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Elementary education student needing advice. I don't think this is for me.
Old 03-29-2021, 10:25 PM
 
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Hello! This is going to be rather long:

I am new here. I hope I don't get attacked for this but I need support. I am a senior in college, graduating in May. I honesty wish I was prouder because I am regretting not pursuing another degree. I suddenly chose teaching without knowing what I was getting myself into. I will be honest ever since I started working with kids I had second thoughts but didn't want to give up after I had a plan. I always wanted to be a teacher, specifically a high school English teacher because I love ELA. Overtime I realized I just like ELA, reading, and writing myself but not necessarily teaching it. I switched to elementary ed thinking it would be more fun and I could teach a variety of subjects. I DID want to be a teacher, but lost interest over time. I think I was romanticizing the career in my head.

I worked at a summer camp two years ago and it was honestly torture. The kids' behavior was so bad, I only stayed for the flexible hours, pay, and some of the coworkers who were nice. It was a good summer job. But my god, I couldn't control these kids. Going home was an honest relief. The only parts I liked was organizing the binders, cleaning up well, and doing other tasks. I was not good at dealing with the kids. They would scream, throw tantrums, and even get violent towards each other. Of course some kids were sweet, but very few. Overall, it was NOT rewarding. Of course not all kids are bad and I don't hate all of them I am not a monster. I just find it so hard to disclipline and being a teacher has honestly made me not want kids. I actually get anxiety around children and their behavior. I will always be there for them and I love comforting a child when they are crying or sad. I also love when they read to me and I help them sound out the words. But overall, it was NOT rewarding.

Honestly I just don't know what to do... I like lesson planning in general and making my slides all pretty IF I have adequate time, but it is so much stressful planning to write all of that out and be so specific about what I am teaching. Our templates are like 15 pages long. I always assumed you didn't always need a clear plan, you just have an idea of it and maybe jot down some notes and you're good to go. My assignments are so specific and they want us to script exactly what we say. I know virtual learning is tough right now for everyone, but when I spend SO much time crafting my lessons the kids don't even pay attention. Today I tried teaching a lesson and they weren't even responding so I gave up and just logged off. It was only a 15 minute mini lesson. I get frustrated way too easily. I have taught kids before and I can have patience. I am patient with them but to an extent I just give up especially when they run around and just are so hyper. I cannot deal with meltdowns and tantrums. It just irritates me so much. It is so much work and I don't know how I will run my own classroom one day. Sometimes I get so bored attending my placement, I get kind of happy when I get the chance NOT to. It makes me feel bad because I am not excited like my peers who are celebrating the fact that they passed teacher certification and I haven't even taken it yet because I just don't feel motivated anymore. I mostly just hate all the planning and discipline, which is literally like the whole job. But I didn't know that when I was 18.

I try my best to be patient and teach kids and never show them my apathy... when they listen and the lesson goes well, I enjoy it, but honestly I don't think I am going to be a teacher for very long, unless I end up loving it during my student teaching/down the road. Over time I discovered mental health/social work/psychology and I am more interested in that, like working with women, abused women, people with low self-esteem, etc. in one on one settings so I don't know what I am looking for here but I'm just venting I guess. I have looked into nursing, which is just gross and backbreaking work. I am definitely not smart enough for programming, and it doesn't sound meaningful to me. IDK. I'm figuring it out day by day.

Overall honestly, the kids in my placement are sweet. Today I had a pretty good lesson. But overall I am a person that gives up on things too easily... it's so hard to teach a lesson when many of my students get distracted. Virtual learning is definitely tough because they can walk away/not respond if they don't want to. There's no way to check if they are actually understanding what I am teaching.

I've realized it really depends on the school district/demographic too. The summer camp I worked at was in a wealthy, higher income area. Kids were sent to field trips with up to $80 in money to buy souvenirs. They were so spoiled, there were tantrums DAILY. The school I am teaching in now serves lower income families. I don't see much of that behavior here. Here, it is more so that the students are academically behind/or don't show up to school at all. The ones that do though seem to like school and want to learn. When they call me by Ms. PopQueen1213 I get so happy! I also have ADHD and OCD which makes me question my choices a LOT because I believe that I am incapable of doing anything.

