Secondary Thinking about becoming a teacher

Scotland

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My only advice to anyone considering becoming a teacher is to ask why you want to be a teacher.

If the first thing that comes to mind is 'the hours and the holidays' then do something else.

NB: am not a teacher.
 

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My only advice to anyone considering becoming a teacher is to ask why you want to be a teacher.

If the first thing that comes to mind is 'the hours and the holidays' then do something else.

NB: am not a teacher.
Do you have any advice for any other professions people are thinking about?
 
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Anyone here doing or done 1-1 RAAP teaching before? Didn't really appeal to me last year when i was offered a position by school 1 but just so happens I've been filling in for a RAAP teacher this week at school 2 and today i got another call back from school 1 offering me a position for the year, which based on the fact ive actually really enjoyed the last few days and I'm sick of TRTing i said yes to. Admittedly it's not what i set out to do when i started out teaching eighteen months ago (I'm secondary HASS and English trained and now gonna be working with a solitary 10yo), but a year of work's work yeah and a few teachers I've spoken to said they've done it at some time or another and that it will look good on the resume, as well as the fact prepping, marking and honing my practice on 1 kid definitely seems to have it's perks on top of being especially wholesome and fulfilling.



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Chicago1

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How did I ever miss this thread last year?

I spent 25 years teaching in Melbourne(24) and Perth(1) and wouldn't change a thing. I started in 1975 in a western suburbs government high school and after three years switched to the Catholic system. I taught in three Melbourne Catholic Boys schools and one in Perth.

I was one of the thousands of American teachers recruited by the Victorian Education Department (and other states) to fill the void in teaching numbers. Most of us were sent to the "poorer" schools or to country Victoria. I was lucky enough to end up in Avondale Heights where I really learned what teaching is all about. I'd rather not go into specifics, but I'm still in contact with some of my former students from 35 years ago. In fact, I went to the footy with a former student (a fellow Western Bulldogs supporter) during my visit to Melbourne earlier this year. I also had lunch with a former student who I had not seen since around 1981 and caught up with at least ten others during my three weeks in Melbourne.

I taught mainly English, SOSE and Religious Education during my career. I first concentrated on Years 7 and 8 and branched out to the Senior years later in my career. I was a Year 7 Coordinator and Year 8 Coordinator in three of my schools. I ended up my final year of teaching in 1999 teaching mostly VCE English but also teaching Years 8, 9 and 10 English and SOSE. I "retired" and returned here to the US to spend some time with my family. I decided to return to Melboune to live in late 2002 and had accepted a teaching position at my last school for the 2003 school year, but family commitments here prevented me from returning to Melbourne to live. The hardest phone call I ever had to make was the one where I spoke to my former principal telling him that I could not return to Melbourne and take up the position he had offered me. I have not taught here in the states, but am currently a full time caregiver, which at times has been much tougher than any class I ever taught.

I can not truly explain the overwhelming sadness that I have for no longer being able to teach. I put up with a hell of a lot of crap at times, but in the end everything was worth it. I am proud that I had the chance to help shape the lives of thousands of young people, hopefully for the better. I have taught AFL players and umpires, lawyers and doctors, union officials and financial experts and plenty of policeman and members of the armed services. And yes, I've even taught a few teachers who took my American Civil War/Slavery class in Year 9!

The highest honour ever given to me was when I ran into a former student in Box Hill about 25 years ago. I hadn't seen him since he had done his HSC a few years earlier. I asked him what he was doing. He told me that he was training to become a teacher. I laughingly said, "You want to become a teacher after having me?" His reply: "I want to become a teacher because of having you." Of course I know that there are many of my former students who would disagree with such sentiments, but that reply is something I will never forget.

When my caregiving responsibilities are finished here, I plan on returning to Melbourne and hopefully resume teaching even after all of these years in spite of the fact that I'll be very close to the usual retirement age.

So for anyone considering teaching as a career, go for it, but only if you feel it in your heart. Teaching isn't for everyone, but if that's the course you choose, best of luck. Maybe in 35 years you'll read some thread about some poor soul considering teaching and think back over the best decision you ever made. :D

Oh yeah...

Hey, tuck your shirt in and pull up your tie or you'll be picking up rubbish at lunch. :)

So over eight years later I've read my post above from 2010 and really wouldn't change a thing.


However, there is a follow up to this:

"When my caregiving responsibilities are finished here, I plan on returning to Melbourne and hopefully resume teaching even after all of these years in spite of the fact that I'll be very close to the usual retirement age."

