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Old 04-24-2019, 03:07 AM #1
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Default Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

I have a dilemma so please bear with me because this is long and emotionally charged. I have a BA in Eng Lit with a concentration in multiethnic lit. I graduated in '98 after I was married and had my first kid. I had always had mental health issues(bipolar, etc) and with each kid it got worse until I was nonfunctional and agoraphobic. I went on disability 12 years ago. I have made remarkable improvements and tossed around the idea of trying to do something with my life.

This past fall I enrolled in an into to teaching course. My plan was to go the alternate track for teaching over a period of 2 years and become a high school english teacher but my son had a stroke in November and I had to drop the course. The thing is I am very passionate about multiethnic literature and how underserved the minority community is when it comes to literature that is relative to their experiences. I saved all my papers and all the handouts and literature I studied in college in hopes of one day using it in some sort of profession. I personally feel that many school districts study Huckleberry Finn and then that is their section on ethnic literature-the rest is "text book" curriculum. I have all these ideas for how to revamp the school curriculum and for how I would like to open the eyes of students- make them "woke".

But I was thinking recently. Do I want to go for two years with a tract geared towards teaching a curriculum where I will most likely have to fall in line and will have to bend to a districts' ways in order to have a job or do I want to go further? The alternate track will leave me one or two semesters shy of my masters. I have been researching masters' degrees and it would take about the same amount of time and I feel like the freedom to tailor a curriculum might be more likely. I would be dealing with adults who pay to attend and who would choose to be in my classes. The masters program I am looking at is suited to set someone up to teach at the community college level and possibly go for their PHD while doing that. It costs more with job prospects being not as secure.

I could become certified to teach high school and it wouldn't be horrible but I do not think I would have the freedom I want. But the job would be good with good pay, possibility of tenure and benefits. And I would still be making an impression on young adults. But the master's idea is equally appealing because beyond the basics I would have more flexibility to pursue a passion. I would like to affect change and make a difference either way. I just do not know what to do. The masters program would cost more but either way I would have student loans to repay.

What would you all do? I do not think I would be miserable as a high school teacher and everything would be more secure but would I be happy? I am not sure.
I do not know if I should go for happiness purely or practicality. I did apply to be a sub teacher through a teacher staffing sight so I am waiting to hear back from them but that is mainly to earn extra money and get my feet wet. Any suggestions? How does one decide what's more important. I could be in the work force sooner as a HS teacher but that's not to say I wouldnt make it as a college adjunct. I am just very confused. Of course I could always get my teaching certificate and maybe pursue a masters while doing that but once settled somewhere I do not know if I would be willing to switch tracks.
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Old 04-24-2019, 04:30 AM #2
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

I'm so sorry you're going through all of this, sarahsweets! First of all, let me tell you that I think you've chosen a WONDERFUL career and that I believe that whathever you will choose you'll be GREAT AT IT!! You're very PASSIONATE and that's the most important quality that a teacher can have in my opinion! I completely understand how you feel and what you mean. I'm struggling with my career choices as well Perhaps I'm not the best or the most qualified person to give you some advice. For your own sanity take everything I say with a grain of salt! I do believe that you need to think of the reasons why you've decided to pursue this career in particular. What made you decide to pursue Multiethnic Literature and Teaching? I believe that you may find almost exactly what you're looking for if you DID pursue your masters' degrees and DID decide to teach in college! From what you wrote it seems like the ability to decide WHAT to teach and the general freedom are VERY important to you so perhaps that IS the best career option for you if that's what you want to do! I'm sure you'd be great as a teacher in high school but you have to ask yourself if that's REALLY what you want to do and if that's the reason you've started studying Literature in the first place! Perhaps you may not feel completely satisfied if you DID decide to go to high school! Like you've already wisely said better than I ever could, you WILL hae to pay students loan either way! Since you have to pay EITHER WAY, I'd say it's more important to spend those money doing something that you're AT LEAST reasonablu sure that you will LIKE if not LOVE doing in your future, right? I feel like THAT'S something to seriously consider it and to think about it! Of course ALL OF THIS IS JUST MY OPINION!! Of course ALL of these ARE just conjectures and it IS just MY opinion so I don't want to give to you a definitive answer because I feel like that'd be dishonest and I feel like that's YOUR decision! However from what you wrote it seems to me like you already know in your heart what the "right" decision is and what you REALLY, TRULY want to do with your life! I don't want to "force" you to take any decision that doesn't come from within yourself though and I don't want to "force" anythin on you or to say to you that there's a definitive "right" and "wrong" answer because that's NOT the case! Whathever you decide to do, sarahsweets, WILL BE THE RIGHT DECISION because YOU'VE MADE IT! The final decision is up to YOU and ONLY YOU, SARAHSWEETS! PLEASE REMEMBER THAT! I'm so sorry if this post hasn't been very helpful to you! I've just wanted to give some of my thoughts to you! Just think about it and let us know what you DO decide to do in the end, ok? I'm sure that WHATHEVER you WILL decide you'll be GREAT at it and that you'll be a WONDERFUL teacher and I'd be so HONORED to have you as my TEACHER, SARAHSWEETS! I'm so PROUD of you for YOUR GIANT STEPS THAT YOU'RE TAKING and I hope you're PROUD of YOURSELF AS WELL! Please keep us updated as much as you possibly CAN and let us know what you DO decide to do in the end, ok? YOU'RE AWESOME and YOU ROCK! PLEASE REMEMBER THAT! Sending many hugs to you, sarahsweets!
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:07 AM #3
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

