For example, I know that if I send a kid out of my room for misbehavior or disrespect, he or she won’t be back that class period. I very rarely have to send a kid out, but if I do, I know I’ll be supported by admin. The students know that, so they don’t push their luck much. Other schools in neighboring towns will allow kids to scream at teachers and then send them back to the teacher ten minutes after they were sent out. I couldn’t handle that. I would suggest shadowing teachers or even subbing to get a feel for how classrooms run.
ETA: I realize I didn’t answer most of your questions lol. Like I said I teach high school English and have done so for 5 years. I live in Mississippi and make 47k (which is pretty decent considering cost of living is fairly low here). I thought about going into admin when I was in college, but after seeing what admin does with, no thanks. I hate dealing with parents, and a large portion of admin is dealing with parents. I’ll stick to teaching, but I’d also like to go into curriculum development.
Post # 3
Teaching is difficult. It is one of the few jobs that you are always on- not even opportunities to use the bathroom whenever you need to. There is more and more pressure on teachers to have students perform well on tests. I do find though, it is incredibly rewarding.
I have been teaching 3 years in the midwest. I taught 6th grade for 2 years, and switched to 3rd this year at the same school. Teacher’s pay is bad. I probably make about minimum wage, once you count in the extra time I put in afterschool, the stuff I bring home at night, and the time I am doing things on weekends. I wouldn’t go into administration, because I like the classroom. However, I know some who love it!
Here are some things I love about teaching: Being able to make learning fun for my students, being able to try new things, reaching those students who need the extra support- with the content or with them knowing that someone cares for them, being able to make a difference in lives, also that each day is a new day, and all the smiles, laughs, and high fives that my students share.
Another perk is obviously having holidays and summers off- which is great now that I have started my family. They are also a great way to research ideas and get yourself excited when you’ve had a difficult class. Obviously, it’s not a reason to go into teaching though.
Post # 4
Swebs14: thanks for your feedback! I wonder about admin because like the both of you it seems most teachers are very quick to say how much they’d definitely NOT go into it. Don’t you have to teach before going into admin? Just a question because it seems no teachers I’ve ever met (well maybe one) even considers it.
When I stop and think about it I’m actually surrounded by a lot of teachers personally; my mother in law of course, my husband was actually a music education major thought he never taught, my godsister, her mother, a cousin etc etc. I guess I could pick their brains too but I talk to my Mother-In-Law the most out of all of these ppl and she seems to be always talking about retirement, no enthusiam for the field at all which is odd since she came to it late so she hasn’t been doing it that long.
I’m rambling (I took too long of a nap today and my husband is at work so I’m bored lol)…what else was I going to say?? Oh yeah! I’ve actually sat in on a few middle school classes because of my son who’s in middle school and a bit of a class clown. I come out praying for the teachers every time lol SUCH hard work! It’s very obvious that it’s just simply not the field for any and everybody. I’ve met teachers that will truly make you believe they have the greatest jobs in the world, like my sons french teacher to those who make you wonder why they’re even there like my sons math teacher.
Post # 5
Hi! I’ve been a teacher for 3 years and I love it. It’s my second career (I went back to school in my early 30s) and I think that helps me appreciate it more, because I can clearly see the pros and cons of teaching vs my previous career.
I teach 5th grade in Hawaii. My pay is around 45k which is okay (it’s more than I earned before) but of course, cost of living is pretty high here. I have no desire to go into admin but I’d love to be a mentor for new teachers someday!
Teaching is super hard at times. As Swebs14 mentioned, you can’t even pee when you have to pee. In most areas, there’s a huge focus on test scores. Last year, I cried over my students’ scores. 1. Because I felt I’d failed them and not prepared them well enough and 2. I don’t feel it’s fair to measure a student’s learning, abilities, or talents on a single test. Also, the work never really ends. It feels impossible to do everything within the workday.
With that being said, I’m so happy to have chosen this career and can’t imagine doing anything different. I love greeting my students each morning. I love the “aha moments” when a student learns to do something they couldn’t do before. I love making learning fun for them. I love bonding with them and creating our own classroom family.
Also, nine more days of school and then it’s summer break! Time to relax and recharge!
