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Old 12-29-11, 02:52 PM   #1
Melly
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Thinking of becoming a teacher/professor...

Any teachers/professors out there?

I'm going back to school late next month, and I'm going to schedule my classes next week. I'll be attending for a Liberal Arts (Social Sciences) degree. I've been thinking of becoming a teacher or professor for some time, so I might gear my classes in that direction.

I guess what I want to know is what's good/what sucks about being a teacher. Maybe the differences between teaching college vs. grade/high school (outside of the obvious).

I gave up quickly on Google, which kept directing me to countless sites to take quizzes on which career I should choose. So, I figured I'd ask the fine people of BikeForums!

Please feel free to give me any pointers, tips, or anything else you've got. Of course I'm not depending on the internet to make decisions for me. Just looking for some info!

Thanks a bunch!
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Old 12-29-11, 02:59 PM   #2
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I guess what I want to know is what's good/what sucks about being a teacher. Maybe the differences between teaching college vs. grade/high school (outside of the obvious).
What is the obvious? To me the obvious is BS/A+PhD vs. BS/A + perhaps 1 more yr split between coursework and student-teaching.

I guess that's the most obvious difference, becoming a college professor requires no teaching experience and may not even offer any en route to your credential, vs primary/2ndary ed, teaching experience is part of the route to credentialling.

While for college experience is not often required and sometimes not even offered en route to the credential, it can be required to get a job (experience becomes a 2nd credential), which can be hard to fit in w/ the demands of getting the credential in the 1st place.
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Old 12-29-11, 03:23 PM   #3
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I'm an ex-teacher... my advice... if you have a "calling" to teach, please do. If you are doing it because of the benefits and can't think of anything better to do, please don't. Our poor students already have alot of the latter teaching... but if you have a passion for working with young minds, please give it a try. I won't tell you its hard work... actually it was the easier job I ever had; it just gets frustrating and tedious... will your actions be controlled by a union? What is the adminstration like where you will teach? Do you have a speciality interest (much in demand) or do you want to be a generalist? Is there work? Here in CA its almost impossible to get a teaching job. Just make sure once you complete college, there is a job available.

I taught high school. I can imagine the difference between HS and college is the motivation - one has to attend HS... one allegedly elects to attend college. You will have some freedom with curriculum in college; maybe more options as to what is being taught. Many HS and college are eliminating classes as money becomes an issue. Again just make sure the time and effort will pay off...
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Old 12-29-11, 03:47 PM   #4
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I am married to a professor, and all friends are academics or high school teachers.

What do you want to know? What do you already know? The path to take? What it's like? Credentials you need? What do you mean by "The Obvious"? Once I married an academic, I realized I knew nothing about academics, period.

It all depends on the field you are going into. And, oh, man, academics can have great parties! Not college-frat parties, either, but people discussing philosophers and authors and arguing mundane garbage while naked in a hot tub with a bunch of other people, but I digress...

My wife, for example, works 50+ hours a week, year-round, catches up during holidays and breaks, etc. Never gets a moment off.

My high school teacher friend, for example, barely works 30 hours a week, summers off, etc, and makes more than my wife.

They are in completely different fields.

My wife has a PhD and can barely get a decent job, but she landed one out of luck (1 of 1,300 applicants for seven positions). Her two best friends have PhDs from better schools and have jobs that pay less than 1/2 what my wife makes. Luck of the draw. Another good friend is graduating from a PhD program from [top school in their field], has a CV that rivals everyone, and is scared s/he can't get a job, either.

Hardy has it right...you aren't hired to be a professor because you can teach. My wife is one of the extremely rare examples who is a teacher first. But she isn't at a research institution. Her friends I mentioned above are all research-first to fulfill their contracts....screw the students, they are the annoying part of the job. Anything more than a 1-2 teaching load and they complain about having to teach.

I could go on for years...

Get a B.S + Master's and teach junior high school kids. This is where it's at and this is where you are needed the most. That is my thought. And make sure you marry a doctor. You will need the income.

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Old 12-29-11, 04:01 PM   #5
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Funny... I went back to school to get my PHD in order to make more money teaching but determined I could make more money doing something else. I still teach...as a volunteer.

The amount of money you make is of course relative. In CA you make quite a bit teaching (especially if with summer and holidays off you have alternative work scheduled). Add in those benefits and its a good job to have especially with union protection. But that protection also applies to bad teachers and I got frustrated with those who I thought should not be teaching...

