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Thinking about a Teaching Career
Advice about Being a Teacher
Hello BPN Community, My husband is in his 40s and has been a full-time father for four years, trying without success to find a job in his background of warehouse and production work. (He has a B.A. but his employment history is with low-paying jobs not requiring a degree, which he got in his 30s.) He has been volunteering at our children's preschool and elementary school for over two years and enjoys working with the kids. He gets a lot of comments that he should be a teacher, and he is working toward making that happen.
I'd like to hear from anyone with experience with CalStateTEACH or other affordable (public) credential programs. He already tried BATTI but did not get accepted. Also, anyone who has transitioned to teaching mid-life and/or who can give some knowledgeable insights about looking for teaching jobs and the longer-term outlook for teaching jobs in the Bay Area.
If you're a breadwinner mom I'd also love to hear from you as this role reversal has been a real emotional strain on us individually and as a couple. We have been getting by on my income but there's not a lot extra at the end of the month. Having him be the full time parent while I work has left me feeling resentful and sad. I admire teaching and teachers and am resigned that he will never make much money, and that I will always have to work full time. At this point just having the additional income and benefits, and him saving for retirement, would seem like a windfall. Thanks so much. Hoping for better times ahead
I wish I had more concrete suggestions for you, but the main thing that has worked for us is really frequently acknowledging to each other how hard the other one works. Your husband is probably dealing with plenty of insecurity about his career, and he'll be much more supportive of you if you can let him know how much you appreciate what he has been able to do for your family while he was unemployed. It's also been invaluable to me to have non-mutual friends I can really open up to about how hard this is, so that I can express my feelings without sounding unsupportive about my partner's new career path.
If breadwinning mothers had any spare time or money to meet up for coffee, I'd certainly organize a support group! You are doing an amazing job supporting your family, and you have every right to also be frustrated that you have to do so. Same boat, sister
I was once in your shoes (and still sort of am) I was the breadwinner of the family for over 4 years until I had the courage to quit my FT job (that I had for over 8 years) to pursue my passion and love of photography (which means I'm no longer the breadwinner mom - for the time being anyway).
My husband had stayed home with our first child since I was making the most money at the time and he always ended up with low paying jobs as well but his dream was to always be a teacher and that was the path he was on until we had our kid (we now have two kiddos, by the way). Anyway, I pushed him to take on any positions at schools. He was hired as an after school teacher at a charter school and found that they had a credential program through the school in which the school and program pay for a portion of the credential!! It's called REACH..
My only advice is - imagine if the roles were reversed and how you would feel and or want to be nurtured to find your own career path, if you wanted to pursue something outside the home. If you are starting to feel some resentment - imagine how he may be feeling in his own situation. Have you expressed how you've been feeling lately at all to him? Times are tough all around - and especially for us as I get my business off the ground. My husband is finally at a place to be able to contribute so much more than he has before (plus he still takes on a lot of housework so that I can work too) - at least financially. It wasn't always the case, and it wasn't immediate that is for sure! All good things take time. cw - was the breadwinner mom
I am considering getting my teaching credential. I have volunteered in classes, tutored on the side. I love working with kids. Now, I'm finally out of the corporate world and considering my teaching credential in secondary education. However, as an introvert, I'm not sure I can manage a huge class! I like working with small groups of kids, hands-on projects. I've helped my friend co-teach her ESL classes at the university level and enjoyed that very much; she has a masters in TESOL. Are there other roles and jobs out there that someone like me can do in public education but not teach a class, per se? want to be an educator
I am thinking of the possibility to have a career change and to become a middle or high school math/science teacher. My background is somewhat related to engineering, and I only had limited teaching experience before.
The reasons that I like to be a teacher are:
1. From my limited teaching experience, I feel I like
teaching. And I love to interact with children. My previous
job requires me to sit in front of a computer almost all day
long, and I really don't like that. I think it will be a lot
better to work in a classroom and talk to the students
rather than using a computer all day long.
2. I love math and science, and I was always very good at them when I was a student.
3. I am a mom of a small child. To be a teacher seems to allow me to have more time with my child, because (I guess) a teacher's schedule is similar to the students' schedule, such as winter and summer break, and after school hours.
The reasons that I am not fully convinced that I should jump into teaching right now are:
1. I heard that teachers are generally under paid, and they
have to work extended hours everyday, and many of them have
to work at home (like grading) after a 8-hours work at school.
2. I heard that older kids, especially high school kids, are not as easy to work with as the younger kids, and sometimes they will show disrespect to the teachers. My friends said it is easier to teach elementary school, but I kind of prefer middle or high school, because I feel middle or high school kids are at the right age to be really into the world of math and/or science.
So BPNers, please share with me your experience or stories to be a teacher and any advice you may have. Or, you can just answer one or more of my questions below:
1.What is it like to be a teacher?
2.What is it like to teach in high school?
3.How many hours per day do you work?
4.Do you have to take your work home?
5.Do you have to work during after school hours?
6.Do you get paid to work during after school hours?
7.Overall, do you think you get under paid?
8.Do you have any advice or tips to work with middle or high school kids?
Thank you very much! To be a teacher? Or not?
1. It is an incredibly difficult and complex job that has far more to do than just understanding the subject matter. The best math teachers I know did not even major in math in college.
2. Do not teach high school unless you LOVE teenagers. You cannot be an effective teacher if you only love your subject, you must love the kids. All of them. And yes, teens can be horribly disrespectful if given the opportunity.
3. I teach ''part time'' and am at school from 8:00-4:30 most days and work at home every night from 9:00-midnight and often as late as 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. No kidding. And this is much less than I worked when I was new. In my first seven years, teaching full time, I easily put in 80 hours a week.
4. Yes, I take work home.
5. Yes, I work after school hours and on weekends.
6. No, I do not get paid for this time.
7. It is extremely difficult to get by in the Bay Area on a starting teacher's salary, especially if you have kids. You should expect to feel underpaid. You will definitely feel overworked.
8. Go volunteer in a high school or two and see what it is like. Talk to teachers.
Most importantly, please do NOT become a teacher so you can ''spend more time with your kids.'' Yes, summers are nice, but ask anyone whose parents were teachers and they will probably tell you that it felt like their parents spent more time on their students than their own kids. Teaching is an incredibly inflexible job. You cannot just slip out mid-day to take your kid to the dentist, or leave early to go your kid's Halloween parade. You are legally responsible for your students and your own children will often have to come second. --Reality check, please
As for the complicated nature of the high-school classroom, I think you need to see it yourself to get an idea of whether you're actually interested. I suggest visiting a few classes in the type of school where you're interested in teaching. Make sure to see at least one first-year teacher in a general (or low-track) course. Establishing classroom discipline can take time and practice, and the effort to do so drives many new teachers away from the profession.
I hope this helps! Best of luck. Our students need more high-quality math and science teachers. Maybe you'll be one!
In today's version of the teaching profession, you don't talk with students all day--you deliver instruction and assess student learning, and you do it within very well- constructed and engaging routines and boundaries. Kids don't do well in unstructured environments, and especially not kids in urban schools, which is where you're most likely to find a job, at least initially.
Content area expertise is only part of the picture. A HUGE part of effective teaching is a detailed understanding of the developmental requirements of young learners, including what to do with a class full of students at widely disparate achievement levels (in any class, you'll have students way below, a little below, at and exceeding grade level expectations, and you'll need to keep them all engaged and push all their learning forward--but they can't all easily read the same text, for example, so you'll need to figure out student by student what to do about that).
Teaching is hard but very rewarding. The hours--including the after-hours work you mention--are brutal if you want to do the job well, and they are not conducive to work/home balance until years into the profession. Summers and holidays do make up for that to an extent, but your friends and family will have to ''wait'' for you until you get to breaks.
Most teachers struggle; in public schools you'll be hard pressed to find a good mentor, and if you do find one, s/he has probably been asked to take on extra duties to alleviate some administrative workload (usually, so the administrators can get into the classroom and try to train the struggling teachers). There is no extra money, not for anything including necessary materials. In underfunded schools, you'll spend thousands to keep the classroom running, and you'll already receive FAR less money than similarly trained professionals (though, with your degrees, you'll likely receive more money than many other teachers in your building--but keep in mind this also means you'll cost the school more money, and they'll have that in mind when they evaluate your worth).
Much would have to change in U.S. policy to make public education a valued and sustainable professional choice. I taught and loved it, but I left so I could have a home life. Most of us do when we have children and/or when we want our nights and weekends back. Don't mean to discourage you, but those are the facts
I would let others who are high school teachers respond some of the questions you have, but be aware that teaching jobs have becoming increasingly more competitive, and there is definitely a lot more people interested in Elementary Ed than HS so usually High school math and science are better fields in terms of finding a job (and special ed.).
Being a good teacher, in my opinion, definitely requires a lot more than the ''school hours,'' but after the first 2-3 years of teaching it's a demanding job but a ''reasonably demanding one''.
One important thing to consider is that, socially, you will be seen as a volunteer rather than a professional, and sometimes that can feel very limiting (and it is, in my view, utterly unfair!).
If you do chose to go into teaching, make sure you get good training in a rigorous program with lots of field work and hopefully with good intellectual and research skills that will allow you to be a strong professional and advocate for the young adults you'll be working with. Since you already have a degree, a Master of Teaching Education might be a good match for you. Former teacher, current teacher educator
First, most of ''what you've heard'' is correct.
I'll be too brief, and a little trite. The only other option would be a novel.
1.What is it like to be a teacher? If you can put the success of others above your own, and make the success of others the primary goal of your own success, it's the best job on earth. That may sound simplistic or easy but it is hard (as a parent you will understand this) and essential for successful teaching.
2.What is it like to teach in high school? It's a great combination of enjoying both kids AND a subject. You can teach either end of the spectrum--elementary and college--and only love one, respectively; for high school, loving both is best.
3.How many hours per day do you work? As many hours as you have to work. There won't ever be enough hours, so it hardly matters.
4.Do you have to take your work home? Yes.
5.Do you have to work during after school hours? Yes. If you are lucky, those that are required will be defined, designated in advance, and you will have some choice. But you will have to do them. And you will want to do others--attend kids' sports games, the school play, etc.
6.Do you get paid to work during after school hours? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. Some hours are built into your salary. Others--if you are a coach, etc.--you may get a stipend.
7.Overall, do you think you get under paid? Yes. Never, ever, try to calculate your hourly wage. You'd quit the next day.
8.Do you have any advice or tips to work with middle or high school kids? --Treat them above their ability to behave, and they will rise to it; expect them to behave poorly and they will.
--Love your subject, and they will love it, too.
