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Hating my student teaching experience, and am starting to hate teaching.

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brunohusker brunohusker is offline
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Hating my student teaching experience, and am starting to hate teaching.
Old 03-23-2012, 11:25 PM
 
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I honestly feel like i am trapped. I am a fifth year senior and a student teacher who teaches social studies in high school. Anyway, when I started in january, i thought i could handle it and february went fairly well, but for the last few weeks, i've just felt like i'm in a rut. First of all, i am in a small town school with big city problems. It's a mostly minority school, where the kids really don't care and to be honest, i think they don't care because they know they could always work at the local factories and such. This makes it tough to discipline because the kids are extremely disrespectful and here i am trying struggling to create a discipline program and I'm getting extremely discouraged because i'm starting to feel like the kids won't care what i do. What also sucks is that while my teachers feel i am a great planner and i have great content knowledge, I have trouble being consistent w/discipline and engagement and it's really affecting me because i feel like i suck and like i am going to fail. Honestly at this point i don't know if i want to teach anymore, but i'd feel like it's a waste of my degree and I want to be successful at teaching, but i'm so stressed. I've even yelled at kids and have cried in front of one of my coop teachers do to stress (which makes me feel week because i'm a guy), and i just don't feel happy, but i feel like i'm trapped right now and that once i graduate, i won't find any sort of job teaching or non teaching and will end up like my unemployed brother and sister living at home w/ mom.So what can i do? any suggestions. I wish i could go into another field, but i don't want to waste more time and money on school since my family doesn't have a lot of money. So what can i do? Am i doomed to having a crappy life working some crappy minimum wage or factory job? I know it's just a vent but i need help


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Old 03-23-2012, 11:42 PM
 
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Not sure what kind of degree you are going for but one suggestion would be to try a lower grade or something if possible. I'm student teaching in a pre-school program and am having a blast and know this is what I want to do.

I believe it's all about grade and placement. Seems you just got a bad school/class and I suggest sticking with it. Some classes will be awful while others will be amazing.
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Old 03-24-2012, 03:19 AM
 
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Hey, welcome to my first year teaching! :-) I was told that I did great lessons, but couldn't control a class. My mentor made little secret of how ignorant I was. So I understand your feelings. Here are some ideas.

First, don't quit! You've come this far, and you are so close to finishing. Even if you never teach again, you want to finish this degree and get the license. Second, look for some discipline techniques that can help right away. Is your cooperating teacher just sitting back and ignoring your situation, or can you get him/her to provide some suggestions and assistance? What discipline system was used before you began teaching? Did it work? You can try such things as reseating students, handing out demerits and rewards, getting admin's help, etc. Look around online for ideas, too. There are lots of discipline systems out there; see what might work best for high school. I'm assuming you have multiple classes. If you haven't already, build a seating chart for each class so that you know each student's name. Then use their names when you talk to them and make notes on behavior.

Third, how can you better engage your students? Sometimes this is a big element of discipline; if they're bored and not engaged, they act out. Is there any way to pull in prior knowledge? Make them look for links to their own lives. Maybe, for example, a grandparent fought in the war you're discussing in class. So have that student get info from the grandparent and share it with the class. Letting them be a bit more active helps, too. Could you have students work in small groups to prepare a lesson or presentation on one small chunk of the chapter? Or work on a project in class? Arrange some library time for them to work, then write in class. Could they write a play that acts out some historic event--sort of a reader's theater type thing? In other words, look for ways to let them move (a little) and become more engaged with the work, and you might--might--see some of the behavior issues disappear simply because they're busy.

Hope some of that helps a little. I'm looking forward to seeing what others suggest. Good luck!
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Different take on this...
Old 03-24-2012, 04:04 AM
 
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I agree that student teaching is not always reality. Just because you struggle with it doesn't mean you will struggle as a teacher. Also your first 2-3 years (at least) of teaching are all about figuring out what works best for you.

I am going to say, though, that if I had to do it all over again, I would not go into teaching. You are at a point in your life where you are trying to make a decision that will affect your future in a big way. I would say to take time and make a list of what you like and don't like about teaching. Decide if it is truly worth it to you.

