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Old 05-11-2020, 05:18 AM
 
Location: Uncharted island
329 posts, read 997,326 times
Reputation: 457

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Warning: Long Rant ahead. Using my chance to vent to let people know what’s going on in the education industry.

So the long-story-short version is: I was just let go by my school. But that’s actually not what I’m here to vent about. I know a lot of positions are being terminated due to COVID so I’m not looking for pity for myself. I just wanted to use this opportunity to finally let ANYBODY who’s thinking about becoming a teacher be fairly warned about what they’re getting themselves into.

So you may be thinking that your job as a lawyer/doctor/marketer/programmer/banker/whatever royally sucks and isn’t worth the stress, but don’t let that be the reason that you get into the [BLEEP] that is K-12 teaching. You might think that you’ve always wanted to do something wholesome and fulfilling like educating young kids, but that’s where you’d be terribly mistaken. You see, the education field is made up of people. Who are [BLEEP]. Not all of them. But I’d wager that if your current field is made up of ~20% [BLEEP] people, that percentage doesn’t magically change once you switch industries. You know why? Because the education industry is made up of people too. Who are [BLEEP]. Of course not all (or even the majority). But for some reason, they tend to concentrate in positions of leadership. Which means they can and do make your life [BLEEP].

So let’s talk about how I was a mid-year hire (aka the previous teacher quit midway through KNOWING what it could do to her career but did it anyways) and I inherited a dysfunctional mess. Ok, cool. You know what, I knew that going in. The odds were stacked against me, but I had my optimism as well as my deeply-held conviction that I got into teaching to help cultivate the impressionable young minds of today’s students and tomorrow’s leaders.

So let’s talk about Problem #1: The STUDENTS. I bet you assumed that they would be respectful and attentive. That they would know better than to physically hit you, a teacher. That they would know better than to start physical fights with other students in the middle of your lecture. That they wouldn’t disrupt your class so you can actually proceed along your schedule as planned. You might even think that this is the kind of “interesting challenge” you’d be ready to take on.

Oh your poor soul.

Unless you get the rich-people districts, you’re most likely going to have to start out at a lower-income public school/charter. High-performing districts are such creme-de-la-creme teaching posts that they get thousands of applications for every opening (read: you’re not getting it. at least not until you’ve put in a lot of time and gained the experience first).

So let’s talk about what kind of students you’re MORE likely to get: the downright disrespectful, rude, and entitled (who basically do NO work once word got out they couldn’t be failed due to COVID). You may think this is “cute” or “interesting” on Day 1 or even on Day 20, but this is not the kind of “interesting challenge” that you want to face day in and day out for years. It wears the best of us down, visibly aging some of my favorite teachers here. It’s just not worth that stress. Obviously, you can get stress from any profession out there. But honestly, go get paid better for it. They’re gradually doing away with all of our benefits and pensions, increasing our work hours, loading us down with more students per class, and making it impossible for us to enjoy our free time.

Which brings us to Problem #2: The PARENTS. Throughout the schoolyear, I had to deal with equally entitled parents who treated me like the enemy who “had it out” for their kid. The same parents who complained “why should a teacher get $45,000 a year? That's what we pay a grizzled war vet sergeant with 10 years of combat experience! And they defend our country!” The read-between-the-line message here? We want the best possible teacher for our kid, but we don’t want to pay for it. Be that star teacher right now, but we’re gonna vote against giving you benefits or increased pay. Oh, and we expect you to pay for classroom material out of your pocket too.

And then we get to the biggest [BLEEP] in the industry. Problem #3: The ADMINISTRATORS. The do-nothings. The responsibility-shirkers. The ones who kowtow to every unreasonable request (read: bullying) from parents and just pin it all on you, the teacher. The ones who try to look busy to their own bosses (state-level agencies/politicians) by assigning us more Professional Development classes (which are largely useless, a waste of time and money, and led by consultants who talk as if they haven’t been inside of a classroom in years). They are the literal equivalent of Michael Scott’s impromptu conference room “meetings” in The Office.

