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Perception of teachers and the profession...
Old 02-07-2019, 02:25 PM
 
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A friend who works in finance came to visit yesterday, and he started talking about an economics book which includes information/commentary on the teaching profession. He essentially said that most teachers these days are "unintelligent" compared to people in other professions, because of the modern "brain drain" of people (mostly women) migrating to higher-paying professions like law, medicine, and business. I guess he felt comfortable discussing this topic with me, because he knows I've read the book and I try to keep an open mind. I felt offended, but I didn't say so, because it wouldn't have done any good in this particular situation.

That said, I feel like people outside the profession fail to understand what teaching actually entails---it's not just about content knowledge and content delivery anymore. We're also expected to micromanage more challenging behavior (while still delivering content diversely), keep more meticulous records than in the past (while still delivering content diversely), and fulfill certain ongoing education requirements to remain certified (while still delivering content diversely). It isn't a cushy job where you just master one content area when you're young and collect a paycheck for 40 years. It's less secure than that. Furthermore, most teachers I know are extremely intelligent, but they feel "stuck", for lack of a better word. Thoughts?


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Teaching isnít easy to outsiders
Old 02-07-2019, 06:26 PM
 
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My husband works finance, I teach. I make more most years and have more job security.
My job is ďeasyĒ to me but not to outsiders. There are many more who could do and would want to do my husbandís job than my job.

Teaching sucks until you meet the kids and see how the kids love you even when they pretend to hate you in all in their middle school angst.
My husband is more intelligent than I am, but I have to use more of my brain daily to keep my middle schoolers engaged and on task, my husband just crunches numbers.

I make differences to families, he makes differences to peopleís bank accounts. I feel I win. It all depends on your prospective.
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Old 02-07-2019, 06:37 PM
 
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People definitely don't get it. I remember some of my friends in college saying how my first year of teaching would be really hard because I'd have to "make everything," but it would get easier after that. They literally thought teachers just plan out the year and then reuse that year after year. Other people literally thought that we did things like coloring and crafts in our college education classes .

That said, I've talked with teachers at my school about how issues with pay are going to keep the talented/smart people out of teaching and push them into other fields. In my area, COL has exploded and teaching salaries don't match AT ALL. A teacher could never dream of owning a house unless they have a wealthy spouse or family money. There has already been a huge drop in the percentage of college students majoring in education in my area.

Obviously no one goes into teaching to get rich, but I'm not from this state and did expect to be getting into a stable career that would allow me to comfortably live a middle class lifestyle. Who in their right mind would get a minimum of a 4 year degree to live a life of poverty? I think it's absolutely plausible that we'll get to a point where the only people going into teaching are those with no other options, and schools will hire them because they'll be desperate.
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Old 02-07-2019, 07:40 PM
 
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Quote:
Quote:
He essentially said that most teachers these days are "unintelligent" compared to people in other professions, because of the modern "brain drain" of people (mostly women) migrating to higher-paying professions like law, medicine, and business.
Quote:
Quote:
Who in their right mind would get a minimum of a 4 year degree to live a life of poverty? I think it's absolutely plausible that we'll get to a point where the only people going into teaching are those with no other options, and schools will hire them because they'll be desperate.

These two quotes make me sad. Do people not realize that without good teachers through high school, we will be graduating students who are not ready for college and all those higher-paying careers? People need to wake up and realize that teachers are the first step in ensuring that students are ready to move on to bigger and better things, and, as such, should get the wages and respect that ensures intelligent, competent people want to become teachers.
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Ugh
Old 02-08-2019, 02:32 AM
 
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That so called friend's comment was super rude. I choose not to spend time with people who say things like that.

And it is indeed sad that people think teachers are unintelligent.



Last edited by travelingfar; 02-08-2019 at 02:52 PM..
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Old 02-08-2019, 06:43 AM
 
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I've been in the education for a good amount of years in total too. Here's what I really think and I hope no one gets offended because I'm talking about myself here too since I've been a teacher before as well.

YES, to be a teacher, you need some level of smarts and I know many teachers have a Masters degree (including me) even though a Bachelors is what's required...unless of course, you're a college professor or something.

YES, teaching is a noble career and definitely something to be proud of.

YES, I'd say teaching is hard to do it WELL and is one of those jobs that can take over one's life and one can always be doing work involving it if they allow it and don't have that teacher work/life balance.

HOWEVER, the smarts to be a teacher or more specifically to do the job duties is nowhere near the smarts needed to be a doctor, lawyer, scientist, astronaut, certain IT, and jobs along those lines. I mean look at a scientist for one example, they're in labs working on cures for diseases and other things.

LASTLY, I will say that that doesn't mean SOME teachers don't have the smarts to have been a doctor, lawyer, scientist, etc instead if they really wanted to be one.

Now, I've never had a reason to voice this opinion to anyone, so these are my inner thoughts. I think there will just always be those certain people out there who think teachers have it a bit easier solely due to the "summers off" right off the bat alone and that's without even considering the other elements of the job.
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Old 02-08-2019, 08:56 AM
 
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One thing people don’t realize until they actually get out there in the trenches of the classroom, is that there is so much more to teaching than knowledge of a particular subject or subjects.

Classroom management is a very crucial part of teaching that not just anyone can do, and isn’t taught in school though there are workshops you can attend to get tips on how to improve it.

Before I started teaching, I was so worried about whether or not I knew enough about my subject and was planning the right material. I later learned that it is more important to be able to handle then behaviors of students so that they will learn. Lessons need to be planned strategically to keep them busy and engaged so there is no time or desire to misbehave. This seems to be getting harder to do as the years go by, and as attitudes and parenting skills have changed.

