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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Parents are pressing me to choose a career towards which I will direct my next 3 (possibly 4) years of education. I am currently doing a bachelors in english at UBC. Very strong in the humanities, not so much in maths and sciences!!!

Anyways the possiblility of teaching has come up a lot in these stupid stupid 'career planning talks' with the parents. From the female standpoint whats not to like. You bring in decent supplementary income once your career gets rolling and summers off with the kids.

What I am finding intimidating however is the 30,000 in student loans I will rack up and crappy first ten years of your career where you spend 5 years TOC-ing because nobody wants you and when you finally do find someone who can take you you are 28, probably still paying loans thanks to the (lack of) TOC-ing and finally starting out at the exhilarating 40,000/year that you could have been making for the last 5 years had you chosen to work in a cubicle downtown.

In response to the personality aspect of the job, yes I would consider myself thoroughly childproofed and have worked quite a few jobs (including 2 months as a summer camp counsellor) with kids.

Thoughts? Comments? Advice?
 

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Well, I'm not the best at dropping pearls of wisdom, but I can tell you about my experience with teaching. I worked in education for a few years before deciding to change careers. The big mistake I made was that I went into the B Ed. program without properly researching what teaching jobs actually involve. It's not exactly a job where you can punch out and forget work for the rest of the day; you bring a lot of work home with you (at least I did). Honestly, the money to workload ratio isn't the best, especially in the early years... don't go into it for the money :D

One of the little things that got to me was that the job quickly gets repetitive. If you're teaching in highschools you will often teach the same lesson five times a day. I was also constantly repeating instructions/advice over and over again... because that repetition is how you get kids to remember. It kind of wore me down. And highschool is a weird culture; if you can relate to teens then you'll be fine, but for me it was draining to deal with kids who seemingly let nonsense run their lives. On top of it, there were the unfortunate kids who had serious issues, and that can really get to you too.

I enjoyed elementary aged kids better; much simpler minds and it's easier to have patience with them. I also found the younger kids much more responsive to routine and structure in terms of classroom management.

I know it sounds like I detest the career, but there were aspects that I really enjoyed. This will sound corny, but many times a day you will make a difference in a young life (albeit a small difference at times), and I kid you not it feels AWESOME. Most of my mentors would tell me that's what keeps you doing it for decades.

Anyway, I guess the big is to not jump into it because you have nothing else to do or because your pressured into getting your career on track (that's my mistake). Make the time and effort to research the job.

Wow, sorry for the long read! But I hope this was somewhat helpful...
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the advice! All very valuable... I never thought about the repetition involved. Certainly helps me choose between elementary and high school.
 

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Anyway, I guess the big is to not jump into it because you have nothing else to do or because your pressured into getting your career on track (that's my mistake). Make the time and effort to research the job.
That is probably the best advice....

I went into Engineering school cause my parents wanted me to and didn't know what else to take. After graduating from Mech Engineering (20K in debt), I realized that I wasn't really interested in that vocation and I was lucky that I was able to change career.

As for teaching...IMO it takes a certain type of person\personallity (plenty of patience) to do it. I taught a couple of Engineering classes at a Community college for semester and realized that I was not wired to do that.
 

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Kelly, Here is my experience.

I have always chased the higher income in the short term. Personally I think I have ended up worse off. This has kept me in the blue collar jobs. I have even lost the highest paying job i've ever had because I wouldn't accept a 65% pay cut (long story, yes we sued and won, but still worse off). I am currently in a blue collar "high energy" job that burns out people in their 20's. I am now 44 and have 20 or so years to figure out my retirement.

My advise to you to, is to spend the time in school, get the higher education, and learn multiple skill sets, this includes other languages. Make yourself "one of a kind" in your field, and work hard to stand out. On the language issue, your competitors for your future career, will mostly be immigrants or children of immigrants who can speak 2 or more languages. If English is your only language you are going to be behind right out of the starting blocks.

I hope this helps your decision, if you have more questions ask. There are hundreds of people here with different experinces to help you.

