Changing Careers Any Teachers Out There?

Lounge By moreCakePlz Updated 6 May 2010 , 10:51am by JGMB

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moreCakePlz Posted 1 May 2010 , 4:01pm
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I just got laid-off and I think I want to begin a new career in TEACHING. Am I crazy?

But before I jump head first into unknown waters I need some advice from high school teachers. Do you like your job? Is it fun, rewarding, fulfilling? If you had to do it over again would you still be a teacher? Second most important question - are there any jobs out there? I would be teaching computer science, general science or physics.

Any advice?

Louisiana has a program that allows non-certified people to teach while they are working on a Masters in Education, but I cant find out if there are any positions available for the fall term. I dont want to start down this road unless there is a possibility of getting a teaching position in the fall. I called my local school board and I was told that they could only discuss current openings with people who have applications on file. But to submit an alternate certification application I need to be accepted at graduate school, and have PRAXIS I & II, and GRE/ACT/SAT test scores on file. Why are they being so secretive? Is this just bureaucracy at work or do they have more applicants than available teaching positions?

Been there, done that, dont want to go there again.

13 replies
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ziggytarheel Posted 1 May 2010 , 4:37pm
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The very FIRST thing I would tell you is find out if ANYONE is hiring. If your state has a budget crisis, there is a good chance that not only are they not hiring new teachers (even if there has been growth), but they are laying off current teachers and increasing class sizes.

That being said, I am a former high school teacher. I suggest you talk to high school teachers in your area and even see if you can volunteer at the school sometime. It is better to get the information first hand in your situation. It is a very tough job, especially your first couple of years. Parental support is key as is administrative support.

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funcakes Posted 2 May 2010 , 1:49am
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I am not a high school teacher, but started teaching over 35 years ago. I feel so blessed to have had such a long time spending every day in the joyful environment of the classroom. I know that each day I will go to work and sometime during the day, someone will whisper, or pass a note that says "I love you" and really mean it. What a great life to be able to see these youngsters grow and change in so many marvelous ways. What a wonderful career to work with so many dedicated and kind people.
I do know that all schools are not like this.
Having said that I have to add-Do NOT take a teaching job in NJ. Our governor has taken it as his personal job to ruin the reputation and finances of every public school teacher in NJ. He has asked the tax payers of NJ to vote NO on all school budgets, has drastically reduced state aid to all districts, yes we were #48 in the amount of state aid to education, now we will be the very worst. ( #1 receives the most aid) We have paid into our pension plan, but the state has not matched the funds like they are legally obliged to do for the last 15 years. It was reported that in about 2 1/2 years the pension may be bankrupted. Now he is trying to pass a law that disallows teachers who live in another state to teach in NJ. If it passes we will lose many "teachers of the year"and other great teachers. He has a facebook page and makes speeches that blame teachers, firefighters and police officers for the terrible state of our state's finances.
He has given a tax break to those who make more than $450, 000 a year, like his wife does, but has demanded that all public employees take a salary freeze. And he hasn't even held this job for a year! What will come next?
You are thinking that you may like to teach, there may be a lot of openings many, many teachers are leaving for other careers.

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Doug Posted 2 May 2010 , 2:11am
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from a 30+ year vet: don't.

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wyovol Posted 2 May 2010 , 2:14am
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My husband is at the end of his student teaching year. He was laid off 4 years ago and realized that he did not want to be a lawyer any longer. He spent time as a stay at home dad and after much thought realized he wanted to teach.

Our local university has a post-bac program for people who have a degree and need a teaching license. He started that in Jan. 2009. He has been teaching 12th grade US Government this year and really enjoys it. He will have his license at the end of the summer (once the Praxis scores are reported). He is job hunting now. Things looked good when he started the program, but the economy hasn't grown like anticipated and our local school districts are tightening their belts. We are hopeful that he will get a position in August (either middle school or high school).

Honestly, the school systems are bureaucracies. They have lots of rules (state and local) and have to follow certain hiring guidelines. NCLB has changed some of the requirements too. And contracts with the teachers' union may contribute to what happens. Our area is home to 4 teacher education programs that turn out a lot of graduates each year, so there is usually a glut of applicants the system can choose from.

I'm a high school librarian and love it. I am at a private K-12 school, so my job hunt was a little different. Neither my husband nor I regret spending the $$ and time for him to go back to school. He will find a position somewhere. It may not be ideal, but he will be much happier.

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mcaulir Posted 2 May 2010 , 8:57am
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Teaching is the kind of job that you need to be able to 'turn off' your brain at the end of they day. You could work 24/7 and still not do as much as you, your principal, the parents and your students think you should. You need to be able to say, 'Hey, I've done as much as I can today, now my family/sanity needs me.'

You need to be pretty thick-skinned, especially as a secondary teacher, and be able to deal with the fact that not all will like you, and don't need to. You need to love paperwork!

You need to be very patient, and able to control the urge to smack kids across the back of the head, and tell them what you really think. You need to get very good at doublespeak and euphemisms.