You will read many posts on this site about how difficult teaching is, and it may get a little easier with time, but it is still a VERY difficult, stressful job. I think many of us went into it with rose-colored glasses. You're already seeing some of the problems with it. Use this experience to be reflective and decide what you truly want to do...
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Old 03-24-2012, 04:11 AM
 
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You can't judge a person's classroom management on student teaching, or even on their first year. Management is an art that can takes years to develop. (I say that as encouragement, not discouragement.)

You know how so many people think teachers have an easy job and that anyone can just go into a classroom and be successful? You're learning it isn't true. But that doesn't mean that with more experience you won't grow to love it.

Would you rather quit now and never know, or give it a chance for a few years and know for sure if this is for you or not?


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Hang in there
Old 03-24-2012, 05:15 AM
 
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My suggestion to you is to sit down with yourself and find out what you REALLY want to do for a career. If teaching has always been a passion for you then I would say you need to be a teacher.

If teaching is what you WANT to do and not what you think you need to do then hang in there. Discipline is ALWAYS an issue for so many of us, including myself, and I teach younger people. Teenagers are known for their attitudes, even if they come from areas where their options are not working in a local factory. It's the nature of the teenager to make the adults around them crazy.

Student teaching is always difficult. We are learning and when we learn we make mistakes. Heck, I'm still learning and have been teaching for a while. I still make mistakes. I still change up what I am doing. I still work hard planning lessons and activities only to get thrown off by a behavior issue. I cry. I am upset and annoyed at times, but teaching has always been my passion so when I look at the overall position I am in I am happy that I am in the right career for myself.

I wasn't always in this career. I started teaching way back in the day when I first got out of college, but then life happens and I stopped teaching. I worked at a number of different jobs. All of them had positive and negative points. At times I was happy in those positions and at times I was truly frustrated. I was successful, but they weren't what I really wanted to do in life.

In my 40's I went back to school to get re-certified to teach. I was worried I wouldn't find a position. Student Teaching was rough. Here I was this "old person," but a "newbie" teacher. I too thought I would fail, but I didn't. It took me another year of looking, having to go back to get another certificate, before I found a teaching position. I have been in the same district for a while now. I still work hard. I still cry. In fact I cried yesterday because so many of the families of my students appear as if they don't care about their child's education. I'm sure they do, but to me I wonder, because of the problems I have with the students.

Am I frustrated at times? Yes! Am I thrilled at times? Yes! Do I think I could do better in another career? Yes! Do I wish I could make more money? Yes! Do I wish non-teachers understood how difficult being a teacher is? Yes! Do I wish people would value education again? Yes! Would I be as happy in another career? No!! Teaching is my passion. It is my heart.

You need to ask yourself if teaching is your passion and your heart. If the answers are yes, then please hang in there and you will make it through student teaching.

I tell myself often to count down the days. What is nice about teaching is each year we get a new group of students and things change. One year the students can drive us nuts. The next year they are the apples of our eyes. (What does that really mean?) If we have other jobs we can't count them down. They stay the same year after year.

Teaching is hard. I won't try and mis-lead you. Being a teacher means lots and lots of hard work, planning, etc. I don't truly believe any teacher, no matter how long the person has worked as a teacher, doesn't have a rough time. What we hope for is as time goes by the rough times get less and less.

So please don't beat yourself up for not being "perfect" as a student teacher. The word "student" tells you you are learning. Even when you become a "teacher" you will have rough times.

NOW, if the answer to the original question is you do not really want to be a teacher, but felt you had to because of finances or parent or even self pressure, then please change your career NOW!!!! I say this because you have a very long working career ahead of you (at least 45 years) and you do not want to be miserable your entire career. Teaching can suck the life out of you, especially if it is not your passion.

There are different things you can do with a teaching career. Maybe you can teach in a corporation. Many corporations have training departments. There are other posts on PT about careers for teachers other than teaching. My mind just went blank.

Just having a college degree opens up doors for you in many areas of employment other than teaching. You can go into advertising, writing if you have an English Degree also. You can go into management for many companies. You are not locked into a job you don't want to do.

Another thing you can do is set a short term and long term goal. You could teach for a short while and then go into another area in the education world or any business world.

