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Old 03-16-2010, 12:27 PM
 
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I want to know your story! What did you do before and why did you change? Do you think it was worth it? Pros & Cons! I am gathering information to make a career change but need some inspiration or reality checks.


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Here's mine...
Old 03-16-2010, 03:49 PM
 
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I got my BA in Public Relations & German. I couldn't find a job in my field so I became an administrative assistant for the next 10 years for various companies. Each job left me feeling bored after I mastered the duties. I hated feeling isolated and chained to a desk and computer. I hated feeling like I had a job versus a career.

After a lot of soul searching I decided my favorite job had been when I was a camp counselor during the summers in college. I loved the variety and I love working with kids.

I got my MAT in Early Childhood Ed. I have taught 1st grade and K.

Pros -
I am never, ever, ever bored. The kids keep things lively. Everyday is different.
I love my co-workers - esp. my assistant & the rest of my team.
I love being a child's first school experience. I love the "Aha moments" when the lightbulb turns on and they figure something out.
I love working with parents and the community - it makes me feel like a part of my town - I love being recognized by students
I have a career I am proud of.

Cons -
long hours - both at school for meetings & events and at home preparing lessons - this puts a strain on my family
less pay - I actually spend a lot of my own money for things for school like snacks, crafts, books, etc. I also have student loan debt again. I was debt free for like a minute.
I hate that when I am sick or want a day off I have to find a sub and make sub plans - sometimes it is easier to just go in

Regrets - None! I would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I just wish I had done it sooner.

The advice I always give to someone thinking of becoming a teacher is to go and spend sometime in classrooms volunteering. It gives you a feel for what age children you prefer to be around. It gives you an idea of what teaching entails. If you are thinking things like "Oh, I'll have summers off or lots of free time." or "Teaching is just playing with kids all day." Then you are in for an eye opening.

Teaching is stressful. You have to intuitively read people (children, parents, admin, etc.) to figure out what they need from you without them saying it. You have to be organized and have great time management skills. You also have to have a lot of patience, a good sense of humor, and be flexible. As a teacher you will experience heart break, frustration, and pure joy!

Sorry this is sooo long. Good luck whatever you decide..
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Old 03-20-2010, 06:30 PM
 
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My degree is in Biology. I did everything but practice teach while in college. That's when I realized I'd be teaching older kids.
I've never been a fan of teenagers. I liked younger kids better. So, I went into medical research, then married and homeschooled my DC until they went to college. I'm now in a 1st/2nd combo class.

So, am I considered a career changer? Maybe, maybe not! But I wanted to make the point that I don't think I would have been a good teacher right out of college. I know I'm a much better teacher because of my experience...age-wise and academic-wise, too.

There are always exception, but those who bring to teaching a whole other life seem to have more wisdom, as far as I've seen.

No offense intended to new teachers on this site. Honest.
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My story
Old 04-16-2010, 10:43 PM
 
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I am a child who always had everything I needed and almost everything I wanted. I got lucky and for the most part worked when I really tried from age 17. With that I spent from age 17 to 25 working full time. I was always quite bored with what I was doing. At that point, I moved to a new state. Briefly unemployed got a job as a Financial Specialist. Actually somewhat liked the job, but did not want to stay in TX. Never really knew what I wanted to be, it just couldn't be in Education. My twin sister knew she wanted to be a teacher.Came home and started subbing to have some income. Taught Sunday school, again for some extra money. Moved with one group of students from when they were in 2nd grade to 5th grade.Thought maybe if I could do it one day a week and enjoy it, maybe I could enjoy it 5 days a week. Did an internship for two years to get a credential.


Pros -
I don't have to worry about being bored.
I love "playing" with the kids. Those moments when working with them, challenging them and having them get it, etc..
I like reading kids' books
Shopping-love to shop for things for the classroom
A kid coming to you saying after two years, "You are my favorite teacher" or "I remember doing cooking in your classroom."

Cons -
the money I spend on things for the classroom
the politics seem to be worse in education then the workfield
the starting over to a new grade after just getting the hang of the current grade
the uncertainty of the education field
the people who don't get what it is like to be in a classroom-merit pay, etc..
the attitude of trying to help a kid who doesn't care and whose parents don't care
right now the biggest: An unethical, unmoral,uncaring, tyranical principal who has most parents and the Superintendant fooled.