Unfortunately when I finally returned here to Melbourne almost two years ago, after both of my parents passed away, I have not been able to teach because of illness. Oh well, as I've said elsewhere on this site, I'm too old and grumpy now anyway. :p
 
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I think a lot of teachers fall into the profession because, their parents jobs aside, it’s the only job they’ve had role-modelled to them growing up. I think to be a highschool teacher it should be mandatory for you to have held down some other job in the real world for a couple of years. I’d say the same for politicians. How can you teach or legislate if you’ve always lived in a bubble?
 

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I think a lot of teachers fall into the profession because, their parents jobs aside, it’s the only job they’ve had role-modelled to them growing up. I think to be a highschool teacher it should be mandatory for you to have held down some other job in the real world for a couple of years. I’d say the same for politicians. How can you teach or legislate if you’ve always lived in a bubble?
I can tell ya what, I sure know that my pedagogical understanding was improved by several years doing menial shit in casual jobs I didn't care about. My ability to develop curriculum would have been completely contained in a bubble if I didn't spend those couple of years selling laptops out in the real world and doing basic IT help during my university studies. And any capacity I have to built constructive relationships was improved by valuable work back-of-house hospitality as a teenager. Made me the teacher I am today. Finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist sorta stuff.
 
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I can tell ya what, I sure know that my pedagogical understanding was improved by several years doing menial shit in casual jobs I didn't care about. My ability to develop curriculum would have been completely contained in a bubble if I didn't spend those couple of years selling laptops out in the real world and doing basic IT help during my university studies. And any capacity I have to built constructive relationships was improved by valuable work back-of-house hospitality as a teenager. Made me the teacher I am today. Finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist sorta stuff.
Man, I can’t even tell if you’re joking. Menial work is underrated. Everyone should do it at some point. Whether you end up being a teacher, politican or CEO of SlaveCorp...surely it stands you in good stead to experience being a small cog.
 

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I think a lot of teachers fall into the profession because, their parents jobs aside, it’s the only job they’ve had role-modelled to them growing up. I think to be a highschool teacher it should be mandatory for you to have held down some other job in the real world for a couple of years. I’d say the same for politicians. How can you teach or legislate if you’ve always lived in a bubble?
I thought the electrical trades teachers I had in general were usually better than anyone I had in high school. One of the reasons I always thought was most of them only took it up at the age of 40+ after years of working out in the world.
 

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I think a lot of teachers fall into the profession because, their parents jobs aside, it’s the only job they’ve had role-modelled to them growing up. I think to be a highschool teacher it should be mandatory for you to have held down some other job in the real world for a couple of years.
Just what are you referring to by this 'real world'?

Teachers pay their taxes, rent, loans and live normal lives, the same as the rest of the community. They also interact with different parts of the community, serving as volunteers in various community groups and/or sporting groups outside their normal work hours. Many teachers also worked part time jobs in the so-called 'real world' when they were studying.

I'm not really sure how holding down a job working in Coles for a couple of years somehow would really improve my teaching of history at a senior high school level.
 
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Just what are you referring to by this 'real world'?

Teachers pay their taxes, rent, loans and live normal lives, the same as the rest of the community. They also interact with different parts of the community, serving as volunteers in various community groups and/or sporting groups outside their normal work hours. Many teachers also worked part time jobs in the so-called 'real world' when they were studying.

I'm not really sure how holding down a job working in Coles for a couple of years somehow would really improve my teaching of history at a senior high school level.
I don’t know that teachers tend to volunteer more than other professions. That’s a strange assumption.

History was my favourite subject at high-school and that was in no small part down to having two great teachers. However, having grown up and learned a thing or two, I realised they were teaching me a History that was completely biased in its representation. Is it a coincidence that left wing political views are so common in schools and universities? I would argue that most teachers have trodden a very linear pathway from education and into teaching. Few have ever experienced unemployment, started a business, sampled different roles in different industries. Of course we can’t all experience everything...but I don’t think it’s beneficial to have educators who have never left a classroom and have no experience in the practical application of what they teach.

My favourite History teacher was a wonderful man. Genuine, passionate and knowledgeable. I respected him so much that his opinions became my own. This led to maybe a one year period in my teens where I thought Communism was a really good idea. Looking back, I think it’s really unfair that every single history teacher I had was generally of the same political bent. This leads to indoctrination rather than education. I think teaching and education would benefit from more diverse opinions being present and discussed. I think diversity among teachers is minimal as they have almost all followed the same pathway.
 

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I don’t know that teachers tend to volunteer more than other professions. That’s a strange assumption.
Where did I say that? My point was that teachers have regular contact with the so-called 'real world' via a number of avenues. You seem to think that you can't teach, to use your words "if you’ve always lived in a bubble". The point is that teachers don't live in a 'bubble'. They live in the 'real world'.