First thing first... decide where your passions lie then follow that course. I actually preferred research more than teaching it it served me well in an alternative career field... but it's funny; I don't make that much now, compared to CA teachers with my same educational background. I don't have their guaranteed pension nor half the benefits. If I only knew then what I know now!
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Old 12-29-11, 05:23 PM   #6
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Going into teaching?

I wouldn't. My mother taught, my sister-in-law taught. That was fine, both dad and my brother made good money. Mom was lucky she was out of teaching by the time it got regimented.

If you want to teach my suggetion is marry well and then select a position where teaching is the goal. That likely means a private school, be it college or before college. Otherwise yuo will find yourself constantly choosing between teaching and money.
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Old 12-29-11, 06:06 PM   #7
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You just have to try it. A high percentage of teachers quit in their first few years. Don't ask advice from people who don't teach.
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Old 12-29-11, 06:24 PM   #8
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Get a B.S + Master's and teach junior high school kids. This is where it's at and this is where you are needed the most. That is my thought.
This is what I teach (though we call it middle school here) and I LOVE my job!!!! I'm not in it for the $$. Frankly, there isn't much $$ unless you've been doing it a long time and are close to retirement and even then it isn't a huge salary. To do your job well, you will work harder than you can ever imagine. I'm not talking about the "clock-watching, in with the students, out at the end of contract day" work. I'm talking creating interesting lessons, engaging students, reaching ALL of your students and doing what it takes to get them interested in something. I'm in early every day. I stay late 90% of the time. I work with kids during lunch, during my plan, before school, after school and answer their emails from home. My students know I care about them and that I am working for them. It's exhausting and I cherish every break I get, though they never truly leave my mind.

So what advice do I have for you? Don't get into it just because you are looking for something to do. Take some time to think about whether you NEED to help young people learn and grow to be happy. If this is not a passion for you, your students will suffer.
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Old 12-29-11, 06:27 PM   #9
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You just have to try it. A high percentage of teachers quit in their first few years. Don't ask advice from people who don't teach.
Some of us here do teach. And the reason so many quit in the first few years is because it isn't a passion for them...3 years is all they typically last. We had a new teacher fresh out of school last year that didn't make it half the year. It's the hardest job I've ever had...and the most rewarding.
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Old 12-29-11, 06:59 PM   #10
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My two bits: my dad was a professor (now retired). Money was always tight when I was growing up, and he's still fulfilling book contracts. It sure was an interesting upbringing, though.

My advice: get a real job.
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Old 12-29-11, 07:41 PM   #11
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Old 12-29-11, 08:17 PM   #12
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My two bits: my dad was a professor (now retired). Money was always tight when I was growing up, and he's still fulfilling book contracts. It sure was an interesting upbringing, though.

My advice: get a real job.
Srsly? This is the most real a job can be next to parenting a child.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:24 PM   #13
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My advice: get a real job.
I would think that teaching children and young adults would be considered a "real" job; more so than any corporate type of job.

The pay might not be too good, but it seems like it might be more rewarding than sitting in a cube writing code all day.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:25 PM   #14
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Srsly? This is the most real a job can be next to parenting a child.
Depends on how you look at it, I guess. I double majored in history/english and have a certificate to teach middle/high school in IL. Here in IL, competition for jobs is cut throat. I'm currently in the business field, and at this point, kind of wish I had pursued a business degree or something in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, math) fields.

I learned a whole lot in college- namely, how to think critically. However, a liberal arts degree in this economy is worthless; it's very sad.
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Old 12-29-11, 08:34 PM   #15
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Depends on how you look at it, I guess. I double majored in history/english and have a certificate to teach middle/high school in IL. Here in IL, competition for jobs is cut throat. I'm currently in the business field, and at this point, kind of wish I had pursued a business degree or something in STEM (Science, technology, engineering, math) fields.