I forgot to mention that maybe older students aren't your thing. I know they aren't my thing. Maybe teaching younger students would be a better "fit" for you. You might look into this and take the praxis for elementary education or middle school instead of just the high school test. I know I am not teaching in either of the grades I student taught in, so don't think you are locked into a grade just because it was the grade you student taught in.

I hope I have helped in some way. If you want to talk further to me PM me and we can talk. Good luck.

Please don't ever feel trapped or like you aren't doing the right thing. I'm sure your cooperating teacher and professors are giving you some good advice. Listen and stop beating yourself up.

By the way crying is a great way to clean the head and soul. It shows you care and are human. Caring is a wonderful quality.
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:03 AM
 
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Education is generally an easy major when the reality is that teaching is an extremely hard job. Part of it, I believe, can't be taught in any college class. I don't know why some people have the teacher voice and the ability to command a class when others have so much trouble. For some it is instinctive. Others learn. Some never do. I taught middle school. I have seen young and old teachers plan and prepare really good lessons that they never got to teach. The kids just ate them alive.

I don't know if you're cut out to be a teacher or not. You have to decide if this was ever really your passion and why. I don't hear anything in your post that indicates there is anything you like about teaching right now except the possibility of a paycheck.

You have a lot of content knowledge of social studies. I like that. Too many teachers know methods but are not experts in content. Unfortunately secondary social studies teachers are a dime a dozen right now. The ones who get jobs, in my experience, are often hired primarily to be coaches. Are the chances good that you'll actually get a job teaching in your area or state?

If you decide to change directions, my suggestion for a young man would be to join the military. I in no way discount the obvious danger of combat, but there are also remarkable opportunities for training that may equip you for another profession or provide you with the money to further your education when you get out. My friend's son did that with the Coast Guard, loved it, and has planned to make it a career. Air Force and Navy generally have less combat exposure than Army and Marines. I'm the mother of sons so I'm not making this suggestion lightly.

You may have other skills that could transfer into other jobs. Insurance jobs often are open to just about any major. Same for banking although it's harder to get in there. I know a young man with just an associate's degree who landed a good job with a major bank because of his ability at web design.

I know it's tough out there right now, especially for those who tend toward liberal arts and not math, tech, and science. If you hate teaching, don't stay until you really have no other choices. Not fair to either the kids or yourself. Good luck.
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Trap - Don't Give Up so EARLY
Old 03-24-2012, 07:33 AM
 
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BrunoHusker, take a deep breath & go in on Monday w/ a new strategy. You can do it ! Get one of the books by Harry Wong - such an amazing teacher & author. Don't bail out -worst thing you can do. I was terrible w/ discip. my 1st yr of tching b/c it is not taught in college. I learned so much from that yr & now my classroom is exactly how I like it -I am in complete control & students are learning & the days w/ them are exciting. Tip: sit down w/ some basic rules & consequences & go in on Monday ready to present it to them. You have to follow up - that's the key - you can't be afraid to discipline them - & once you do with the first 2 bad apples - the rest will fall into place. They will respect you & fall in line. You will see. The first couple o' times will be hard, but if you STICK TO IT, things will fall into place for you. You've spent money on a college degree & you obviously love yr content, so don't let anyone tell you to give up. You will feel worse. Get thru this time - get to a point where you're enjoying it (can you coach a sport? schools love men who can coach) - then later you can think about a change. Take a deep breath & GO BACK!!!
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While student teaching is often NOT reality,
Old 03-24-2012, 07:43 AM
 
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sometimes it is--unfortunately, what you are experiencing is far too common in far too many schools even in classrooms with experienced teachers. While you had little choice in your student teaching assignment, you may or may not have more choice in your actual job. It depends on where the openings are and how willing you are to leave your area. There are no guarantees.

I agree with the PPs, if you love teaching, stick with it. It does change when you have your own room to arrange and discipline plan to instill without others watching. It can change for the worse while you are still trying things out, but it usually comes together eventually.