And finally, let’s talk about what it takes to be teacher today. I’ll start by saying that I can’t name another profession where literally everyone has a Masters degree. It’s pretty much a requirement for being a teacher these days. Never mind the costs associated. Also, the “published” hours of work, usually from 7 AM or so until 2 or 3PM? Yea, that’s total bullcrap. You’re not done at 2 or 3. It’s more like 5, 6 or 7PM. The actual number of hours you work, divided into your yearly salary, will probably put you at right around minimum wage. But that’s not all. You teach 5th grade math? Great, Admin wants to know if you can also teach 3rd grade math next year due to budget cuts.

Now, technically speaking, if you know 5th grade-level math, you know 3rd grade. Obviously. But what’s not so obvious is now you’ll need to devise a completely new curriculum to teach to a group of students who are at a different stage in their lives developmentally than what you’re used to. That minor difference changes everything. It’s just one of those things the monkeys in Admin just assume that you can do without really thinking these important details out. They give a rat’s ass about a student’s development, just as long as you can hit those test scores they want, a process called “teaching to the test” which is universally despised by educators.

So if you didn’t care to read through all that or want a nice little recap, I can give you the ABCs on it right here:

A) [BLEEP] students, B) [BLEEP] parents, C) [BLEEP] administrators, D) your livelihood ALWAYS the first on the chopping block when there’s budget problems (and even when there’s not), E) nobody truly respects this profession. They pay lip service. Might even reward you with a $20 coupon at the Italian restaurant in town. Then, they email you a notice that you’re being let go. That's what happened to me, but I digress.

Wasn’t there a time when Parents, Teachers, and Administrators teamed up together to raise a kid right? I feel like there used to be this unspoken-but-tacitly-agreed-upon alliance that helped raise smart capable and respectful students who were prepared for the world. Cuz we know that kids can be full of [BLEEP] and try to weasel out of every/anything. But back then, the teacher would tell the principal, who’d call the parent, who’d grab Johnny by the collar when he came home from school and ground him in his room until he finished his homework. Johnny would go to school the next day and behave himself because he knew that he could no longer get away with it.

But now? My school is going to let students who don’t fundamentally grasp Pre-algebra go onto Algebra I next year. What SHOULD happen is that they SHOULD be failed and made to repeat that grade until they can prove they understand the fundamentals. No, I don’t have some vendetta against your kid, Ma’am. It’s not a punishment. He’s Just Not Ready. Mr. Principal, please tell this lady that her son is going to struggle intensely next year if we let him pass. Wait…what? You’re going to let him pass? And you want me to “do everything I can” to make this happen? Are you serious?

I feel broken. I just moved here a few months ago and have my own [BLEEP] financial [BLEEP] to deal with. Like student loans, this year-long lease I have with a roommate here, and car payments for the car I needed to drive to the school that just let me go. I feel like there’s a war on teachers for some insane reason. Somehow we’re the bad guys. We apparently demand TOO much pay (lmao). We apparently don’t educate kids right. Admin and politicians set guidelines and rules that we KNOW don’t make sense, and when it doesn’t go right (surprise surprise) they look to US like it’s our fault.

The one silver lining (at least for me) in all of this is that I’m getting out of the profession for good. It takes 3-5 years to become a “good” teacher. That’s what they’ll tell you when you first get started. You begin to hit your stride around then and feel like you finally know what you’re doing. Which is awesome. Because it means that most of us will become adequately decent teachers with experience. But I’m getting out because no matter how good of a teacher you can become, it doesn’t change the fundamentally rotten core factors I summarized above from A through E. Everything is just so entirely out of your hands. And that’s no way to build a career. Or a life.

I think the biggest problem is just that we live in a country where only the people with money really value education. The other 80-90% just don’t see it. They vote against their own child’s interests because they’re too stupid to know any better.

Let the public education system fail. Let’s go full Atlas Shrugged on this [BLEEP] and see how they like it. Never mind that teachers literally build your child's human capital up in ways that bring immeasurable dividends for the rest of their lives…never mind the positive network effects that their increased intellect and output and productivity provides for others…

Rant over.

I’m not seeking your understanding, pity, or anything really. Probably will be many out there who will disagree with this, but I won’t respond or even read. Your truth is your own. And I honestly just don’t care.

I want to be productive with my rant, so it’s really just a big fat warning to anybody looking to become a teacher. I say, let society prove to you first that they deserve you. You will also gain the life experiences that enables you to become a better teacher as you get older anyway, so in the meantime, go make more money elsewhere.