Someone could be an expert in a subject at the PHD level, but not have any idea or ability to relate the idea to students in ways they understand, and stay interested and engaged.
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Old 02-08-2019, 09:03 AM
 
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There once was an Oprah show episode where people complained about fast food restaurant workers. There were various complaints about how these workers "couldn't get anything right". Oprah challenged a few of her show's guests to replace the fast food workers for one week. Watching the footage of their attempts to do the job was entertaining and eye-opening. It was very telling to say the least. Couldn't this apply to our jobs as teachers? Can you imagine?
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Old 02-08-2019, 11:29 AM
 
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jazzer, I agree. For anyone who has a PhD, for example, sure doesn't mean they all can teach it to others and especially children to understand.
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Old 02-08-2019, 01:59 PM
 
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To the OP, your second paragraph is correct. It was not a job that got easier through the years, thatís for sure. Teaching calls for a high emotional intelligence as well as organizational abilities and many other varied skills. Some of us could be doctors or scientists or financiers, but we have chosen to use our gifts to teach children.


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Old 02-08-2019, 02:40 PM
 
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tester10 said:

Quote:
Teaching sucks until you meet the kids and see how the kids love you even when they pretend to hate you in all in their middle school angst.
My husband is more intelligent than I am, but I have to use more of my brain daily to keep my middle schoolers engaged and on task, my husband just crunches numbers.
The 2nd statement is the truest thing I have seen about teaching and wish I had said it. That would apply to teaching Elem. kids, too.

Now your first statement assumes most teachers are like you. I know exactly what you mean. My first job was middle school math and when i began listening to them I discovered what teaching was all about. I taught for forty years (retired last May) and never imagined all the love children would give you if you just gave them your best and cared about them. I read lots and lots of teacher forum posts and, sadly, many of them do not get that experience for what ever reason.
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Old 02-08-2019, 04:28 PM
 
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I just don't like the assumption that I'm a teacher because I wasn't smart enough to pursue another career. I could have done anything and did consider a lot of more "prestigious" opportunities, but I CHOSE to be a teacher. So people assume I'm stupid.
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Old 02-09-2019, 04:01 AM
 
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I disagree strongly with your comment that doctors and engineers need more smarts to do their jobs than teachers do. Teaching requires a different kind of intelligence, and not many people have it.
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I came to the conclusion yrs ago
Old 02-09-2019, 11:57 AM
 
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that if you have not taught, you are unable to fully understand what teachers do, put up with, and need to know.
I used to try very hard to get a couple of non-teachers to understand it was not a 9-5 job. They were both people I loved dearly and wanted them to understand. I think they even wanted to understand , but they never could..
The PP who said it takes a lot of emotional intelligence to teach well is spot on!
We are trying to get kids to learn and become good citizens despite the various circumstances for a school year.
We have to figure out many different ways to get some parents "on board" or "off our backs." We have to navigate around the system to do what is right a lot.
We are thinking "on our feet" all day long! Predicting, anticipating, trying to stay ahead of what is or might be coming next! I can't think of any other profession that needs intelligence like that for an entire school yr. Most professions do not have to deal with stakeholders and their families for that long every day.
PhD's are common where I live. I know a couple w/ them who chose to teach after having successful careers in their fields. 1 had one heck of a time trying to teach because he could not bring it "down to HS lvl.
He'd get mad that the HS kids (honors kids) were not paying attention, but he really was speaking a foreign language to them.
The other guy who tried actually got fired because he did not have any classroom management skills, Poed parents, and took breaks ( smoke breaks) in the parking lot against school policy. Teachers saw him, but never told. He'd try to duck down in his car, but the kids all knew and never mentioned it until a P saw it and found it he'd been doing it for months.
Where I teach, you need a MA, but all that really is to me is a piece of paper.
You learn in the classroom and it is trial by fire. It takes a person willing to keep learning to be a good teacher. Also, I think they need a lot of perseverance. They need to be able to spot bad fads and not buy into every trend despite the pressure. I wish teacher bashers would try to teach for 5 yrs to get the full experience of constant changes and testing especially. It would not be good though for the kids. Just like I can't fully understand the pressures doctors, cops, and lawyers face, I think you have to do it to "get it."
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Old 02-09-2019, 12:11 PM
 
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While specific content knowledge that doctors/lawyers etc. need isn't needed for teaching, I absolutely think that one has to be "smart" to be a teacher. Teachers have to think about/process a million things a day and make constant decisions at a mile a minute.

A few years ago I had a student teacher who really struggled. To put it kindly, academic skills were clearly not her forte. I teach K-3 and I think she assumed she'd be fine because it's "just little kids." However, being in front of the students teaching she simply could not function. She couldn't process what was going on in the room quickly enough to react to it. By the time she made a decision about one thing, six other things had happened. If a kid asked an unexpected question or students didn't respond in the exact way she anticipated, she didn't know how to adjust her plan on the spot.

She also couldn't remember her plans on the spot and would be sitting there in front of kids trying to read notes. Besides all of this, all of the "behind the scenes" stuff was incredibly overwhelming to her. She'd spend an hour on planning one lesson (I teach 9 per day) and get nowhere. She had to do ONE IEP for her program, spent about 3 weeks on it (within that time frame, I'd have a minimum of 9-12 meetings of some kind) and completely shut down in the meeting.

I can agree that teachers don't need to spend the years studying content that some other high level professions do- that's a part of the job that's simply not needed. But that doesn't mean they don't need the same level of "smart." What would a doctor do if she had 30 patients at once, all with different needs expecting to be taken care of, some of whom didn't want to be there and were terrorizing the other patients? Then others who up with patient advocates who demand to know why their specific needs aren't being met, and meanwhile the doctor is being evaluated on how well each of these patients chooses to follow her advice and treatment plan?
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