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Old 03-03-2013, 03:20 PM   #21
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My history is 25 years in industry followed by a return to school and now working at State U. I wouldn't call teaching easier, per se, but it is different and a change of pace after the years in industry. There is also more flexibility to elect a less than 100% full time role, which is not as easy in industry, IMHO. I haven't made the move to less the 100%, but would like to have the option to move that direction in the future.
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Old 03-03-2013, 03:44 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mulligan View Post

Teaching can be a lot like real estate. Location, location, location. Small rural schools where the biggest offense of the day can be a kid trying to sneak a peek at his cell phone to inner city schools, where teachers will just quit in the middle of the year because it's just too crazy. Lot of other variables in play, too. I would guess total hours you are correct factoring in the year long pressure with no down time, but stress/frustration can surface in education, also. Most first year teachers are frazzled by the end of the year. Part-time college teaching would have to be the easier route.
+1

Teaching is not an 8-5 job if done right.
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"Nobody Should Have to Work This Hard!"
Old 03-03-2013, 05:33 PM   #23
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"Nobody Should Have to Work This Hard!"

Fascinating to read these posts, after retiring last June from 33 years of teaching English: college composition/lit. part-time for five years (in community colleges and four-year universities), also supervising student teachers for a university ed./certification program.

At the high school level, I....

taught all grades, remedial to honors/AP;
served as dept. chair and school accreditation coordinator;
mentored new teachers in a variety of subjects;
coached Academic Challenge, cheerleaders and songleaders;
advised the literary magazine;
taught Upward Bound in the summers, for disadvantaged students with academic promise.

When I help the new teachers, whether 22 years old or second career newcomers, their assessment of the job by Oct. or Nov. is "What have I gotten myself into? I've never had to work this hard in my life."

Granted, though, these are usually new teachers who truly want to make a difference: reach kids, motivate/encourage parents, help the administration make the school a better place----------overall, very altruistic people. Sadly, the reality can be painful.

Back when I earned my initial credential in the 70's, we were advised, "Don't stay in one school too long. Move around a bit, to see what different places are like." I took them up on that, and never regretted it.

So, Years 1-3, I taught in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Great experience, though had to deal with pot-growing parents, some "redneck elements," but also families who had moved their kids up there to get them out of LA and the Bay Area. (So Dad flew to work Mon. and flew home Fri.)

After earning an MA and teaching college part-time for 5 years, I then taught 11 years in an affluent suburb in the Silicon Valley. A highly rated school district, very academic, but suffering CA ed. budget cuts (as do all schools across the state). Class sizes avg. 35-38; so a lot of us honors teachers asked to work part-time contracts, just to stay caught up with the paper load. (You can imagine what that does to the paycheck, not to mention service credit earned for retirement.) Essentially, we'd average 40 hrs./wk. easily, for part-time pay.

Moved to Ohio in the late 90's. Substitute taught for a year. Then finished off career with 12 yrs. in a well-respected Catholic high school, with a 50-year legacy of grateful alumni funding a healthy endowment. Another great place to teach.

But as I've mentored teachers in every setting, each new one says the same: "How can you work this hard for so many years?"

Granted, there was no teachers' union in the Catholic school; but, even in the SF Bay Area (where we had a union) I worked with people who were as dedicated as if they were in the Peace Corps. Though I also worked with unmotivated, "lazy" teachers in a couple settings, they generally were not the happy ones. They were the only ones I met who worked "8-3, with summers and weekends off."

I recommend the profession. But, when full time, I easily put in 70-80 hrs. a week. (Of course, English is known as the "worst" subject, due to all the essay grading. Yet I wouldn't trade the students' classroom discussions for anything.)

