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The Teacher Thread

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by NewYorkIslander, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. pvrhye

    pvrhye Senior member

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    I admire and an grateful to you teachers. couldn't do it, myself - I've spent a little time teaching cub scouts specific things, and teaching for a living would kill me. good for you guys.

    Not all that rough. I have taught one class in the last month and a half. I can easily shrug off any BS for the luxurious downtime afforded. These days I'm more or less a professional poster on these boards.
     
  2. deadly7

    deadly7 Senior member

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    NYR, what's your opinion on changing teaching laws? I don't know how it is in NY, but in a lot of states, you can't teach unless you have XYZ degree, certificates, and "student teaching" hours. I know of a few professionals that would, one day, like to "give back" and try teaching. Unfortunately, there are many restrictions in place against that. Have you worked with people in industry, and would this be a good change?
     
  3. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    NYR, any advice for an aspiring teacher? I just finished my BA in History and am looking at teachers' education programs.

    Its tough these days. In fact, in NYC there has been a hiring freeze and current attitudes towards teachers are pretty poor, especially among the uneducated portion of our society. Its also a lot more work than people seem to think. My advise would be to get all of your ducks in a row, pass all your tests, get as much certification as humanly possible, and you may even have to start teaching in private schools first to gain experience (or get yourself hired as a permanent substitute). Basically, make it impossible for a principal/district to NOT hire you when the time is right. Also, trying it out for a year in a private school will help you figure out if its something thats really for you.

    Last thing, while it may be important to keep in mind the stuff you learn in your education classes, NONE of it is as helpful as teaching experience.

    You ay also want to get yourself used to the new National Standards. These will be rolled out in NYC in the next few years, unless you're teaching in Texas and Hawaii, the only two states not partaking in this.

    Do you plan on staying in CA? Most states have websites devoted to teaching in that state and provide information about licensure and certification. If you want to teach next year, knock out out any required tests (Praxis II, content exams, etc.) as early as you can. In my experience, states are pretty strict about getting passing scores as these go into being "highly qualified" by NCLB. They are more forgiving about missing a few education courses and will probably grant you a provisional; however, this is not the case with tests.

    Edit: Private schools usually don't require licensure. The cultures between public and private are very different, but the actual classroom teaching is basically the same.


    ^^^Good advise, but I disagree on the public and private being the same in the classroom. At least where I am. Private schools, although dependent on tuition, can toss any child who is a true disruption, or a child who's parents are not supportive enough, public school, not so much. That definitely finds its way into the classroom.

    Entitled teachers thinking they're irreplaceable and that they possess the magical elixer of education(thinking a teaching degree makes you a good teacher, or better..that graduate classes make them more worthy of a teaching job and that they should be compensated for it) even though their school is failing, their students hate them and they are barely in touch with reality. Add on top of that over zealous and demanding teacher unions and their chain-mailing yuppies demanding a raise while the rest of the country suffers and people are losing jobs...whining about pay freezes...you get the idea.

    I agree with the first part. We have these people from Colombia University in the NYC Schools who wouldn't last 10 seconds in our classrooms, but try and tell us the "right" way to do things. The most valuable education in our field is on the job training, not what some book about educational philosophy, written 70 years ago, says. The second part though is a bit unfair. If you added up all of the bonuses the CEO's and employees of federally bailed out companies (who caused much of this mess) got, it would more than enable every teacher in these places to get the raise they expect.

    Not all that rough. I have taught one class in the last month and a half. I can easily shrug off any BS for the luxurious downtime afforded. These days I'm more or less a professional poster on these boards.

    I'm not sure if teaching one class for a month and a half qualifies you as a "teacher". If you have that much downtime, I guess you don't have much stuff to grade?

    NYR, what's your opinion on changing teaching laws? I don't know how it is in NY, but in a lot of states, you can't teach unless you have XYZ degree, certificates, and "student teaching" hours. I know of a few professionals that would, one day, like to "give back" and try teaching. Unfortunately, there are many restrictions in place against that. Have you worked with people in industry, and would this be a good change?

    Its just a way of holding off hiring new teachers. It goes in cycles. When I was hired 10 years ago, they pretty much gave anyone who wanted a job, with the promise they get all that stuff within X amount of years. With the way hiring freezes and pay freezes are now, its only a matter of time before we have a major teacher shortage again nationwide.
     