--The more you hated high school yourself, the better off you'll be. (Some will disagree, but you can see my point.) Adolescents have a great sense of justice, quick minds, and bizarre senses of humor. They are learning the rules of society, and are struggling with which they accept, which they reject, which they don't understand and which make them feel safe. Being the ''other adult'' in a teenager's life is a powerful, important, sometime unpleasant, sometimes life-changing job.
Good luck making your choice. Miss teaching HS
I recommend substitute teaching or summer school teaching first.
1.What is it like to be a teacher? Exhausting, fun, interesting, stressful, and did I say exhausting already? It takes enormous stamina.
2.What is it like to teach in high school? You have to like teenagers. They are more interesting and funny than most adults, but they take vigilance. One nice thing is that they are still very receptive to being helped, and want to become better people. Teaching is so much more than just working with kids, though; you'll spend a lot of time in meetings, prepping, dealing with parents, administrators, and colleagues, and doing paperwork.
3.How many hours per day do you work? 7:30-3:20, but I work at least 2-4 hours a night on top of that, either by staying at school late or by working at night. I spend 6-7 hours per weekend, too. You never really get freedom from your work; there is always more to do and if you don't do it on one night, you'll have to do it on another. It's endless.
4.Do you have to take your work home? Yes, absolutely. I know two teachers out of 200 who don't take their work home.
5.Do you have to work during after school hours? Usually you have ''supervisions'' where you need to chaperone a sports game or dance, but mostly it's just more grading, lesson planning, and organizing.
6.Do you get paid to work during after school hours? No, not unless you're a coach.
7.Overall, do you think you get under paid? Without a doubt, yes. Especially when you consider how much time you spend working, how much education you need to do it, and how exhausting it is.
8.Do you have any advice or tips to work with middle or high school kids? Find your biggest trouble-makers and get to know them very well. Make them your ''beta''; you are clearly on top, but give them a leadership role. The best way to manage teenagers is to make them feel sure you respect and care about them. Then they're easy.
Questions to ask yourself:
1. Do you like to perform/be on stage, even when you're sick, distracted, or tired? You'll be talking all day long, around people all day long. There's no hiding.
2. Do you do well in inflexible schedules? Your day won't be your own. You can't go to the bathroom when you want to. You can't hide.
3. How do you feel about all the non-teaching stuff? (Meetings, collaboration, parent anger, student discipline?) Anonymous
1. I love being a teacher when I can decide to do the things that I want to do with a eye to the needs of my students. In some ways, this is the case all the time. In other ways, this is the case none of the time because the district/state/nation/testing body is determining the best approach to teaching not me.
2. I love high school students. They are ready for challenging conversations, they are often eager to learn about the world that they are becoming a part of, and most of them can focus. I miss spending time with them.
3. Count on standing in front of a group of kids for at least five hours every day. Then also realize that you have to prepare your lessons, photo copy whatever you need, respond to emails from parents, kids, teachers, the principal etc, make and return phone calls to parents, go to meetings after school, and grade all of the work that you have asked your students to complete. You will be working evenings and weekends, especially the first three years.
4. See #3. In a nutshell - yes.
5. See #3. If you think your job is over when the last bell rings you are misinformed.
6. You are a salaried employee. Your contract usually counts for about a seven hour day. You will be working far longer than seven hours each day, particularly in the first three years on the job.
7. Job satisfaction is a huge reason why teachers teach. Many school districts post salary schedules are on-line so you can see determine this one for yourself.
8. Middle school kids are an interesting group. They demand respect and will give you respect only if you know how to give it to them. They can be wonderful to work with. They can also eat you alive. You have to be able to think fast on your feet and be a clear and thoughtful disciplinarian.
I would recommend that you figure out how to volunteer in a middle/high school public school classroom and see what it looks like first-hand. If you do decide to go ahead and take the plunge I would recommend you look that the Mills College Mid-Career Math and Science teacher credential program. long time teacher
1.What is it like to be a teacher? Being a teacher is amazing. It's so rewarding to work with young people, to make connections and teach and learn with them. It's also VERY hard, very intense work.
2.What is it like to teach in high school? If you like teenagers, High School is great. You can specialize in one subject and hopefully have only one or two different classes you teach. You have A LOT of students, though, which is hard.
3.How many hours per day do you work? Anywhere from 8 to 12
4.Do you have to take your work home? YES. Grading takes MANY hours. You also end up spending a lot of time after school with kids, or contacting parents by phone or email.
5.Do you have to work during after school hours? YES.
6.Do you get paid to work during after school hours? NO, not exactly. You get paid a salary, the same each month no matter how many extra hours you put in. For me, it was hard to set boundaries with my time and energy. You can ALWAYS do more, put in more time, do a better job. But you have to take care of your own needs, too.
7.Overall, do you think you get under paid? I don't have many material desires, so I don't have much of a personal problem with the payscale. I do think it's a shame how low teachers' salaries are compared to many other professions, because I consider teaching to be a very important and noble profession, as well as one requiring a high level of skill and emotional investment.
8.Do you have any advice or tips to work with middle or high school kids? I have tons of advice if you actually do become a teacher--feel free to email me later. Here's a quick few: Keep a sense of humor. Show the kids respect by honoring their intelligence and experience, encouraging questions, creating meaningful learning activities. Earn their respect by being consistent and firm, but also kind and understanding. violetswallow
2.What is it like to teach in high school? (can't answer this upper elementary only)
3.How many hours per day do you work? A lot. Arrive 7:30, leave 4:15 (to pick up own kids), make dinner, homework (my kids), then continue working for one or two hours.
4.Do you have to take your work home? Yes, yes, yes, and yes.
5.Do you have to work during after school hours? Always, always, always and always.
6.Do you get paid to work during after school hours? It is expected via the contract you sign. No, you do not get paid overtime.
7.Overall, do you think you get under paid? Yes, I could not be the sole breadwinner for my family.
8.Do you have any advice or tips to work with middle or high school kids? Find the school that fits your expectations, your professionalism, and your personality. it takes a while to get there but you can find the right fit - there are A LOT of schools in the Bay Area. Finally in the right school!
After a successful but increasingly draining career in law, public advocacy organizations, and state administration, my partner (late 30s) is hoping to turn his talents, energy, and optimism to teaching. He has a liberal-arts MA and a JD from a leading law school, practiced labor/employment law for a big firm, and has risen to the top of several private organizations as well as a major state agency, but neither one of us knows much about the practical logistics of starting a teaching career. At the moment he's considering a move into secondary school teaching, probably in private school contexts. It won't happen overnight, we realize, but we want to lay the groundwork. We're a same-sex couple and he would want and need to be completely out in the educational environment. Is this even reasonable to try to think about or expect, even in the Bay Area? We'd value hearing from anyone with experience about what he needs--in terms of training, certification, etc.--and with suggestions about possibilities to explore in northern California or resources we might consult. Any contacts that network members could help us make with teachers ''who've been there'' would also be terrific. Thanks! Exploring New Horizons
If your partner is passionate about teaching, I say go for it! we need more qualified teachers! Vivian
I would recommend your partner volunteer regularly in a classroom for at least a semester before enrolling in a credential program. By volunteering he can see if teaching is actually the right career. It also seems like he assumes that teaching would be less stressful than his current career -- spending time in a school would help him evaluate that hypothesis.
I assume you've thought through the financial costs of this career change -- teaching pays quite a bit less than most other careers that require the same amount of education.
The other suggestion I have is that he should go through a full-fledged credential program (UC, Mills, SFSU, Cal State East Bay) -- the time he spends on supervised teaching will make his first few years of independent teaching much easier. a teacher
First of all, as far as being out: I have met lots of educators and have worked in areas that are progressive and not-so-progressive, and I can't imagine that it would be a problem at all. Out gay teachers (and principals) are very common.
On the practical side: there are two ways to get into teaching.
One: the ''traditional'' route: apply to a school of education and get a credential. These programs usually last two years, depending on how many courses one takes, and can be done by people working during the day. Nearly all local universities have credential programs, although the more prestigious ones (Berkeley, Stanford) only offer credentials en route to a master's. Some online-only schools have programs as well. In the last year or so, student-teaching is done, usually two semesters' worth. He would need to apply to the school's credential program (write an essay, get letters of recommendation, etc.)
The web sites of the various schools should have all of the qualifications/prerequisites listed, but they are usually: pass the CBEST (general subjects' test; fairly easy); pass the CSET (a subject test in your desired area; fairly difficult); take an exam or course on the Constitution, get fingerprinted, learn CPR, etc. The CSET is the thing that will take the most work to pass and prepare for, so start looking that up now.
Two: the other way to get into teaching is through a fast-track program (such as Teach for America or the various Teaching Fellows Programs.) These programs very often recruit only for hard-to-fill areas such as math, science, special ed, and bilingual education, and may not be practical if you plan to stay in the Bay Area. Under such programs, there is no student teaching: you skip straight to teaching with an intern credential and take your classes in the evenings and/or on the weekends.
The Financial and Other Practical Sides: This is a serious consideration. Teachers pay for their own credentialing costs, which even at a CSU can run you $15,000 or so before you're done. There are programs which forgive loans if you teach in high-needs schools, but I would operate under the assumption that you'll be paying every dollar yourself. Then, do some research on salaries for teachers, and find some teacher blogs talking about average weekly workload and stress for teachers. By example: I easily work 50+ hours per week; I am essentially donating 20 hours per week of unpaid labor to my job.
Another **very important** element on the practical side: the likelihood of finding a job once you have got your secondary (i.e, high-school and middle school) credential if it is not in math or science. I went to a job fair last year and it was so disheartening to see how nearly every one of the districts were not even recruiting for any positions other than the hard-to-fill ones: math, science, special education, elementary bilingual. You would do well to find out as much as you can about the unemployment rate among teachers who are teaching at the secondary level, especially if you only have a credential in one subject (i.e, English.) I am not a secondary teacher so I don't know what the scenario is, but you should do your research carefully on this.
And now, finally -- for a reason -- the emotional side, the thing that nearly every working teacher will tell you: I love my job. I will never fail to wish for better hours, better pay, less stress, etc, but I love the gratification, the relationships I have built with my children, the importance of what I do, the challenge (even as I very often feel inadequate to meet that challenge.) My job is about relationships, and it is a hugely rewarding part of my job. I have children who are happy and smiling to see me every morning, and that is easily priceless.
That said, there are frustrations: teaching in a way that goes against my own personal philosophy (NCLB is alive and kicking); seeing children entering my room three years behind grade level; the amount of bullying and disrespect that goes on among children without my ability to effectively address it.
As much as I love my job, I might, knowing what I know now, have chosen to keep searching for a position that provided me the gratification of working with children without the stress, the hours, the very real stakes if I am not effective, and the death of my weekends. However, I am in it now, and am not about to leave any time soon.