College teaching, part-time, could be "down-shifting" if you can afford to do it. For insights on its unique challenges, there is a website where hundreds of that faculty army share their concerns. I think it's called NewFacultyMajority. (Just google it; it will pop up.) The biggest drawback to these assignments is the low pay. (Here in the Midwest, they average about $1800/course for a semester. That's usually for 3 hrs./wk. in class. All your prep. time and grading are done gratis.) So when college instructors join the "freeway flyers," they cobble together a couple classes a week at each of 2-3 campuses in an effort to clear $20,000/yr. (No benefits such as health care or retirement.)

So, many of us who did this in our late 20's returned to teaching high school, since we wanted to be able to afford kids and/or mortgages.

I hope this is helpful. Teaching is a rewarding, inspiring profession, if you insist on the tenacity to battle its myriad drawbacks. It's not for the faint of heart. But, when you really reach a disinterested homeboy, fresh out of juvenile hall, who begs to read the part of Hamlet (because he can't stand his stepfather either), you eagerly show up the next morning. Who cares if the coffee is burned or the donuts stale?

It's a good way to spend one's years.
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Old 03-03-2013, 05:43 PM   #24
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Wonderful post, LitGal!

I think teaching is an underappreciated profession.
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Old 03-03-2013, 08:28 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by LitGal View Post
Fascinating to read these posts, after retiring last June from 33 years of teaching English: college composition/lit. part-time for five years (in community colleges and four-year universities), also supervising student teachers for a university ed./certification program.

At the high school level, I....

taught all grades, remedial to honors/AP;
served as dept. chair and school accreditation coordinator;
mentored new teachers in a variety of subjects;
coached Academic Challenge, cheerleaders and songleaders;
advised the literary magazine;
taught Upward Bound in the summers, for disadvantaged students with academic promise.

When I help the new teachers, whether 22 years old or second career newcomers, their assessment of the job by Oct. or Nov. is "What have I gotten myself into? I've never had to work this hard in my life."

Granted, though, these are usually new teachers who truly want to make a difference: reach kids, motivate/encourage parents, help the administration make the school a better place----------overall, very altruistic people. Sadly, the reality can be painful.

Back when I earned my initial credential in the 70's, we were advised, "Don't stay in one school too long. Move around a bit, to see what different places are like." I took them up on that, and never regretted it.

So, Years 1-3, I taught in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Great experience, though had to deal with pot-growing parents, some "redneck elements," but also families who had moved their kids up there to get them out of LA and the Bay Area. (So Dad flew to work Mon. and flew home Fri.)

After earning an MA and teaching college part-time for 5 years, I then taught 11 years in an affluent suburb in the Silicon Valley. A highly rated school district, very academic, but suffering CA ed. budget cuts (as do all schools across the state). Class sizes avg. 35-38; so a lot of us honors teachers asked to work part-time contracts, just to stay caught up with the paper load. (You can imagine what that does to the paycheck, not to mention service credit earned for retirement.) Essentially, we'd average 40 hrs./wk. easily, for part-time pay.

Moved to Ohio in the late 90's. Substitute taught for a year. Then finished off career with 12 yrs. in a well-respected Catholic high school, with a 50-year legacy of grateful alumni funding a healthy endowment. Another great place to teach.

But as I've mentored teachers in every setting, each new one says the same: "How can you work this hard for so many years?"

Granted, there was no teachers' union in the Catholic school; but, even in the SF Bay Area (where we had a union) I worked with people who were as dedicated as if they were in the Peace Corps. Though I also worked with unmotivated, "lazy" teachers in a couple settings, they generally were not the happy ones. They were the only ones I met who worked "8-3, with summers and weekends off."

I recommend the profession. But, when full time, I easily put in 70-80 hrs. a week. (Of course, English is known as the "worst" subject, due to all the essay grading. Yet I wouldn't trade the students' classroom discussions for anything.)