Last edited by PJSaturn; 05-11-2020 at 04:51 PM.. Reason: Inappropriate language violations.
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Old 05-11-2020, 07:24 AM
 
4,718 posts, read 2,509,695 times
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You aren't alone. Here's a thread in the Education section called "Why Teachers Quit". I found it enlightening- and sad. We're all payng for this system with our tax dollars and for so many it isn't working. I was in one of the Cadillac school districts with the exorbitant property taxes to go with it but they pretty much let DS fall through the cracks- he was smart but not motivated and had a bit of ADD. They paid a lot of attention to the top and bottom 20% but not the middle 60%. I sent him to a private military boarding school. It was a miracle but those 4 years cost me the equivalent of a new SUV. And it was worth it! Here's the previous discussion.

https://www.city-data.com/forum/teac...hers-quit.html

I was a Math major and when people asked if I was planning ot teach, I said, "no way"- that was the early 1970s but I knew I couldn't control a classroom. DS was also a Math major and when he tried student teaching he loved the students but hated the bureaucracy. I had a great career as an actuary and DS is doing very well as a claims adjuster.

Is your degree in an area with transferable skills?
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:21 AM
 
5,294 posts, read 3,554,973 times
Reputation: 6947
Becoming a teacher is a bad idea. If you pursue higher education, you are making an initial investment in yourself to set yourself up for working for the next 40 years. If you just stop at high school, you will be working McJobs until you drop dead.

Fertility rates have been declining for decades. Therefore, the pipeline of future children who need education is declining. It's a much better career play to work with senior citizens than children. In the short run, Coronavirus is ripping through senior care centers. However, there are going to be more jobs in future decades in elder care than in K-12 education.

The whole teaching environment seems like a really bad way to spend life.
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Old 05-11-2020, 08:40 AM
 
Location: DFW/Texas
914 posts, read 940,749 times
Reputation: 3662
Wasn’t there a time when Parents, Teachers, and Administrators teamed up together to raise a kid right? I feel like there used to be this unspoken-but-tacitly-agreed-upon alliance that helped raise smart capable and respectful students who were prepared for the world. Cuz we know that kids can be full of [BLEEP] and try to weasel out of every/anything. But back then, the teacher would tell the principal, who’d call the parent, who’d grab Johnny by the collar when he came home from school and ground him in his room until he finished his homework. Johnny would go to school the next day and behave himself because he knew that he could no longer get away with it.

I think the biggest problem is just that we live in a country where only the people with money really value education. The other 80-90% just don’t see it. They vote against their own child’s interests because they’re too stupid to know any better.


Unfortunately, this is all pretty much true.

First, yes, for a long time teachers were actually respected and do you know why? Corporal punishment and a fundamental belief that teachers were smarter than parents- mainly because for years a mass majority of people in our country were, well, country people who did hard labor. Their own education levels were pretty low so when they sent their kids to school, you'd better believe that those parents respected the teachers and told their kids to do so, too, as they wanted their kids to have more education then they themselves had.

Second, teachers were allowed to dole out corporal punishment. Kid acting up in class? He got the paddle or the switch from the teacher and probably another punishment at home. It was accepted and expected that teachers would enforce good behavior via corporal punishment or using a dunce cap. Kids knew that they were not at the top of the food chain and that the adults in their lives were in charge. That has all changed. Kids now expect to be first in line for everything, especially the family line. Mom and Dad's job is to cater to their children and all of their needs and feelings at every moment.

IT. IS. PATHETIC.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you want better kids, become better parents. Period. Parents don't have to use physical punishment to get their kids in line- that's just what they did back in the day. It's about letting children know the pecking order and that can be done respectfully and with love/care. Children are not mentally or emotionally developed enough to be in charge of anything more than picking out what color socks to wear or how to do their homework. Of course, as they get older, their development changes but children truly do not have the ability to control or lead their own lives. If they did, we'd have 10 year-old doctors.

OP, I truly feel for you and it pi$$es me off when people act like teachers are just hanging out all day collecting a paycheck. I've experienced first-hand what it's like to have to deal with stupid a$$ parents and educational bureaucracy and it's maddening. How can a teacher be successful when so many parents refuse to respect them and act like they're doing them a favor by allowing their bratty kids to be in the classroom?