I would say that I am enjoying this placement a lot more than my summer camp. I do enjoy creating lessons much more though overall. That is so fun to me.



Last edited by PopQueen1213; 03-30-2021 at 02:32 PM.. Reason: Added more on for more context
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Old 03-30-2021, 10:56 AM
 
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I would do my student teaching. If you do not like it, I think you should do something else. You are too young to spend doing something you dislike. You go maybe get a master's in counseling. Good luck.
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Maybe time to change directions
Old 03-30-2021, 11:21 AM
 
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It sounds to me as if an appointment at your university placement center would be helpful. From what you are writing here, teaching is not a good match for your interests and skills. You deserve a career that is fulfilling to you, one at which you can excel. And students deserve a teacher who can maintain good discipline in the classroom and who wants to be there.

Clearly you could work hard to master classroom management and discipline. It's your choice. If you don't want to work on these, please don't go into teaching.

Since you are genuinely interested in ELA, you might explore other careers that focus on that interest. Would you enjoy being a librarian? Perhaps a technical writer? Any interest in website design?

I hope you end up somewhere good for you.
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Old 03-30-2021, 11:59 AM
 
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Teaching can open the doors to a plethora of other areas . . . because of how student teaching is set up the path leads directly into a classroom setting. There are other means of teaching individuals

1) teaching adults in community college, etc. . .
2) tutoring individuals or groups . . .this can be very lucrative if you continue your education into a masters area and specialize. I paid a fortune for SAT prep years ago for my daughter
3) outdoor education. Different states have different requirements
4) speech, PE,
5) I know 2 physical therapists with an education background
6) Educational therapist. . . would require a masters

Definitely make an appointment with a career counselor. If that does't work hire a career coach . It is well worth it.
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:05 PM
 
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It sounds like you like the curriculum aspects best. You could teach a short time and work on getting a masters in curriculum. Become a curriculum director.

Good luck. It is a tough decision.


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Old 03-30-2021, 01:12 PM
 
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Iím guessing, that if you are a senior, this is not your first classroom assignment? As a junior, my mentor teacher was so horrible that I nearly quit. Iím glad I didnít.

If your other classroom experiences have been similar to this yearís AND you did not enjoy summer camp, this might not be the career for you. If you like the planning, perhaps get a job just to pay the bills and consider creating lessons for TPT. It would take a long while to build a client list that makes money, though. Tutoring might work for you as well, but youíll need a job just to pay the bills until you get established. If your tech skills are decent, you could think about teaching others about new skills.

I, too, think you need more specific counseling. They would be able to help you find a career where your education related skills are used.

I wish you well, whatever you decide.
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Long post ahead
Old 03-30-2021, 01:16 PM
 
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No attacks coming from me. You remind me of what could happen to my nephew who is also in his last year in college. He is a creative writing major, but he also knows it's not enough to pay the bills. He says he thinks he might become a teacher. I've tried to warn him that teaching is more than just standing in front of kids and telling them what to do, as you well know.

You're just finding out what so many of us in teaching have known for years. It's NOT an easy job, by any means. There is so much 'behind the scenes' work and so much psychology involved in what teachers do, that we make it look easy to the untrained eye.

I started as an instructional aide, with no thought of becoming a teacher, but was encouraged by others teachers who had watched me work. I had so much support and encouragement, and I worked well with my small groups. I was so sure it would be an easy transition.

I eventually got my first teaching assignment but REALLY STRUGGLED my first year. I was actually told by a colleague, who I knew from another school, that she never saw me smile. I HATED TEACHING that first year. I had many of the very same thoughts you expressed in your post. I spent HOURS making cute work pages, creative bulletin boards and created a fun classroom environment. But when it came to classroom management, I didn't know how to get the kids to respond, to be engaged, to follow through on their assignments. My principal was always on me, checking up on my written lesson plans and dropping in when kids were the most distracted or misbehaving. I did well with my small groups at my table, but I didn't keep watch on the rest of my class so they took advantage. I didn't know the curriculum so I constantly had parents challenging me, asking questions I couldn't answer.

