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teachers - advice please

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Any teachers out there (pulic, parochial, alternative schools), I am looking for advice. In my heart I know that teaching is part of my long term career path, but I haven't been ready for a career change.

I took one education class in college and dropped it becuase it seemed so lame. I have a BS in History & Econ, some graduate work in Urban Planning and for 10 years I have been working as a community development/ affordable housing specialist for the U.S. Federal Govt.

My career is okay - I am now working part time making good money and my job is flexible. I took a decent maternity leave and have been able to take my nursing son with me on business trips. The problem is that I am bored with my (very hectic) job and really do want to eventually do something that involves teaching. I teach yoga to adults (esp pregnant women) and eventually plan to teach kids yoga as well.

I have a 2 year old and I wonder if now is the time for me to slowly begin to go back to school to get teaching credintials. I'm not sure if the time is right - maybe with young children I should just wait. But then I think if I do course work now (one class at a time) I could begin teaching when my kids are school age.

I have reservations about public schools, although I am a strong supporter of the need for good teachers and decent funding for public schools. I would love to teach in an alternative setting, but I don't know if I could manage the drastic salary cut (plus, I object to schools where tuition is high and teacher salaries are low).

I would love to hear advice for veteran teacher. Tell me your experiences!!

post #2 of 10
Well, I'm going on my eighth year of teaching. Most of my years it's been 1st grade and this year i'm tackling 3rd graders....which i'm loving! I did take 3 years off to have and be with my boys. My dh and I decided to do some jobs changes (mainly b/c his sucked). We decided it would be best for the family if i went back to work. I'm home usually by 4:00 and I'm guaranteed weekends off and lots of holidays. I get 12 sick days per school year and about 21/2 months off at summer. Of course the pay is low and teaching is alot more work than people think. I take work home and I'm always doing and thinking things in my head about what I need to do. It is definately not mind-less, easy work that lots of people think. It is a stressful profession--and gets more stressful with the type kids you have. I haven't told you anything you don't already know.....right?

With all that said now i'm going to contradict my self......I most likely will not put my boys into public school! Most teachers care, try hard and do the best they can. But in rooms of 20-25 kids, the stress teachers have to pass standardized tests, paperwork, and all the red-tape it is hard! I pass the kindergarten classes and picture my ds in there and I almost cry. I want my sons to be respected, listened to and individually taught....not treated like the class is all on the same learning level so know matter what they all learn the same things at the same pace! That's the way public school teachers have to do it!

I am so rambling and probably didn't respond to what you wanted. I just wanted to let you know that I'm here to answer any questions you might have.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
missgrl -

Thanks for your reply! How old are your kids and what kind of school would you send them to? I like the idea of homeschooling, and maybe that is an option for us, but I am still exploring... my son is only 2 years old. My husband and I both attended parochial schools (Catholic) and we are open to that. I like aspects of both Waldorf and Montessori schools, but the expense of tuition makes them seem fairly elitist to me, and I don't like the extremely low salaries of teachers at those schools (far below public and even parochial schools in our area).

I would expect teaching to be MUCH harder than my current job (especially the first few years), which is why I don't want to think too seriously about it while I have small children. But I do see teaching in my life at some time, and I'm not sure in what capacity.

Would you still go into teaching if you were to make a career move in your 30s? Why or why not?

Other teachers? Please give me your thoughts...
post #4 of 10
I taught special education in a public elementary school for 7 years before quitting to stay home with my children. For the most part I loved it. I only taught at one school, but it was wonderful. I have never met a more intelligent, dedicated group of people than the teachers I taught with. I learned so much from them. There were frustrations: unappreciative parents, the public perception of education, and just the demands of working with special needs kids (who were usually a joy but needed a lot of attention). A professor I had in college once described teaching as being on a treadmill all day without being able to get off and that was pretty accurate from my experience. It's an extremely demanding but rewarding job.