Steve
 

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I know of several experienced out of work teachers in greater vancouver, unless you are willing to work in northern/rural B.C. for a few years to establish your carreer dont even think about it. A far better, higher paying carreer would be for the rcmp or Van city police , or get into nursing or some sort of specialty health diagnostic field. Also dont discount the trades there are far too few women in the trades and as a trades person you can make a decent living and or alter your path to go into buisness for your self .
 

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I agree with RescuePenguin, specialize. A girl I went to highschool with became a music teacher. She got a ft job right out of University, working at a highschool. If you're just your average all skills teacher, you're in for a long long walk.

Acipenser also has some good advice. I work in warehousing and out of 400 employees I am one of three females that do what I do. The rest are in the offices. As a blue collar worker, I make a great living. Unionized shops are helpful :)

Like the main advice, think hard about what YOU actually want to do and what will make you happy. If you don't like your job, it doesn't matter how much you make at it. Keep that in mind :)

GOOD LUCK!
 

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I know many new teachers and the key to getting a job quickly is to have some kind of specialization. General skills will just cause you to be in that never ending line to get a ft job. Not to mention all the recent teachers laid off that will just push new teachers further down the line.
 

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I'm not sure if becoming a teacher is the best decision wright now as the government recently announced that there will be alot of cut backs. Including teachers loosing their jobs due to funding. If you want to work with children then maybe get your E.C.E. and work at a licensed group daycare or preschool. It pays $14.00-18.00 a hour and the course is about $5,000.00 which takes 2-3 years. You could even run your own daycare and be your own boss like me which is the best!

Do whatever you are passionate about and not what someone else wants you to do.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for all the thoughts and advice guys!

I have been doing research all weekend... my mom also suggested the idea of teaching at an independant school, which really piqued my interest having, completed my last 2 years of high school at one and really having loved the environment & philosophy on education there. Same time off (well a little less), you teach kids who actually want to learn, pay vs. public schools is reaching or at parity and your kids get discounted tuition. I also graduated my high school in pretty good standing as far as academics, relationships with the teachers, headmaster, etc. and am pretty confident I would get an awesome reference from the headmaster at the very least, if not a position there when one comes up. Nothing to count on, I know but still.

Seems like a lot of school districts are not even considering teachers who don't specialise in French, Math or Chemistry so I guess I am minoring in French now lol! I looked on my old high school's website and guess what the only job posting they had was: French!

I think the best route for me ATM would be to complete my B.A. with courses that get me into teachers college and then if I wanna go get a B.Ed when I graduate I can go ahead and do that.
 

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Sounds good, don't forget religious schools too. Most of the major religions have private schools in the lower mainland. It seams that you are focused on teaching. If you want to teach college and university it will require a doctorate degree.

Steve
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Yeah thats the other thing. Thats the huge thing that I forgot about. I really like how you can continue your education while you teach... heck I had a kindergarten teacher who was getting his masters degree! Also you can kind of hop in / hop out for a few years without too many consequences. I would definitely like to try a few different fields/levels if I choose a career in education.
 

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I am an academic tutor and I love it. I am my own boss & if I can't stand a student, I don't have to teach that student. However, to find enough work as a tutor, its best to either have a specialty like Physics, Math, or Chemistry (all in high demand) or one of the languages.

(I'm a generalist, but its uncommon to be able to deal with a wide range of topics)

I also got accepted twice to SFU's PDP (teaching) program but decided not to accept after figuring out that I can't stand the politics that come with being a teacher in the public school system in BC. Also, with all the school closures & layoffs, there are too many experienced teachers out there looking for work around here to make finding a ft position a likely prospect.

I also worked as a substitute teacher up in Powell River in the middle & elementary schools & loved it but its very sporadic work & you are mostly an over-qualified babysitter since you're only subbing & not actually making up the lesson plans. I personally preferred teaching elementary but some of the middle school classes were a lot of fun as well. However, if you like structure and to plan your days/weeks, then you'll hate the uncertainty of being a TOC.