College teaching, part-time, could be "down-shifting" if you can afford to do it. For insights on its unique challenges, there is a website where hundreds of that faculty army share their concerns. I think it's called NewFacultyMajority. (Just google it; it will pop up.) The biggest drawback to these assignments is the low pay. (Here in the Midwest, they average about $1800/course for a semester. That's usually for 3 hrs./wk. in class. All your prep. time and grading are done gratis.) So when college instructors join the "freeway flyers," they cobble together a couple classes a week at each of 2-3 campuses in an effort to clear $20,000/yr. (No benefits such as health care or retirement.)

So, many of us who did this in our late 20's returned to teaching high school, since we wanted to be able to afford kids and/or mortgages.

I hope this is helpful. Teaching is a rewarding, inspiring profession, if you insist on the tenacity to battle its myriad drawbacks. It's not for the faint of heart. But, when you really reach a disinterested homeboy, fresh out of juvenile hall, who begs to read the part of Hamlet (because he can't stand his stepfather either), you eagerly show up the next morning. Who cares if the coffee is burned or the donuts stale?

It's a good way to spend one's years.
Been there, done that. Don't have the t-shirt, though. You spelled it out very well.

But of all the work I've done in my portfolio career, teaching was the best.
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Old 03-05-2013, 05:53 AM   #26
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As documented in other threads, I plan to be much more active as a volunteer abroad when I FIRE. I am the medical director of a couple of clinics in remote places in Central America. Going back to Guatemala in April, Ecuador in July and planning for a trip to the Altiplano in Bolivia in November.

A major downshift for me as there is no pay and I bear all the costs myself. But there is nothing like impacting the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of lives, during these trips.

I encourage everyone to do the same. Medicine does not need to be your area of expertise. Anyone can help by sending kids' shoes, clothes, vitamins. Even helping dig wells for the younger volunteers or helping build schools. Women are welcome to teach other women about disease prevention and keeping safe from abuse which is prevalent.

Wouldn't this type of activity give anyone a more enduring legacy than just doing mundane office work ? I bet it would.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tekward View Post
The question that I am pondering is ER to what? I can doubtlessly fill my time, but towards what end beyond self gratification? Along those lines of thought, I am considering leaving the corporate world to become a HS teacher. This would drop my pay by 2/3rds but avoid the ER cost of benefits. But my motivation is beyond the dollar calculations. I've had a good career but feel that it left little enduring legacy beyond being productive and providing for the family. I have worked with HS youth in a few venues (Big Brother, Leadership Camps) and found it enormously rewarding. I hope I can make a difference for some kids in these very challenging times.

Has anyone else downshifted to a bigger role in the community? Is a structured role more effective then other volunteer work? Lessons learned? Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:17 AM   #27
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Obgyn, what a generous and ambitious way to serve humanity. May these years be healing for the many patients you will meet, but also deeply rewarding for you. Thank you for serving the world with your talents!

Best wishes........and may you stay very healthy yourself!
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Old 03-05-2013, 06:35 PM   #28
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Thank you for your kind words.
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Originally Posted by LitGal View Post
Obgyn, what a generous and ambitious way to serve humanity. May these years be healing for the many patients you will meet, but also deeply rewarding for you. Thank you for serving the world with your talents!

Best wishes........and may you stay very healthy yourself!
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Old 03-06-2013, 11:29 PM   #29
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LitGal I loved your post! I have two educators in my immediate family and my aunt just retired from her long-held teaching position in the Dept of Juvenile Justice for our state. Teaching in prisons was something she believed in, by I could not imagine how she was able to do it for so long. I tell her all the time that she EARNed her state retirement package!

Thank you for your dedication to teaching. My sister teaches English at the college level and would agree with many of your sentiments.
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:31 AM   #30
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Wow, Sarah! The Dept. of Juvenile Justice? I've known a couple people who have done that: they truly have a special gift and calling. They beat the odds on tenacity, stamina, compassion, and sheer guts.

Our society certainly needs them; I hope the prison system can find enough teachers to replace your aunt. I hope they also gave her a great retirement party. (Maybe her students were included in that too?)
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