I don't know if I would do it again. I keep thinking about quitting, but not sure what else I would do. I love the interacting with the students.
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my story
Old 05-15-2010, 04:41 AM
 
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Worked as television news producer. Cannot say I didin't like it. Loved it. Loved that everyday was different. I was soo busy. What I didnt like: the hours. I missed field trips, birthdays, little things that make your day. I was either working overnight, weekeneds or out of town. Sometimes I was so busy I didn't even miss them. That scared me!

As my children grew older I realized I did not want to miss out and hve other raise my kids. So I began thinking of a career change. I always loved the idea of teaching so I decided to give it a try.
I got a job at a school as an aide and decided to see what was involved. Once I realized I lOVED it, I began pursuing my new degree.

Pros: Everyday is different. Kids are just so inspiring! I spend time with mykids. I have summers with my children!

Cons: The money. I make a third of what I used to make. There is very little respect for this career. People are constantly bashing teachers. Don't hate me for this: working with women. I am a woman, but we women can be sooo catty. Some parents ...


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Never had a desire growing up to be a teacher
Old 06-16-2010, 07:43 AM
 
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I was a quiet and shy kid and would never have imagined myself in front of a class. I was good in math and my mom's CPA drove a Corvette - so I went into accounting. If you think teachers are bashed - try accounting. There are a lot of misconceptions that accountants sit at a calculator all day - not true. Anyway - I loved it. I met a lot of people, traveled, had free lunches in nice restaurants every day. Things were great and then I started my family. Traveling wasn't attractive anymore and I just wanted to be home with my baby. Over the first year of Aly's life - I weaned myself away from my salary by first taking a lower paid job closer to home with more regular hours. I eventually quit and just did work on a contract basis for former clients and prepared tax returns from home. I found working on my own like this to be isolating. Then my husbands industry seemed to be up and down and I felt the need to return to full time work. I had also begun to sub and got into a long term position as a sub for an aid. I was able to spend 3 months in a first grade classroom with a very experienced teacher. I found that the classroom had changed drastically since I had been in elementary school and she made it look very easy. I was also asked frequently by principals if I would consider going back into the classroom. They thought that I was a teacher.

I decided to go back to school and get my MAT. Because of my contacts from subbing, I was able to get a position my first year out.

Pros
The kids
Never boring
Always learning new things
Lets me be creative
flexibility - I can leave at 3pm if I need to
Summers out of the classroom (I won't say off - we never really are)
The kids
The kids


Cons
Some of the kids
Work never ends - never feel done (family complains about this frequently)
Moving grade levels and rooms
Bully principal who has never been a teacher herself
working with woman (I agree with the previous post)
Easier to go to work when you are sick than stay home
Dehydration (can't use bathroom whenever you need to)
Standardized testing!!!!
Grading
Lack of respect - People who think that what we do is easy and we shouldn't get paid more because we supposedly have so much time off.


I have just come off a very tough year. I have had problems with teammates that don't want to change some of their antiquated (sp??) methods, and get upset with me if I don't do what the team is doing. (Principal also expects us to all do the exact same thing).

My group was a bit large (28) and challenging. Many very high and many very low. Trying to meet all of their needs was nearly impossible. I did my best, but ended the year feeling like it wasn't enough. So I am a little down. Also while I thought I was finally settling into a grade level (3rd), found that due to budget cuts I will be doing a 3/4 split next year. I will be another year of upset before a 3rd grade teacher retires and I can settle in and actually build on what I have already done instead of learning more new things that I may only use for a year.

Hopefully this time next year, I will be more positive and optimistic.
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Old 06-16-2010, 10:51 AM
 
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I've enjoyed reading these stories. I hope they keep coming in.
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Old 07-05-2010, 06:22 PM
 
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I got a BFA in Photography back in '03, but got a job in Mortgages. Loved my job there until the summer of '07 hit and the world came to a stop. I got severence pay and money to go back to school. I really had to think about what it is that I want to do with my life. I am a single mom and I needed something. I thought back to when I coached at high school and loved it when a student was able to succed. I thought I would give educcation a try.

I never knew how much that this profession was meant for me until I started doing my MAT program and I fell in love. I have loved every moment and i have excelled more than I have in anything else academically.

I don't have any pros or cons yet because I start my first job in about a month But I do agree with a PP that my age and exsperience outside in the world has prepared me greatly for teaching. All teachers that have seen me teach have been amazed by my classroom managment..... I give all the credit to my daughter who I have been working on .

Good luck in what you decide. This is something only you know if it is what you have a passion for!
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Old 07-28-2010, 08:32 AM
 
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I have a background in business, undergrad in Bible and am FINALLY working towards becoming a teacher. Like ChunkyMonkey, I really fell in love with teaching after I started my master's program. Before then, I knew I wanted to teach. But, I never went through with earning my degree because I couldn't afford to be out of work for three months while I did my student teaching. I'm much better prepared for it now (financially).

