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  1. #1
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Default Is Teaching Still a Viable Career? Advice Please!

    1. I recently have had this tiny spark in the back of my mind that has been growing and growing: YOU NEED TO BE A TEACHER!

    2. However, there is the obstacle of overcoming all of the programing I've received growing up around very privileged adults: "80k is practically poverty line...how would you live?" (implied) ... "to live as you did growing up you're going to have to make about 5 teachers salaries" (implied) ... "teachers just whine and complain about basically having the easiest job in the world" ...

    So, obviously, it was at first easy to suppress my desire to teach with all of this prior programming.

    3.Is it that I just hate my current job, or is it that I actually want to teach?:

    A. I've embarked on a "desk job" recently. It literally sucks all of my zest for life right out of me. I stare at a computer screen most of the day, and am glued to a chair. Its in a pretty cushy office setting, so it's honestly a lot more cozy than what many have, but still I HATE it.

    Its an 'interesting' subject that is related to what I studied in school (finance), and although I would have much to learn if I stuck with it, the day to day of the most senior people is very visible to me. I see that they too, sit in an office all day, exchange 100's of emails, and look at a computer screen, in a dead silent office.

    B. So I wonder, is it just that I'm a grunt? Lots of older folks just condescendingly tell me, "everyones first jobs suck..." ..."its not supposed to be fun!". But honestly, even the SR people's jobs just look boring as **** too.

    C. Perhaps it's the industry? ...maybe...but then I think how the internet has fundamentally changed EVERY job. Every job these days seems to fit into the box of either being Marketing, Sales, Finance, Advertising, Management. I think a large majority of those have been infected with computer/desk sitting as well! Of course there ARE sales jobs that dont involve a desk, but that sounds somewhat un-fulfilling .

    4. I think at the end of the day, my sentiment is just that: "Success would be nice, but what I really need is fulfillment" -- ME. I have done a great deal of sports coaching work with kids, and I know that it's the happiest I ever am. When I think back to the periods when I was able to do that, I felt very little need to :
    <> party
    <> buy stupid stuff (dumb consumer products that I simply dont need)
    <> waste time on the internet or TV, even in my off time

    5. I know that growing up, I never "wanted" "stuff". I was always that kid who around christmas time, never had a wish list. If I had some clothes, some food and some money to eat with friends, I was happy. I was however constantly pushed into having "stuff" by my environment (parents, peers etc)

    Still, I wonder if I could ever be happy with so little $. However, this job has pushed me closer to answering this question: who cares how much $ you make if you spend all day hating your life!? Isn't life too short to try to "save up" in order to do the job you actually want to do?

    6. I just think back to the kids that I've worked with before, and I know how much I've cared about them. I don't worry about being a bad teacher, or disliking the day to day. I just worry about becoming homeless, unemployed or laid off.


    Do any current teachers, friends/spouses of teachers have any comments? I am in the USA and I think that it's probably somewhat different from other countries. I also wonder if all of the government insolvency (budget cuts etc) affects my aspirations?

    I would probably want to teach social studies, but I would be most qualified to teach Biology/Chemistry.

    ADDED INFO TO POST HERE: http://www.typologycentral.com/forum...ml#post1320396 (link to a post later in thread)

  2. #2
    Superwoman Red Herring's Avatar
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    In the thread title you ask whether teaching is a viable career (which I interpret as referring to the labor market situation). The rest of the thread however deals much more with what values matter most in your life and what would make you happy. And there is a reason for that.

    I´m not a teacher myself, but several of my friends and family are.
    The pay varies from country to country and state to state, also depending on whether you work at a public or private school, etc. You´re not gonna get rich, but it should be enough for a normal middle class life style. I don´t know what you are used to, but you say that you are actually happy as long as you have a roof over your head and enough to go by without wanting anything (and maybe eventually start a family). That can be arranged. The question is whether you trust yourself to stick to that approach to life depite your upbringing even as you get older. If contact with kids and adolescents (some of which can be very tough to handle) makes you happy and you flourish when you teach, then I say go for it.

    I don´t know how much further training that would demand in your part of the world, but this might also depend on what and where you want to teach.

    It is true that the first job often sucks, but whether or not a job fits you also depends on your personality and your interests. I warn you however that teaching is more than class room time - you´ll spend a lot of time planning your classes, developing teaching material, doing some administrative paper work, dealing with angry parents, kids who don´t want to learn, kids who kill each other in knife fights (well, this one depends heavily on the type of school you pick, I guess), grading dozents and dozents of tests, essays or whatever on your weekends or until late at night, a lot of routine work there as well, and on top of that you´ll get people telling you how priviledged you are. A lot of teachers actually get burned out way before retirement age. That doesn´t mean it isn´t a beautiful and meaningful profession in which you could find fulfillment.