There was SO MUCH I didn't know. Like you, I even tried to figure out if I could find another well-paying career with the training I had. I even thought of returning to the lower-paying instructional aide position where i would have no responsibilities. I clearly remember bringing my students in from recess, but staring at the entry gates, wishing I could just keep on walking and never return. I had absolutely no clue there was so much involved in EFFECTIVE teaching and classroom management. Those other teachers I had worked with made it all seem so easy.

For me, it wasn't until I stopped working on the 'easy, fun things' and really buckled down on the harder things. Developing effective classroom management, first, was more important than a cute bulletin board. I had to learn about what was required for my grade level, I had to be very clear in my mind about what i wanted my students to do and I had to reinforce my rules and expectations. If I said it was going to happen, it had to happen, good or bad. I didn't make idle threats or promises. I didn't promise fun things when I was in a good mood and deny them everything when I was in a bad mood. I tend to have a good sense of humor, so I also injected humor into my management style, but I remained consistent. Of course, I had to work on my lessons, too. It was up to me to find ways to keep my students involved. I did a lot of cooperative learning while, again, reinforcing and being consistent with classroom rules so they didn't just play with each other. This is already too long, so I won't elaborate with specifics.

Now, all of this didn't come to me at once. It was a slow process that involved my own dedication and a lot of trial and error. As I told another first year teacher, there is way too much that needs to be kept in mind, but in many cases it's about being as prepared as you can be and learning through your mistakes. i also suggested keeping a journal to write down what works and what doesn't, then refer to it the following year to avoid making the same mistakes.

Since that first year, I've successfully taught grades K-8th, all in inner-city schools. I also worked developing teaching materials, presenting at state-wide conferences and conducting teacher training sessions in my school district as well as working as a program coordinator for several years. All of this to say it IS possible to work from initially being overwhelmed and hating teaching to finding great satisfaction and success as an educator.

If you're really sure you don't like working with kids, or with following all the guidelines and rules teachers have to follow, then maybe it's time to go in a new direction. If you think you are ready for the hard work ahead, then take advantage of student teaching and get all your questions ready for that teacher so you can start clarifying and taking the mystery out of what teachers do to be effective and successful.
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:20 PM
 
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Hi! Honestly, the kids in my placement are so sweet. Today I had a pretty good lesson. But overall I am a person that gives up on things too easily... it's so hard to teach a lesson when many of my students get distracted.

I've realized it really depends on the school district/demographic too. The summer camp I worked at was in a wealthy, higher income area. Kids were sent to field trips with up to $80 in money to buy souvenirs. They were so spoiled, there were tantrums DAILY. The school I am teaching in now serves lower income families. I don't see much of that behavior here. Here, it is more so that the students are academically behind/or don't show up to school at all. The ones that do though seem to like school and want to learn. When they call me by Ms. PopQueen1213 I get so happy! I also have ADHD and OCD which makes me question my choices a LOT because I believe that I am incapable of doing anything.

I would say that I am enjoying this placement a lot more than my summer camp. I do enjoy creating lessons much more though overall. That is so fun to me.
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:23 PM
 
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Thank you I want to try it too because this was always my dream. If not I want to look into other things. I love planning lessons though so maybe I will teach for a few years and then move into curriculum or something like that.
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:27 PM
 
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I like your idea of social work. Would a school counselor be something you might consider? Good luck in finding your fit.


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Old 03-30-2021, 01:27 PM
 
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I do think website design sounds fun! I am not interested in pure back end programming/deep computer science but designing sites does sound fun. I am not sure about technical writing since I do tend to enjoy humanities/creative topics more. A librarian is something I thought about but I am not really sure what they do on a daily basis, haha.

I definitely cannot do a job that just sits around a lot/doesn't have much work. I like to feel busy, I like to do work that makes me feel accomplished at the end of the day. I usually am the one that goes above and beyond/stays after work to perfect things. My assignments are always so detailed because I am very precise.
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Old 03-30-2021, 01:28 PM
 
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Ask yourself:
Why EXACTLY made me want to go into teaching?
When did I first get the inkling a classroom teaching position wasnít for me?
Do I want to see this through til I at least get the credential?