I also agree with the previous posters who said that having several years of "life" experiences under our belts makes it easier to manage a classroom. I have three boys who teach me a new aspect of patience and understanding every day. And, maintaining control in my home is a must!!! The skills I have learned from being a mother will certainly help me in the classroom.

I know you'll make the right decision (to become a teacher :-)!
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all about me...lol
Old 08-03-2010, 09:42 PM
 
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I have my bachelor's in Business Administration because when I graduated from high school in the early 90's it was all about making the money!! I really wanted to be a h.s. English teacher. After working as a banker (boring!), owning my own business (profitable, but stressful!), & managing an office (conflicted - did not agree with policies that I felt took advantgage of low-income customers), we adopted a child. I realized I wanted my hours to match up to his.

LOVE my "job." I teach upper elementary in a private Christian school. The environment is wonderful - we are a family. I attend my "kids'" ball games, their recitals, some birthday parties. We see each other during holidays and summers. Today I spent 20 minutes enjoying an ice cream cone with one of my "grandmas" from three years ago. My co-workers are awesome. My principal allows us freedom to teach. Wish I'd made this move sooner, but I honestly don't believe I'd be the teacher I am if I hadn't adopted my ADHD kid out of foster care, spent a year subbing, had my management skills, etc.

My retail/customer service background really comes in handy as I try to assess early on what my parents are wanting for their child and what the kids need. (These people are paying for private education, so I try to give them their money's worth.) Those business skills, organizational skills, and communication skills are beneficial and my parents have been really pleased. My principal said she had an unbelievable number of requests for my class for next year (and she doesn't even take requests).

My teaching really improved after one of my kids passed away mid-year several years ago. I began to realize how short life is and that we need to enjoy it. I started really trying to make my class fun. I even give up my planning time and go to P.E. with my kids every week and do the activities with them. I'll stop in to the other enrichments, too, just to check out their projects. I eat lunch with my kids often and I think the other teachers think I'm a bit crazy for actually wanting to be with my students. There's no other job I'd want to do.

PROS:
My hours match up with my son's (mostly).
Wonderful work environment.
Love going to school and actually do NOT like the summers.
Feel like I'm making a difference.
It's not routine. I can change things up from lesson-to-lesson, year-to-year, etc.
It's a new start every year (that's good and bad).
My job is FUN.

Since I'm in a private school - less paperwork than public & we don't have the resources for extreme special needs, ELL, etc., so we have few of those students.

CONS:
I never get to attend my son's parties, help in the class, etc.
I get really attached to my kids and I cry at the end of the year (except that one year...)
LOTS of homework/lesson planning to do (I work while watching TV, though).
My private school job pays horribly.
Our school doesn't have a lot of $, so we don't have much technology.
I have to do a lot more duty than my public school counterparts, so I have a hard time getting grading, etc. accomplished until after school. (More homework for me!)


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Old 08-04-2010, 03:50 AM
 
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I always wanted to be a teacher. In high school, I was on course to go to the University of Cincinnati to major in music education with a dual cert in reading.

I got pregnant and married right out of high school. That was 1988. Yes, it was a mistake, so I started looking for a way out. My sister was an LPN, so I went to LPN school. It took a year, and I got pregnant again, but was able to leave my husband and make enough money to support my kids.

I remarried a wonderful man a few years later. I decided to get my associate's degree & become an RN. I did that in 1996. In 2002 I was fired over a political issue; I refused to take on additional responsibility with more money. DH knew I wasn't happy, so he told me I could look in to other careers if I wanted.

I tried a number of things- temped in offices, medical transcription, catering...but then I subbed at my kids' school.

My first 2 days subbing were in high school, so I just supervised a study hall. It was the 3rd day that turned it around.

I was in a first grade classroom. A little boy was having trouble with a clock problem on his seat work. I dug behind the teacher's desk and found the Judy clock to help him. When he got it, and his light bulb went off, mine did too. I remembered that I had always wanted to teach, and it just felt right being there. That was March 2005.

The next year I worked at the school as a sub and as the after school director & a satellite campus. We added a 3rd satellite that year, and a new principal was hired to run the two satellites. We hit it off right away, and she knew my desire to teach. I started taking some pre-req classes at the junior college.