    Do some introspection to find out how permanent these likes and dislikes might be. Good luck!
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  3. #3
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    I could never be a public school teacher. The odds of success are badly stacked against you, your boss will tremble at every little political breeze that blows, the parents are always right and even when they're not they'll give you hell, the students just don't give a shit or if some do the ones that don't are disruptive enough to louse it up for everyone. You have no authority to enforce discipline. You can become the target of a false sexual abuse charge in a heartbeat if you piss the wrong kid off.

    Just... no.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Don't EVER let anyone tell you your job is "supposed" to suck.


    And yeah, I gave up on being a teacher when I was like 12. You are just not appreciated if you are doing a good job. And it's too mentally taxing.

  5. #5
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Sort of agree about not accepting that jobs are "supposed" to suck- however! It's also true that most entry-level jobs DO suck. You usually have to pay your dues at the bottom rung before you can do the interesting stuff. Employers very rarely give interesting, high-paying jobs to entry-level applicants. A soul-sucking job can be a launching pad to an enjoyable career, if you don't get stuck.

    That said, BC, you sound like you'd enjoy teaching PE. The pay's no better but it does seem like PE teachers don't have the same pressures put on them as other teachers- there's no end-of-grade PE test, for example.
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  6. #6
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    You didn't say if you're still volunteering with kids. If you try to do more of that in a variety of settings and different age groups, you'll have a better idea of whether you like it. In particular, kids aren't going to be as pleasant in math (for example) as they are playing soccer (for example). It would be a good idea to try teaching kids in a more academic situation, if you can - perhaps some kind of summer learning camp or something, or better yet, job shadowing if you can manage it.

    If it's the teaching part and not the kids, you could also go after being a university prof, where the money is much better (though you need a phd and its VERY competitive to become tenured).

    I have a lot a lot a lot of friends just graduating teacher's college and starting to teach. Maybe it's different in the states but in Canada right now, or at least in my large city, there's not many jobs (since teachers tend to stay teachers for a lifetime) and a lot of applicants so everyone's having trouble finding jobs.
    -end of thread-

  7. #7
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Can you do what you're doing for long enough to put some money back or pay off a modest home in an area where you'd like to teach/live? Would taking a year or two off from your current career to try something different cause long term damage to that career?

    I know that they are cutting teaching jobs or at least encouraging older teachers to retire ASAP and not necessarily replacing them in my area, but my area has been in decline for quite awhile. OTOH, Boomer teachers are beginning to retire on their own, so it might open up more jobs. It's hard to tell.
    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”
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  8. #8
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Sort of agree about not accepting that jobs are "supposed" to suck- however! It's also true that most entry-level jobs DO suck. You usually have to pay your dues at the bottom rung before you can do the interesting stuff. Employers very rarely give interesting, high-paying jobs to entry-level applicants. A soul-sucking job can be a launching pad to an enjoyable career, if you don't get stuck.
    The whole problem here is the "entry job" mentality and "ladders". The whole philosophy of "you're eating shit now so you can eat kaviar later on.....where you're 90..."

  9. #9
    Strongly Ambivalent Ivy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sytpg View Post
    The whole problem here is the "entry job" mentality and "ladders". The whole philosophy of "you're eating shit now so you can eat kaviar later on.....where you're 90..."
    Why is the idea of a ladder so distasteful to you? Do you think people are generally ready for advanced positions straight out of college/trade school? And why do you assume it would be so long before a person would have enough experience and credibility to land an interesting job?

    I'm thinking about my sister, who started out after college in a soul-sucking job, and considered leaving her previously-chosen career to get another degree in art therapy or family counseling. She even started grad school program in counseling. But not long after she started grad school, she landed a job she loves in her original field. She now works doing interesting things for a company that is #1 on the list of best companies to work for. She's not even 30 yet. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable timetable to build a career.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Moiety's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Why is the idea of a ladder so distasteful to you? Do you think people are generally ready for advanced positions straight out of college/trade school? And why do you assume it would be so long before a person would have enough experience and credibility to land an interesting job?
    "Advanced" is all a matter of perspective. Generally, in most areas, I think grunts are as well equipped to perform the same task than people who have been there their whole lives. It's a matter of what kind of person you are, rather than how long you've been there. People value experience too much. Experience isn't gonna make you a Van Gogh or a Beethoven. Talent shines through irrespective of years of service or job position. Because if you look closely, the only thing that usually gets worse when you climb the ladder is responsibility. Tasks are usually easier the more you climb and so is the salary.

    As for "when you're 90" (not "where" obviously :P) - it was a exaggeration to imply that people are asked to wait before they can have fun in their jobs....and I think they shouldn't wait too long. Sure, all went well for your sister but most people I know hate the jobs they have...or just resigned themselves to "jobs are not meant to be fun"...and that was my way of showing distaste towards those ideas.

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