  4. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    NYR, I've always wanted to see some pics of your classroom. You mind?

    I'll snap some pics this morning and post later today...
     
  5. Avocat

    Avocat Senior member

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    Excellent idea for a thread, NYR; and great question, Deadly. I'm a lawyer and prof in the area of IP (i.e., patents, trademarks, copyright, entertainment, etc.). After years of practice, I lectured (adjunct) whilst providing advice for a university. I loved it so much that I'm in the process of transitioning into academia full time. While it entails a "pay cut" from private practice (not a minor consideration, Rugger, comparative to industry, and trust you will agree), the benefits are nevertheless worth the sacrifice to me. I recognize that teaching at the post-graduate level is different than at pre-university level (profs enjoy academic freedom, etc.), but when it comes to teaching itself, regardless of where and/or what level, the principles in my opinion are the same. So, if you enjoy the idea of preparing the next generation by imparting knowledge and, in the case of high school, preparing them for university (along with a zest for learning, or so we try and hope), then I think teaching is for you. That said, there are as you say requirements to teach public school. These requirements vary from state to state, and province to province, but fairly universal among them all I believe is the requirement for teacher's college and certification, etc. as you say. Short story about that: years ago public teachers went on a "work to rule" campaign in Ontario. A friend of mine--a prof at teacher's college who teaches teachers--wanted to volunteer at her local school as a sub, only for her app to be declined (on the basis she lacked sufficient teaching hours, or some such, so far as her experience was that of teaching adults and not kids). I found it a bit mind-boggling at the time but understand the need for restrictions. That said, I wonder whether students would be better served if some of these restrictions weren't in all cases applied so strictly, by permitting for e.g. some form of challenge exams (if such things don't exist already); this, because I'm in agreement with you, to possibly encourage more professionals to take up teaching and give back as you say. I look forward thus to being properly “educated” on the subject and hearing what the teachers here have to say about it, too. Meantime, may I say to the teachers: “thank you”. While I’m not sure that I could deal with undergrads much less the little ones, I’m appreciative of the fact that you do (you should see them all grown up, and all those “light bulbs” going off: thank you for preparing them so well, as most of you I likewise believe do!). tl; dnr: a great idea, deadly, and I look forward to what NYR has to say about it, too.
     
  6. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    ^^^I do understand why she may not have been allowed to teach. Doesn't mean I don't think she wasn't capable. I personally found, as most of my colleagues as well, that I learned so much more from my few hours with a mentor my first year teaching than I ever did in any ed class I took. he taught me real world techniques for MY students. The problem with education courses is they deal with two types of things when it comes to the students. Hypothetical groups, which never become the real groups we teach, or individual cases, which is just ONE story of billions that are kids lives.

    Let me explain, since the New Year, these are just a few of the individual cases from my experience.

    1. I teach an after-school running program to third and fourth graders (they SCARE me to death, all 20 of them). After my first class I went to my administrator about one of the students and what I saw as very anti-social and immature behavior (even for a 3rd grader). Her response, "Oh, XYZ is autistic." Totally changed how I deal with that student and now we're cool...but something that I would never have been told had I not asked.

    2. An 8th grade girl (sweet as pie, lovely kid) has been slipping in grades and behavior the past few months so we had her mom up. She told us that she's been cutting herself, and sees a therapist. I now make sure I take the time to speak to her one on one each day and let her know she's great and hang in there...the past month, I've been hard on her, because her behavior was very poor, I feel awful.

    3. An Asian 8th grade girl has been absent a ton this year (like 65% of the days). Parents are off the boat and speak no English (think its just the mom too). Finally get a translator in to call her, and we find out that she's telling her mom that the stuff in school isn't important and she doesn't have to go, so she's been letting her stay home.

    4. Another 8th grader, who was in the 8th grade LAST year, failed, and to "teach him a lesson" his mom didn't enroll him in summer school, forcing him to retake 8th grade. At one of our last faculty meeting our principal told us she was VERY unhappy with how many 8th garders were failing, and she didn't want this many holdovers, especially if we think they are going to pass the state ELA and Math tests (which is the promotion criteria as well as passing the four majors (ELA, Math, Science, and SS). So, the teachers give the kid a 65 (most). He actually did deserve it in my class, but in others he turns in NO WORK. Mom sends an email to all the teachers, the principal, and the AP saying that we're insulting her intelligence and making her job harder by "just passing him through". My principal is FUMING. Thankfully the kid earned a 66% in my class, so I'm covered, but some of my colleagues ARE NOT. What should they have done?

