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amother




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Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 5:57 pm
I'm thinking about transitioning careers. I'm old to be starting out as a teacher, near 40, but I'm burnt out in my current career. I have an advanced degree and can qualify.

There are things about teaching that appeal to me, like influencing kids, being a role model, I love explaining things and making complicated issues understandable.

As far as public school, there's job security, summers off, pension, ending the day at 4.

But I'm nervous about being able to control a classroom, issues I'm not experienced with like possible neglect or abuse at home, and under-estimating the amount of time spent outside the classroom. (I've taught college level, where I did not have the first two of those issues.)

I very much appreciate any and all advice.
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amother




Gold


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:00 pm
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Last edited by amother on Mon, Feb 11 2019, 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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amother




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Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:04 pm
smileforamile wrote:
Yep, I hate it. I have a very hard time with classroom management. Don't underestimate the amount of time spent outside the classroom -- it's a TON! Also, all the stuff with admin and the hoops they expect us to jump through...

High schoolers are like middle schoolers in disguise, in terms of how I am expected to teach them. I need to do projects and use manipulatives and do bulletin boards and make everything all fancy and fun for them. I didn't choose to teach high school to be a kindergarten teacher all over again, but that's what I feel like most of the time.

Sorry, I'm venting here. I seriously want to switch jobs.


Oy I'm sorry! But thank you, really appreciate this perspective!

If you switched, would you want to stay in education?
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amother




Gold


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:05 pm
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Last edited by amother on Mon, Feb 11 2019, 11:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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amother




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Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:10 pm
smileforamile wrote:
No, I just don't think I'm cut out for the classroom, unless it was college.


Got it, thanks again. And good luck!
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icedcoffee




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:18 pm
Hey! This is my fourth year teaching in the NYC public school system. I will say, there are a lot of things I like about my job. And right off the bat, the hours are good, the breaks are good, the salary and benefits are good.

However, there is a lot that is extremely stressful and exhausting. The turnover rate is high for a reason. Many people come in with those idealistic expectations - being a role model, helping kids love learning - and become jaded. Classroom management, especially in your first few years, is incredibly difficult to master and often becomes the majority of your daily focus. It's possible you will end up at a great school. But most new teachers start off in not-great schools. My first year, I would get cursed out on a daily basis. My wallet was stolen. I got shoved into walls. I dealt with parents who don't care, chronic absenteeism (you try explaining to your principal why you didn't do more to pass the kid who came one time in one month), etc. And like you said, their home situations are very challenging. I called one parent a few weeks ago and the second I introduced myself as her daughter's teacher, she said "that b*tch is not my problem, she's your problem now, never call me again." Ok then!!!! This is not even an uncommon occurrence.

Now, I'm at a much better school, but there are still daily struggles. My classroom management has gotten MUCH better, but there are still kids who will be extremely disrespectful, never do their work, etc and you are responsible for all of them. Your superintendent is going to be putting a lot pressure on your principal, who is putting a lot of pressure on your assistant principal, who is then putting a lot of pressure on you. The amount of bureaucracy and paperwork is ridiculous. Surprise observations and write-ups are a nightmare. And while I definitely fantasized about having wonderful, inspiring discussions of English literature and getting students to love books, the reality is that many students in the NYC public schools are well below grade level. Many students do not know how to write a paragraph when they come to me in 9th grade. We spend a LOT of time on the basics.

That being said, I like my job. Now that it's my fourth year, I feel like I truly know what I'm doing (most people say it takes 3-5 years for that to happen) and it's much easier for me to form real relationships with the students. I know that I'm good at what I do, and I know I'm improving. I like being a part of my school community. But the burn out is SO real. Your school/administration will make or break your experience, but even at the best schools, it's a stressful lifestyle.
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Cheiny




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:32 pm
icedcoffee wrote:
Hey! This is my fourth year teaching in the NYC public school system. I will say, there are a lot of things I like about my job. And right off the bat, the hours are good, the breaks are good, the salary and benefits are good.

