Sunday, October 16, 2005

If you could do it over again, would you still be a teacher?

I have been noticing a growing trend in the teaching profession. Ask a few random teachers if they would encourage young people today to go into teaching.

Ask them, "If you could do it all over again would you still be a teacher?"

Many of them are saying they have not encouraged their own family members or other young people to go into education.

The most prevalent reason seems to be that the respect factor is now gone or diminishing and the constant bombardment and negativity from media and politicians has created a growing dissatisfaction.

A second reason is that the teaching profession has not kept pace with the increasing wages found in other professional careers.

This feeling seems to be supported by this month's AFT study showing that teachers' pay increased just 18 cents for every extra dollar earned by other professionals.

Searching around on the web, it's hard to find much that would give a bright, eager high school student a reason to go into what used to be a valued and respected profession.

Sad thing is, we need good people now more than ever.


At Sunday, October 16, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for me, I think I would still be a teacher. I believe that kids need us now more than ever and while there is much to improve about our work, every profession there is could say the same thing.

I do get weary of the way public schools are denigrated. We take it personally even if it is an issue much bigger than any of us.

At Monday, October 17, 2005, Blogger punkman said...

My family has been preachers and teachers for generations yet I am the last - and I'm 54. It saddens me, but I am thinking about retiring myself.

At Tuesday, October 18, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandfather was a teacher and principal, my mother was a teacher and I am currently a superintendent.

My children are not interested and I have not overly encouraged them to pursue it either.

As a profession - it has not kept pace in prestige or income as compared with many others.

At Tuesday, October 18, 2005, Blogger Mamacita said...

My husband and I are both teachers, and neither of our children would be caught dead teaching.

They know too well the frustration, disrespect, workload, and total lack of support from administration.

Especially lately.

At Tuesday, October 18, 2005, Blogger Mike in Texas said...

I wouldn't want either of my children to go into teaching, I don't want them spending their lives getting crapped on by politicians.

At Wednesday, October 19, 2005, Blogger Greek Shadow said...

I would still be a teacher. I tried other lines of work and this one is better suited to me. My children don't have the temperment to be teachers, they may develop it as they get into their twenties, but right now it wouldn't be a good fit for them.

At Wednesday, October 19, 2005, Anonymous Historian said...

3 out of 4 of my grandparents were teachers, and/or administrators. My mother was a teacher and administrator. I have at least another half dozen realtives and friends who teach, or are administrators. I know that I could be a good teacher. I am a historian, and I was actually discouraged from joining the teaching profession by those around me. I don't think that I was discouraged from this because I would be a bad teacher, but maybe because it is tough to find a district where you are respected by community, administration, and peers. Also, history teachers often are also the areas in which those who want to coach choose to teach, so opportunities would be limited.

As for now, I feel as though I have made the right decision, and am comfortable where I am. Maybe sometime in the future, I will be financially secure and can pursue teaching as a more "leisurely" career.

At Wednesday, October 19, 2005, Blogger Dr. Mark J. Stock said...

I have had the opportunity to speak for several years now with the "transition to teaching" class at Anderson University.

I have been so impressed with the enthusiasm and passion of these students who have majored in other fields and are returning to education because it is what they truly want to do.

Many of them were successful employees in other businesses and are switching back. Others are near the end of their majors and are switching fields.

In any case - these seem to be talented, eager people. If this is the case in other university "transition to teaching" programs - then the future is bright.

At Thursday, October 20, 2005, Blogger Mr. C said...

I would definitely do it again, even though teaching is very much like the little girl with the curl in the middle of her forehead: when it's good, it's very, very, good. When it's bad, it's horrid!
No profession I've encountered in my life has the potential to be so meaningful, so important, so worthwhile. Yeah, I could make more money doing something else, but this works for me.
Would I encourage my kids to enter the profession? If they wanted to, sure. I would certainly keep it in the list of options I gave them, but I wouldn't push them towards any profession, nor away from any. It isn't my choice to make.

At Thursday, October 20, 2005, Blogger annie said...

absolutely not--my children are not allowed to teach in the public schools--they can do much better....

At Thursday, October 20, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You must not agree with Mr. C that it ultimately is their choice to make.

At Thursday, October 20, 2005, Blogger annie said...

thanks for investigating my reply--

of course, the less abbreviated answer is that i would support them in an endeavor of their choice, ( we would have to think carefully about the options of joining cults, becoming republicans or strip-dancing...)

luckily, and thus far, they have seen with their own eyes how oppressive and frustrating a life choice it is for their own teachers, not to mention the teachers' inability to afford to live where they teach, and the damage done to the volition of the professional when tests replace curriculum as a result of "standards."

i rest my case, your honor, and plea guilty to my discouragement, because i also believe that teaching is about as good as it for my children, i would not encourage any enterprise that includes their own oppression or abuse...

At Wednesday, October 26, 2005, Blogger EdWonk said...

I agree with your assessment. K-12 teaching is the only occupation that I've discouraged my daughter (the TeenWonk) from considering.

The reasons are many, but I would say that the primary one is that thanks to NCLB, we've, as a group, are being held to ever-higher standards and levels of accountability while having fewer and fewer choices as to how to fulfill the mandate.

Another consideration is the fact that compensation is based upon seniority, which, in many states, (such as California) has very limited portability.

This means that many teachers end-up feeling shackled to their jobs after a few years because if a dissatisfied teacher quits and goes to work for another district, the change results in a large permanent pay cut with a subsequent negative impact upon retirement.

I seem to remember a discussion a few years ago (during the Clinton administration) about the need to make teachers' experience "portable," but, alas, I've heard nothing recently.

At Friday, October 28, 2005, Blogger Moi ;) said...

No. Freaking. Way.

Let's see - It was degrading enough being a woman trying to get a job in a "man's field" (band directors). The comments I had at interviews would have made most people sue.

I'm also fed up with the unions that don't truly support their teachers - too many give backs, too much job elimination. This as well as the lack of support for teachers in general, as when a parent complains or a student complains about a teacher, the teacher is thought guilty without even doing any real investigating...

And I haven't even started with the education part yet....I should want to have my teaching thwarted because of NCLB? Or whatever the current soapbox of politicians and administrators? Meh.

I would think a lot more of teaching if it were equal access. I would think a lot more of it if administrators would think of the kids first instead of what cost them $50. I would think more of it if we had both left- and right-brained classroom techniques within the same schools. It would eliminate a lot of the extra personnel, it would eliminate pullouts, etc.

Education is not just teaching AT the kids. You couldn't prove that by my son's school district, though.


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