I learned a whole lot in college- namely, how to think critically. However, a liberal arts degree in this economy is worthless; it's very sad.
I could have told you that a liberal arts degree would not get you very far unless you were fortunate enough to land in a classroom. Not exactly rocket science. That doesn't change the fact that teaching is a real and rewarding job.
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Old 12-29-11, 09:12 PM   #16
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To be a professor you need a PhD in the field. I think some Junior Colleges accept MS. Then of course there are lecturers, associate professors, full professors, tenured/none tenured. Becoming a professor is a long process, and not just taking different classes.
An overview http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profess..._United_States
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Old 12-29-11, 09:34 PM   #17
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One of the most important things to remember as a teacher that occurs to me, and it might sound strange, is to keep in mind the infant like good parents often do. Let me explain with a seemingly irrelevant anecdote.

I am currently by trade a truck driver. I see a lot of prostitution that springs up around truckstops. When asked about how I react, sometimes I surprise people when I tell them that I automatically think of the moment this person was born, at which point it was probably the furthest thing from the parent's mind that this would be their child's destiny. So I don't feel loathing or hatred so much as deep sadness and compassion for this person.

Now back to schoolteachers. Seems like one of the main pitfalls of jobs like teachers, bartenders, cops, EMTs, etc is that you have to deal with humans at their worst and most unlovable, and after a time this leads to a skewed and pessimistic view of humans in general. When I was an EMT, one of the worst parts about it was the attitude of coworkers to pass judgment so casually on people who were in trouble.

Ugh, sorry for the overlong post, what I mean to say is that in teaching, you may deal with people at the most unlovable time in their lives, but just keep in mind that they are someone's pride and joy, and that it is way above your paygrade to judge them as a person. Compassion, that's my point.
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Old 12-29-11, 10:12 PM   #18
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Any teachers/professors out there?

I'm going back to school late next month, and I'm going to schedule my classes next week. I'll be attending for a Liberal Arts (Social Sciences) degree. I've been thinking of becoming a teacher or professor for some time, so I might gear my classes in that direction.

I guess what I want to know is what's good/what sucks about being a teacher. Maybe the differences between teaching college vs. grade/high school (outside of the obvious).

I gave up quickly on Google, which kept directing me to countless sites to take quizzes on which career I should choose. So, I figured I'd ask the fine people of BikeForums!

Please feel free to give me any pointers, tips, or anything else you've got. Of course I'm not depending on the internet to make decisions for me. Just looking for some info!

Thanks a bunch!
Why do you want to be a teacher? If its for summers and holidays off I'd say no don't do it you won't be happy. My son is working on his PHD in math so he can teach at the college level. I tried to talk him into using his math skills by taking up engineering or buisiness so he'd have something else to go back on. He could still teach but he could also be an engineer or buisiness person. This would give him more options.


I have a lot of respect for teachers although I think they are probably one of the most under paid professions along with police officers and nurses.
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Old 12-29-11, 10:16 PM   #19
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I am currently by trade a truck driver. I see a lot of prostitution that springs up around truckstops. When asked about how I react, sometimes I surprise people when I tell them that I automatically think of the moment this person was born, at which point it was probably the furthest thing from the parent's mind that this would be their child's destiny. So I don't feel loathing or hatred so much as deep sadness and compassion for this person.

I worked as a nurse in a prison for a short time and thats how I thought. Those people were once just innocent children. Who knows what happened.
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Old 12-30-11, 08:07 AM   #20
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If you are really interested in teaching, you might delve further into the NYS college system and find thier teaching college - as opposed to liberal arts. Teaching shortage areas are in math/sciences, so focusing on any of those would open more doors to you, as would a focus on a foreign language or special education. Special Ed has an added benefit of usually being federally mandated, so when your school system looks for teachers to cut, you'll usually not be on the list. Salaries and benefits vary HUGELY from state to state, too.... NY has (had? isn't that state broke?) an excellent pay scale & benefit package - here where I live (WV) the salaries are kind of low - but then so is the cost of living - and there is a shortage of teachers.

If you are interested in teaching in shortage areas, the maths/sciences, and a few other areas, read up on the TEACH GRANT - this is a $4000/year grant which has some pretty strict guidelines, and all colleges do not participate. You have to teach in specified areas/locales for a certain number of years, or the grant turns into a loan, which must be repaid. Regular Federal Loans also have teacher cancellation provisions for certain types of teaching, so check that out, too.