However, there is a lot that is extremely stressful and exhausting. The turnover rate is high for a reason. Many people come in with those idealistic expectations - being a role model, helping kids love learning - and become jaded. Classroom management, especially in your first few years, is incredibly difficult to master and often becomes the majority of your daily focus. It's possible you will end up at a great school. But most new teachers start off in not-great schools. My first year, I would get cursed out on a daily basis. My wallet was stolen. I got shoved into walls. I dealt with parents who don't care, chronic absenteeism (you try explaining to your principal why you didn't do more to pass the kid who came one time in one month), etc. And like you said, their home situations are very challenging. I called one parent a few weeks ago and the second I introduced myself as her daughter's teacher, she said "that b*tch is not my problem, she's your problem now, never call me again." Ok then!!!! This is not even an uncommon occurrence.

Now, I'm at a much better school, but there are still daily struggles. My classroom management has gotten MUCH better, but there are still kids who will be extremely disrespectful, never do their work, etc and you are responsible for all of them. Your superintendent is going to be putting a lot pressure on your principal, who is putting a lot of pressure on your assistant principal, who is then putting a lot of pressure on you. The amount of bureaucracy and paperwork is ridiculous. Surprise observations and write-ups are a nightmare. And while I definitely fantasized about having wonderful, inspiring discussions of English literature and getting students to love books, the reality is that many students in the NYC public schools are well below grade level. Many students do not know how to write a paragraph when they come to me in 9th grade. We spend a LOT of time on the basics.

That being said, I like my job. Now that it's my fourth year, I feel like I truly know what I'm doing (most people say it takes 3-5 years for that to happen) and it's much easier for me to form real relationships with the students. I know that I'm good at what I do, and I know I'm improving. I like being a part of my school community. But the burn out is SO real. Your school/administration will make or break your experience, but even at the best schools, it's a stressful lifestyle.


Oh gosh...makes me appreciate our Yeshiva system and the difference between them all the more!
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Frumwithallergies




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:35 pm
IcedCoffee, you are inspirational! I'm glad there are teachers early in their teaching careers who sound as great as you!!!
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groisamomma




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:42 pm
OP, where are you located? Outside of NYC the public schools are a whole different world!! I'm in a middle school, not high school, but if I had to put up with what the amothers above me are saying then I wouldn't last one month.

There are actually districts like mine (high school included!) where teachers love what they do and really do make a difference. Don't make a career decision based on NYC schools. They're war zones.
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:44 pm
icedcoffee wrote:
Hey! This is my fourth year teaching in the NYC public school system. I will say, there are a lot of things I like about my job. And right off the bat, the hours are good, the breaks are good, the salary and benefits are good.

However, there is a lot that is extremely stressful and exhausting. The turnover rate is high for a reason. Many people come in with those idealistic expectations - being a role model, helping kids love learning - and become jaded. Classroom management, especially in your first few years, is incredibly difficult to master and often becomes the majority of your daily focus. It's possible you will end up at a great school. But most new teachers start off in not-great schools. My first year, I would get cursed out on a daily basis. My wallet was stolen. I got shoved into walls. I dealt with parents who don't care, chronic absenteeism (you try explaining to your principal why you didn't do more to pass the kid who came one time in one month), etc. And like you said, their home situations are very challenging. I called one parent a few weeks ago and the second I introduced myself as her daughter's teacher, she said "that b*tch is not my problem, she's your problem now, never call me again." Ok then!!!! This is not even an uncommon occurrence.

Now, I'm at a much better school, but there are still daily struggles. My classroom management has gotten MUCH better, but there are still kids who will be extremely disrespectful, never do their work, etc and you are responsible for all of them. Your superintendent is going to be putting a lot pressure on your principal, who is putting a lot of pressure on your assistant principal, who is then putting a lot of pressure on you. The amount of bureaucracy and paperwork is ridiculous. Surprise observations and write-ups are a nightmare. And while I definitely fantasized about having wonderful, inspiring discussions of English literature and getting students to love books, the reality is that many students in the NYC public schools are well below grade level. Many students do not know how to write a paragraph when they come to me in 9th grade. We spend a LOT of time on the basics.

That being said, I like my job. Now that it's my fourth year, I feel like I truly know what I'm doing (most people say it takes 3-5 years for that to happen) and it's much easier for me to form real relationships with the students. I know that I'm good at what I do, and I know I'm improving. I like being a part of my school community. But the burn out is SO real. Your school/administration will make or break your experience, but even at the best schools, it's a stressful lifestyle.