I hope that my experience will be an effective guide as your partner searches for the next step in his career. Local Teacher
My husband wants to enroll in a teaching certification program in the East Bay and become an elementary school teacher. He is one of the thousands of people whose jobs have basically vanished in the recession, gone overseas or reduced by technology and cost-cutting, never to return. As much as I want to be supportive and am, on many levels, I am also very scared.
I hear nothing but bad news about teaching in terms of pay, satisfaction, layoffs, etc. I'm terrified he'll complete the certification and not find work, then we'll have the debt from the program to deal with along with everything else. I'm also worried about him completing it, teaching for a year or two, and deciding he doesn't like it. Plus, to enroll we'll have to juggle child care for our two kids under 4 and my full time job. Currently, he's a full time dad, so no flexibility to try getting sporadic sub jobs or anything (we have no family or support network for last-minute babysitting).
I really want him to get trained in something that is economically viable as it would certainly take a lot of pressure off me and be good for him, but I have a lot of reservations. Can any teachers out there share some words of wisdom or advice?
It is really difficult for new teachers to get permanent positions. I know colleagues with four years of seniority in tenured positions who were ''pink slipped.'' For those of us who have a job it is becoming increasingly more difficult. This is due to budget cuts which increase class sizes and reduce resources. Also, instruction is becoming more and more scripted and mandated, which insults our professional training and judgment, and takes a lot of the creative joy out of the work.
But, as I said, I love to teach. Working with children is inspiring and energizing. Scaffolding or designing lessons is stimulating and challenging.
It may be the perfect job for your husband, but if not, it's a huge monetary and time commitment. Perhaps he should speak candidly with several teachers and observe classrooms before he commits. Good luck
I've decided to leave my well paid but highly unfulfilling career in finance to become either a kindergarten teacher or pilates instructor. The problem is, I don't know which I'm more passionate about. I love them both for different reasons, and can see myself doing either career. With teaching, my main concern is will I have the energy and patience to be surrounded by kids all day, then come home to my own two kids, who are both under 5? With pilates, my main concern is stability - will I be able to get a job? I'd love hearing from others who have made a career change and how they decided which direction to go, or from teachers and pilates instructors with advice about those careers. Torn between two passions
Yes, it is rewarding, but it is also frustrating and exhausting. It can be infuriating. It is a black hole of time and there is always more you could be doing. It is always on your mind somehow, and you never leave your work at work. It is not just a job, it's a way of life! --Been There Doing That
I don't want to sound discouraging, but if you plan to teach in public school, you have a lot ahead of you in earning a credential, getting a job, and fulfilling state standards. Teaching is super rewarding, but I only know a handful of teachers who aren't burned out and several of those don't have young children. Good luck in your decision! Teacher-mom
Editor note: See Fitness Instructor Careers for additional responses.
I am a single parent of a 2 year old and considering going into teaching. Am I insane? The reasons I would like to teach: I love children and I think I would be good at it. I have a background in social services, counseling and art. I have previous experience teaching adults (ESL) and loved it. I have volunteered in after-school programs in art and drama teaching. I know there is a demand for math and science teachers, and unfortunately, those are 2 subjects I am not interested in. I am interested in english, social science, humanities, history, art, drama, psychology.
My main concerns: I have struggled to manage being a stay at home mom for the first 2 years of my son's life (and it's been awesome!) , but I need to go back to work and I need a career change as my previous work as an freelancer is no longer enough to support us. My kid is my priority. Right now (b/c I have only experience as a SAH parent) it feels like any child of a FT working parent is getting second fiddle, Is it any worse for teachers? I know the first few years of teaching are intense as you learn the ropes and develop your lesson plans . Am I setting my child up for being in constant child care while I make my way through school and the first years of teaching? (I am considering doing an Oakland Teaching Fellowship) Is it doable w/o the support of a partner? Have you done it? Can you share with me? Many Thanks! Thank you for you insights!
My mother was a High School English teacher and a single parent. While she had already finished her student teaching when I was adopted at 1 year old, she had not been teaching for many years. I remember when I was very young my mother would spend time with me after school and then work on her lesson plans and grading papers after I was asleep for the night.
Although I did not always admit it when I was young, I think it was great that my mother was a teacher. We had a lot of time together that my friends did not have with their parents. We did wonderful summer travels that would not have been possible if my mother had another profession. When I was 7 my mother took a sabbatical and we went to Japan for 9 months. She taught for a semester and we then traveled for 3 months. When I was 12 we drove to Cleveland, Ohio so my mother could take a class on War and Peace. We lived on campus for the summer and I went to several camps and had a great time exploring a new city. Other summers we had lazy days and gardened and baked together.
Childcare during the school years was easy for my mom since she had most of the same days off school that I did. When she didn't she sometimes arranged for me to visit at her school and help in the office or other teachers with projects.
I know there were times when she felt taxed, and dealing with another surly teenager was the last thing she wanted to do, but it was a very rewarding and positive career for her. It gave us a chance to have more time together. I had many friends with 2 parents that spent less time with their parents than I did with my single parent.
I hope this helps. One child's perspective.
6 years ago I was Interested in becoming a Waldorf teacher and attended an information night in Marin, but decided to postpone as I was not ready to make the long-term committment (wanted to travel and continue w/ my artwork). I am now seeking a long-term career and returning to the idea. However, I am also a single mom with a young child (not in school yet) w/ no child support. I know in my heart that I would be totally fulfilled in this position (I am an artist, I love the approach, am interested in education, and I love children) However, I am scared too b/c I know the teachers do not earn very much (approx 35k) and wondering if it's feasible to raise a child on this income, not to mention and it would require acquiring massive student loans to go through the teacher training. Has anyone else been in my shoes and gone for it? Did this route add too much stress to your life or did the joy of the work make it all worthwhile. Is the training and ultimate teaching life still allow you plenty of time to be with your child? If you did it, how did you make it work? And finally, do you know if teachers children ever recieve financial aid to attend a Waldorf School? (I know that on the salary I could not afford a Waldorf education for my son) wanting the best for us
I am considering going back to school to become a multi-subject K-6 teacher. I am now a substitute in OUSD. Have any readers recently become credentialed and how was the job market? Would it help tremendously if I was either bilingual or wanted to work with special ed children? I am looking to attend either CSU East Bay or Holy Names. Any advice would be great on these schools or other pathways to become credentialed. I don't want to spend my time working on another career that will be a dead end. hopeful
I would like to teach Spanish part time at the middle or high school level in Berkeley or surrounding areas, but do not have a teaching credential. I understand that there is a huge need for bilingual and Spanish-language teachers. I have more than 10+ tutoring experience, am a native speaker from Latin America with a US MA in ESL, am currently a grad student in education, and have taken and passed the CBEST, but I never started a teaching credential program. Is there a route to working part time as a teacher and slowly getting a credential, as I am still a grad student? Would any schools, public or private, hire me without a teaching credential and give me some time (2/3 years) in order to get the requirements done? I contacted the CA dept. of education, but it looks like I cannot work for any public schools without having a credential first... I am hoping that someone has experience with this and can give me some advice about whether I could teach without a credential or how to go about it! I would like to teach and it would help me to finance my education! Thanks a ton! To teach or not to teach
Hello- I have a 2.5 year old son and work F/T. Although I have finally found a company that isn't horrid to work for, I still feel as if I am missing out on my childs life and life in general.
Every day when I drop him off at preschool, I am energized by the kids and feel myself wanting to stay longer and longer. In college, I was a preschool teachers aid and then also was a T.A. for summer school second graders. During the dot-com downer days, I also went so far as to be qualified to substitute teach and had considered getting credentialed. I have a B.A. in English.
Now, I am beginning to think of teaching as a way to sort of lock in more time with my child as he gets older. But I would love to hear from teachers and those especially who have made the leap from corporate to teaching. Are you in fact able to leave at the end of the school day? Do you spend more time with your child? The thought of having summers off with my child is absolutely wonderful. How awful (really) is the pay? I currently make decent money and am guessing a teachers salary would be half of what I am making now. Any trouble working in a decent/safe neighborhood? I am not keen on driving far to work when I live around the corner from an excellent public school. Any other pitfalls? Did you miss the corporate world?
Any advice is greatly appreciated. I know there is a lot to consider with such a change, and want to really think before I jump.
Should I jump?
As for leaving school when the bell rings, it's not quite like that. Your first few years you will need to work very hard on your lesson plans and correct the kids' work. After a few years, lesson planning is much easier but there is still work to be corrected. You can either stay an hour or two after school or take it home.
It sounds like you are interested in teaching the younger kids, which is great. I think it takes more endurance and perhaps emotional energy than the big kids. I enjoy the teens and, since each class is a discrete entity, it is easier to find a part time job, which is what I am doing now. happy teacher
So, I say, follow your dream! Life is too short to squander it away in a corporate environment that sucks the humanity and hapiness out of you (I don't sound bitter, do I?) :-) poor and happy
''Are you in fact able to leave at the end of the school day?'' If you are very, very organized- that comes with experience. Most teachers don't leave at 3pm (that, unfortunately, is a myth.)
''Do you spend more time with your child?'' I left the classroom because I wasn't spending enough time with my child.
''How awful (really) is the pay?'' When you look at pay in different districts, you have to look at the benefits package. I work in what could be considered a low-paying district, but the benefits are wonderful.
''I currently make decent money and am guessing a teachers salary would be half of what I am making now.'' Probably...
''Any trouble working in a decent/safe neighborhood?'' In my school district you either have to have seniority or get lucky to teach at a school in a good neighborhood.
''Any other pitfalls?'' Teaching is a very demanding job, physically, chronologically, and emotionally. Teachers are required to do so much these days- you become mother to 20 to 33 kids for a big part of the day. After they leave, there is planning to do, grading papers, cleaning up, organizing. I don't mean to be negative because I love being in education. I am in a position in the main office of my district and I work with teachers and principals at 20 elementary schools. I am very, very lucky, but I paid my dues and worked EXTREMELY hard to get where I am. Unfortunately, I have seen too many teachers who are failing their students because they leave on time and don't put in the extra that is truly needed. Yes, summers off are great, and it's a big joke among teachers that ''The 3 reasons I'm a teacher are: winter break, spring break, and summer'' when the reasons instead should be: kids, kids, kids. If you can, either volunteer in a classroom on a regular basis, or become an instructional aide. That way, you can get a more realistic idea of what being a teacher entails. L
I would make different career decisions, if I had known what daily life would be like as a teacher. I always thought I was more efficient than other people, and their complaints were different than mine, but . . . bay area teacher
WCCUSD also has an intern program with Cal State Hayward. I had my own classroom and was paid as a full time teacher while I went to night school and two summers of coursework. Exhausting but you know it is for a limited time.