Post # 6
I am an elementary school teacher–I’ve taught for 5 years In Wisconsin. For me at the current time, it’s exactly where I want to be and I never regret going in to this field. I find it hard though to recommend others go into teaching, especially if it isn’t their first choice. It is a difficult profession, and the teaching experience is going to vary greatly depending on your building and district. The pay is mediocre–I am not broke by any means and my salary is fine (and benefits are great), but advancement salary-wise is limited in the district where I teach and that’s discouraging if I think about it too much! I dont know that administration would be a good fit for me, but I do feel a pull toward more of a teacher-coaching role some time in the future. If you really feel that is what you are called to do, then go for it. If you’re on the fence, those factors you’ve mentioned might be tough to handle. Teaching, especially at the elementary level, is often romanticized as being simple and fun and all smiles, but it is way more complex than that!
Post # 7
I teach music in a private school and I am finishing out my 4th year teaching. I do love what I do…however on Friday I was told next year I am expected to do the same amount of work that I do now with 20% less hours and a $7000 salary cut. I am honestly so stressed and so upset by this choice and I am seriously considering if I will pass up the contract. It is absolutely insane how much is expected and how most days I put in solid teaching from 8:00 – 3:30 but that isn’t “full time” because I have 10 minutes here or there where I don’t have anything on my calendar. But yet I am expected to get kids ready to lead music for school church services, teach band to 35 students, teach choir, and teach 13 music classes.
If you’re not passionate about it don’t go into it because us teachers get thrown so much crap on a daily basis. It is insane and absolutely exhausting.
Post # 8
This is my 11th year as a teacher and I love my job.
I teach elementary school. This year I have 2nd grade, but for my first 10 years I taught the babies in their first year of school (you may call it kindergarten? In Australia we call it prep).
Sure there are some lows to the job – parent pressure, accountability demands, deadlines etc.. But I love my job. Being able to inspire children to do their best and to share in their little successes is an honour and a privilege.
the last couple of years I have taken on other roles- year level coordinator, literacy coordinator etc – but I don’t really have a desire to move further into administration (principal etc) as I feel I would miss the children too much. Even with my additional roles, I am still a full time classroom teacher, and that is my priority before anything else.
and the pay – my school pays quite well as we are an independent school. The pay increases as you have been in the profession longer (in Australia at least it does), and i am happy with the pay I receive.
Post # 9
I teach English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) in Baltimore City to 1st and 2nd graders. I love my job. This is only my second year, and I feel like I am enjoying it more and more. Already the things that were difficult are becoming routine and I can invest more time in doing the things that drew me to teaching, like planning fun lessons and helping kids. However, I think it makes a huge difference that I am not a grade-level classroom teacher. I still have around 30 kids at times, but I get to see them in small groups. I have my own set of paperwork and assessments, but I don’t think it is as much as the classroom teachers. Also, our parents are very respectful of teachers, as this is an honored job in most places around the world.
I have had part time jobs in offices. While I miss being able to go to the bathroom when I want and having a working copier, I am never bored like I was there. Each and every day is different. You’re always looking ahead at what needs to be taught or retaught in a different way. There is always a better way to do your job and grow.
The he pay is comfortable, but when I drive by luxury apartments and townhomes, I realize that my job alone would not get me there. I don’t think I’d ever go into administration, but I want to get my doctorate and either design curriculum or go into teacher training one day
Post # 10
I am a reading specialist, so I am not in front of a classroom. I work with individual students or with small groups, mostly grades 1-5. I absolutely love what I do, and seeing a child make a breakthrough in understanding is something that cannot be beat. I’ve only been teaching for two years, but the attitude among most of my associates regarding administration is that they have been around longer than any particular principal or superintendent. There are good times and bad times as far as admin goes, but the average teacher will outlast them all. Our principal the last few years has been excellent and has helped our school bring test scores up tremendously, but he is moving on to a larger district. I cannot say I blame him, as our super currently leaves something to be desired. However, on a day-to-day basis, I don’t work with admin. I generally meet with the principal once a week with the rest of my team regarding our interventions and the progress we are making, but the rest of my time is spent with staff or students. I have no interest in working in admin myself, but from the experiences I’ve had, former teachers often make the best principals and superintendents because they can relate better than anyone else to the struggles happening in the classroom. Former teachers are often the most supportive principals.
Our state has not been particularly kind to education recently. Salaries in our district are even lower than the state average. Recent legislation has more or less removed any bargaining power teachers had, and have made pay increases fewer and farther between. Still and all, I genuinely love what I do; I love my students; I love my schedule; I love having the same schedule as my own children. I even love the continuing education in my field. It sounds cheesy, but sometimes the light in one child’s eyes makes all the disadvantages of being in education seem insignificant.
