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Old 02-04-06, 11:35 AM   #1
j-lip
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Anyone recommend teaching?

I will be graduating soon with a B.S. degree in biology. I have been considering looking into teaching secondary level (middle/ high school) science. I enjoy being in an academic environment and could see a satisfaction coming from playing a role in the learning process. Are any of you fellow cyclists teachers, and would you recommend this as a career? Do you feel a sense of fulfillment, or do you feel like a disciplinarian?
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Old 02-04-06, 12:18 PM   #2
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I'm a teacher, but I teach in elementary school, so I can't speak specifically to what it's like to teach older kids.

Have you been in high schools or middle schools lately? I'd recommend you visit classes, volunteer to help out, etc. so that you can see what it's like. You might find that it's less "academic" than you'd like. Unfortunately, alot of teaching is not "playing a role in the learning process," but is management and discipline. You have to do that before you can teach, and depending on the type of kids you have, it can sometimes feel like that's all you do. (I'm teaching gifted kids now, and I'm having the most fun I've had in my career. I feel like I can actually teach, rather than just maintain order.)

Even though teaching is difficult and you'll never become wealthy doing it, it's never boring, and there is the feeling that you're doing something worthwhile. If my daughters wanted to become teachers, I'd encourage them.
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Old 02-04-06, 12:31 PM   #3
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I am three months from graduating and have student taught in a high school. It is very rewarding, and I would recommend it to anyone. It isn't for eveyone, though.
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Old 02-04-06, 12:36 PM   #4
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lol students in my grade have made a myspace for some of the teachers/faculty people. Ive seen some and theyre funny but also mean.
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Old 02-04-06, 07:12 PM   #5
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My dad taught for 30 years. I'll tell you what he tells everybody that asks him about teaching.

"Don't do it. Its a crappy unrewarding job. You should use your skills to make more money and have more fun in a different field."

On the other hand, if you happen to really know you want to be a teacher, it sounds to me like a good idea. Besides, you can always quit and get a different job.
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Old 02-04-06, 10:34 PM   #6
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Go for it. I have taught for more years than I want to admit. I love it.

Not the best PAY in the world, though.
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Old 02-05-06, 07:15 AM   #7
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I started teaching after 18 years in corporate life. I was looking for a more rewarding job so I volunteered at a few non profit organizations until I found teaching. I teach behavior challenged and learning disabled folks between 15 and 21 years old in a private school. This school has a very difficult time attracting teachers.

I can only speak for myself but I used to make 4 times my current salary and I was unhappy 365 days a year. Now I look forward to going to work. My advise to you would be find something you love to do. You may not find it right away but be patient. Try teaching on for size.

PS:Teaching has other benefits such as summer off and shorter work days.
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Old 02-05-06, 02:13 PM   #8
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Thanks for your replies. It's nice to see some positive responses about this career choice, but I appreciate all advice, good or bad. If I can find some time, I think I might try substitute teaching. This should give me some insight into the best of the worst that I may be getting myself into.
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Old 02-05-06, 02:42 PM   #9
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"Best of the worst" Great way to describe subbing!

Good luck!
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Old 02-05-06, 02:47 PM   #10
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I've considered applying to be a sub in my town after this semester (when I"ll have the needed 60 credits). Although I'm hoping to go to grad school and eventually become a professor, I haven't ruled out teaching in high school.