Are you more inclined toward elementary, middle school, or high school? College positions need more than a BA/BS - Masters pretty much required for instructor level, and further education for Assoc. Prof/Prof.
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Old 12-30-11, 08:11 AM   #21
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Some of us here do teach. And the reason so many quit in the first few years is because it isn't a passion for them...3 years is all they typically last. We had a new teacher fresh out of school last year that didn't make it half the year. It's the hardest job I've ever had...and the most rewarding.
When I was in training my advisor told me not to listen to people who don't teach. Everyone has an opinion. For some reason people liked to tell me how much they ****ed with the student teachers when they were in school.
My Industrial Arts classes are often dumping grounds for all the students who don't do well in more "academic" subjects. The greatest challenge is reaching and connecting with kids who are turned off by school and authority figures. Many of them have substance abuse issues. There is no greater reward than having some kid who is failing math and English come into my class and build a fine project, or excel at drafting or welding. I feel so fortunate everyday to be doing what I'm doing. Time flies for me when at work, and yes, I do arrive early and stay late.
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Old 12-30-11, 11:53 AM   #22
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My advice: get a real job.
Except that teaching is as "real" as it gets.

(I used to be a teacher, too, btw.)
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Old 12-30-11, 12:00 PM   #23
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This is what I teach (though we call it middle school here) and I LOVE my job!!!! I'm not in it for the $$. Frankly, there isn't much $$ unless you've been doing it a long time and are close to retirement and even then it isn't a huge salary. To do your job well, you will work harder than you can ever imagine. I'm not talking about the "clock-watching, in with the students, out at the end of contract day" work. I'm talking creating interesting lessons, engaging students, reaching ALL of your students and doing what it takes to get them interested in something. I'm in early every day. I stay late 90% of the time. I work with kids during lunch, during my plan, before school, after school and answer their emails from home. My students know I care about them and that I am working for them. It's exhausting and I cherish every break I get, though they never truly leave my mind.

So what advice do I have for you? Don't get into it just because you are looking for something to do. Take some time to think about whether you NEED to help young people learn and grow to be happy. If this is not a passion for you, your students will suffer.
YES! This accurately sums up the way I feel about teaching, too. If you want to be an effective teacher, you must be passionate about it, and you have to feel like it's your calling. Good teachers work long hours for mediocre pay and LOTS of complaining from people who don't teach. Sorry, I get a little defensive. I love teaching, and I am there to help young people become responsible adults.

If you decide to go into teaching, you should be aware that no matter what subject you choose, teaching content area is only about 25% of the job. I teach high school - I am also part counselor, part surrogate mom, and for some students I am the only adult who listens to them and treats them with respect despite their terrible attitudes. I wouldn't choose to do anything else - I carry those troubled students in my heart all the time. Making a difference in even one of those lives is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

The best advice I can give is to observe lots of teachers in their classrooms. Offer to help out in a class - this will quickly let you know what ages and subjects you like and don't like. I was married to a college professor, and while professors need to complete a Ph.D., they don't have to take any education classes, and the style of teaching is very different. If you are going to be a professor, you have to be passionate about a particular subject, as that will be the focus of everything you do.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
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Old 12-30-11, 12:17 PM   #24
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If you decide to go into teaching, you should be aware that no matter what subject you choose, teaching content area is only about 25% of the job. I teach high school - I am also part counselor, part surrogate mom, and for some students I am the only adult who listens to them and treats them with respect despite their terrible attitudes. I wouldn't choose to do anything else - I carry those troubled students in my heart all the time. Making a difference in even one of those lives is the most rewarding thing I have ever done.

The best advice I can give is to observe lots of teachers in their classrooms. Offer to help out in a class - this will quickly let you know what ages and subjects you like and don't like. I was married to a college professor, and while professors need to complete a Ph.D., they don't have to take any education classes, and the style of teaching is very different. If you are going to be a professor, you have to be passionate about a particular subject, as that will be the focus of everything you do.

Whatever you decide, good luck!
Wow, this is seriously the only post this entire thread needs. How wonderful!

You must have the luckiest students in the entire world!
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Old 12-30-11, 12:46 PM   #25
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I've taught classes at a community college. I actually like it. If you want to teach at a university you need a PHD. It's a lot of work so you have to love what you are doing so much so at the start that it carries you through to the end when you will absolutely hate what you are doing

I can't imagine teaching at the high school level. I cannot handle unruly children. College was where it was at for me. If a kid didn't come to class I don't care. Bad grade wah wah wah not my problem and no parents to deal with etc...

On the university level expect to work 60 hours at a research institution and less at a Uni not so focused on research.
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