Some of those stories, Surprised

Thank you so much for this response, you painted a clear picture. It sounds like if you can make it through the first few difficult years, and then get transferred to a better school, it can get a lot easier. I'm still trying to wrap my head around what your student's mother said on the phone!
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morah.coffee




 
 
 


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 6:49 pm
My mother is a NYC public high school teacher for 20 years. Though she definitely works really hard, has had many stressful moments and complaints she absolutely loves her job. Can't give you much more information, as I am not the one doing her job, but as you can see from my user she definitely inspired a love for teaching in me, though I do not teach in public school.
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:03 pm
morah.coffee wrote:
My mother is a NYC public high school teacher for 20 years. Though she definitely works really hard, has had many stressful moments and complaints she absolutely loves her job. Can't give you much more information, as I am not the one doing her job, but as you can see from my user she definitely inspired a love for teaching in me, though I do not teach in public school.


That's good to hear! My mother in law is also a retired teacher, but at the time she retired, she was extremely burnt out and unhappy
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:09 pm
groisamomma wrote:
OP, where are you located? Outside of NYC the public schools are a whole different world!! I'm in a middle school, not high school, but if I had to put up with what the amothers above me are saying then I wouldn't last one month.

There are actually districts like mine (high school included!) where teachers love what they do and really do make a difference. Don't make a career decision based on NYC schools. They're war zones.


Oh I didn't know that. That's also good to hear!

This is probably a really dumb question, but how do you get those placements? Is the school you get, based on where you live? I wouldn't mind some traveling
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amother




Ivory


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:22 pm
I teach public middle. Like someone else said, in the suburbs it's a different story. I teach in an upper middle class district and my challenges are different (dealing with entitled kids and demanding, enabling parents), but nowhere near as difficult on a daily basis than inner city. Classroom management isn't easy for new teachers where I work either, but I have support and resources. If you're coming from teaching college I think the 2 main differences will be working with parents (or not, depending where you are) and what is expected in your lessons. Where I teach lecturing is frowned upon and depending on the content, project based learning and workshop models are popular.
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amother




Gold


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 7:50 pm
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Last edited by amother on Mon, Feb 11 2019, 11:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:10 pm
smileforamile wrote:
Just pointing out, someone who started 20 years ago is worlds apart from someone starting now. It used to be that you got tenure just for breathing. Your observations were "S" or "U." You could have a lesson plan written on a napkin, no one cared. At this point, no one is really starting up with the veteran teachers. I see teachers who still do the same old chalk and talk, but somehow they still manage to get effective ratings. No one checks up on them too closely.

Now, you need to create a portfolio to prove that you've grown as a teacher, and it takes a minimum of 4 years to earn tenure. It's a rigorous process, and the principals have the majority of the power, although the superintendent's office has the final decision. It can take years to get tenure if you're with a principal who makes you jump through hoops to get it.

By the way, the pension also requires us to put in a lot more money than it used to. Tier VI pension is not the same as the older tiers.


This is also good information for me, I didn't realize this either. What kinds of things can a difficult principal do to make you earn tenure?
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amother




Gold


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:16 pm
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amother




Gold


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:19 pm
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Last edited by amother on Mon, Feb 11 2019, 11:50 am; edited 1 time in total
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:20 pm
smileforamile wrote:
Well, let me give you an example. In my old school, almost all the men got tenure on their first try, whereas women were extended 1-2 times before she relented. Her explanations were things like "your curriculum isn't aligned enough" or stupid things like that. It was obvious that she favored men over women.

I've heard stories of principals with a vendetta recommending discontinuance, which they have the power to do. Again, the decision is ultimately the superintendent's, so if they're recommending discontinuance, they need to back it up. But usually the principal got the job in the first place because s/he had an in with the superintendent, so the super tends to back up the principal.

The whole process is nerve-wracking and time-consuming. The principals can hold tenure like a hatchet over your head.


Goodness! I remember my mother in law complaining a lot about politics (not related to tenure though)
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amother




Pumpkin


Post  Mon, Feb 04 2019, 8:28 pm
smileforamile wrote:
In order to teach in a different state, you need to get teaching certification in that state. It's often hard to transfer certification- a lot of times they'll make you re-take the tests.

At least within the NYC DOE, there is no "placement." You apply to the DOE, you go through their background check, and once you're accepted, you look for a job. You can find jobs on the open market (opens in April), but often schools will just rely on word of mouth, so try to find people who are in the system and see if they know of openings.

I don't know how New Jersey or New York State schools outside NYC work.


Thank you so much for explaining this!
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