I really hope that you can find your place in all of this mess. There are places where being a teacher is still respected. Whether or not it's the "moneyed" communities remains to be seen, as having money doesn't mean a kid will be taught to be respectful. A different district may be worth pursuing and I wish you luck.

Last edited by PJSaturn; 05-11-2020 at 04:51 PM..
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:02 AM
 
1,561 posts, read 725,392 times
Reputation: 4328
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJ312 View Post
Becoming a teacher is a bad idea. If you pursue higher education, you are making an initial investment in yourself to set yourself up for working for the next 40 years. If you just stop at high school, you will be working McJobs until you drop dead.

Fertility rates have been declining for decades. Therefore, the pipeline of future children who need education is declining. It's a much better career play to work with senior citizens than children. In the short run, Coronavirus is ripping through senior care centers. However, there are going to be more jobs in future decades in elder care than in K-12 education.

The whole teaching environment seems like a really bad way to spend life.
Agree. I see that the nursing homes, long-term care centres have been growing and thriving. Even if you are an RN and ambitious, wanting to make money, you can have a permanent job and buy a large house and turn it into a little home care and take in a few seniors. Then you have your own business. I know a few co-workers who have been doing this. Yeah, they work very hard, but they make money.

I knew an RN who used to be a HS math teacher. She told me the HS students are very rude. She'd been teaching for a number of years, and she would like to change her career. So she went back to university for a couple of years and became an RN. She told me she loved working in the hospital. And she was aiming to get into the management. She seemed to have a great leadership at the time I was working with her.

I know lots of people don't want to be RNs though. Nursing is a tough job. But so are many other jobs. Whatever you do, you have to have passion for it from the beginning or prepare yourself to take whatever handed to you and learn to do it well, or when you find out bad things about the job, co-workers and management, all you can do is to change job.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Oregon
957 posts, read 398,282 times
Reputation: 635
Quote:
Originally Posted by RobinsonCrusoe View Post
[b]

I’m not seeking your understanding, pity, or anything really. Probably will be many out there who will disagree with this, but I won’t respond or even read. Your truth is your own. And I honestly just don’t care.

I want to be productive with my rant, so it’s really just a big fat warning to anybody looking to become a teacher. I say, let society prove to you first that they deserve you. You will also gain the life experiences that enables you to become a better teacher as you get older anyway, so in the meantime, go make more money elsewhere.
Wow!! I read through the whole thing and all I can say is WOW!! I am so so so very sorry!!

A long long time ago, I was an elementary education major. My Mom worked at a school where the 2nd grade teacher was leaving midway through the year (due to illness) and so they hired me as the 'assistant teacher'.

That was One whole summer... (it was a year around school)

In Sept when I went back to uni, I changed my major and swore NEVER AGAIN.

Later... as a parent I WANTED to homeschool my kids but realised I just didnt have it in me. (talk about a long reaching stigma!! lol)

Now during Covid...Im homeschooling my (4 year old) Granchild. About my speed.

Regardless... Im hoping that you are able to find a profession that appreciates all the good qualities you can bring to the table

Hang in there!!
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:41 AM
 
4,718 posts, read 2,509,695 times
Reputation: 12122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Berrie143 View Post
[b]

First, yes, for a long time teachers were actually respected and do you know why? Corporal punishment and a fundamental belief that teachers were smarter than parents- mainly because for years a mass majority of people in our country were, well, country people who did hard labor. Their own education levels were pretty low so when they sent their kids to school, you'd better believe that those parents respected the teachers and told their kids to do so, too, as they wanted their kids to have more education then they themselves had.
I don't think we need to go back to corporal punishment and I believe the educated parents can be good allies. What I'd like to see is the ability to expel kids who just don't want to be in school so they don't disrupt it for everyone else. I know we're hamstrung by laws that require that every kid gets a public school education at taxpayer expense.