In terms of getting your teaching certificate, every state is different in what they require. Are you interested in secondary or elementary education? You might be able to get an alternative certification without many additional classes especially if you were going to teach secondary history. Anyway it might be worth looking into. I'm struggling with the same issue of when to go back to college, since I'm planning on making some career changes when I go back to work in a couple of years. Hope this helps!
post #5 of 10
My kids now are almost 4 and a little over 1. That's why I am starting to panic....my 4 year old is getting so close. He is extremely cautious about new situations and has never been without me or dh or grandparents. I like Waldorf schools, but there is none where i live. And i'm questionable about Montisorri only b/c there seems to be a Montisorri school at every corner where I live. I looked into one of them about a year ago and found it dreadful. There was nothing Montisorri about it. I get the feeling it is such a "popular" thing nowdays that they can just buy that name or something and use it to draw in families. But the tuition thing is BIG for me too...i don't have that kind of money. Homeschool looks like it will be in our future, but I've got so many questions about that too. That's why I'm panicing.....aaahhhh!

As for a carreer.....it has so many benifits when you are a mommy too. If you are willing to do what it takes, and take the stress and all the "undescribable" things you have to do (ie paperwork, red tape, administrative duties) then go for it. Yeah.....i'm doing it aren't I? And most of the time I love it!
post #6 of 10
Blessedby4 raises some interesting points. I think really, ALL systems of education have their strengths and weaknesses. Like any other set of ideologies/beliefs/principles, what is most devastating is when people form "camps" in which they are the ones doing everything right, and everyone else is wrong. I have also witnessed this going both ways between proponents of homeschooling and public school. It's also true that private school is not always the answer. But there are some terrific private schools, some wonderful public schools, and some successful homeschooling families/communities. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we all had access to the most successful and viable options for our own children? If every community had a great public school, several alternative options, and an inclusive and welcoming homeschooling community? I know we would welcome that here, where we happen to have a good public school, but would love to have options due to my son's challenging temperament.

Its great that you are going into teaching particularly if you have a real heart for those tough teenagers. It's not everyone who can relate to them. If you have that gift, there are many children who are waiting for you!
post #7 of 10
I agree with you that when you have a clue about the issues these kids are facing, you are light years ahead of those who don't. That's what makes you "real" to kids. Kids can sense someone who isn't real from ten miles away, whether they are teacher, therapist, parent, or whatever. Putting yourself out there is a very vulnerable thing to do. I think you have to be very grounded in yourself (I'm saying this not as a teacher, but as a therapist) in order to withstand what kids will throw at you. But when someone can be there and be real for them, kids know it and make SUCH good use of that relationship. And so many of them don't have another single good relationship in theirlives besides a teacher who cares. So thats a good enough reason to go into teaching I suppose, if one can stand all the other hardship that all of you are mentioning.

I agree that there is a certain piousness at times from the homeschool/private school communities. Although, I have seen it come from public school advocates as well. My sisters, both homeschoolers, challenged me to "justify" why I would send my child to public school given all the research on the superiority of homeschooling. Well, one can find research to support any position. But I think we HAVE to be gentle with one another and one another's choices, regardless of differing opinions, because that is just the way that grown ups have to act. Especially in these times. Just more thoughts.......
post #8 of 10
Back to your questions about teaching.
I think that if you are interested in teaching you should definately look into the teaching credential program in your area. If you have a "calling" for teaching definately follow it. GOOD teachers are needed in every school setting/type.

I have been teaching for YEARS! Preschool for 6 years 9some Montesorri) and then 3 years with first and second graders in a private school. And then I went back to school fulltime while teaching full time and got my credentials and masters in Deaf Education. AAGGHH! That was hard! I now work part time with first and second grade Deaf students in a public school setting. I love it! I finished my classes right before my dd was born and I can't even imagine going to school and doing classwork while having a baby at home. I wouldn't be able to go to class at night - I wouldn't want to leave her.

BUT... as she is getting older, the idea of a night off and some intelligent conversation at a university is sounding more and more appealing!

I suggest - look into the schools around you - possibly there are some schools you can get a feel for by volunteering/aiding/assisting/etc. and see how you like it. Then look into the credentilal program and take a class or two - go slow (but not to slow because many people get burned out on classes before they finally finish the program.)

Teaching is a wonderful rewarding profession - don't be scared off by low pay, bad "press", or the idea of a late career change.

Good luck to you!
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your replies. I know that teaching is somehow in my future - maybe teaching yoga, maybe some kind of adult ed. I don't know.... I love to hear other teachers perspectives & thanks for your input.

The public/private/parochial school issue is one that I grapple with - thanks for your ideas about that, too.

post #10 of 10
www.help4teachers.com/ a useful rescorse for teachers.

Hope this helps

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