I also subbed as an instructor at Malaspina College-University & that was great. Again, the worst part is how sporadic the work can be.

Anthony
 

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I think it's great that you are giving some thought and doing research into what you want to do. Planning is great - also keep in mind as you gain more experience, you may find out new things about yourself and what you enjoy doing (and not doing). These days, many people (especially the younger ones) don't expect to just have one career. IMO, it's great when people find something that really sparks them. If that is teaching, that's great - in my university years, I knew A LOT of students who went into teaching as a default career. That's not necessarily a bad thing - it's called reality, paying the bills, etc. - but with my friends who always wanted to teach, you could hear the (initial) excitement in their voices. Those are the teachers I want for my kid :)

I have a bachelors and master degree in business - and work in the corporate human resources world. Yes, there are people who come into careers with direct education and experience but some enter with related education or experience. For example, if you enjoy teaching in general, I know people who have switched from teaching in schools to training in the corporate world. I guess what I am saying is that your future holds many possibilities. Yes, for some, they prefer one career path and change is not something they are comfortable with... but for others, there are several options.

All the best!
 

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Thoughts from a high school biology teacher

I'ver read the thread with great interest and since no practicing teacher has responded, I thought I would throw in my 2 cents. I'll use point form since it will be faster.

ADVANTAGES

1. Teaching is not really as monotonous as inspecting 12,000 chickens on a line in the slaughter house or 300 beef or 1300 hogs. I've done it and prefer teaching! Good experience in animal pathology and learning to use a knife, though.

2. Getting a teaching certificate hopefully makes you more qualified for other positions such as a training officer in industry etc.

3. B.C. teaching certificates are recognized internationally so if you want to teach overseas on exchange or travel, it gives you that advantage.

4. Currently, we do have a 2 month break in the summer so we can travel or pursue hobbies.

5. You are your own boss (more or less) in the classroom. You have the latitude to cover the curriculum as you see fit.

6. High school is challenging in some ways but you only see any particular student for 1 1/2 h or less each day and then only for 1 semester. Elementary, you see the same troublesome student each and every day for the WHOLE year!

7. Private schools may sound better than public but keep in mind that you are not protected by seniority or a union. I had spoken to a headmaster at a private school and he said that he had to fire an excellent teacher because a parent (influential, of course) complained that their child was not getting the mark the parent thought they should!

8. You do make a difference in someone's life and they come back and visit and tell you as much.

9. After 18 years, I still have more good days than bad... and it never gets boring in the sense that you interact with so many different people and it IS rewarding when you look back over your life.

DISADVANTAGES

1. Unmotivated students can be frustrating.
2. It can be stressful. I have little hair left.
3. Parents can be "trying" at times.
4. Government policies don't always make sense.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks so much for your thoughts everyone, and keep it coming! The career of teaching is suddenly becoming a lot more multi-dimensional and versatile than I once thought it was. All these ideas are realllly helpful to me in making my decision... I will definitely pursue my bachelors degree in a tack that qualifies me for a degree in education. Also I need to see about volunteering in a classroom to get a feel for it... hmm.

Thanks so much everyone and again, keep it coming!
 

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One additional thought. If you are going to invest 4 years to get a general Bachelor's degree, a teaching certificate will only "cost" you one additional year. Compared to the 4 years, its actually not a bad investment since it will set you apart from the masses when it comes to employment. It also gives you something tangible to fall back on and opens up more options for you. Good luck with the decision making. :)
 

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Kelly 528,


I am a teacher of 10 years and now have a administrative role on top of my classroom teaching. Here's few things:

Teaching is largely about relationships with students and staff. If you're not cut out to do it, it'll kill you and you will resent your choice. I would suggest volunteering in a school with a variety of age ranges. You will need volunteer hours anyway. I put in a lot of hours..outdoor education trips, coaching, and regular classroom instruction, but I wouldn't have it any other way. It is also very interesting. We play floor hockey, read great novels, raise wild salmon in our classroom etc. etc.



My 2 cents

Hammer
 
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