Depending upon your answers, particularly to #3, you might want to consider either finding yourself a good, experienced teacher to be an unofficial mentor,

OR

Look for a career in the education field but outside the classroom, or consider a community college level profession

And last,
If none of the above appeals to you, bail now. You are young enough to start on a different career path.

Good luck and let us know what you decide.
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It's ok to change...
Old 03-30-2021, 01:50 PM
 
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Most of what you wrote sounds like me. After student teaching I never wanted to teach. I worked an ok college support staff job for 8 years before circumstances made me persue a teaching job at the small town high school I graduated from. I got married, built a new house, started the teaching job and had a baby all within 2 years. I do not know how I survived! Along the way I struggled and was put on a teacher improvement plan, which at the time was horrifying, but it helped. Raising my own kids helped too. Classroom behavior management is a struggle still. At one point I was seeing a mental health counselor and taking antianxiety meds because I didnt like how often the kids or admin made me cry. The counselor told me I had a highly sensitive personality and recommended a book to read. Characteristics included easily overstimulated and overwhelmed, empathy to the point their feelings become your own, not liking noise, conflict, and basically I need down time and quiet to recover. Teaching was the opposite of what was good for me, but I never quit teaching because the pay was good. I wish I had tried something different right out of college. No one understands the toll teaching takes on a person until they've tried working with children. I have taught 22 years. I have 8 more before retiring. It did get easier, but this year is crazy! I have known several people who quit after getting a taste of teaching, one does technical writing, one went back to school for a law degree, and two are teaching at community colleges. Good luck to you!!
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Old 03-30-2021, 02:19 PM
 
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You've gotten very good advice above. I will add that a camp experience is very different from a classroom experience, in my opinion.

As a teacher, I once worked a summer camp and found that it was not my cup of tea. A summer camp is more easy going while a classroom is more structured. I like (need?) the structure. What I did not need was a tween girl singing "I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts..." I thought I would have the same kind of control that I had at school but, no!

So, do not judge teaching on summer camp, but on your placements where you are actually teaching. Also, if you are doing virtual teaching, that's a whole 'nother animal!

Good luck with your decision & future career.
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Old 03-30-2021, 02:20 PM
 
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If you can write well or are comfortable with training, many corporations have a need for trainers or writers.
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Old 03-30-2021, 05:55 PM
 
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You already know your answer...you wrote it in your title. Trust your gut. This is a good place to air your doubts because we've been doing this and can tell you the real deal.

Not all teachers will agree, but I do think it helps a lot if you like kids and really enjoy being around them. Teaching is HARD! You have to develop good classroom discipline before you can teach. And your lesson has to be thought out beforehand. That is the point of writing out detailed lesson plans - figure out where kids might get confused, how you can help them make connections, etc. Trying to do this on the fly won't work.

I do think that great teachers make all this look so easy. You don't see the hours of thinking and planning that has gone into each lesson. Did I mention that teaching is HARD?

You're young. This is the perfect time to change your mind and follow your heart. Most colleges have career counselors. Seek out further information about what might interest you. Don't worry about what others are doing, find what will make your heart happy.

Couple more things: teaching at summer camp is completely different from in the classroom; don't take your experiences so far and decide you don't want to be a mom - again, completely different. Breathe, you will find your way.

We all wish you well.
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Old 03-31-2021, 04:41 AM
 
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I would say that if you feel this way before you've even started your teaching career, it's probably not for you. And, if you give up easily, it's definitely not for you because teaching requires a lot of persistence.

That being said, it's probably worth giving it a go before you switch directions. You might feel differently when you're in a different situation and teaching is even more difficult than usual right now.

I loved teaching at the beginning of my career but from the perspective of 30+ years later, if I had it to do over I would have chosen a different career. For sure, if I were choosing a career now, teaching wouldn't be it.
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re: community college teaching
Old 03-31-2021, 09:43 PM
 
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A huge percentage of community college instructors are part-time and work for low wages. The jobs are not guaranteed from semester too semester. I taught community college classes in the evenings after my day job.