Youíll eventually get masters when you start teaching anyways. Even if you start with undergrad. First of all you need credits every few years to renew your certificate so it makes sense to just get a degree and second of all your salary is much higher. So even if you start with BA or BS you typically will go for Masters very quickly (obtaining it while working full time- pain in a neck but doable).

Many high school offer elective English courses which include ethnic literature. No itís not just American Lit necessarily

Professorship at a community college level isnít a bad idea if thatís what you want and you can teach with Masters (although PhD is preferable) BUT honestly you might have hard time getting a job. Someone I know is currently interviewing for a full time position at a community college and sheíll likely get it because she is great but she isnít 100% sure because there are ton of candidates. She has been teaching high school over 15 years and is actually enrolled in PhD but says she might not finish as its so time consuming. So Iíll be honest if you never taught before and will apply for community college rught after getting masters you might have rough time getting a job

Many people looking for jobs in colleges end up relocating because there are only that many colleges around. That woman you mentioned will be relocating although not too far

As about ďbending to districts wayĒ if you teach high school, at any job (unless itís your own private business) youíd have to follow guidelines and youíd have to do some bending. Professors at college level have to do their share of bending. You wonít be able to teach totally what you want in college either. Anywhere. Iíd say freedom is limited everywhere you go. You can open your own school and still run into having to bend to ďstates wayĒ. If bending isnít your thing lol teaching might not be for you as it involves ton of bending lol

Got to go to work. Might think of more ideas later.
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Old 04-24-2019, 05:29 AM #4
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