If you figure out that you cannot tolerate what you are going through now, run-don't walk-to your advisor and find out what else you can do with your degree.
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Keep pressing your way.........
Old 03-24-2012, 08:33 AM
 
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don't give up. I'm student teaching now and I know it's probably nothing like having your own classroom. I had to remind myself that the students (2nd Graders) has been with my CT for the whole year and of course will response to her better than myself. When I first start being active in the class the students would always say MS...... do it another way. I had to explain to them that we are working together and I'm bringing new things and procedures into the class. Please keep your head up and know that you are at the finish line. Good Luck!
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Old 03-25-2012, 05:05 AM
 
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I had a very similar experience. I hated student teaching, thought I wasted 4 years of college and money going into the wrong profession, cried in front of my teachers because I was so stressed and honestly felt like I was depressed. I would wake up and immediately feel down.
When all this happened I talked to one of my professors and she gave me some great advice.

"Student teaching is a lot like getting your license. When you're taking the test, you have to think about driving the speed limit, hands on 10 and 2, checking all your mirrors, using your blinkers....But now that you've been driving for awhile, you may not do all of those things and if you do its just natural."

I now am a 1st year teacher, and while its still stressful and hard, its so much better than student teaching. You have your OWN class, you can set up routines and management the way it is comfortable to YOU.

So my advice, keep going. Don't let it get you down. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
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Bless you...
Old 03-25-2012, 08:06 PM
 
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And don't give up! I, too, had a horrible student teaching experience. I had no support from administration and my 'mentor' teacher got upset when the students started to respond to me and yelled at me telling me she never wanted a student teacher and that I would never be a good teacher. She left that day and I didn't see her again. I finished my student teaching doing everything on my own with a sub sitting behind the desk reading the newspaper. That was over 30 years ago and I have fought confidence issues all my life even though I have had a very successful teaching career. I started out in special ed and was miserable but gradually through a series of events that were nothing short of divine intervention, started teaching primary ages and found my niche. It sounds to me like you are in a rough area. Those areas would make anyone question what they want to do. Most schools today give you a mentor teacher to help you along your way. I suggest reading Harry Wong's book, The First Days of School. I haven't read it but hope to this summer. Classroom management is difficult for me, too, but each year I get better at it. Please give it a little longer. We desperately need male role models for these young people.
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Hang in There!
Old 03-25-2012, 09:03 PM
 
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Even before my student teaching I had a class that participated in a classroom for part of the time. It was a sixth grade class that had a couple of 16 yr old gang members in the class. I was a middle class girl who grew up in a Brady Bunch world where I never was around this type of behavior. It scared me and I was ready to quit. I wasn't ready to be around this type of problem. But I talked to a few people and learned more about gangs and actually helped get those students out of the school into a more appropriate school for them. Even though the school still had an issue with gangs the class was much less stressful without those students and I really think I was able to make a difference with my students.

I also had a horrible first student teaching experience myself. My coop teacher was gone most of the time. It was basically me for the first part of my experience and I didn't learn much about classroom management or planning. I also was almost bitten by a rattle snake trying to keep one of my H.S. students away from it. The sped teacher actually was - but luckily was okay. The sub that was there just sat on her butt. The second part was in London and my coop teacher hated me and wrote me an awful review. I did a lot of crying. I was homesick at times and felt like I was just thrown into a fire.

But - I feel I did my most learning while subbing on my own. It sometimes is a sink or swim type of job. There are many wonderful resources out there that can help you. The Harry Wong series of books is great. The book Positive Discipline. Also just setting up your class for success. Making sure that your students have a task first thing when they come in the class. Following through on consequences. I also think being excited about being there and seeing your students even if you have to fake it can help. If you love to teach - than do not let these students take that away from you. Teaching is difficult - but also one of the best and most awarding jobs I have ever had.
Observe what other teachers do. Ask questions. And keeping trying. It doesn't happen overnight. I feel that after 13 yrs of teaching in many different types of situations has helped me greatly - but I still feel I have a lot more to learn.

