(Closed) teachers – would you recommend teaching?

posted 5 years ago in Career
Post # 2
Member
3986 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2014

I’m a 9th grade English teacher. I enjoy many aspects of my job, but sometimes I feel like the negatives you mentioned outweigh the positives. I enjoy working in education in general, so I would eventually like to work at the district level in curriculum development. I think a lot of people have a skewed idea of what a typical school day is like. Teachers are generally people who did well in school and were likely enrolled in Honors, Accelerated, or AP classes. These classes are far removed from what a general, mixed ability classroom is like. If I could go back to college and be 18 again, I wouldn’t have gotten an English degree or have become a teacher. I do my best everyday I’m at work, and it always feels like there’s another hoop to jump through. 

Post # 3
Member
553 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: September 2017

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peanuts27:  I know a few teachers and honestly, they only do it because they absolutely LOVE teaching. One is contemplating leaving and just becoming a private tutor. The politics are horrible, hours are extremely long, pay isn’t great (several teachers from my local high school are waiters at night) and its, for the most part, unappreciative.  

A friend has a English degree and she works for a publishing company. I believe she’s an assistant to an editor or something like that. 

Post # 4
Member
893 posts
Busy bee

Where do you live? I actually think that’s a pretty important thing. In some places teaching is a respected profession and salaries and attitudes reflect this. In others, it’s considered a part-time career.

Post # 5
Member
1888 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I’m a teacher and I love it! But for me, I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I don’t have to grade or do a ton of work in the evenings or on weekends. I’m a special ed teacher, so I don’t give grades. English is a subject that will require a lot of papers to grade, so that’s something to take into consideration. My best friend growing up is a middle school English teacher and she’s drowning in grading work and even considering getting out of teaching because it’s so overwhelming to her. On the flip side, my Brother-In-Law is a high school English teacher and he loves it. I think a lot of teaching has to do with the school district you work in. DH is a teacher and he hated it for the last 3 years, but this year has a job in a new district and is back to enjoying it. I would recommend doing some observations in a few schools nearby so that you can get an idea of what it looks like and talk to some teachers about their experiences in districts around you. Good luck in your decision-making!

Post # 6
Member
893 posts
Busy bee

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uncltredpearl:  See? This is my poInt. I’m proud that it isnt like this where I live and actually saddened to know that something so important is valued so little in some places.

Post # 7
Member
1932 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: October 2015

A girl I worked with graduated from teachers college for a minute before she decided she didn’t want to teach in the public or catholic schooLy system. She’s in the process of homeschooling a few kids.

Post # 8
Member
124 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: June 2015 - Restaurant

I finished my masters last May, and since I was unable to find a job in my field I accepted a job as an English teacher (very a far from my field) I did so in order to get some money and gain some work experience (which I had none). I think starting as a teacher is a good option if you need to sustain yourself and you’re aspiring to something else or want to start somewhere. In my case, I have saved enough money to continue studying (which was my plan from the beginning), so being a teacher has helped me to achieve my goals…thought, I might not work as a teacher again (unless it was inside my field).

Post # 9
Member
558 posts
Busy bee

I have two special ed teachers in my close friends/family who love their jobs, but also have a friend who just began teaching a year ago and is already trying to find something different. Myself, I have worked in a school as an assitant and as a tutor, and can understand the appeal, but I do not have the tenacity to constantly keep students in check like teachers can. I would strongly recommend taking an assistant position, subbing, or shadowing a teacher before taking the plunge into getting your licensure. Some people are born for it and others aren’t.

Post # 10
Member
4241 posts
Honey bee

It’s something you won’t reallwok now you’re good at or like until you try it. As far as politics and paperwork goes, it depends where you live. I heard in the US its really bad. Where I’ve taught in Canada (two separate provinces) it’s fine.