Pay...private and parochial schools pay about 1/2 to 2/3 that of public schools, in my experience. Be careful that your district offers health insurance. I found out too late that my present district, Mt. Diablo Unified, does not and it is a bear trying to find individual insurance. Most districts pay your dental, eye and health insurance. I have been teaching for 7-8 years now and make about $60K. Through experience I now bring home very little work and I teach from 7a to 3p, then work at school until 4 or 5p. Usually two days a week, I have committee meetings until 4 or 5p after school. I have seniors who come in and act as my T.A. for credit so they correct most of my homework with a key.
I enjoy the vacation times with my kids but many times spring break is a problem as different districts take a different week off. Summers and winter break are usually better synchronized.
If you like kids, I would go for it. Goodness knows, we need more dedicated teachers.
Best of Luck! kathryn
That being said, overall it was a positive experience and I hope to return to teaching someday, when my kids are older and in school themselves. I've heard from veteran teachers that the longer you teach the easier it gets in terms of time. Once you have a library of lesson plans to choose from you don't have to spend as much time figuring out what to do every day.
As a new teacher you may find it difficult getting hired in the district you want to work in, especially if you are not a math or science teacher. Social Studies and English teachers are more abundant than math teachers and therefore those positions are harder to come by. Your chances of getting in to a good district will go up if you are qualified to teach those subjects.
The pay is not great. I went from making $95k to $35k when I made the switch. Though I was on an emergency credential (lower pay) and working at one of the lowest paid districts in the area.
The vacation time and summers were nice, though you may find that you will do some work during that time as well.
So, if you're looking to spend more time with your kids, you'll probably get some of that during breaks and during the summer but not during the school year and definitely not during your first year or two.
Teaching is an incredibly rewarding job, but it's not easy. Don't do it if you're just looking for summers off. You're heart has to be in it to be successful. anon
There absolutely needs to be a reason for you to be in the classroom. You must either really love your subject, or really love kids or really believe in public education... because it is FAR too much work and too much of an emotional commitment otherwise. You simply won't last. Fully half of all teachers leave the profession within a few years. My belief is that this often happens because people go into the profession for romantic reasons that are simply not based in the reality of teaching. Ideas like ''you get the summers off'' or ''You get off work at 3:00'' are simply not true. I don't think I have enough space here to speak to each of these... I suggest that you spend a lot of time in a variety of classrooms-- even shadow a few teachers through their days (and nights and weekends) to see what their lives look like. I don't know a single good teacher who doesn't put in a ridiculuous amount of hours....I have a 10 and 13 year old and I feel incredibly lucky that I have a husband who has not only been supportive of my job, but flexible enough in his that he could do things like take the kids to doctors' appointemnts and help out in class during the school day, and go on field trips, things that are difficult for someone whose day is run by bells and whistles.
I'm not here to discourage you. The profession will always need good teachers--- and kids will always deserve good teachers, but becoming a teacher (at least becoming a good one) is a lifestyle choice, and not one made by default. I don't want to discourage idealism... teaching is in many ways a leap of faith, an entirely hopeful act... but romanticizing it doesn't help anyone.
And, by the way... you can go on the website of just about any district to ask for the salary schedule to see what teachers make. a committed, but tired teacher... with eyes wide open
The kids are definitely the best part of the job, I truly love my students and enjoy working with them. As many teachers will tell you, if you could just teach (and make a decent living at it) it would be a great job, however you spend a lot of time dealing with administration and test scores and the pressure to keep scores up. I teach in Richmond, to mostly second language learners, and they are required to take the same test as everyone else. Hanging over our heads is the fact under No Child Left Behind, if scores aren't up we may lose our jobs, get transferred, lose pay...this and the fact there's no additional support to help these kids...so you just have to make it happen. Administrators are stressed and it's passed down to the teachers. Many experienced teachers are trying to get into schools with high test scores as the pressure is too high in low scoring schools.
I know some teachers who find it difficult to work all day with kids and then go home to kids. Usually you are the only adult in the room and have very little contact with other adults, it can be a weird feeling...all the teachers are so busy they have very little time to talk, except at lunch. As for working late, your contract gives you your hours, although many teachers feel pressure from principals to stay late. They'll take as much free time from you as you'll give them.
All that said, summers off are great...you won't have the money to do anything, but the time off is wonderful. Good luck with your decision. Maybe try subbing to get a feel how you'd like it. MVM
Teaching is an incredibly hard profession to combine with parenting. I know very few people who have been able to have kids and continue teaching - and remain happy sane and balanced! The demands on teachers these days are tremendous - maintain ongoing communication with parents, make sure your students do well on tests, counsel troubled students, work with families in crisis, fill out paperwork, paperwork and more paperwork, go to meetings, grade papers, create curriculum - oh yes and teach!
Do some informational interviewing with teachers who combine teaching with parenting a young child. It's REALLY hard to do well. The people who I see able to balance parenting and being a high-quality teacher have partners who are home full-time or mostly full-time. These people also have the personality that enables them to work hard - but leave worries at work so that they don't carry it home. If you aren't this kind of a person already - teaching may completely drain you.
I think you are envisioning life as a teacher the way it was 30 years ago. It may still be this way in parts of the US, but it isn't in CA where our educational system is falling apart, many families are in crisis, schools are underfunded and teachers are asked to do more and more with no increases in prep. time or money. I love teaching, but you HAVE to be passionate about it - it isn't a lifestyle choice that any sane person would make! A Passionate, but drained teacher
Since becoming a teacher I have had another child and my oldest is in first grade. Because I ''don't have to be at work'' past three and can ''take my job with me'' I have ALL of the responsibilty for doing ALL the driving of our children to tutoring, lessons, and sports. Meanshile I try to get my grading done on the sidelines.
Being a parent and a teacher also put me in a strange position once my child became a student. Some of my childrens' teachers have assumed I would be on ''their side'' when my kids had problems in school. I am expected to be one of the ''easy parents'' who doesn't make waves and is always supportive even if I truly disagree. It is to be assumed that my child will be the top of the class or that I will know what is being taught and school and will pre- or re-teach the lessons at home so that he will master skills faster. The unfortunate reality is that trying to do homework with or teach skills to my own child is a nightmare for both of us on some nights because I have used up all of my patience during the day on my 175 students. (I guess I forgot to mention that I teach middle school... patience does have it's limits.) I find that at social events other parents sit back and wait for to see if someone else is willing to set limits for all the children so it usually falls to me to intervene before someone is injured, and there are some who then make comments (some not so appreciatively) about my telling their kid to stop acting up. And then when I go on field trips with the class the ''behavior problems'' are always in my group because I will ''know how to handle them''.
Teaching does give me more time with my children. And I have to say that I am a much more fulfilled person as a teacher than I was as an office worker and that has to be better for my kids. I do love teaching. But it isn't a short or easy work day. Hope that helps
I'm interested in becoming a grade-school or high-school teacher but I really don't know where to begin or what it would be like. I've heard there is a high demand for teachers these days, and it seems like it would offer a good schedule for a working mom. Also, I am going to have to stop working on the computer as much as my present job demands. Any advice would be helpful, especially comments from teachers about what they like or don't like about their jobs.
How to become a teacher: There are several options: The traditional route is to get a California State Teaching Credential (multi-subject for elementary, single subj. for high school). This will take approx. 2 years full time- and includes a battery of absurd tests and administrative B.S. It also includes a 4-6 month student teaching experience which is when you really start to learn. You don't learn how to teach by taking a class, no matter what anyone tells you. Many local colleges and universities offer credential programs- some tailored to working people/parents (is there a difference?) Other ways to become a teacher include internships in independent schools( you don't get a credential, but if you work in independent schools you may not need a credential- not that I am recommending working in an independent school, public schools need enthusiastic new teachers) or applying for an emergency credential while you are working in a school that desperately needs teachers. I would be glad to talk with you about this if you are interested. Toby
I can honestly say that I loved my work but that it would be VERY difficult to be a teacher and parent at the same time. While the hours you are "at work" may be similar to the hours that your child is at school, your work and your obligations do not simply end there. Not only are teachers required to be there for the school day, but we are also supposed to be there for a specific amount of time before school begins and after it is over. Planning your curriculum, collaborating with other teachers and grading papers take A LOT of time, usually outside of school hours. There are also staff meetings, curriculum development sessions, professional development classes and parent meetings that require our attendance. At the high school that I taught, we were also required to attend a certain number of extra curricular activities a year, such as athletic events or drama productions. I am not complaining, please don't misunderstand where I am coming from. I just want you to be aware that if your children are of an age where they need (or want!) you, they might find your time in short supply.
Saying that, teaching can be a wonderfully rewarding career. Your motivation needs to come from having the desire to help children by enriching their lives. You will probably not be thanked very often (similar to being a parent, I suppose!), but you will feel tremendous when you see your students brighten!
There are some wonderful credential programs in the bay area, including Dominican University in San Rafael and Mills in Oakland. Science and Math teachers are in particularly short supply.
Best wishes, Michelle
I would suggest you spend a day "shadowing" a teacher you know, whether it is a teacher-friend or your child's teacher. You could offer to spend a day with him or her, in exchange for some kind of assistance (such as working with a group of students, grading papers, preparing materials for an activity). That would give you a teacher's eye view of a school day.
People often do not realize the amount of work that goes into teaching. A recent study found that 1/3 of the work that elementary teachers do is unpaid (meaning outside of school hours/contracted time). If you teach elementary school, most of the outside work goes into preparing and planning the activities in your classroom. If you teach high school, most of that work is in grading papers. (Of course, elementary teachers grade and high school teachers plan too!) Both elementary and high school teachers also spend time doing things beyond what they are contracted to do: tutoring kids individually, holding extra parent conferences to address issues of discipline, making phone calls home, following up with counselors or principals on various issues, attending meetings after school, professional development workshops, etc.
This is not to dissuade you from entering this noble and rewarding profession. But definitely enter it with your eyes open. You should also try to figure out what environment might suit you as a teacher, as different schools offer different kinds of work environments. The most obvious is the difference between high school and grade school. Do you enjoy working with adolescents or do you prefer young children? Are you passionate about a particular subject matter? Or would you prefer the challenge of teaching a variety of subjects in a self-contained elementary classroom? Does it appeal to you to develop relationships with about 100 to 200 young people each year (h.s.), or would you prefer to work with around 20 to 30? In addition, different schools have different teacher work cultures. Some are very collaborative, where teachers are expected to share ideas (lessons, assessments, discipline strategies, etc), while others are more individualistic. Some have a teacher work culture that is about the academic identities of the teachers; some teachers are about social justice through education (these are not mutually exclusive categories, of course... just trying to give you "flavors"). And while the pay is often better in affluent public schools, the work culture (and the student culture) may not be, so don't make a decision about where you'd want to work based on test scores.
Of course, independent schools do not necessarily require credentials. But they often look for academic pedigrees. They tend to pay less than public schools, but in turn teachers in independent schools have fewer students, more planning time built into the school day, and fewer extreme discipline problems in their classrooms. You might look up an independent school teacher placement service like Independent Educational Services (http://www.ies-search.org/) if you think this might suit you.