You are always so kind and life me up!(dont know if the youtube link will work- heres the lyrics:
Quote:
Oh Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey,
Hey Mickey
Oh Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey,
Hey Mickey
Oh Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey,
Hey Mickey
Oh Mickey, you're so fine
You're so fine you blow my mind, hey Mickey,
Hey Mickey!
You've been around all night and that's a little long
You think you've got the right but I think you've got it wrong
Why can't you say goodnight so you can take me home, Mickey
'Cause when you say you will, it always means you won't
You're givin' me the chills, baby, please baby don't
Every night you still leave me all alone, Mickey
Oh Mickey, what a pity you don't understand
You take me by the heart when you take me by the hand
OhÖ
YouTube
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Originally Posted by MickeyCheeky View Post
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I'm so sorry you're going through all of this, sarahsweets! First of all, let me tell you that I think you've chosen a WONDERFUL career and that I believe that whathever you will choose you'll be GREAT AT IT!! You're very PASSIONATE and that's the most important quality that a teacher can have in my opinion! I completely understand how you feel and what you mean. I'm struggling with my career choices as well Perhaps I'm not the best or the most qualified person to give you some advice. For your own sanity take everything I say with a grain of salt! I do believe that you need to think of the reasons why you've decided to pursue this career in particular. What made you decide to pursue Multiethnic Literature and Teaching? I believe that you may find almost exactly what you're looking for if you DID pursue your masters' degrees and DID decide to teach in college! From what you wrote it seems like the ability to decide WHAT to teach and the general freedom are VERY important to you so perhaps that IS the best career option for you if that's what you want to do! I'm sure you'd be great as a teacher in high school but you have to ask yourself if that's REALLY what you want to do and if that's the reason you've started studying Literature in the first place! Perhaps you may not feel completely satisfied if you DID decide to go to high school! Like you've already wisely said better than I ever could, you WILL hae to pay students loan either way! Since you have to pay EITHER WAY, I'd say it's more important to spend those money doing something that you're AT LEAST reasonablu sure that you will LIKE if not LOVE doing in your future, right? I feel like THAT'S something to seriously consider it and to think about it! Of course ALL OF THIS IS JUST MY OPINION!! Of course ALL of these ARE just conjectures and it IS just MY opinion so I don't want to give to you a definitive answer because I feel like that'd be dishonest and I feel like that's YOUR decision! However from what you wrote it seems to me like you already know in your heart what the "right" decision is and what you REALLY, TRULY want to do with your life! I don't want to "force" you to take any decision that doesn't come from within yourself though and I don't want to "force" anythin on you or to say to you that there's a definitive "right" and "wrong" answer because that's NOT the case! Whathever you decide to do, sarahsweets, WILL BE THE RIGHT DECISION because YOU'VE MADE IT! The final decision is up to YOU and ONLY YOU, SARAHSWEETS! PLEASE REMEMBER THAT! I'm so sorry if this post hasn't been very helpful to you! I've just wanted to give some of my thoughts to you! Just think about it and let us know what you DO decide to do in the end, ok? I'm sure that WHATHEVER you WILL decide you'll be GREAT at it and that you'll be a WONDERFUL teacher and I'd be so HONORED to have you as my TEACHER, SARAHSWEETS! I'm so PROUD of you for YOUR GIANT STEPS THAT YOU'RE TAKING and I hope you're PROUD of YOURSELF AS WELL! Please keep us updated as much as you possibly CAN and let us know what you DO decide to do in the end, ok? YOU'RE AWESOME and YOU ROCK! PLEASE REMEMBER THAT! Sending many hugs to you, sarahsweets!
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:14 AM #5
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

Iím still asking myself the same question!

I suggest start working as a substitute teacher. You will get a taste of what teaching is like. You will get to make an impact on students. You will earn some money and not spend a load of money for more education. Then you can access whether to proceed toward any other education track.

Iíve been involved in a project working with the school board to get something new done, and have had it shelved because there is no funding. Implementing anything new will be a huge challenge. You really donít have that much autonomy.

Ironically, what you described wanting to do you are already doing right here on PC! While you are not getting paid, you also are not spending money to do it, and you are making a difference to others. You are an inspiration in your support here!
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:19 AM #6
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

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Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
I have a BA in Eng Lit with a concentration in multiethnic lit.....

.....where I will most likely have to fall in line and will have to bend to a districts' ways in order to have a job or do I want to go further?

I could become certified to teach high school and it wouldn't be horrible but I do not think I would have the freedom I want. [/SIZE]
I have been a Pre-K and elementary school teacher plus I have substituted in Pre-K through 12 classes. Most public school districts expect you to "fall in line", the ones that expect you to teach such and such on this date and for this long and this way are the least enjoyable to work in. From reading your posts, you are a very idealist person and would not be able to "tow the line" in a district which runs counter to your ideals to to great of a degree. There will never be a district, community college or university which matches your ideals 100 percent but perhaps it could work if you find one that matches your values 60% or more and gives some autonomy. Also, the principal in the school can help make it more bearable but the manditory curriculum is the biggest driver. I have worked in a private preschool and three public school distric districts. I really liked one district plus I worked under an awesome Vice Principal in that district as a Title One teacher (K-5)--I loved it. Then when we moved and I got a job in a new district as a 2nd grade teacher, I really hated how they did everything. Part of the problem was I was comparing them to the former district but most of the problem was the philosophy, lack of autonomy and attitiude toward the teachers and students. I did not have a "bad" principal but she also had very little autonomy (always in district meeting/training) and the school was understaffed. Funds were being spent of the Superintendents expensive pet projects rather than staffing this districts schools the way the former district did.

So if you can find a private or public school which matches your beliefs to a great enough degree then teaching full time might work. If there are no schools like that near you then maybe try a community college/university (I know nothing about the working conditions there) or go a completely different route. I am currently grading student achievement tests (remotely) for a company called Pearson (a UK Corp) and am certifying with VIP kids (a Chinese company) to teach English remotely to cute young Chinese students. Neither job gives me much autonomy but I find the students voices that come through in their writing and the interaction with little kids to be uplifting.