Getting to teach AP/Honors level courses would definitely be something to look forward to if you decide to teach.
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Old 02-05-06, 02:51 PM   #11
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My Wife is in education....
She taught for a while then got her Masters in Child Pschology and is a Guidence
Counselor who works specifically with 'problem'(ie: kids who have problem parents)
kids. Its very hard work. The district you get in and the staff that surrounds you
is a big part of your quality of life. My Wifes work is never done. She will have
files spread out on the floor on sunday morning when most people are reading the
Sunday paper. But, she would never do anything else.....She really likes the elem.
kids 'cuz at her age the older ones really wear her down. There are times when
she questions why she does it but there are just as many that show her why
she does.
Thats what you do it all for !!
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Old 02-05-06, 03:35 PM   #12
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The school my wife worked in. Well, the administrators had their heads up their rears. No person is more insecure in the whole world than an untenured principal. School needed but did not have metal detectors. My wife was lucky, when the school had their last riot last May she was on the second floor lounge on break above the smell of the pepper spray.
Other retired teacher friends, who could not take it anymore; tell me. Parents think their kids are always perfect- teachers always at fault and they get sick of hearing the f - word about 350 times a day.
Part of the reason we are presently relocated to where we are now. Better to teach adults. They might see the need for an education. I blame it mostly on tv and today's popular culture.
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Old 02-05-06, 08:12 PM   #13
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My older brother and older sister are both retired teachers who taught in Duval County (Jacksonville) Florida public schools their entire adult lives. Both have masters degrees. My brother taught history (Western Civilization) and Civics, and coached high school varsity football. My sister was a Junior High School phys ed teacher and coach. Both loved teaching and knew they wanted to make it their vocations from early childhood. It's an altruistic profession, because the money sucks. You have to want to teach because you know you can have a positive influence on kids; you certainly don't do it to get rich.
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Old 02-06-06, 09:37 AM   #14
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If you plan to teach, don't do it in Florida. The pay stinks. For example, the secretary of the Clearwater, Florida, Superintendent of Education makes more money than a teacher with 20 years experience and a doctorate. It seems, from my research, that rust-belt states provide better pay to teachers. As for the sunshine state, administrators will tell you, with a straight face, that the year round sunshine is part of their "competitive compensation package".

Clearly, society does not value the work teachers do with children.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:22 AM   #15
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I have done teaching at about every level, college classroom (as a grad assistant), high school, jr. high and elementary and pre-school. I teach now as linguistic consultant to American professionals living and working in the two-thirds world. I love teaching and passing on the things that I learn and have researched. If you like the academic environment, go for it. However, I might consider grad school and going for a position as a teaching professor/lecturer (as opposed to a "normal" professor whose first job is to research and publish and teach second) at the college level. It's there that you'll really feel the academic environment. The only thing is, if you're a good teacher, you will have your heart broken and torn to pieces many times by your students and/or their parents--regardless of what level you teach, though it gets worse the older they get. It might even be you district who would do this to you since they may care more about their test scores (many Texas districts for example) than the actual education of the students taking those tests--since funding may be contingent upon the test scores.

Mark Bahr, M.A.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:26 AM   #16
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AJ, about Florida. I lived there for 14 years. I heard of this "Sunshine Tax" in all fields. Not just teachers.
But, this sunshine factor did not help to pay the electric bill.
Visitors from the north would come check out new opened jobs at my old plant. When told of salaries and this sunshine factor. They would maybe laugh and walk out in mid-interview.
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Old 02-06-06, 10:34 PM   #17
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About the money, that depends on where you teach. I'm paid just short of 80K base salary, so, considering summer vacation, two weeks for Winter break and a week for Spring break, I feel pretty well compensated. California has a higher cost of living though.

Like Zoridog, I went through a career change mid-life. I also had to go through a significant salary drop, but have absolutely no regrets about my decision. I wanted out of L.A. before having a family. I was able to move someplace less crowded where my kids could life in a neighborhood that encouraged a feel of community. School allowed me to seek employment almost anywhere. I'm able to be home when my kids get home, spend those breaks with the family, and the like.

The best thing about teaching is that I feel more autonomous in what I do. I run the classroom as I like (with the expected limitations), have a great bunch of co-workers, some really nice students, and live only a couple of miles from work.

But teaching isn't something for anyone. It has a tremendous amount of responsibility. Some of the students today can be pretty difficult to handle. The trick is to find the key to developing a solid working relationship with them. Great communication and interpersonal relationship skills are a must. You also need to be very, very patient at times.

As cyclezealot said in a previous post, a bad administration can set a bad tone for a whole school. Luckily, the current administrators at my school are pretty cool thus far. When we've had bad ones in the past, the situation was pretty ugly, students upset over rules, stressed teachers back stabbing each other, and on and on. Parents can sometimes be a pill as well.