Post # 11
Member
1050 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2015

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peanuts27:  I teach second grade and I like my job. That said, it’s definitely not what I thought teaching would be like. If you are seriously considering it, I would highly recommmend getting into a classroom and gaining experience to see what it’s really like. It is a lot of paperwork even at the primary level and 90% of the paperwork does not directly affect the students that I teach. I put in a lot of hours outside of my regular work day planning, compiling “evidence” to show I am meeting my SMART goals (you can look this up and get a better idea of what I am talking about), and completing other tasks.

Another thing to consider is your location. Primary school teaching jobs are very hard to come by where I am from and I know it’s not the only area where this is true. I was fortunate enough to find a job right out of graduate school (4 years ago), but not everyone is that lucky and plenty of my classmates subbed for years before getting hired. This is just something to think about.

Post # 12
Member
3232 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: May 2015

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peanuts27: I’m a teacher and I find it very rewarding. However, unless you are someone who truly feels the calling I don’t recommend it. I love teaching and working with kids – it is what I wake up every day wanting to do. If I didn’t have that passion it wouldn’t be worth it, but since I do it makes up for the politics and the paperwork and all the crap. 

Post # 13
Member
528 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2016 - Long Island, NY

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peanuts27:  

I am a high school physics teacher. While it’s not exactly what I thought it would be when I started my masters, it is a super rewarding job.

PROS:

– personal relationships: I have met some fantastic people teaching. While there are definitely “cliques” in the profession (those that are obsessed with teaching and make it their whole lives, those who are constantly reading up on the latest trends in teaching, etc.), overall coworkers (at any school I’ve ever taught at) seem to be friendly and helpful and bond over the profession’s ups and downs

– student relationships: there’s nothing I love more than interacting with my students. Whether it’s within the classroom, or during clubs, or just at lunch/extracurricular activities, I feel like I make a huge impact on their lives and their happiness. Since I teach 16/17 year olds, they’re very hard-headed and lazy and they think they know everything, but I treat them with respect and treat them like adults and they respond amazingly. I love to hear how excited they are about getting into college/doing well on the SATs/getting asked to prom and I sure love to hear how thankful they are for my recommendation/math practice/just being there to listen.

– vacation time: duh. Even though people think we get soooo much vacation time and omg why do they get paid 12 months when they only work about 9 months and blah blah, the vacations are literally the only reason I’m sane. Next month (March) is an entire month of school (no breaks except weekends) and while that seems like such a silly thing to complain about, working with children all day every day hard. Throw in the fact that you’re trying to TEACH them something they probably don’t care about, when they’d (literally) rather be ANYWHERE else, it’s mentally draining. Vacations are so entirely necessary, but so so welcome.

 

There are also a lot of cons to the job, though, so if you aren’t really sold on teaching, it’s hard to look around these things. A lot of younger teachers have gotten into it for the “vacations” and “weekends” and “less work” but it’s really not like that at all and a lot of them leave before their 3rd or 4th year.

CONS:

– Politics: Oh gosh, the politics. If your administration doesn’t like you, it’s difficult to be successful in teaching. It could be as simple as one observation didn’t go the way they wanted your classroom to look, and then after that it doesn’t matter how much you change, it’s never going to be good enough. A good administration isn’t like that, but not everyone who gets into position is a good administrator. In addition, in NYC where I am, the people running the “DOE” are not actually teachers at all and have all these “fantastic ideas” about how the classroom and schools should be run when in actuality none of it works and it’s literally a waste of time. But, that’s what you’re rated on and with a poor rating, you’re out of a job so you try your hardest to follow the rules and it’s the students who are found at a disadvantage because of poor practices. *sigh*

– Work doesn’t end: Most of your friends go to work, and when the day is over, they leave for home and don’t have to think about their job until they return the next day. When I get home from work (which is never when school is over), I’m either grading assignments, uploading marks onto the internet for students to keep track of, lesson planing, answering student emails (which literally don’t stop omg), making parent contact for struggling/excelling students, etc. Even when I say that I’m not going to do schoolwork for the rest of the night, a student will email me (and of course it goes to my phone because I would feel guilty if it didn’t) about an urgent internship recommendation/grade inquiry/etc. and I’ll plop myself down and answer them (because I WANT to, deep down, because I can’t stop myself from caring).