Good luck finding a path.
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Old 04-24-2019, 06:34 AM #7
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

Although substituting isnít a bad idea to make some money and to see if you like working with kids, Iíd say itís nothing like teaching. If teaching was just working with kids, it will be a piece of cake. If you know any teachers, see if you can shadow them for a day (not saying formal pre-student teaching just informally) and see what their day is composed of, it would give you better idea of what to come.

Also look up salaries. In many states salaries drop, where I am at salaries drop significantly and I wouldnít call it good pay at all. One has to really love it to keep doing it. Also look up pensions. Our state closed up pension system and you only get it if you grandfathered in. Look that up.

If you decide to become a teacher, you still have good few decades of working a rewarding job. Itís absolutely worth all other nonsense we put up with, just make sure thatís what you want and then go for it. Good luck

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Old 04-24-2019, 09:32 AM #8
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

I would guess that districts vary and by asking around you might find some (or private schools) that appreciate your approach to teaching.
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:23 AM #9
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

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I would guess that districts vary and by asking around you might find some (or private schools) that appreciate your approach to teaching.
Iíd say unless you teach at a totally unique private school that historically have very different approach (but keep in mind that private schools do not pay even close to what the most destitute public schools pay), there is no guarantee that this approach remains for duration of oneís career. Approach is known to be switched in a blink of an eye with new administration/curriculum change/stare requirement change.

One of the important quality that teachers have to possess is flexibility. Things might not be the same the very next day and whatís that you hoped to accomplish will be unattainable so youíd have to switch gears.

Also even if there are schools that appeal to you specifically, whatís the chance of getting a job there? Do they hire? Would they hire someone with zero experience if the school is that unique?

I am speaking from experience and observing people that if one goes into teaching because there is something specific they want to teach that they think others donít teach or they want to teach in a specific kind of unique schools, thatís rarely works in a long run. By that I mean they wouldnít even make it through the first year. Let alone a career.

If you want to ďteachĒ, then it will work in a long run. You might end up in an ideal environment or you might not. That canít be your goal realistically. Your first job will likely be in whatever district hires at the moment. And youíd be happy you got a job and you do your best and hopefully you love it because thatís what you want to do. Teach: no matter where. Make a difference. Have a job that brings satisfaction. Have fun because itís fun for you anywhere you teach. Love to be with kids or teens etc All those reasons. Plus of course get your paycheck and be able to pay your bills.
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Old 04-25-2019, 05:48 AM #10
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Default Re: Dilemma with what I want to do when I grow up...

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I am currently grading student achievement tests (remotely) for a company called Pearson (a UK Corp) and am certifying with VIP kids (a Chinese company) to teach English remotely
Only mentioned these jobs (though I did not state it explicitly) to show that there are many jobs in education that do not require an advanced degree (these only require a bachelors in any field) and that you can get into this field without paying for additional education. Though these to jobs do not have benefits. that the Chinese company provides an ESOL Certification might lead to another more substantial job. These are work as much or little as you want when you want jobs and the work is not guaranteed, it is based on the companies needs. The Chinese company pays via 1099 so I would even have to do my own payroll/payroll taxes.

Back when I worked in Public Schools, many of them paid for additional certifications while you worked. These programs are not for the faint of heart because you are teaching full time while taking on extensive educational studies.

I was on disability from October 2015 to February 2018. I was a mess while I was on disability (I was still working a little bit for Pearson but my performance was bad) and got into the workforce again by being a security guard for Athletic Events and Concerts--anything to show recent work experience on my resume. I will say that the one great thing about that job is that they are always happy to provide me with a good reference and I still work there just enough so that I have them for this and because you never know when an additional job could come in handy because you need money.

I never new what I wanted to be when I grew up. I have always found myself trying a little bit of everything but never really had a successful career. I now think that I didn't "climb the ladder" the way that many my college peers did because of my mental health issues. In my case, I am not sure I can handle the stress of being a full time classroom teacher or want that kind of stress in my life again.

Not saying what you should do--only that what we end up doing is so different for everyone. BTW, I am not surprised to hear that you were an English Lit major. Your communication skills are excellent.
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