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chelseeuh chelseeuh is offline
 
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Moving from Primary To High School
Old 12-30-2018, 11:09 AM
 
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I've been teaching 1st grade for 12 of my 13 years teaching and I have recently considered that I am not only ready to leave primary, but leave elementary all together.
I'm interested in the idea of teaching high school or intermediate history.

Has anyone here made such a career switch? How did it go for you? I'm of the mindset that there is no perfect job in public education, so I know there will be some cons and different stressors from teaching older students.


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certified?
Old 12-30-2018, 11:18 AM
 
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I'm sure you know this already, but are you certified for high school social studies/history? Or don't you have to be in your state (I know some states are changing these requirements)? I'm just wondering because I know of people who have an elementary or an elementary and middle or a middle and high school but not elementary and High school.

I don't have experience with this personally. I'd think going to middle school social studies first would be helpful. Maybe 6th or even 5th if 5th is in the middle school? If you like it, you could then go to 7th or 8th and then high school or right to high school. I think that may help with the progression/adjustment.

That's just my thought, but again, I've never done it, so I'm not an expert on this by any means. I also think only you know what you are ready for! I can see certain elementary/primary teachers being really good in high school and being able to do it no problem. However, I know of someone who I think would have a really hard time!
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Old 12-30-2018, 04:22 PM
 
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My BFF switched from first/second grade special education to high school librarian & reading teacher, and she absolutely loves it,
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Old 12-30-2018, 06:20 PM
 
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Different context because I live in a different country, but I taught a year in high school before moving to kindergarten, which I LOVE!

I adore Kinders, but what I do miss about teaching teens is the deeper, more meaningful conversations, the sarcasm and humour you can share with students, and how you can often take on more of a mentor role while they work independently. I also enjoyed the content.

What I don't miss about teens is the amount of work you have to do to engage them. Little kids love learning. They're sponges. And they treat their teachers like rockstars, as you would know.

Teens are more burnt out by school. They have fragile self esteem and are less willing to trust & like adults. They are more motivated by fitting in than they are by learning. Teenagers are wonderful but it's a lot of work to build that trust. Classroom management can be challenging with any age group but my personality is just more suited to winning over little kids if you know what I mean.

That said, I think being both a high school and primary teacher has made me a better teacher overall. If you do make the switch, you will bring such a fresh perspective and you will know how to help those older kids who are still reading at a much younger level.

I reckon if you're keen, it'd be worth giving it a go. You can always switch back later if it doesn't work out.

Last edited by ElizabethJoy; 12-30-2018 at 08:05 PM..
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It's different since I am SpEd
Old 12-30-2018, 06:39 PM
 
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but I spent the first 7 years as K-5, the next two as middle school and most recently, the last four as MS/HS. I do not regret it.

When I was in elementary, I could not imagine going to HS. Now that I'm here (and several years older,) I can't imagine going back. My students are bigger and the subjects a little harder, but I am still teaching.

As to the certification, it is a bit of a hassle but not impossible. Since I held a current, active certification for elementary ed, it was easy to add SpEd with tests. Then, when I moved to MS/HS, I had test again to show I was "highly qualified" to offer math, English, Science and History to older students.

I say that it is worth the effort to check it out.


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Stagnant?
Old 01-01-2019, 04:35 PM
 
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Why did you teach Grade 1 for SO LONG? That is likely what has done it with your attitude. It certainly hasn't helped! Surely you would like Grade 5 or 6! Seniors are certainly getting sassier every year, haha.
To me, you need to keep fresh and diverse and switching up and down grades year to year or every other... keeps you learning and growing and receptive to change.
Staying on the same grade for that long (esp. if consecutive years as I assume) was probably a bad choice and wrong of your Principal to do that to you.
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Old 01-01-2019, 07:00 PM
 
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I went from 2nd to 8th grade. I was really, really scared at first, but the change was really good for me and made me a better teacher. Best of luck!
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Old 01-01-2019, 08:16 PM
 
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Like a pp mentioned, I'm wondering if you're going to have to take/pay for tons of classes to get certified for this level? If so, does you district at least offer some sort of compensation for getting more credits?

Also consider how the job market is. After you go through the certification process, how likely is it that you'll be able to get a HS history job? Those jobs are usually hard to get and at least where I grew up, almost always went to baseball/football coaches. My best friend really wanted to be a HS history teacher, but went for Spanish instead because she was afraid she'd never get a job.

Is it likely there'd be openings in your own district? If not, if you move districts will they pay you for all of your years of experience? Do you have tenure or some sort of non-probationary status you'd lose? Just some things to think about.

If it were me, I'd probably consider trying 5th/6th grade in elementary prior to spending all of that money and time to get certified for something I might not even end up liking. As someone who has worked with K-6, I can tell you that 5th/6th graders are incredibly different than 1st graders. You may not need to go as drastic as you think to get into a totally different environment.

You might also consider if there are ways to get involved with HS without having to switch to teaching it, at least to see how you like it first. Are there opportunities for coaching or leading clubs at your HS? In my area and the HS I attended, one doesn't need to be an expert in whatever sport it is to be an assistant coach for several of the "less popular" sports.
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Old 01-02-2019, 05:40 PM
 
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Making the jump from 1st to high school will be a big culture shock. I would recommend jumping up to middle school. Just be sure to get all your certifications in a row, and know that in some schools you might actually be doubling up on subjects, like history and language arts. So the more certifications you can take and pass, within financial reason, do it.

I went from 5th grade to 7th grade, and then eventually to high school and it was a bigger adjustment that I thought it would be. Personally, I do not regret moving up to middle and high school, I do not have the patience for Elementary school.

Watch The Caffeinated Classroom on YouTube. She teaches 10th grade English, but it will give you an idea of what high school is like.
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Great Feedback
Old 01-07-2019, 07:31 PM
 
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Thank you for all of the great feedback.
I am currently studying for the EC-12 Physical Education Exam (a passion area of mine) next week and I think I will also be studying for 4-8 Core Subjects ELA and Social Studies exams (I am in Texas and to my knowledge all I need to do is past the tests to be eligible to teach these subjects.
My area is having a lot of population growth so there are more than enough job opportunities in teaching.

So maybe the thought of high school was a bit extreme. But I do think I am ready to work with middle school/intermediate.


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