I obviously could go on at length about this topic. I hope this gives a helpful start. Good luck! Ilana
It can be very rewarding but also challenging. There are a fair number who try it and don't stick with it. I would recommend you get into different classrooms to observe a bit before you commit to a career change, and remember the job openings may be in the more challenging schools; keep this in mind when you select the schools you are going to visit. I think a lot of people who quit envisioned something very different than what they found; you have to go into with an open mind, ready to work hard and be flexible. Email if you want to talk further. Betty
I am considering becoming a Reading Specialist but want to know more about the field , both in terms of types of jobs availalbe in this field, schooling and experience necessary and salary range. I have extensive background in teaching adult literacy and ESL to adults so am hoping this would build on my experience, though I realize it would be different to apply my skills to elementary or/ and high school education. Does one have to have taught in the public schools to beome a Reading Specialist? I am not interested in becoming a classroom teacher, but would like to do primarily staff development / training with teachers and do some classroom teaching. Where does Special Education fit into this? I would appreciate any advice on how to pursue this career path. Thanks! anonymous
I am currently working part time as a consultant, but am contemplating returning to teaching (special ed). I taught for more than 10 years before the birth of my child, and I loved it, but the hours were often long, and I brought work home most nights/weekends. I want to have a job that I feel passionate about, but I am also passionate about having family time - so I suppose this is a question for all of you teachers out there. Is it possible to do a good job, and not spend lots of personal time working? Is the expectation for most teachers still to put in extra time to do the job? If so, could people give me an idea of how many hours per week they work? My job now is very flexible, but I am not making much money. I need to figure out a way to increase my income, and not sacrifice my life with my child. Are some districts/schools better than others to work at if you have kids of your own and want to spend time with them? is the grass really greener?
The boundaries I set for myself were to try to protect my family time, but that has meant that I often stay up very late. I take my kids to practices and lessons, go to their games, and when they were little, did not work while they were awake. I often started my ''second shift'' at 10:00 p.m. which meant staying up until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. fairly regularly. And frankly, I am a less effective teacher since becoming a parent because when I was young and childless, I was able to devote many more hours to the job that are now taken up by my own kids. I am fine with that, but it is the reality.
I once had a volunteer in my classroom who wanted to be a teacher and when I asked him the following year how his teaching program was going, he confessed that he had changed his mind because he could not commit to the hours. He admitted that he always thought teachers who put in so many hours were just not organized or efficient enough, and with his business background, believed that he could figure out a better way. He quickly realized that to be an effective teacher, he would have to put in many more ''extra'' hours than he was willing to do, and he was not willing to sacrifice his lifestyle to be a teacher. He quit his teaching program and went back to business.
So yes, from my perspective the extra hours are necessary to do it well, and there is always more you could be doing to be better. The balance between your children and your students is a constant tension that me and my colleagues who are parents struggle with every day (until late June!). --Getting some R&R soon
As you know, teaching is not constrained to class time. There's all of that grading and prepping and writing letters of rec (I'm a high school teacher) and meeting with parents and other teachers and administrators and and and .... It never ends. It is so hard to find that time now. When people say things like, ''At least you get your summers off!'' I really have to breathe deeply and then bite my tongue.
I really do love my job--the students are simply exquisite human beings and it's really challenging to be an effective and ''good'' teacher--but I hate that with bigger classes and more expectations for teachers to fulfill (faster/more frequent communication with parents, more assessments), it's become a little unsustainable. I walk thisclose to the brink of insanity until the last day of school.
Please please please return to teaching if you liked it for the people, for the work. Do not consider it for the luxurious hours. ECG
I think realistically the benefit to teaching full time instead of consulting would be the steady paycheck, but keep in mind the paycheck tends to be pretty small, too. There are many districts right now in salary negotiations that aren't always going well. We haven't gotten a raise in five years, and three of those included furlough reductions, too. The second advantage is job security, but if you're just coming back now and starting at year one, you won't have that for awhile. If you'd be paying for child care at all, that would be a huge factor, too.
I think the biggest surprise you'd find is the new push for uniformity, with the ''Professional Learning Community'' model which has stripped teaching of a lot of its creativity and fun, in my experience. I think something else that might have changed for you is that the most rewarding part of teaching for me had been my wonderful one-on-one relationships with students. Once I had a baby, that didn't give me the same buzz anymore. My life was recentered on my home. I also just had less energy in general since I was older.
My advice? Go substitute in an affluent district for awhile (easy classroom management) and see what you think of the new educational approaches. Try Piedmont, Lamorinda, and Walnut Creek (depending on where you are). If you really miss being with kids and it makes you feel more energized rather than less, then you'll have your answer. But my gut instinct is that it's very hard to be the kind of parent you want to be and the kind of teacher you want to be with your own kids at home. It might be exactly the right thing for you once your kids are out of the house, for example. Good luck!
I am a credentialed teacher. My CLAD and ELA are embedded in my credential. I have been substituting for two years. I have good recommendation letters and I have been on a few interviews, however, I have not been selected for a permanent position. I am in my second career and want to teach. What are administrators (principals, vice principals, etc.) looking for in a candidate? What are teachers who sit in on the interviews looking for in a candidate? How can I make myself more marketable to public schools? Any honest, even critical advice and insight would help! Thank you. Subsitute Teacher wanting a Class of Students
1. Experience with the age level you want to teach. If you have never worked with the population of students you are interviewing for, it is a huge concern.
2. Ability to demonstrate that you have strong, concrete classroom management skills (i.e. not just that you are ''good'' but that you have the ability to implement a specific plan in your classroom)
3. Knowledge of current trends in curriculum, additional training
4. Being able to articulate specific lesson planning strengths, curriculum development in the past
5. Do your homework about the school you are at- know the student population, know the mission of the school, familiarize yourself with the demographics and test scores
Other than that, dress appropriately - not too stuffy but never casual. Be genuine and know that it is hard to land your first full time teaching job. Be willing to work in a district that may be more demanding (I spent several years in Oakland) and open to hiring new teachers. I value my years in Oakland more than anything- it was hard but I gained a ton of experience that allowed me to land my dream teaching job at a school that I wanted to teach in- primarily because I gained management skills and participated in professional development while in Oakland that made me a desirable candidate.
Hope this helps and good luck. anon
Older, mature, career changers are a blessing to the profession. When hiring teachers, I look for 1)Do you strongly believe ALL children can and do learn regardless of race, socio-economic status, home life, etc.? I want a NO-EXCUSES attitude. 2)Are you an effective communicator? Do your verbal and non-verbal communication speak confidence, compassion and clarity? 3) are you resilient? are you able to thrive in a high stress environment? 4) are you resourceful? with technology? are you going to whine about what you don't have or are you going to access all resources to get what you need? teacher hirer
Q. What are administrators (principals, vice principals, etc.) looking for in a candidate?
A. On the most basic level, administrators want someone who won't cause them or their schools problems. They want someone who will have good classroom management skills and not need intervention; someone who will have good relationships with parents, students, staff, and other teachers; and someone whose teaching is competent enough that kids do at least as well in your class as your colleagues'. Everything else (test scores, philosophies, etc.) is secondary.
Q. What are teachers who sit in on the interviews looking for in a candidate?
A. Teachers usually have very little sway in terms of who is hired and who isn't, but the number one question a teacher is asking himself or herself is ''do I want to work with this person for the next 10-20 years?'' So what they're looking for depends on what they value, but in general, a school has a particular cultural set of values and the more you fit in with them, the better.
Q. How can I make myself more marketable to public schools?
A. The best way to get a more permanent position is to prove yourself in the classroom over an extended period of time, being adaptable, professional, consistent, and likable along the way. Many people do this through student teaching, but your best option is to long-term sub for someone on leave. The best way to get noticed as a regular sub to get those leave positions is to be ultra-competent and positive. Get known for keeping the kids under control, following the teachers' lesson plans to the letter, and be a visible positive presence in the staff room and office.
My final suggestion is that what you should be doing is trying to find a good match for you. If you're subbing for two years somewhere and not getting hired there, then you might not be a good match for that district, school, or grade. That was my first thought when I saw your message. I've worked at a lower-income very urban school as well, and that school was looking for entirely different characteristics than my current school. I am a perfect fit for where I work, but I also didn't get a job at two other schools where I applied, despite substantial educational credentials and experience. Knowing what I know now, I think it's because those weren't the right places for me. So my suggestion is that you try subbing somewhere else, or in different grades, and see if it's a better fit.
I wish you the best of luck! -A happy teacher Anonymous
My sister is currently a teacher in the San Diego Public schools. She teaches high school English. She is originally from the bay area, but received her degree from San Diego State and teaching credential down there and stayed down there to work. My sister and her husband where hoping to move back up to the Bay Area but she was unsure about applying to schools up here due to budget cuts and so many teachers loosing their jobs. She is planning on applying to teach at some public schools up here but we where both wondering how to go about applying to private schools. Do they pay better than public? Also how do you get into the private schools as a teacher? If anyone is currently a teacher at any of the bay area private schools or in administration and can give us some insight on it we would really appreciate it. Missing my sister and trying to help her move back up here!
The most comprehensive list of independent school jobs will be listed at nais.org, but that wouldn't include most Catholic high schools. She might need to check all those websites individually for listings.
Generally speaking, independent schools will pay better than religious schools but worse than super wealthy public school districts in the suburbs. However, if she does get an offer from a private school, she will have some freedom to negotiate.
Good Luck. If she can't find a job up here this year, then she should consider subbing at the private schools she's looking at. There's always someone going on maternity leave and it is the best way to get a foot in the door. Independent School Teacher.
Does anyone out there know where/how private schools advertise teaching positions? I'm a PhD, interested in teaching at the high school level... Any advice or insights are welcome. Tired of the university culture but love to teach
There are several independent school head-hunters, the one that seems to be used most often is Carney-Sandoe (do a google search). They will allow you to apply as a candidate, and if they accept you, they will work on your behalf to place you at a school. The fee for you is nothing, but the schools would pay a fee to them if they hired you. A similar group is ism.inc, and another is CalWest (I think that's the name). Good luck. I love teaching in independent schools! anon
Then start networking, talking to friends of friends who teach and have connections. It's not uncommon to get one's foot in the door that way.