    I'll post more later, but i need to go to work...and I'm in a GOOD school, we got an A on our NYC report card, and have been a pillar in our (upper middle class) community for almost 200 years.
     
  7. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    I'll post more later, but i need to go to work...and I'm in a GOOD school, we got an A on our NYC report card, and have been a pillar in our (upper middle class) community for almost 200 years.
    Location, location, location. Its not just for real estate.
     
  8. JustinW

    JustinW Senior member

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    There are great teachers out there, and I'm pretty sure NyRanger is one of them, but there are far more poor teachers. Alt Cert gets better people into classrooms and has shown to dramatically help close achievement gaps. Its a good thing and the dinosaur union cronies can't deal with that.

    I won't touch the anti-union rant and address the alt cert thing.

    I agree that a lot of alt certs make good teachers, but let's face it - it is a shockingly poor crash-course in education theory and methodology. I think the reason there are a lot of good alt cert teachers is that they tend to be older and have more maturity and life experience in a variety of fields. Comparing a 40-something alt cert first year teacher with a fresh-faced early 20s Bachelors of Ed graduate is a bit unfair, no?
     
  9. Gibonius

    Gibonius Senior member

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    I'm an intro chemistry professor at a community college, just started my second year.

    My only teaching experience before this was teaching labs, at a research university. I didn't take any teaching classes, had never planned on or even considered teaching. It just sort of happened, wanted to stay in the area for a year or two for family reasons and found this. I'm actually enjoying it, although it's not really as taxing on my core skillset as I'd like.

    The difficulty mostly comes from the community college aspect. I do like being at a teaching centric institution, at many universities teaching only faculty are looked down on and teaching is a core for the research faculty. The problem really stems from the fact that we have no admission criteria, other than graduating high school. Georgia public schools are rather weak on science as a rule, so my students frequently come to me knowing nothing, and not having especially good work habits. We expect about ~50% of our students to drop out, and about 30% of the kids in my class fail or drop. It's a bit painful for me, but there's really nothing to be done. Bringing those kids up to level would shortchange the higher performing students.

    I'm probably going to be moving out of teaching later this year. I do actually enjoy my job, but I feel like I need to get out into the scientific world and test my skills. I don't get that minimal level of productive stress here, I just kind of coast along and finish all my work in 25 hours a week. There's not really even more to do, I learn things I need to change as I go along, but putting more "work" in won't help that process so far as I can tell. I think it would make a great career later in life when I have less energy.



    As an aside: a friend of mine has a masters in science education, and was originally a chemistry masters student before switching. He's almost certainly more qualified to teach than I am, but I have a PhD and he doesn't, so I get hired and he's still looking. I also get paid more. All this despite the fact that my PhD did not have a significant teaching component. I'm sure this says something about how we evaluate teachers, but I don't quite have the perspective to know what the message would be.
     
  10. CBrown85

    CBrown85 Senior member

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    NYR, does New York have a big "Assessment For Learning" push right now? It's a trend we're seeing a lot of the schools here move in.

    A question to the panel: What is required to teach in New York state. I've got an HKin degree and an Ed degree and am thinking about the possibility of a one-year move. Not sure what certs I'd need to look into.
     
  11. Rambo

    Rambo Senior member

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    NYR, does New York have a big "Assessment For Learning" push right now? It's a trend we're seeing a lot of the schools here move in. A question to the panel: What is required to teach in New York state. I've got an HKin degree and an Ed degree and am thinking about the possibility of a one-year move. Not sure what certs I'd need to look into.
    Its all about certification. If your certification has reciprocity, you can teach. If not, you need to get certified. Check with the individual county and/or the state to find out.
     
  12. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    I figured this would be a great place to rant. My wife works at a certain NYC public school and has told me stories about the administration that are difficult to fathom. There are a bunch of administrative people there making over $100k per year (it's open information) and do absolutely nothing all day. To make matters worse, they are abusive (cursing, pinching) to the students.

    The bright side about this school is that the teachers are all great and try their best to stay away from the admins.
     
