I don't really know what I'm asking. Just for your thoughts, I guess.
Lately, so many teachers I know have chosen other jobs in the field. In fact, nearly all of the teachers I know are not in a classroom anymore (at least not below college level). First of all, there are all my education professors, most of whom taught in public schools for years. My mom works at an internet academy for the local school district. My mentor became an administrator this year. My other mentor is a librarian. Two other wonderful teachers I know are librarians.
I'm just trying to figure out why so many the teachers who are really passionate about education and really good at what they do get out when they can. It's making me doubt whether I'll be in it for the long run. I'm afraid of ending up a statistic (the 50% who leave in 5 years). I realize that teaching is overwhelming, exhausting, challenging work. But is it so harrowing, even after 5-10 years, that most people have to leave?
I don't really know what I'm asking. Just for your thoughts, I guess.
One of my education professors left the classroom after only a few years. She said she had such high expectations for her students that she burned herself out trying to get her students to reach those goals. I think that as a teacher you have to be realistic. While your goal should be to reach every student and to have every student succeed in your classroom, you also have to realize that this is an impossible goal. It doesn't mean you don't try, it just means you can't burn yourself out trying to get your studetns to meet your expectations. You need to balance your ideals with the everyday realities of the classroom.
I can only speak for my own experience, in that the first year is really hard--especially since I devoted 6 years of college education to getting my masters. I don't feel my practicum/masters prepared me enough, and am having classroom management problems in my class. I really want to be a teacher, but it is a huge challange. I will stick with it, but eventually would like to get into a administrator role or working for a government agency (unless teaching gets a lot better). I am finding a lack of support with the administration and parents. For every hour I teach, I plan three hours (though I only get paid for teaching hours). Not to mention chaperoning trips, conferences, extra meetings. I think if the school districts implemented steady mentoring programs for first year teachers the senerio will be much better. (My mom left the classroom after only teaching for 2 years. She's a perfectionist and felt that she was not good at teaching. Like me and other new teachers she was given difficult classes and recieved poor reviews, with no helpful teaching advice.) For me, I've always wanted to be a teacher, went for my masters, and now in the classroom am questioning myself and feeling unconfident. Of course teaching you only ever hear the negative comments-complaining parents, do this, do that, your students didn't do this or that, so you start feeling really bad about your teaching. If there was a veteran teacher to assist new teachers, help them with management and lesson planning, and "support groups" for new teachers I think many more would stay in the classroom. Also I think it is imperative for school principals to understand the challanges new teachers face, and offer them assistance as well--just support, and sticking to the new teachers side. Maybe the first year will be a difficult one, but in the end it will pay off! I am lucky in that my direct supervisor is a super person and helping me like this. Why are you asking? Are you a new teacher?
I am a new teacher, yes. I don't have a full time teaching job (I am a sub). I am experiencing a major lack of confidence, for a few reasons:
1. I didn't get a job this year, despite having "connections" and putting my best foot forward...meanwhile, about 2/3 of my colleagues at WSU did, and I see them all the time...it's only a matter of time before I sub for them, in fact.
2. Classroom management has always been my weak point, and every day I struggle with it.
3. I get no feedback at all...I never know how I did...even returning to the same school repeatedly doesn't yield any feedback.
4. It's been a long time since I've felt like I'm really good at something...all I've been doing lately is teaching and taking graduate classes...and I know I'm not good at teaching yet!
It's hard to stay positive at times, and I don't know if it will be any easier when I'm a full time teacher.
I'm also in my first year of teaching. Fortunately, I have a teacher across the hall who teaches the same grades as I do, and we co-teach one class. So we connect quite a few times during the day. If your school doesn't provide a mentoring program, seek out a teacher yourself. I think many teachers would be willing to help if you just ask.
As far as classroom managment goes, I'm far from perfect but I'm learning a lot. When a lesson flops I try to see it as a learning experience. Like Einstein said, you haven't failed, you've just found a way that doesn't work (or words to that effect).
Yesterday, I had a really bad day. Two students were using their cell phones in my class to call my extension, then hanging up when I answered. I called the dean of students and they were given ISS. It was my first major problem (and the first time I've had to call the dean). I went home feeling frustrated, but today I had a great day. When you have bad days, try to remember the good days. When two boys act up, remember the 24 students that didn't.
Hope this helps.
Do other countries (apart from NZ) have a "Beginning Teacher Program"?
We start on 0.8 for our first year, 0.1 being taken up with a BT program. We get the support from the BT Liason teacher. Apparently we get to go to discussions with other BT's who "share ideas" (ie moan) about issues. We also learn about the school and how the rules all fit in etc.
In our second year we are on 0.9 and get a non-contact a week to complete the BT program.
THEN... at the end of two years of continuous teaching, provided we can give evidence of the BT program we then become fully registered in stead of provisionally registered.
And then all the good techers take off overseas contributing to the brain drain :-)
As someone who is grappling with this decision right now I can give you my reasons.
My wife and I were both teaching and loved it. Our first son was born and he went to daycare. It was a nightmare. He was an active baby who demanded a lot of attention. To supress him they would feed him two days worth of breast milk in one day or less, and then call my wife at work to express and bring more. It was a real horrible decision but we diecided that for our son's sake she would need to stay home. This was three years ago. We tried four other baby sitters before he was 1 but none could handle the little guy. I'm not exagerating. Needless to say we went from two incomes to one. I went to school to get my masters to increase my salary. It did not help enough, and now our district is in financial ruins over the building of a monsterous sports complex. We won't see a step raise for at least 8 years. SO basically I do not make enough to live off.
In the US we are told that if we work hard and pay our dues we can climb the ladder of success. This is not true in education. In education if you work hard and pay your dues you are given more work to do but no pay increase to go along with it. The only way to get ahead in education is to leave the classroom, or pay money to take classes. In the administrator arena you can move up if you work hard.
For me, the reason I am about to leave the classroom is money, or should I say the survival of my family.
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We are glad to have you here and posting, but it would be great if you'd tell us what you think in the actual thread and not just reference us to your newsletter.
Thanks for your help!
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