My own son had his issues from being raised with a verbally abusive, alcoholic father till my divorce when DS was 12. He still floundered his last year in middle school after the divorce, which is why I sent him to NY Military Academy. Clearly he had the same parents, but there were some major differences. First, the parents at NYMA had worked to get their kids out of the public school system (some were on scholarship but the parents still had to have the motivation to get their kids in) so they supported the school's rules. Second, they WOULD expel a kid who wasn't working out. You had to either pay up front for the year or buy insurance that would pay the remaining fees if your kid got sent home. Finally, the teachers and the administration knew that if you were unhappy you had the option of taking your kid and your money elsewhere. In 7 years of public school they never "got it" that my last name was not the same as my son's- kept addressing me as Mrs. Husband'sLastName. NYMA staff addressed me by my correct last name. A small thing but typical of the different attitude.
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Old 05-11-2020, 09:59 AM
 
Location: USA
1,637 posts, read 490,883 times
Reputation: 3742
Right on, OP!
Public school, for the majority, is nothing more than subsidized day care, complete with indoctrination and free lunch.
I cannot believe the public has been duped for so long.
I've always believed in this mantra: put the money in, and watch what happens. Take the money out, and watch what happens.
In other words, if parents had to individually pay for their children's education, instead of having schools supported by the taxpayers, things would change dramatically. Perhaps they would understand the value of education, and the importance of actually parenting the children they choose to bring into this world.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:07 AM
 
3,096 posts, read 953,661 times
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Even when lot younger, I knew I would rather drive a truck without brakes, full of dynamite, on icy mountain roads than drive a schoolbus or be a teacher.
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Old 05-11-2020, 10:34 AM
 
3,405 posts, read 1,597,255 times
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Agree. Your rant is appreciated and respected. This is why we have C-D, to offer experiences and points of view.

I am a former software developer who is now a substitute teacher in his retirement years. I have glimpsed into the K12 education world and completely agree with you. It is a mess.

Fortunately for me, as a substitute teacher, I am somewhat shielded from all this dysfunction. Yes, while I do give lectures and presentations in the classroom, I am mostly a supervisor and babysitter. I basically follow the teacher of record's lesson plans and instructions. I don't have to grade the student work, don't meet with parents, and my interaction with principals and vice-principals is limited.

I actually do enjoy subbing since I can still claim that I'm in the workforce and do enjoy the social interaction outside of my retirement community. I am also big and strong and young looking which does seem to help with classroom management, even though I can't touch the students.

But yes, K12 education is a mess and I don't think that it is going to get any better. The student work has become far easier and the students are pushed through the system whether they learn anything or not. Every student has a smartphone and they are constantly on those phones, even in the classrooms during lectures or when they are supposed to be working on projects. Teachers and administrators have basically given up on taking those phones away from the students. It was tried a few years ago, but the parental outcry was so shrill that the phones made a speedy comeback. Of course, the parents call all the shots in our schools and administrators are deathly afraid of them.

So what I see happening is that schools will increasingly become baby sitting services and "holding centers" for older students where they will have a good time sitting around on their phones, partaking in school functions, field trips, and pep rallys (while still on their phones). Whether they learn anything or not won't be important. They will be pushed out into the workforce or into college basically unprepared, but then that's not the high school's problem anymore. Businesses will rant and rave that they can't get quality workers and that K12 isn't doing its job. School administrators will spin their wheels and frantically talk about "quality education" but nothing will change. More money may be thrown at the schools but still nothing will change. Since it is no longer the parents' responsibility to raise their kids right, it certainly won't be the schools' responsibility either.

So the education system will continue to plug along in its dysfunctional way. Administrators and teachers will "play the game" in offering "quality" education while collecting their paychecks. Most teachers that I sub for have already disconnected and are there just for the paycheck. They don't expect the students to learn anything but mindlessly push them through.

However, it is still refreshing to see a small number of students who do have the right attitude and the minimum amount of drive to get good grades in the dumbed down work that now passes for high school academics. It is nice to see these students during graduation time obtaining their robes and medals of accomplishment and the white sashes which indicates that they are in the top 10% of highest GPAs. Then I think that how many of these students if they were back in my days of high school in the 1970s would simply be "C" students and nothing special?

So, "exciting" times in the world of K12 education. Can't wait for the virus to pass and then get back into the classrooms next fall. I can already see in my mind's eye my students "learning" as they sit, constantly looking at their phones.
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