However, having grown up and learned a thing or two, I realised they were teaching me a History that was completely biased in its representation.
Really? Well what we try and teach in senior history is a broad range of views on a variety of historical topics. Much history is certainly interpretation (and thus involves 'bias') of what are generally considered the 'facts'. We're teaching our students to as far as possible analyse and critically examine source material to determine a rounded and objective view and to reduce bias as much as possible.

I would argue that most teachers have trodden a very linear pathway from education and into teaching. Few have ever experienced unemployment, started a business, sampled different roles in different industries. .
And even if this was true how does experiencing this make me a better teacher of history?

Of course we can’t all experience everything...but I don’t think it’s beneficial to have educators who have never left a classroom and have no experience in the practical application of what they teach.
I've travelled widely, including Europe, the Middle East, North America and around Australia as well as having had six years of tertiary education in the disciplines of history and geography? Do I need to start a business, experience unemployment or sample different roles in industry to better teach history and geography to teenagers and young adults?

Looking back, I think it’s really unfair that every single history teacher I had was generally of the same political bent. This leads to indoctrination rather than education.
And they were like this because they had never experienced unemployment, started a business and / or sampled different roles in different industries?

I think teaching and education would benefit from more diverse opinions being present and discussed. I think diversity among teachers is minimal as they have almost all followed the same pathway.
Teachers have all had different experiences throughout their lives and lumping all teachers into a left wing stereotype that you appear to have experienced is unfair and ignorant.
 
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Deliverance

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I thought the electrical trades teachers I had in general were usually better than anyone I had in high school. One of the reasons I always thought was most of them only took it up at the age of 40+ after years of working out in the world.
As in TAFE teachers?
 

bUCKET__

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Man, I can’t even tell if you’re joking. Menial work is underrated. Everyone should do it at some point. Whether you end up being a teacher, politican or CEO of SlaveCorp...surely it stands you in good stead to experience being a small cog.
I dunno either m8, it's a weird thing to be glad about doing things that are utterly useless to ya now haha. Anywhere from optimistic appreciation to cynical resentment, depending on the weather.

I definitely agree that it's good to have some diversity in your experiences if you're a teacher or politician. (Or a lover, but that's a whole nother thread yeah?)

Would say it's a bit of a stretch to think that this a big problem plaguing education right now though. There's plenty of menial work in any educational settings, from university level down to childcare. Us coalface workers are pretty powerless in general and a good amount of useless cog work into us. Beyond that, and more to your point, teachers usually enter the system via masters programs these days, having done a wide range of other things with their lives already.

But on your reflections about your own education, it sounds like your main problem isn't with a lack of worldly experience, it's with a certain style of practice. Charisma can be a funny thing in higher-level education, and having a passionate teacher who is an embodiment of engaged knowledge is a bloody good motivator for anyone looking to learn. It's a great hook see ideas coming from a real live person who believes in them and acts accordingly. It can produce good results in a classroom, and leave a lasting mark on students. But I'm right with ya this can be detrimental in that it relies on personality and the psychology of belief, not any underlying skillset. Which is what a good teacher should be aiming at.

Thanks for continuing from your initial post, interesting stuff to think about!
 

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Plenty of shit teachers come in to the system as mature agers. Life experience is largely irrelevant.
You could have all the life experience, be the best in your field and then get a high distinction in your masters. I have seen people like this. They are chewed up and spat out of the system. They can't relate or connect with a lot of students and when the going gets tough and it doesn't play out in the classroom like the way it is taught in uni or the way the child psychologists and theorists play out perfect education they crumble.

My work at a supermarket and as a postie through uni have no bearing on how I teach or what I bring to teaching. I would say that my traveling, hobbies and ability to build strong relationships to engage students in their work have more relevance. That and the PD I have selectively chosen to complete.
 

TyroneVickery29

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Something has to be done about how easy it is to become a teacher.

Some of the people I graduated with, plus some of the people I went to school with (who are now teachers) are not fit to be in charge of 30 students, let alone teach them anything.
 

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TyroneVickery29

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And how easy is that?



That's your judgement only.
I'm not saying it is easy to BE a teacher, I'm saying it is too easy to be accepted into a uni course to become a teacher. Scores that are required to be accepted into the degree are incredibly low in my opinion, which also means the supply of teachers just doesn't meet the demand.
 

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I'm not saying it is easy to BE a teacher, I'm saying it is too easy to be accepted into a uni course to become a teacher. Scores that are required to be accepted into the degree are incredibly low in my opinion, which also means the supply of teachers just doesn't meet the demand.
The minimum cut off score in Victoria for teaching is 70.

That is "incredibly low"?
 
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