– people’s opinions: My own father complains about “how good teachers have it” and how we shouldn’t be getting all of the benefits we have. Tenure, pension, contracts, etc. I am sick of hearing about how my job is so easy and how I shouldn’t be complaining about new common core requirements or revised evaluation methods for administration.

-ratings: Your rating is usually public and everyone can see your student’s exam scores, your yearly overall rating, etc. (Even your salary!) They say your students marks should be a huge part of your rating, but is that really fair? My 16 year old students have enough science credits/state exam passes to graduate with honors by the time they come to my class. They are studying for SATs and ACTs and taking AP exams. Everything is more important to them than my class- they do not need it to graduate and are told countless times this fact, but my rating every year is dependent on their WILL to pass an extra (and extremely difficult) math/science hybrid? If they show up for the state test, it is an accomplishment in and of itself! It is difficult to motivate today’s children in this society. But it is something that is always pushed for and supported by politics and one day it will truly become an issue.

 

I’m sure there’s so much more that if I had longer to think, I’d be able to add. But off the top of my head, these are what I came up with. Do I love my job? Absolutely! I love doing what I do. But there are times when I know in my heart that there are so many issues with public education that it is at times overwhelming and I find myself wondering why I got into the profession.

But then I see my kids when they finally understand a new concept and can solve a new physics equation, and I literally get so excited that I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life.

  • This reply was modified 5 years, 5 months ago by  jellybellie. Reason: Holy crap, sorry for the wall of text *facepalm*
Post # 14
Member
5152 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: June 2014

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peanuts27:  I’m a 5th grade special ed teacher. I changed my career midway through my twenties to become a teacher and I do really like it. However, like a PP mentioned, I don’t give grades, I teach a very structured program that has almost built in lesson plans (minimal work for me). I think if I was bringing work home every night / weekend – I would not enjoy it as much. You may find that to be the case if you end up as an high school / middle school english teacher. 

I think it depends on the school where you are employed. I am employed in an upper middle class district. We have loads of technology, the latest gadgets, and every student is provided with their own laptop. This is A LOT different from teaching in an urban district with no money, no parental support, where a lot of kids arent even having their basic needs met. I would assume thats the type of district your friend who got injured was working in. 

I think that you need to think seriously about this before you jump right in. I would shadow a teacher or take a position as an assistant. There is a lot of politics (even in the nice districts!). Often times, you cant even get a job unless you know someone. Theres a lot of gossip and drama. 

Overall, I do like it and plan to continue being a teacher. I have always loved kids and I think I connect well and work well with them with the right amount of strictness to keep those little jerks in line (said lovingly, lol). 

Post # 15
Member
299 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: June 2015

Yes, but it’s exhausting (10th LA teacher here) and not a career to fall into because you don’t know what else to do. I have never experienced any violence or danger at work(and would never accept a job where that was a normal occurrence), but the daily grind of never having enough time or resources to do everything in your job description is very stressful. I love teaching and I love my students, so I’m okay for now, but plan to move into academia before I burn out.

If you want to teach English, keep in mind that you will teach a lot more reading/writing fundamentals than you will literary analysis, unless you get AP or gifted certification (and even those kids still need good reading instruction to engage with complex texts). I teach lots of basic reading skills with nonfiction texts & love it, but it’s not for everyone. Lots of former English majors are dismayed to find that they’re not able to focus 100% on literature.

I would recommend finding a teacher at whatever level(s) you are interested in who will let you do some classroom observations so you can see what it’s like from an adult perspective. Also keep in mind that you MUST be willing & able to directly address inappropriate behavior in order to manage a classroom, or you won’t be able to get any real teaching done. Part of teacher education involves learning how to confront kids appropriately, but there’s no escaping it, no matter what grade/ability level you teach.

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