But, overall, I give it a thumbs up for anyone who feels it might be the right fit for them personally.
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Old 02-06-06, 11:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajay677
If you plan to teach, don't do it in Florida. The pay stinks. For example, the secretary of the Clearwater, Florida, Superintendent of Education makes more money than a teacher with 20 years experience and a doctorate. It seems, from my research, that rust-belt states provide better pay to teachers. As for the sunshine state, administrators will tell you, with a straight face, that the year round sunshine is part of their "competitive compensation package".

Clearly, society does not value the work teachers do with children.
heh
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Old 02-08-06, 10:21 AM   #19
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This morning, I was teaching a concept in one of my high school math classes and it was almost like I saw a light bulb flash over this kid's head. He had been struggling to learn it but just wasn't getting it. When I taught it from a different angle, he got it. On leaving class, I heard Tony say, "I love math class!" Coming out of this particular 9th grader's mouth, I was ecstatic!

Teaching can really be rewarding at times!
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Old 02-08-06, 10:51 AM   #20
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My wife teaches Resource. These are kids that have problems in some areas, and just need a bit of extra help. (For example, one of my sons has great difficulty writing, but otherwise is reasonably smart. He's in regular classes, but gets extra help in Resource.)

She really enjoys it. She is a hard nose in that she makes these kids do grade level work (with the extra help).

The down side: Sometimes you get little or no backup from administration and fellow teachers. Resource kids are considered to be "********" or "throwaways" by teachers who teach "normal" classes and this angers her. Some of her students come from very poor environments. Two of her ex-students have died in prison.

The bright side? Several of her students have taken the skills she taught them to pursue and earn college degrees! These are the phone calls she loves to receive!

The pay isn't too bad. Per hour, she makes more than me. She takes a lot of extra classes and has several teaching certificates, which puts one at the top of the pay scale in our teaching district. She's also "Highly Qualified" to teach History, Language Arts and Math. Remember this when you are researching how the pay scales work in the district in which you want to work.

I'm very proud of what my wife does for a living.
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Old 02-08-06, 02:00 PM   #21
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If you don't care about the money and can deal with the system.
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Old 02-08-06, 08:10 PM   #22
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Work at a private school, then take your summers to do some quick money job. Guaranteed money year round. Plenty of vacation time. Most major holidays off. What more could you ask for?

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Old 02-08-06, 08:54 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j-lip
Thanks for your replies. It's nice to see some positive responses about this career choice, but I appreciate all advice, good or bad. If I can find some time, I think I might try substitute teaching. This should give me some insight into the best of the worst that I may be getting myself into.
I recommend going into graduate school to pursue a master's or PhD. in biology/biochemistry. While doing that you'll get the opportunity to teach college kids, at least in lab classes. Plus, you'll have 5 more years of that academic environment you said you love. You may decide to get the heck out of Dodge and find a real job or you may discover you really like teaching.

Teaching is not and should not be for everyone. Really good teachers are hard to find, crappy teachers just counting the days to retirement seem all too common. Good teachers are born, crappy teachers are those that think it's an easy job.

I enjoyed teaching the good students and those that really tried. Those that were just fulfilling an elective and didn't share my interest in the subject I could've done without. And in the end, there were just too many of those students that didn't care, thought I should just do the work for them and give them an A, and couldn't understand why I didn't do just that.

High school and below is a different game but if you plan on teaching biology, you'll end up with lots of kids just wanting to get that science elective out of the way and couldn't care less about the subject.
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Old 02-08-06, 09:35 PM   #24
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Just remember depending on where you what to teach you may need a few more classes to get your licence and even then some states require you to keep taking classes/credits to put to staying licensed (my mom has a Ph.D +++).

My mom has taught for more the a few years and is finally retiring the year (ED/LD 3rd-6th). It has been the best of times and the worst of times for her. Administrator make or break schools long before teachers do.
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Old 02-08-06, 09:55 PM   #25
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Yeah, dealing with the system. I fight the system so that's why I could never teach and can almost never even participate
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