Finally, try starting with subbing. Arrange to meet with heads of departments. Put your face to your name on your resume. Make your self available and when you sub, leave your mark. Don't just passively babysit, but spark those kids. If they like your energy and feel you actually teach, they'll spread the word you are good. Good luck! love teaching
In your situation I would contact a placement organization such as Carney, Sandoe & Associates. They specialize in placing teachers and administrators in Independent Schools -- the more flexible you are as to course, age group, kind of school, geographic area and extracurricular activites you are willing to supervise the easier it will be to place you. Depending on your subject(s) there may be a fee for placing you, or a school may be willing to pay that fee to get you. Yes, I used to work for one of those Places
I received California Preliminary Credential for Science Teaching a few days ago (I was a teacher in Korea). I want to get a teaching job in the east bay, maybe as a substitute at first. How can I start job search? I looked over edjoin.org, but not many jobs there (esp. around Berkeley) Are there many jobs? Any suggestion will be appeciated.
If you are a past or present teacher librarian, I would love to hear more about your job! I am an ex-English teacher with a Ph.D. and about 4 courses into my MLIS degree. I am looking for something that is intellectually stimulating, but more manageable than teaching english, especially in terms of balancing work and family, and work and play.
As an english teacher, I spent virtually all of my time outside of the classroom grading papers and writing lesson plans (in addition to all the other administrative aspects of being a HS teacher/advisor). It was exhausting, and ultimately propelled me towards an illness that forced me into a medical leave. So now I am rethinking my professional trajectory and am definitely intrigued by the role of the teacher librarian. Since I do not have a teaching credential and do not wish to go back to school to get one, in addition to the years of course- and fieldwork required for the MLIS TL track, I am looking primarily at employment in a private school.
One of my biggest fears about becoming a TL is the dominance of the Internet, both as teaching tool and resource. I am not a Luddite, and I certainly use the Internet for a lot of my research needs, but I do not want my primary role as a TL to be to teach people to perform Internet searches and evaluate sources. That said, I understand that this is a part of the the job, but please tell me that people (teachers and students) still get excited about books as well! In addition, having to be an authority on the Internet and all things research-related on it seems like potentially just as much take home work as teaching English!? To be clear, I am not averse to work, and I realize that almost all jobs, especially now, require a commitment to professional growth outside of the workplace, but given my history and my propensity to overdo things, I want to be more cautious when selecting a second career.
What are the ''pluses and minuses'' of your field and of your work environment? Would you advise someone to enter the field today? What are the biggest challenges? What does the job market look like? (we are not necessarily committed to staying in CA, and are particularly curious about New England and NY as well).
Lastly, if anyone has successfully secured a position at a public school as a TL *without* a teaching credential, please let me know!
Thank you for your input! hopeful future teacher librarian
In some ways, being a TL is a wonderful job because it can be what you make it. You can choose to be very involved in new courses or programs in your school, you can be an advocate for marginalized voices, and you can learn technology skills that make you a big player in your school. I, for one, managed and was in charge of laptop carts, a one-to-one iPad program, an entire ''computer lab'' of 35 Mac desktops, and became very good at Blackboard and Illuminate. I was also your go-to person for Apple TV trouble or password issues. If the technology was going to help students directly, I was involved. I don't know about other schools, but I was expected to be ''that'' person partly because my predecessor was. The one thing I do feel certain about is that most schools are putting their library money into technology and databases (ABC-CLIO, Gale, Proquest, EBSCO) and not print books. We also used Libguides, which I had to learn.
Here's why I went back into the classroom:
1. I hadn't finished my library credential, and it was very costly and time intensive, and I was already unsure that I wanted to be a TL in the first year.
2. I missed being on stage, and the daily work of being a TL didn't match my energy level. You are CONSTANTLY interrupted. It can feel like you never get a moment to finish a project or task. It was a revolving door of ''wait, what was I doing?'' It was weirdly boring and stressful at the same time. Sure, it meant I had some peace when no one was in there, but the hours were sooo slow. It felt just like temp work, when I would stare at the clock and count down the minutes.
3. I didn't like being a manager of another adult (my part-time assistant).
4. It can feel very isolating, because even if the staff like you and want to work with you, you have a lot less ''moving/social'' time (preps, lunch, breaks) to see people. I felt trapped there.
5. TLs really *do* teach, but what they teach is boring. Website analysis, citing sources, MLA or APA formatting, how to use Word or Google Docs.
6. The library is more of a public space than I was used to, and it was not my domain in the way my classroom was.
7. With very few exceptions, I didn't have kids who loved me like I did as a teacher before. They liked me, but were mostly indifferent. I thought it would be great to have non-critical (grades) relationships, one-on-one, but nope. They don't care about you. I realized I needed that student affection and attention, and thrive when I return it.
On the other hand, no grading, no lesson planning, no parent emails, no work after 4pm (most of the time). You could start reading clubs or do book talks. If I were you, I'd volunteer in a school library for awhile and see if you like the tasks that TLs do. - Glad to have my classroom back
I work at a charter school. Because we are a charter, we are considered ''at will'' employees, and can be let go with two weeks notice, without explanation. A number of teachers, last year and again this year, have been let go without formal observations, feedback, or explanation. Many of the teachers who have been let go have the best test scores in the school, and have not had any reprimands from the administration or complaints of any kind. People are literally reeling from the shock of what is happening (yet again) and the seemingly unlawful firings. It may or may not matter, but every teacher who has been let go in the past two years is of a particular race. There is a pattern of targeted bullying by the administration, but as the school is not covered by either the teachers' union nor by the district, there does not seem to be any recourse (we are a county charter, not a district charter). Has anyone else been in a situation where you are an at-will employee and have been let go without explanation? If so, what did you do? Did you contact anyone, try to get answers, or just walk quietly away? There is a lot of talk at the school in terms of, ''That's how it is done here; this is the culture of the school,'' but does that mean we all have to just sit back and take it? Workers Without Rights
I am due at the end of October. I am a teacher, and plan to go back to work for the second semester at the end of January. I am considering either a nanny or a small day care, but I would like to have some flexibility to not have child care (and not have to pay for it) during winter, spring breaks and summer breaks. I would appreciate any advice or referrals. Perhaps there are other teachers with a similar situation that would like to share a nanny? We live in Oakland and my husband works in Albany, so we are looking in those areas or in between.
I know that it is difficult to spend money on childcare you don't need over breaks and vacations, especially summer when we are NOT PAID. There are some providers out there who will be willing to negotiate with you to save your spot over the summer for a reduced fee. You'll have to ask if yours is willing... I'd wait until you develop a relationship. Sometimes they can find someone who is willing to take the spot for just the summer and then you can get it back. In general though, if you want ot stay with the same caregiver from year to year you are going to have to pay over the summer and breaks. You are also going to have to expect to pay full day rates even if you pick your child up early. Basically you have to think of it in terms of licesning... she can watch X many babies. If your baby is there from 8-3 she can't offer that spot to anyone else when your's isn't there, it is still yours. Despite what one of the other posters said, there is NO reason you can't teach full time with an infant at home. Personally, I found it easier than working in an office with an infant. teaching mom
I am a new teacher working through a teacher credential program in a progressive, liberal arts university in the San Francisco bay area. I am a white person with children in public school. I went to public school and public university. I want to teach in urban schools.
In my classes I hear again and again from professors about ''rigorous teaching'' and that ''tests are racially biased.'' Having adopted biracial children I see how some classrooms are racially biased and some tests, particularly the Language Arts portion of tests are racially biased. The sample tests for math and science seem reasonably neutral to me. The vast majority of the tests, sample and benchmark my own children have taken seem to be geared toward upper middle income experiences, however.
In my program we spend a great deal of time discussing how to make the classroom experience relevant for children of color. Included in instruction is allowing students to speak and write and correcting some but not all speaking/writing so as not to discourage students. I have read books (over 100 books in race theory, how to teach students of color written by adults of color, and how to make instruction culturally relevant), I have spent over 500 hours in the last two years volunteering in classrooms in San Francisco, Hayward, Oakland and Hercules. I have taught English as a second language classes to adults.
My problem seems to be that in my classes on race, culture and multiculturalism I am shown how to plan activities, project, products and affirmations that help children feel good about themselves. When I factor in the time spent on these activities in my credential program it takes about 15% - 25% of the time. When I factor in the Elementary School State Standards of Academic English, Reading and Writing, Math, Social Studies / Geography / History, Science Music/Art/Drama PE and recess/lunch I come up with more curriculum than hours in the week. I have cut my transition time to 2 minutes. I have a ''get started'' activity on the board in the morning and after every recess. I am teaching bell to bell.
My two questions are these: Is it possible for a white adult to teach students of color rigorously in a regular classroom (meaning students learn the grade level State Standards in all areas)? Where do white people go to discuss openly the issues of teaching students of color where they can speak openly about fears, expectations, frustrations and realigning their work so that all students are learning? Please Help Me
You're teaching under policies that constrict your options, and it's necessary to become professionally and politically active (though you can only ask so much of yourself now, as you're learning to teach). Network to help you find schools where there is innovation and collaboration, because these exist. The principals at these schools are looking for educators just like you.
Thank you for your current and future work in elementary education! teacher educator
Teachers for Social Justice www.t4sj.org They have a yearly conference and study groups.
TEAMS/Americorps www.teamsusf.org It is a fellowship program focused on teaching in a multicultural classroom for new teachers. There are monthly meetings with workshops and speakers. You can get money to use towards education loans. Fellow teacher
Question #2: Some teachers have formed critical friends groups. There are PDs that help address this (BayCES for example has a Teaching with a Cultural Eye Institute).
If you haven't read it already, Sekani Moyenda and Ann Berlak wrote Taking it Personally: Racism in the classroom from kindergarten to college. Great book!
Some of Sekani's recommendations include doing your own emotional work to unlearn your racism; commit yourself to extensive education in the ethnic cultures of people whose backgrounds differ from your own; be clear on why you teach and who you are teaching. know what each community really wants for its children; don't fall for the ''parents don't care'' nonsense; have clear vision of what children will need to know when they leave your classroom and enter their communities as well as the dominant culture; find a diversity group that talks about racism; find any valid venue to talk about this issue. This will prepare you to respond when or if a black child calls you a racist. You will hear a wide range of views. you won't find answers-but you may find greater clarity. Think about your reasons for working in the community. Make sure these reasons are healthy-not based upon neurotic or exploitative impulses. Don't fall for the hype that you want to ''give back.'' What is it you've received that you want to give back? If you have something to offer, be specific. What do you have that we can use every day? You should be able to sell yourself to the parents and staff you wish to work with. Why should we allow you into our community? What can you contribute? How do you know we can use it? What's in it for you besides a paycheck? Can you work anywhere else? If not, why do we want you? If so, why choose this place when you can make more money and be treated better elsewhere? If we take these gifts you offer, what do you expect to get in exchange? What price do we pay? Why should we trust you? What of true value do Black and other people of color have that draws you to us and makes you want to teach, learn, and suffer with us? What is it that you want so badly, you're willing to endure the challenges in order to get it? black boys' mom
You asked ''Is it possible for a white adult to teach students of color rigorously in a regular classroom?'' I can't imagine that a teacher of color could do to it better than you, unless that teacher was more skilled or experienced. As a parent I would be offended if you expected less or more from my child because my child is brown. I say this because your question makes me think that you may not expect children of color to learn the SS from you. I believe that children will live up to our expectations.