And - I agree. There is a huge need for more male role models in teaching.
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perhaps
Old 03-26-2012, 12:16 PM
 
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You really do work in my town. And if this is so all I can yell you is to decide a couple of things such as would you consider moving and giving it a go somewhere else? Would you consider a lower grade where the kids enjoy school more? Would you consider admin bc that is really really good pay in our community, assuming ours are similar? Are there any private schools where you are you could try? Just some suggestions. My community can be discouraging at times but in many other ways it is really nice. Our education is suffering however. Sorry I am not more help.
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Great Suggestions, but still unsure.
Old 03-26-2012, 03:44 PM
 
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Thank you everybody for the great suggestions. I love how you've all tried to help. I still feel though like i am trapped but now i have entered the dangerous world of apathy. I stiill care about school and my lessons, but i seems to be stuck in doing day to day planning. I know i should do my work ahead of time, and i try to use my time wisely, but at home i find myself being a procrastinator and putting off work. Also, I just feel so stressed that i almost feel sick. Also, i don't know if it ever was my passion. I love history and the social sciences a lot, unfortunately, i don't know if i love teaching. I just thought it would be a way to use my knowledge for good and that i'd try it out and maybe share that love with people. However i must just not be that good. Also, it seems like i take for granted what i learned at school, and wish that education was a harder major so that guys like me or other crappy teachers could be weeded out or given better training. Also, i think i went into teaching because there were family issues. My mom was a teacher, and while i never was pressured, i always felt she'd like it better if i was a teacher for some odd reason, idk why. However, sometimes i wonder if i do have the drive for it. I mean i stuck with it for five years, but education as i've said earlier is an easy major for a hard job and since i was a smart guy, i wonder if i fooled people into thinking i would be a great teacher. My last worry is that i won't get a job. I worry that i'll be a loser the rest of my life. My brother is autistic and 21 and doesn't have a job and will probably live off disability the rest of his life even though he is very high functioning and probably has more aspergers like symptoms than true autism. My sister is a loser too and is about to fail out of college, and though she loves to read and write she doesn't have a plan for anything. I'm worried now that if i don't get a job, i'll just get in a rut and sit on my butt at home and not do anything. My mom is really the only person in our family who's not a loser, but she still didn't get her teaching degree until age 45 though that was because she was so busy with her previous job. So overall my biggest fear is that i'll just end up being a loser with either no degree or no job, and that eventually the only job i'll be able to get will be either in factory work, or asking people if they want fries with that
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Old 03-26-2012, 04:36 PM
 
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I didn't read through ALL of the responses, but I don't remember reading any advice regarding not entering the teaching profession at all. Meaning, finish out your student teaching, get your degree, but then...head off in another direction. The sky is the limit since you aren't tied to a contract, yet. Nor have years under your belt.

Education is heading in a direction that I do not like nor approve of. If *I* were in your shoes, I wouldn't go into teaching, knowing what I now know.

But that's just me.

You aren't destined to be a loser. Look how far you've come already. You'll get your degree and no one can take that away from you.
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Old 03-26-2012, 05:15 PM
 
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I wouldn't say anyone in your family is a "loser". And it doesn't sound like you are. The most important thing to remember is that life is short and this is not a rehearsal. You need to be happy about what you are doing for a living. Just because you have reached a bump in the road doesn't mean you will work in a factory or a job with fries.
You are probably right about your brother. If he were born today he probably would have a much different life. He just doesn't have those life skills that come easier to most of us.
Try finishing your degree and then you can think about what you want to do. At least you have a degree - that is so important - to finish what you start.
I have changed my career three times in my short life. I started as a graphic artist. Hated it and the idea of sitting at a computer. Then taught art for a number of years and in the last two years finished my masters. Who knows maybe I will change it again.

It is hard trying to figure out what to do when one grows up. Remember you are responsible for yourself - no one else. If you like history and social science you could always teach at a higher level. You could write a book. There are so many things out there that you are able to do. Do not limit yourself and think that you are a loser. You sound young and uncertain. You don't want to waste your life - so don't. See the world, find the right job for you and be the best you - you can be. Whether you are a janitor, teacher, author or a cashier at McDonalds.
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Old 03-27-2012, 05:16 AM
 
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Problem is, i don't know if their is a right job for me, and my options are closed. I mean part of me would love to get into broadcast journalism, but i bet the job market is terrible for that. I mean part of my belief is that sometimes you can't do what you love, you got to do whats best for you. I though teaching would be a way to do this. I mean once i got a job and was sucessful at it i could stay for another 20 years, maybe switch jobs then have a family. Now it's like if i don't get a job it's back to school for two years and then i'm starting all over again at 25 and then i probably won't like that job either and then the cycle continues. MAybe i'm just one of those people who'll never have a chance in life to do what i want. It's just that it makes me sad because i have this plan and now that plan is in jeopardy
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Old 03-27-2012, 03:40 PM
 