  13. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    I figured this would be a great place to rant. My wife works at a certain NYC public school and has told me stories about the administration that are difficult to fathom. There are a bunch of administrative people there making over $100k per year (it's open information) and do absolutely nothing all day. To make matters worse, they are abusive (cursing, pinching) to the students.

    The bright side about this school is that the teachers are all great and try their best to stay away from the admins.


    Its hard to imagine admins "doing nothing". In fact, in my school, what makes them difficult to deal with, and nasty at times is the fact that they are OVERWORKED. My P and AP are good people, but they just have 24 hours of work to do in an 8 hour day. To me, its not worth the $$.
     
  14. newinny

    newinny Senior member

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    @NYR

    What do you think the merit pay measures that Michelle Rhee enacted in Washington DC? Think they'll work or would work in NYC?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelle_Rhee
     
  15. Chico2007

    Chico2007 Senior member

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    Its hard to imagine admins "doing nothing". In fact, in my school, what makes them difficult to deal with, and nasty at times is the fact that they are OVERWORKED. My P and AP are good people, but they just have 24 hours of work to do in an 8 hour day. To me, its not worth the $$.

    Agreed. As the spouse of an administrator, I wish she was still a teacher. Sure, money is better, but when it's broken down by the hour forget about it. Ten to twelve hour days (board meetings, PTA etc), has to go in on snow days when teachers don't, no summer break.

    And with today's public attitude, it's practically a thankless position to be in.

    I would never tell her any of this because I know she loves her job.
     
  16. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    Agreed. As the spouse of an administrator, I wish she was still a teacher. Sure, money is better, but when it's broken down by the hour forget about it. Ten to twelve hour days (board meetings, PTA etc), has to go in on snow days when teachers don't, no summer break.

    And with today's public attitude, it's practically a thankless position to be in.

    I would never tell her any of this because I know she loves her job.


    100% agree. My mother AND father were both admins who worked their way up to being in charge of their own schools from teaching positions. My dad did it in Catholic School, and it worked out for him (he has his EdD) and my mom was/is a workaholic. She retired from the Bd of Ed and now is the principal of a Catholic Grammar School on SI. It worked for them. And I'm sure it works for your wife, but talk about thankless...they get crap from their superiors, are often misunderstood and HATED by the teachers that work for them and have to spend so much time AWAY from kids...

    Chico, continue to appreciate what she does, because you may be one of the only ones.
     
  17. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    @NYR
    What do you think the merit pay measures that Michelle Rhee enacted in Washington DC? Think they'll work or would work in NYC?


    It has its merits, no pun intended. the thing I don't like about it is that almost all of achievement is measured in standardized test scores, which in my mind are inherently flawed. I understand that a student can grow from year to year, but by putting all of the responsibility and praise on a single teacher is too much. There are too many "x factors" that go into student growth to place the livelihood of a worker on it.

    I also feel it has the potential for teachers to work against one another, rather than to work collectively together. Then there's also the argument of how to judge Phys Ed, Arts, Science and History. Most of these merit pay systems are based on Language Arts and Math progress. There's a lot to be worked out before this can actually be beneficial.

    I thought about having the idea of having merit pay on a school wide basis, but then you'd have schools at each others throats, and I don't think its a good idea yet.

    Rhee kind of jumped into shark infested waters with a deep bleeding gash and without the ability to swim. What she needed to do was heal up the wound, take a swim class, and get herself in a cage. Once the kinks are worked out (if ever) it may be something we see.

    The biggest problem with education today, in my mind, is the politicizing of it. I also think that its a lot of lip service. If gov't was really serious about reforming education in this country, you wouldn't read about threats to layoff teachers as often as you do. Politicians won't tax people who make 250K, but they'll cut the services afforded to the poor masses who are publicly educated.
     
  18. Milpool

    Milpool Senior member

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    I've done a few guest lectures at the university level. In my brief, limited experience, it was hard enough to capture the audience of undergrads that I would like to believe were in that class because they WANTED to be there. Getting them involved and thinking deeply about the material was even more difficult.

    I don't think I could handle teaching little kids.
     
  19. NewYorkIslander

    NewYorkIslander Senior member

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    Room was a bloody mess this AM...maybe I'll take better shots after the vacation, when its clean.
     
  20. taxgenius

    taxgenius Senior member

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    Politicians won't tax people who make 250K, but they'll cut the services afforded to the poor masses who are publicly educated.

    That's not what you meant right?
     

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