Post # 11
I like my job, but it is going to be hard next year with massive budget cuts. I’m a librarian and the library will not run as smoothly has it has in the past because I won’t have my assistant. The following year is going to be just as bad.
The community I work in hates teachers. Society hates teachers. You are constantly defending yourself to people who think your work week is easy and you get summers off. No one respects you. The kids can be difficult, though in my position I have a little more freedom than a classroom teacher. I can kick kids outta the library. There are a lot of sad stories out there when it comes to my students. The population isn’t well off and many struggle. Common Core is crushing teachers. I don’t care what anyone says. And tying teacher scores to tests is stupid. The public doesnt treat us like professionals.
Post # 12
I love my job. I am now the Media Specialist at my school – I teach roughly 5 out of 7 periods a day (no assistant, but I do have student aides). No grading, but I love teaching and working with students. The kids are really the reason I love my job. As with any job some days you want to pull your hair out and other days not. Administration issues depends on the school. I’ve been in schools with good admin and admin that weren’t so good. Currently, my principal is amazing and supportive of teachers. I do get a lot of the “bad” kids b/c I have an open door policy and always have work for the kids to do to help me out – I have a lot of success stories that make it worth it, again IMO.
I’m in a middle school in Texas. I make 55k a year.
Post # 13
devonlee: Hell yes, I love it. I do hate: educational policy in this country being made by politicians who have no idea how kids learn and what it’s like being in the classroom, the lack of respect for education and particularly teachers in this country, entitlement of some students, and the insanity of some parents.
But, you know what? I can deal with all that shit because I love helping my students learn about life and how to function. I teach high school English and think most of my students are amazing beings. Yeah, they can certainly be stupid kids who make me want to pull my friggin hair out, but at the same time they’re witty, smart, funny, and so much more. I do this thing at the end of each year (I mainly teach seniors) based on Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture where my seniors give their final lecture on a lesson they learned that sticks with them and will for their life. Every year, they blow me away. Students can be so brave and share these wonderful/terrible/emotional moments in their life.
So many people think we get up each year and teach the same thing, the same way over and over again. My host teacher when I was student teaching told me that if you’re doing that, you’re doing it wrong. Each year, I (and my colleagues) change/alter/modify/improve what we teach and HOW we teach to make our content relevant and meaningful. I actually LOVE curriculum writing and love the planning part and then seeing how the actual implementation goes.
BUT, please know that teaching is not for everyone. Your personality has to be right or you’ll be miserable and so will they. Education is too important to have shitty teachers who are there for the paycheck.
To answer your questions: 11th and 12th English, U.S., end of my 4th year, and I have no idea about admin. Maybe, but I think administrators often lose sight of the classroom (the most important part). Also, the loooong hours, only slightly higher pay unless you’re a principal, and dealing with all that crap? No, thank you. The pay depends. Yes, in general, it is too low for the profession that leads to all other professions.
Post # 14
MissPine: thanks for your input! i find it especially interesting that it’s a second career for you as I am also in my early 30’s going back to school.
AORiver15: I like that you say the elementary level is often romanticized because I actually think the exact opposite! For whatever reason it seems to me that it’d be the hardest level to teach
ljm308: oh no! i’m so sorry to hear that. as a music major most of my husbands friends are music teachers and i hear these types of stories quite often from them
missopal: something about your post just made me smile 🙂 thanks!
stephlynn: we’re in the same area! I live in howard county 🙂 one of my good friends spouse used to teach in baltimore and she hated it, not quite sure where/what she taught though. as you know this area is so expensive but it seems most of the teachers i know get by just fine
echomomm: thanks for your insight esp about admin and teachers making the best ones, that’s something i would imagine would be the case. i love reading about all of the different avenues and niches teachers can get into. and as usual i’m still blown away by how many teachers have no interest in admin lol you bees are a special lovely bunch indeed
Post # 15
I’m gonna answer for a bestie.
USA mid Atlantic. Loves educating HS kids. Rewarding vocation. Passion for content. Bogged down by: 20yrs and no raise for a decade, heavy workload, admin that doesn’t back you, parents that question you, kids that disrespect you (along with most adults, so it’s not personal), and close to half of your performance review is your students’ scores. You must monitor legal issues, health concerns, behavioral challenges, and you’re lucky to get an occasional student aide. You learn to hydrate after hours or wear depends. And you have to “clear out your desk” frequently and relocate between sessions. Can’t think of many other professionals that have to do that; maybe mobile medical practitioners.
Teachers deserve so much more gratitude and recognition.