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My Dad died depressed and having worked at a job that he hated because he felt he had to because of his family. You don't have those pressures of having a family and 25 is still very young. 25 is that age for some where you realize this is it. I was at work one day and decided to go back to school at 25. I looked online and found a school, applied and was accepted and two weeks later was back in school full-time and working part to full-time.
It sounds like you have a lot of negative energy right now. Possibly a little (or a lot) depressed.
One of the best things my mother ever said to me was that if you don't try - you will always wonder what would have happened. I think one thing is that sometimes as we are getting older we try and live by someone's expectations. School, graduate, get married, kids . . . .Why do you have to have it figures out all by 25. You don't. Some people are still searching in their forties and fifties. Look at your mom. She was in her forties before she went to school.
If you really want to be a journalist try it out. Make a plan. Become an intern. I always see ads for interns. Get another job. Work for it. Make it happen.
I see both my brother and sister on the same track as my Dad. My brother is counting down the days to retirement. I think then what? Wait and die!
Don't give up on your dreams!
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Nunziata Nunziata is offline
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Old 03-28-2012, 04:03 PM
 
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PLEASE do not feel trapped or like a loser. You are neither.

Know many of us put off our work until the last minute and end up spending hours at the end of a period, day, time frame, deadline working like crazy, only to tell ourselves we will not do this again, and then we do it again and again and again. I think it is part of being a teacher. We work hard and so many of us think we can do it over and over again for hours and hours, when we need some time to regroup and just for us. Putting off is not a really bad thing. It is what it is.

Just because you aren't having the best student teacher experience does not mean you aren't a good teacher or a potentially good teacher. You are very hard on yourself. We are not perfect and we are not born teachers. We have to learn to be good teachers in all areas. Student teaching is not the place to expect to be perfect.

Again, you have to have a better feeling for yourself. I don't think going into teaching because it is expected of you is a good enough reason. Really sit down and think about what you want to do. Then go for it. A college degree opens a lot of door. You can do a lot of things. Social studies and science - go into marketing or research. Just don't doubt yourself or settle.

Good luck.
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Old 04-11-2012, 09:07 AM
 
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Student teaching is not based in reality. You are fortunate to have supportive school associates. I didn't, it was a nightmare. My school associate dealt with racism most of her life, didn't get along with any staff member in a previous school and moved schools. She assumed it was due to racism. I, with blonde hair and blue eyes and her age, represented every single person who was racist against her. I did a total of 400 lesson plans for 6 weeks because she refused to help me and kept changing her mind as to what themes I need to cover. In the staffroom she would say 'look at what that stupid university sent me, look at her, I can't stand her type, she is clueless.' I asked for a transfer, but the university had to transfer another student teacher as she was set up with someone who was hospitalized with OCD. I kid you not. Can you imagine? I can only laugh about this now. Part way through I was told I'd pass. Then I learned that this woman reported me behind my back everynight to the university. The coordinator who received these messages was too lazy to investigate and in the end my school associated demanded that I stay an extra month as she 'was not ready to take over her class yet.' I withdrew on my last day, this insulted her as she I jeapardized her chance of obtaining a 3 grand credit or a a free course in the Masters Program. Her parting words? 'I hate your type, you make me sick, I never want to see your face again.' I wasn't aware of how much this person hated me until the very end. I currently teach at a college. Do I like teaching? Absolutely. Do I like the teachers? Not many. I have way too much previous work experience and feel that many become their environment - little girls at recess. I say you need to stick it out, the industry could use more men...
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feel ya
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I feel your pain!
Old 06-22-2012, 05:30 PM
 
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I totally understand how you feel. I hated student teaching minority middle schoolers because they didn't care and were disrespectful. I cried often and my mentor teacher said I would never make it because I couldn't manage the classes of nearly 30 eighth graders everyday. I got through it and got a job teaching fifth grade and I just finished my first year of teaching. It went great and I even signed up to teach summer school. You can do it. Just find a school and a grade you are comfortable. Not every teacher can teach every grade or every type of student. Try charter schools and private schools. They pay less but are also far less stressful. Hang in there! You are definitely not alone.
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