I would want you to prepare my child by giving her the tools she'll need to succeed. I understand that my child will have to grow up and work and live in a world that is racist, and I will do what I can to support her to be able to handle that. I just think as a teacher the best you can do is create a learning environment, teach her well, and to hold her accountable for her learning.
I completely disagreed with some of the ideas regarding educating children of color I discovered during my teacher education days. I think it's cruel to hold children of color to a different standard because you think they've got it rough, and does zero to prepare them for reality. ex-teacher
One thing I would caution you about is the idea of tests being racially biased. I think tests are more culturally and class biased, in that certain words and phrases are included that may not be a part of someone's lexicon as they are growing up. For example, not all households use a saucer when they drink tea or coffee. They may simply use a mug. Is that a racial issue? Hard to say. Is it a class or cultural issue, yes.
My other point would include how to deal with this issue and urban students. I agree that we should create curriculum that is rich and interesting and culturally relevant to our school community, but that it should be in addition to the standard curriculum. If we don't, then we perpetuate a stratified society where students only identify with what is relevant and identifiable to them. Kids should look at murals and view art in a museum. Students should listen to poetry slams and book lectures. Do you see what I'm saying? I often worry that with our good intentions, we prevent urban students from learning the cultural and academic standards valued within the greater society, including the culture of power.
I personally like to know and learn about everything, because I like to be comfortable and adapt to any community. I want to feel as if I am a citizen of the world. That should be the mindset of an urban teacher. anon
You're not teaching ''students of color,'' you're teaching young people. ''Students of color'' is an over-simplification of a complex class/color/race/religion/nationality situation. Race doesn't = class and middle-class doesnâ€™t = white/easy to teach. Students are more than their racial profile and cultural background. Treating some differently than others sends all the wrong signals IMHO.
Perhaps your professors are from a time when ''rigorous education'' meant ''sink or swim--get with it or get out.'' But you can show respect for your students and their backgroundâ€”and still challenge them academically. Give them a chance to test their limits and expand themselves. Let them know that you know they can handle it. Yes
-People of color face a very different world than white people do and white middle-class bias is a problem, so it's good to be self-aware. But a dumbed-down education will leave these students unprepared for collage and for work.
''Students of color'' are not fragile flowers who will never recover if a white teacher corrects them. If you don't correct students when they are wrong, it will cost them academically and in the workplace.
Students gain esteem through accomplishments, not fulsome praise. I guarantee students KNOW when you are underestimating them. They hate it.
Some years ago I worked at a (post-high) vocational school. Our students were poor, badly educated, immigrants, and ''students of color.'' The students now saw the low expectations of their K-12 teachers as indifference and contempt. They were resentful that their poor education hampered them. But they were desperate to learn and change and have new opportunities. The teachers who got the best student reviews were tough, demanding and inspiring. They taught everyone in class the same and were consistent. The students loved structure and challenges and immediate feedback. They loved knowing the rules--it provided security.
It's not ''racist'' to push students to their full capacity. If you show your students that you value and believe in them, you CAN teach rigorously and build self-esteem. Respect their race, background and cultureâ€”-and, please, respect your own as well. Teach With Head & Heart
One of the previous responders indicated that some kids will be okay, others not, and it's not so much about the teacher. I want to disagree. Research shows, in fact, that the factor under school's control that most affects student achievement is the quality of the teacher. Yes, there are a lot of other factors, but teachers make a difference.
Over the 15 years I've taught, I've seen white teachers who are extremely successful with students of color. What do they have in common? They hold high expectations for students (I know it's a catch phrase, but REALLY having high expectations is harder than it sounds), and they scaffold kids to get there. They get to know their students as individuals and their students' families. They have networks of colleagues, both white and teachers of color, with whom they discuss issues of race in the classroom. They learn to step back and reflect on their practice and how it works (or doesn't) for different students. They take responsibility for how their students do without getting bogged down in their struggles. They see equity at the forefront of their teaching.
Good luck! You're starting your career asking some of the right questions. One more bit of advice: the first few years are hard. Don't be too hard on yourself, and stick it out. I've seen too many people leave the profession before they have a chance to get good. Another White Teacher
I am an elementary teacher and currently share my classroom with a colleague who is, to say the least, extremely meticulous. She likely has some form of OCD in which everything needs to be absolutely perfectly and everything she does is done in painstaking detail (which ends up taking much more time). It's something she and many of our colleagues joke about, but is probably more clinical than quirky.
We plan to job-share again next school year, but I have my worries. Up until recently, I had thought things were going pretty smoothly, even though I have to leave by 4:30 and she usually stays until 7:00 on her teaching days and often goes into the classroom over the weekend. She has been pretty understanding that I need to juggle family with work (I have two young children and a fairly long commute).
Her anger and frustration over doing more of the work for our classroom recently boiled over and she blew up at me - pretty much ripped me apart in front of a few of our colleagues in the staff room during lunch. I hadn't realized she was so angry with me.
I thought about getting out of this job share, but my options are limited for next school year. I do plan to work full-time after next school year, though. In the meantime, I wonder if any of you out there have advice for how I can make this work, aside from agreeing to look at her ''list'' of things she's been doing so we can divide it up, and going in on my days off next school year so I can catch up on work I need to do.
Thanks for your thoughts and insights. A highly responsible and organized (but not perfectionist) teacher
I am in my 11th year teaching middle school English (at the same school) and am feeling extremely burnt out and in need of a change. I am hesitant to leave my position because I am able to work 80%, have other privileges due to my seniority, and am a creature of habit. However, I am tired of the increase in bad behavior, poor work habits, and lowering achievement levels of my students. In the past, I had been heavily involved in working to reduce the achievement gap (writing and administering a grant), and served on many, many school and district leadership committees. I never thought I would want to ''defect'' and move to a less diverse district, yet here I am.
At this point I don't know if I even want to stay in teaching (though I can't imagine
not having summers / afternoons off)
My questions run the gamut:
1) What options are out there for teachers who no longer want to teach? ... especially if you want the benefits of the same schedule (summer off etc.)
2) If I stay in teaching, but move to a district that has less diversity, what are the disadvantages? What happens to years of service on salary scales? What happens to seniority in terms of lay offs?
3) What about teaching in private schools? How much lower, on average, are you paid?....other pros & cons?
4) If I tried to move to elementary teaching (I have a multiple subject credential), is it possible to teach part time? I'd consider job sharing...or being a prep teacher. How difficult is it to find/arrange these kinds of situations? Thanks for your thoughts and advice. anon
I have not found anything in 1.75 years of hard looking that gives you the same amount of holiday time. Most places will start you at 2-3 weeks per year plus legal holidays (if that). Also, many jobs are looking for very specific skills. If you are going to look, I have been looking in the federal government sectors. Structured jobs, good benefits, 1 year - 18 months probation. Many pay you while they train you. The problem is the number of job seekers. I was trying to get a job at Social Security. There were 3000 applicants for 12 positions. After the written test, given to 1000, they interviewed 100, and then cut to the 12 positions. Best of luck to you. kl
Having said that... I do think you need to so some soul searching about whether you want to continue to teach at all. I'm concerned that your post expressed a desire to find an easy place to teach. In the 25 years I have been teaching I have certainly learned this: I don't know one single good teacher that doesn't work really, REALLY hard.. and that's true in suburban districts as well as urban ones. Teaching should not be a default option, but one you choose deliberately because you really love your subject, or love kids or preferably both.
All kids deserve good teachers. So... if you are looking for an easy way to do this job, I want to reassure you that it doesn't exist. If you feel like changing the environment in which you teach will give you an opportunity to feel the enthusiasm you know you have in the classroom, then you should explore that option. I'll say it again: all kids deserve good teachers. - a veteran
I am a teacher taking a few years off, but as any teacher knows, you have to keep getting professional development hours to renew your credential every 5 years. This is MUCH easier to do if you're working in a district. Has anyone had experience with trying to do this while not currently teaching? Any ideas for good professional development ideas? Thanks! credential renewal coming up
I am currently looking for childcare for my baby starting in August, and will probably want to use the same caregiver the following school year. Here's the problem. I am a teacher and do not work the two months during the summer. I also don't get paid, unless I have 20% deducted out of each of the official 10 monthly paychecks. And since I'm a teacher, my paychecks aren't exceptionally large. Teaching summer school may or may not be an option, and often pays so poorly that it would barely cover childcare. What do folks in my situation do with their care-provider over the summer? I can't expect the provider to save my spot and not earn money for two months! But at the same time, it is a huge financial drain to pay for childcare that I don't need, during a period in which I'm not getting paid. I brought this up with my husband, anticipating this being an issue next summer, and he said we would just look for a different provider the following year. Given how much legwork and time and emotional energy that goes into finding a childcare provider (MY time, energy and legwork), that doesn't seem very appealing, not to mention that the consistency would be good for our child. Any advice? What do other teachers do? teaching mommy
Overall, and for the longer term, I think it is better to have the consistency at this stage of our child's development. Our child is now in the throws of toddler-hood, and is quite attached to our childcare provider, which makes us very happy. She is such a professional, and is so kind. I would feel sad to make our child switch at this point in development - would feel like a big upheaval, I think. But kids are resilient! I feel like it isn't then a situation where our child is ''just'' kept out of harm's way (!), but also provided with fun opportunities to get out and learn, like story hour at libraries, parks, music and cooking classes, etc. The advantage to having someone such as a student is that if they babysit well, they provide good interaction with a child as well, and you get to be home full-time in the summer, if you want to be. I really enjoy the couple of days teaching/career. If I were you, I'd sit down with your partner and come up with a list of pros/cons and see what you both prefer... I think it's possible to budget for summer care - for us, it is kind of a question of priorities, as this was our choice. There are many different, great options out there, and no one size fits all! GL! Summer fun, either way
So I made it through the credentialing program, only to find that I hate teaching. Why did I do it in the first place, you ask? It seemed like a good idea at the time. So... is my credential good for anything now? (Elementary school...) How do I start over? Where do I go from here? Help! Thanks! Annie
I have a question for you... Could it have been the wrong grade?