You need to have a passion for your subject area and for teaching the kids, but be able to let go and know that not all will appreciate anything you've done. You need to love going to meetings in your spare time. You need to be able to have meetings with parents who won't want to believe what you're saying, but still be able to say it.

Then you get a letter from an ex-student telling you that you've inspired them to go into the profession and it's all worthwhile!

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indydebi Posted 2 May 2010 , 12:12pm
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All I can add is that becoming a history teacher is the last item on my "Do Before I Die" list. I'm 51 years old and am just concluding my first semester back at college.

With just the 2 years of college that I had under my belt, I looked into substitute teaching and found that I qualified. Had to fill out some paperwork and attend an initial meeting, and go thru a background check .... then my school schedule prohibited me from being a sub .... but that might be an option you check into.

If all I ever do is being a sub, I'll die a happy woman just teaching at all.

My 17yr old is excited about what I'm doing (How's THAT for a compliment!) and tells all of her friends "My mom is going to be a COOL teacher!"

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funcakes Posted 2 May 2010 , 3:47pm
post #8 of 14

May I just add to mcaulir's list.
Be able to grin and bear it when you are out of the classroom and leave your kids with a sub.
You may come back to find they did not follow any of the plans that took you 3 hours to write. (no, I'm NOT exaggerating, more than 3 hours)
Some subs are absolutely awesome, others not so much.
Yes, it is hard to find a teaching job. A charter school is opening in our district and pays far less than the other public schools and they have had over 500 applicants.
Then again, they will hire teachers and you may be the one.

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moreCakePlz Posted 2 May 2010 , 5:18pm
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Thanks everyone for your insight and words of experience. Last night I went ahead a registered for the summer semester, but then I opened todayâs paper and found a full page ad talking about how 300,000 teachers and administrators across the US are going to be laid-off in the coming year. What is going to happen to this countryâs education system if that many teachers are let go?

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misserica Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:01am
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morecakeplz, I did not read every ones posts but I will say that in NJ senior education majors in most of the colleges are being assisted with certifications in other states because our state is not doing well, to put it lightly.

My district laid off 75 non tenured teachers last week, they will not have jobs in September, 2 from my school. I was only part time, so I found a job outside of teaching which I started 2 weeks ago. I cried my eyes out on my last day at school, it was super emotional for me because I want SOO badly to teach full time but there is nothing out there. Also, I am what they considered alternate route, I have a BA in something else, passed the Praxis and got certified through the state. Now when they do start rehiring, they probably wont take me, they will take a teacher who has more classroom experience than I do.

I know it is not exactly what you wanted to hear but I will say that I spent the better part of 2 years substituting and working part time barely making ends meet thinking I would find a teaching job only to be completely removed from it now. Do not get me wrong, I found, thank god, a great job with benefits and great pay but it is not want I want to do. I made a financial decision, not what is truly in my heart. I loved my students and miss school everyday. I look forward to the day our state gets turned around.

That was long and I missed a bunch of stuff. PM me if you have questions or need to discuss. All I can say is if you really love children and understand that your day at school really does not end when the bell rings then it might be the choice for you.

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misserica Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:36am
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I just read through the other posts. Funcakes mentioned charter schools which made me think of private schools. I am elementary certified K-5 and also secondary for history. In my search, I applied to a private preschool, a chain that you probably have in some form in your state. They offered me a part time teaching position for 3 and 4 year olds and I was so thrilled....until the woman told me the pay, which she said and I quote "its not much money and I understand if you can not take it" was $8.75 per hour. I also got referred to a Catholic school near me, the principal said that most young teachers leave after a few years to work for the state making more money, when I asked why she said "we start our teachers at $24,000".

Again, long and depressing. I am sorry. I wish I could say something like "there will be tons of opportunity" but right now, and I think all of the previous posters will agree, is a bad time, not just on the east coast. One day there will be jobs for you, Indy, wyovols husband and I, but not now. I think I may cry again because I miss my school!

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indydebi Posted 6 May 2010 , 12:41am
post #12 of 14

Oh lets be positive! The older of the baby boomers are hitting retirement! They will be leaving soon. I plan to be first in line when those slots need filled!

Positive Thinking! No "negative waves" (as advised by "Oddball" in the Clint Eastwood movie "Kelly's Heroes"!)

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foodie77 Posted 6 May 2010 , 4:39am
post #13 of 14

I love teaching, it's a very fullfilling job. You really have to like children and be very patient. I teach grade 8-12, Home Ec and Physical Geography. Jobs in my part of the country are scarce at the moment but if it's what you want to do, persevere and stay positive.

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JGMB Posted 6 May 2010 , 10:51am
post #14 of 14

I see that you're in NOLA, OP. My daughter actually teaches at a charter school there, and she makes a very good salary. So, don't let that deter you.

Having said that, teaching is a very demanding career. People think that it's a cakewalk, with 8-3 days and summers off. It's not, believe me, it's not!!!

Edited to add: Oh, I forgot to mention that my daughter absolutely LOVES her job and her students, but you have to go into it with the right expectations.

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