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Flaggerdoot Flaggerdoot is offline
 
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Grade Change
Old 02-05-2019, 05:53 AM
 
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I was reading another post on the busyboard and I realized I could ask my fellow teachers/education team what they thought about changing from elementary school teaching to teaching high school. I think I would like to teach older children, but I wanted to ask opinions or advice or what major differences are in the switch. Has anyone had this major career change happen to them? If so, please let me know your thoughts.


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Old 02-05-2019, 10:29 AM
 
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In my state it's a completely different certification so you'd have to go back to school, get the certification and student teach all over again. Just something to think about.
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HS vs Elementary
Old 02-05-2019, 01:02 PM
 
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They are no longer inclined to "love" their teachers.

They are hormonal and busy with other activities in their lives so their minds are seldom on what you are teaching.

It is even more difficult to hold the attention of a teenager than it is to hold the attention of an elementary student.

You will probably have 5 to 7 classes a day. Grading can take forever if you teach language arts. (unless you have a block schedule)

You will probably see each class less than an hour a day. Hard to make a connecting with a students you spend so little time with. No homeroom feeling of class unity like you have in elementary.

Pep rally days are insane!

Some students act very immature while others are read to leave for college. There is a great variety with maturity.

Normally the HS starts later in they which could be nice. But then you stay later as well.

The content of what you are teaching can be more fun to teach because it is higher level and a little more challenging.

They practically trample one another to to death to exit quickly when the bell rings between class.

Not sure how you handle the cell phone issue but I am sure it is problematic in many situations.

If a fight breaks out in the hallway outside your classroom it is no fun trying to break it up in such a small space that is very congested with students. But just one experience with that. Much easier to do with smaller humans in my opinion.

Parents are rarely involved or help as volunteers. At least that was my experience.

They often figure out which car is your in the parking lot and if they don't like you watch out. Don't ever tell them what you drive.

Many will let you know when you wear something out of style.

Many work as well as go to school so you have to decide how you will handle it when they fall asleep in your class.

It was too long ago for me. That is all I can remember. I enjoyed teaching HS and elementary. Middle school was not for me.
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High School
Old 02-05-2019, 01:08 PM
 
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You would have to go back to school to get certified to teach high school if you work in general education.

I'm certified to teach grades 1-8 and taught second grade for many years. Then I took classes to become an ESOL teacher. I got certified to teach ESOL to students in grades K-12. I stayed in elementary school, however.

Last edited by travelingfar; 02-06-2019 at 01:49 AM..
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Old 02-05-2019, 01:13 PM
 
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I occasionally think about it, but I worry I'm not smart enough to be smarter than a high schooler anymore. I can be smarter than a fifth grader no problem. I'd have to do a lot of refreshing of my personal skills to teach content to a high school level.

I did teach 10th grade once almost 15 years ago. It was a ton of work because instead of 20-25 5th grade 5 paragraph essays to mark, I had 125 5 page essays to mark.

I had about the same ratio of students who wanted to be there and work hard, students who couldn't care less and couldn't be motivated, and students who were somewhere in between.

I don't think you necessarily have to go back to school. My certification is for PK-12.


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Focus on student vs focus on subject
Old 02-05-2019, 02:20 PM
 
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A major difference is the number of students you will be seeing in a day. Elementary might be a class of 25. High school is likely 5 classes of 25-30.

Because of the difference in numbers, high school teachers are not able to develop close relationships with most of their students. They usually focus more on teaching content. High school teachers are subject-matter experts.

Elementary teachers teach multiple subjects to a small number of students. Few of them are really subject matter experts. Instead, elementary teachers are more focused on the students, teaching methods, etc. than the subject. Obviously that is an oversimplification and elementary students are certainly tested on content--which their teachers help them to learn.
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High School
Old 02-05-2019, 02:58 PM
 
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I think 1956BD summed it up pretty well. (Can you tell I'm very much an elementary person? )

My only edit is that here, high school starts earlier, not later, than elementary.

I see that as one of the few advantages for me, as I like starting early and getting out early (though I actually think it should be later, for the kids' sake...but that's a whole thread on its own!)

One more advantage: no shoe-tying

One more disadvantage: It's a pain when assemblies, fire drill, etc. get different sections of the same class out of sync.
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Old 02-05-2019, 06:28 PM
 
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I recommend you take a personal day and observe at a high school, and observe regular, not honors classes. Maybe I am in a slump, but right now high school teaching is really hard. (I am not saying it is harder than another age group, since I don't know.) But there are many challenges and students seem to care less and less, and have so little respect for authority. At this age there is not much interest in pleasing the teacher, it is all about impressing their peers.

Are there any teens in your life? Do you like teenagers? I don't particularly like little kids, so there is no way I could teach early elem. You have to really like this age group, like any age you'd teach. Yes, you get to be an expert at your subject, but you are still teaching teens first and your subject second.
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A lot to think about
Old 02-06-2019, 08:45 AM
 
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I definitely didn't think about all the factors that would change if this was to take place. I don't think I can add more homework grading to my schedule, plus you are right with the different attitudes and priorities it may be a bit much for my mental state to adjust to. For now I will take the one idea and do a day in the classroom to just get an idea. Thank you for all of the advice, I appreciate the community coming to the rescue before I make such a drastic call.
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