That next summer I got into an education program for second career teachers that met on Friday-Saturday at the local community college. I was set to be a part time school secretary and sub when needed. But, 9 days before school started I was called to take the first-second grade class at one of the satellites. So, in a week, I went from a primarily stay-at-home mom to a full time student and full time teacher!

I have never regretted it. A bad day teaching is better than a good day nursing. I am working within my gift, and it has made a world of difference.
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2nd career but not 2nd choice career
Old 08-27-2010, 06:01 PM
 
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I make that distinction because I knew I would always be a teacher, but I knew I was not ready at 22 and just graduating college to be teaching others. I KNEW i needed some life experience. So I went out and got it. I learned a language. I traveled the world. I went back to school and intensified my qualifications. I moved around the country, trying out different states, climates, cultures. I had a brilliant career doing public relations for a huge international ecological research program. I traveled for work pretty much whenever I wanted to and saw some amazing things and met some truly inspiring people. I got married, divorced, married again. I had nephews and nieces and finally, my own child. That's when it struck me. Now is the time. And here I am! Middle grades science. Right where I always knew I would be. Some day. When I was ready.
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Old 09-07-2010, 08:19 AM
 
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For the last 6.5 years, I have been teaching daily living skills/case management of adults with mental retardation and a few (minimal) children. I also had a short stint teaching job related skills both gigs were for community agencies, no schools. I got really frustrated at the beginning of the summer with changes at this agency (adding a sex offenders unit) and issues with clients/management and had a brilliant idea to purse a teaching certificate. I have 3 children and the best way to do this was alternative teaching certification through online classes. I already have a MA in an unrelated field. I really do believe that I can be a valuable asset to SPED because I know what needs to be taught/learned in order for special needs adults to succeed in the real world. Plus, I adore this population! I am also interested in Junior High/ Middle School regular education. I started a little late in the summer by the time I passed the Texes, received my scores it was July. Most jobs in the district had been filled. I am hopeful something will open mid-year.
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Old 09-19-2010, 01:34 PM
 
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I graduated with a BS in Clothing Design, Art Minor in 1985. Worked as a graphic artist and eventually spent 15+ years selling high end printing to marketing/graphic designers. I worked hard, traveled, entertained customers and loved every minute until the last 5 years or so. The digital world, internet and the struggling economy changed the printing industry. As my career started to downslide, I heard from many close friends that I should be a teacher...it was my "selling" style, and worked well for me. I loved meeting new people, building relationships and goal planning and especially love children. But financially it was difficult to turn away from a once lucrative career. After being laid off for the second time in 5 years, in Dec of 2008, I had a conversation with a friend who convinced me to look at teaching again. Thank God for Stafford Loans and for an understanding husband. I am 1 1/2 years into getting my Master's in elementary teaching and will be student teaching next semester. I recently told my husband that even IF we were to win the lottery (and I didn't have to work), I would still want to be a teacher. I love it that much!! It has been hard work (I'm 48) but I have not once doubted my decision....I can't wait to have my own classroom!!
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Is teaching the career for me?
Old 06-11-2013, 08:33 AM
 
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First I want to tell you I come from another country and my first language is Spanish. I came to the USA 10 years ago because my husband was born and raised in the USA, he's a teacher. He worked as an English teacher overseas in an American School and we met and got married. I have a BA in Hotel Management from my home country. Since we live in a rural area here in the USA, I couldn't find a job in a hotel which is the field I had experience with before moving to the USA. On the other hand, as an hispanic, it is even more difficult for me to find a good job.
As one of the other writers expressed, I became an Admin Assistant working for 2 non-profits, a Real Estate Co. and doing translations. I am bored of working behind a desk where I only have a job that I do not enjoy anymore. I feel I do not want to spend the rest of my life behind a desk bored of my same tasks.
After 10 years living here in the USA, I decided to try becoming a teacher. I had my transcripts translated and evaluated by an angency and I took and passed the Spanish Subject Area Test. Now I have a Status of Elibility to teach Spanish but I can't find a job because I do not have any experience teaching. I am still working as an Admin. Assistant, I have benefits but I hate the office work. I have been sending applications to schools in 3 different counties to see if I find something at least as a teacher's assistant for now. I have been interviewed in about 3 schools but nothing. I am waiting on a last interview I had last week to work as a Spanish teacher for 4th & 5th grade. I feel I did very good but I am terrified because I have no experience. I am really looking forward to a teaching job. My advise is that if you are not happy with what you are doing, give it a try, you have nothing to lose, you will gain experience and you can add it to your resume. That's the way I feel. We have to be risk takers in this life. I hope it helps.
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