Sometimes people start in the wrong grades. Maybe you are like me and the whole teaching thing is just not it at all. Please do not blame yourself. No one can prepare you for the real world of teaching until you are in it. It can be so frustrating too because so many do not understand the demands in teaching. What's next? My suggestion would be to make an appointment with a career counselor. If you went to Mills then call them up and make an appointment. Otherwise, I heard that you can make an appointment for career counseling at Cal State East Bay in Hayward. (I don't know about cost there, however, I strongly recommend that you do this because I think that you will find it beneficial. This can help figure out some way to move forward in a career that is meaningful. This is can be a wonderful way to help you examine your skills and look into what you have to bring your next job/ career. I wish you well. Been there, done that, left classroom teaching Rachel
#1. The job will never be as hard again as it is in your first two years. Trust this. Really, truly. I'm not suggesting it's not time consuming later; it is. Teaching is a demanding profession; I don't know any good teacher who doesn't work hard day in and day out. BUT, as time goes on, you do develop a ''bag of tricks,'' that help guide you through the little decisions each day (like ideas and tips for lessons, logisitics, organization). And more importantly, you develop foresight-- You don't go home every night and think, ''ohmygod, what am I going to do tomorrow?'' You start to learn to have a bigger vision for small units, and for your classroom experience altogether. This will help you build confidence and not help you feel so overhwhelmed all the time.
#2. Someone else suggested that if you didn't like teaching you should get out because our schools don't need people who don't want to be there. That is true, but perhaps some people don't understand how much working conditions have an impact on your morale as a teacher. Even the best teachers can have a hard time. There often is not enough support(I know that I couldn't have stayed in this profession as long as I have if not for a very supportive spouse and colleagues) And looking at the other side:the profession ALWAYS needs good teachers,and loses too many. I believe something like 1/2 leave the profession before 3 years. This year has been tough, with layoffs and cutbacks and on top of that you're new, so the year has been extra hard).
So,is teaching for you or should you leave? Another responder suggested that you might look at a different grade level, and this is sound advice. I'd also suggest that different schools can be completely different experiences as well, and you may not have the right fit. You may want to look in the suburbs if you are in an city, or visa versa. You may want a small school if you are in a big one etc...you may simply need to find a place with supportive colleagues and administration.
Ultimately, there needs to be a compelling reason to keep you in the classrooom,that's for sure. Teaching should not be a default option,something you decide to do because you can't think of anything else to do with a liberal arts degree. You either need to love kids, love your subject or believe in public education(preferably all 3!),and probably evaluating the reasons you are there should be your first step in deciding whether to stay or not.
But-- don't opt out just because it's hard this year! Have faith in your abilities and find support wherever you can (even if you have to give it to yourself!) Our kids ALWAYS need good teachers. - veteran teacher
I have been taking a break from the classroom and have a great work from home job. However, I'm missing the classroom, and would like to go back on a part-time basis. I have known teachers in various districts who have done 4 day/1 day and 3 day/2 day job shares - I would love to do one or two days a week. I'm an excellent person to job share with: I don't mind planning and love field trips, parent conferences, building relationships with parents, etc. I'm just not sure which districts still allow that. Does anyone know how I'd find out about this, which districts still allow it - any advice at all on teaching jobshares and how to find them? Thank you! eager to be teaching
I've been working for 12 years as a teacher in an Oakland Public School, mostly in 3rd grade bilingual classrooms. This year I'm working in the same school part-time as a reading intervention teacher so that I can be home with my baby part-time. It's a job-share arrangement that fell into place perfectly. But now with budget cuts looming, I may very well lose my position. While I'm pretty guaranteed of a full-time job in the district if I want it, I emphatically DON'T want to work full-time as long as my child is little. So my question is, how do I go about finding teachers who are in a similar situation and would like to job-share a classroom teaching job? I am currently in Oakland, but would LOVE to work closer to my Berkeley home if there were a job available (though I'm not sure how that works if you don't already work for the district). Please advise as to how to hook up to other teachers wanting to share a job. Thanks.
I am currently finishing my single subject teaching credential, but will deliver my second child before the school year begins. I'll start subbing when my daughter is about six months old. I nursed my first child until she was two. I worked in an office environment that made it easy to pump & store milk. How does this work if subbing/teaching in a high school or jr high? Isn't it required by law that I be given the opportunity/location to do this? I'll probably be in Berkeley or Oakland schools. Any info & experiences would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. concerned mom
This year at my site we have a school counselor who is pumping. She doesn't have an office, and space is at a minimum. We've set her up using the technology closet in the library... no windows, well lit, electric outlet, few staff have keys, and the library staff makes sure she isn't there if a maintenance worker is trying to come in. It isn't ideal, but it is close to a room with a sink, and beats the months I spent in an office building pumping in a restroom stall. been there done that
I'm an east bay public school teacher (secondary level) who went back to teaching full time after my son turned 2. He's now three. I've been back to teaching for almost two years, and I feel like I'm literally drowning. Drowning in paperwork. Drowning in lesson plans. Drowning in meetings, phone calls, errands, housework, and did I mention paperwork? My poor son - in daycare three days a week, with my husband the other two - gets very little mom time. I feel very guilty.
I'm approaching burnout. Why? Because when I come home, I set everything else aside to be with my son. Those few hours are precious to me. This means, of course, that grading, planning, and typing don't even get started until about 8:00 PM, and I work until at least 11:00, sometimes later. And I wake up at 5:00 AM to get a head start on the day. If I don't keep this schedule, I literally cannot stay afloat. I'm not doing a great job as a teacher. A former award-winning mentor, conference presenter, state grant receiver, program initiator and member of the principal's ''inner circle'', I'm now on the periphery, giving papers cursory glances and lurching home as fast as I can. If I had to grade my teaching since giving birth, I'd give myself a C.
I used to love my job, but it's sucking so much out of me. Are there any other parents of young children out there who are teachers? I can't quit my job - we'd lose our home and the very basic amenities we keep. I'm just so numb, raw, and dog, dog, tired. My students deserve better. My son deserves better. My husband and my soul deserve better.
Teachers who are parents, how do you do it? How do you manage your time? How do you balance the never-ending high tide of grading, scoring, and preparation with time to enjoy your life? Inside a sinking bathysphere
Also: I taught 60% for 2 years and 80% for 4 years when my kids were younger. I know it's not always possible to do that... but it did help me feel like I could be both a better parent and a better teacher. ( I know, I know, then I could work 50 hours a week and get 80% of a public school teacher's salary! It's unjust, but alas, so is the world we live in).
Above all, find support. Go out and have a beer with your fellow teachers from time to time. Go to the conferences where you can surround yourself with people who are enthusiastic about the profession. Remind yourself from time to time what your ideals are... believe and and understand that that is often enough. This is how you will survive as a teacher. Been there, done that
Sometimes, it's really hard to be ''on'' all day, to keep pushing yourself to stay mentally focused even during lunch. I know, beleive me, the pace is relentless. But, think about it this way: if you can work in 30 minutes every day at school, that is two and a half hours at home you don't have to find at 5AM or 11PM. It really adds up.
You know, we don't ask our lawyers or plumbers or CPAs to be extraordinary people, but somehow we expect it of teachers. It's ok to be a normal person, with a real life. Don't feel guilty for living it. a veteran teacher
1) I write my lesson plans one month at a time. Usually I end up staying on schedule better this way than I did when I planned a week at a time. I get all of my copies made at the beginning of the cycle and find I have more time for grading.
2) I spend my prep. time (my only block of uninterrupted time all day) grading or running copies only... calls home and follow- ups with counselors come at times of day when I have fewer consecutive minutes so that they can't eat-up my whole prep.
3) I set an end of day time and work to it no matter what, even on Fridays and before vacations... sometimes I don't get all I wanted to done, some I do more than I had planned.
4) I have stayed out of the ''politics'' because it is an energy drain.
5) NO WORK ON WEEKENDS... that is kid and husband time.
6) Simplified grading for homework that is ''skill practice''.
7) TA, volunteer or detention students do clerical work like filing, sorting, alphabetizing, stapling, etc.
This isn't exactly my favorite, but it is the all important... don't beat yourself up for what you ''should'' do. There is always another thing that you could do or spend money on that would make you the ''best'' but sometimes good enough is enough. There are some days when I assign book work... it isn't the most exciting or innovative teaching, but it is valid, and gives me time once in a while to get some of the planning and grading done during school hours. tired teacher
I am looking for a new teaching job after taking the year off to have a baby, who is now 3.5 months. I finished my masters/credential program last June, so I have only student taught so far. I am not sure how or if I should explain the gap in my resume in a cover letter or how to address it in an interview. I would also like a part-time position, but I'm worried that if I ask about that in an initial interview, I will sound flaky or uncommitted. Basically, I am feeling that employers feel like I am not as trustworthy and desirable as someone without a baby and I'm struggling with getting my foot in the door. Any tips from those who have crossed this road before would be appreciated! Thanks. Anon
The second issue, wanting to be part-time, is likely to be tricky. In public schools (don't know about private), part-time jobs are hard to come by, especially if you aren't already in the system. Some people job share, but that often involves being in the right place at the right time, and knowing people already.
Unless you are specifically responding to a part-time posting, you are unlikely to be able to negotiate it. I've had part-time teaching positions due to the right time/ right place factor, but they aren't all that common from what I've seen. I wish this wasn't true, because I think schools of all places should be models of family friendly workplaces. But realistically, I think it will be hard for a beginning teacher to find a part-time placement that pays you as a credentialed teacher (as opposed to after-school programs, etc.). That said, I hope you find something! Good luck. Stephanie
I just accepted a part time teaching position in a public school. It's a 40% position. I was told that I would get 40% benefits. When inquiring what my portion of the payments would be, I was told that $1000 would be deducted from my check every month. This is $200 more than what I currently pay and I pay for 100% of my health insurance. This doesn't seem right. I'm hoping that there are some other subscribers who also teach part time and can tell me if this seems off. I thought that if my district is paying 40% that it would that much less than what I currently pay. Don't large organizations get breaks on the insurance costs? Second question - Has anyone ever negotiated their contract with a school district if they've chosen not to take the benefits offered? It would be a savings for the district not to have to pay for my health insurance. Wouldn't it make sense that they'd pay me the difference, or part of the difference? Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated. Thank you... frustrated with benefits
One option is to go with the cheapest plan (usually Kaiser). Then you will probably pay less than if you opt for another plan, such as Health Net.
If you do opt to take the district benefits, you can have them paid for with pre-tax money. Talk to someone in payroll about this--it will save you money. Also, you might want to see if you can set up a reimbursable account for medical expenses such as prescriptions and co-pays through your district...this is where you have a certain amount of money deducted from you check each month pre-tax, but then submit receipts and get the money back. (There is also a way to do this for child care expenses--same process, different account.)
Another thought is seeing if you can increase your working time to 50% or 60%. Then you will make more and (again, depending on where you will be working) your benefits cost will be less (you might be responsible for 50% or 40% instead of 60%). This really makes a big difference in some cases!
As far as negotiating individually with the district, I don't think this would be possible. If the district DID negotiate a special deal with you, it would most likely be in violation of the contract negotiated by your union. Good Luck! A Part Time Teacher Too
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