I had no office, little access to photocopying, no input into the text book selections, and no way for students to contact me unless I gave out my personal phone number.

A friend taught at several community colleges around the Los Angeles area to put together something of a living wage.

There are full-time faculty positions and people do get hired for them. There is hope. But it is good to know more about availability before diving into a profession.

This article may be of help:
https://www.insidehighered.com/news/...and-25000-year
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Old 04-01-2021, 05:18 PM
 
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Yeah, teaching was a plan B for myself. I reluctantly went into it. I never thought I'd do it more than 10 years. After doing it for so long, I've learned to like it a little more than when I was younger. The kids are okay. I sub now, but I taught full time for 20 years. I want to leave education now, but I can't. I'm still too young to retire. I used to be a stressed out and angry teacher when I was younger. I mellowed out since then. I used to work too hard, and it wasn't worth it. I turned down relationships because I was a workaholic. Now Im often having issues with technology when I sub. Every classroom device is different. I guess I may have to take a long term position so I only have to play with the same device everyday. Trouble shooting computer devices 5 minutes before class starts gets old very fast. If you're young, shoot for the stars and do what you want as they say. See if you change your mind about teaching later.
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Old 04-02-2021, 07:35 AM
 
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Don’t feel bad if you decide not to be a teacher. A lot of jobs just require a college degree. They don’t care what the degree is in. If you are interested in social work and working with domestic violence victims, a lot of those jobs only require a degree, the degree does not have to be in social work. You could try for a job at a domestic violence shelter.

I'm a lot like Biobirdie, who posted below. I get overstimulated and overwhelmed easily. I taught Kindergarten in 2 different urban schools for a while, but I struggled. Like you, I hate dealing with tantrums and meltdowns. I eventually left and started working at a social services agency which is a much better fit for me.

I stayed in teaching so long because I thought teaching was the only thing I could do with a teaching degree. I wish someone would have told me that I have other options.
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Old 04-10-2021, 06:48 AM
 
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Teaching at a camp is different. It tends to be more loosely set and that creates chaos. They feel they are on a big long recess and act accordingly. Kids can be at their worst in these situations, and really adults do ,too. I have felt so uncomfortable around coworkers letting their hair down unexpectedly when they seemed so different at work.

I agree that continuing with student teaching is a good start. That should be what guides you. I also would research management techniques and try them out at your next summer camp. You can learn management skills.

I also agree with looking into what will make your heart sing yet is a practical career. Counseling, speech pathology, OT/PT and other child- helper careers sound like good matches, too. You will still need behavior management skills, but it won’t be the same circus. However, you will also need need a lot of organizational and planning skills , and great time management skills for all the students you have to see and arrange in to your busy day and good adult people skills to advocate for your students, but you seem well suited to that. Maybe you just need to go in a slightly different direction.

Good luck!
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Old 04-10-2021, 11:00 PM
 
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Thank you so much to everyone that has responded and provided me advice. You all are so supportive and sweet. Recently I have been seeing my classmates progress to long term sub positions and post on social media how excited they are to work with their students/have their own classrooms. I can't help it but feel a bit jealous and sad that I am not that enthusiastic I wish I had something I was very passionate about to announce to people. I WISH I could be that person that absolutely LOVED teaching and was so excited but the reality is that I am not that excited. I feel like a fake.
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Old 04-11-2021, 03:41 PM
 
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While I'm sure that much of what your classmates is true, I also suspect that they don't post about their challenges and mistakes for all the world to see.

I think that some on social media is posted for the enticement of possible future employers. Some is whistling in the dark, to project the best self-- as self-encouragement.

There have been a few brave veteran teachers who have posted things like
"The rest of my classroom not in the photograph"
"How long it took me to set up the perfect bulletin board and what it looked like after a day with my students."
"My desk before and after I set it up for parent's night."
etc.

If it is any consolation, I've been assured that many people, especially those who are seen as very competent by others, are concerned that a they will be found out. That they are not what others believe them to be. We are all faking and tap dancing our way through life, doing the best we can and hoping not to fall on our faces.

The teachers I've known who are totally self-assured and convinced of their skills and knowledge don't grow and sometimes are despots in the classroom.
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