Author Topic: Career change to HS teacher?  (Read 10147 times)

investfell

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Career change to HS teacher?
« on: October 09, 2014, 02:08:28 PM »
I am 29 years old and currently making 64k in a science field. There is still opportunity to grow and move up in my current career. I enjoy my job to some degree, but the hours are long and not family friendly at all. We are living a mustacian lifestyle. Currently living rent and utilities free temporarily and socking away over 50% of my income. Wife is stay at home and is expecting our first of probably many children.

My mindset has basically been to work like crazy now, advance my career, make as much money as possible, and save as much as possible so that years later I can retire early or just get a part time job and enjoy life with my family. But with the baby on the way and my hours being so long and inconvenient, I fear wasting these next precious years just to have more freedom when the kids are already older and gone.

That's why I am thinking about a potential career change to become a HS chemistry teacher. I always thought I would love being a teacher. I love teaching, I love the subject, and I easily connect with HS students. Plus the hours are more regular and I would get summers off! There is a huge need for science teachers in my state (AZ). Problem is the average starting salary in my state is somewhere between 30k-38k. Probably closer to 38k in the science field. But they do have great retirement if I stick with it. Instead of working hard and making and saving a lot of money in order to have it super easy much later, I would be making and saving very little in order to have it a little easier now for the rest of my life. I just don't know if this is doable on a single income with kids. I love the idea of having summers to work on other passions that may lead to a business I enjoy. But what if I will have to get other jobs to make ends meet and there goes my summers along with all the reasons for the career change in the first place. Would this be a realistic move or is this just coming from my tired, overworked brain?

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28254
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2014, 02:16:18 PM »
I just don't know if this is doable on a single income with kids.

Sure, you should be able to live on 38k, you're in a fairly low COL area, you'll likely be in a negative tax bracket.  Like you said, saving much might be tough, but I don't see why that wouldn't be enough to get by, especially as it will grow regularly (teacher's typically have cost of living increases built into their salary schedule yearly).

I personally wouldn't trade a 50% savings rate and FI in a decade for perpetual work until pension age, but that's a personal choice, and based on how much you dislike your current job and how far away you are from at least semi-FI.

Also.. teaching is tough.  A lot of work.  You take home grading, and many teachers need the summer just to recuperate and let their brain unwind from the stress of the school year.  It's not an easy job by any means.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

mxt0133

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1552
  • Location: San Francisco
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2014, 02:28:51 PM »
Lots of people come to this crossroad when their first child is born.  The good thing to recognize in your position is that you are able to have at least one person stay home with your child and future children.  With one person taking care of the household this would give you more time when you are not working to spend some quality time with your child instead of doing errands, that's the hope anyway.

If you are saving 50% of your income right now, then technically you can take a lower paying job to enjoy more time with your family but that comes with the trade offs.  Do you project your expense to go up as you grow your family?  Do plan on sending them to extracurricular activities that will increase your expenses?  These are the things you should base your decision on.

It doesn't have to be a either or decision.  Can you take time off when your children are born?  You might be able to take time off as soon as they are born and then a few months after, in my state you can take paternity leave within a year of the child's birth.  This was the route I went when my children were born.  Like you I didn't want to miss out on their childhood, but I wanted to be able to afford some activities for them, stay in our HCOL city, and still maintain our 50% savings rate.  So I took time off when my children were born, and then I took time off 10 months after.  It was basically having a summer and winter break.  Does it suck that I don't get to spend as much time with them as my wife does, sure it does.  But they still get to spend time with one parent all day and we are still making progress to be FI in a few years.
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 02:30:51 PM by mxt0133 »

RFAAOATB

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 638
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2014, 02:30:07 PM »
I've thought of teaching as a post FI career where I could influence the next generation and use the pay for somewhat extravagant vacations.  I feel the reality of teaching would drain my enthusiasm rather quickly though.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2014, 02:33:27 PM »
I'm sure you will get lots of great advice, but I thought I would offer my .02 cents :)

First, it catches my attention that you say your expecting the "first of probably many children" and that your wife is planning on staying home. If that is the case, having a higher income and working hard now will give you MUCH greater freedom and flexibility later.

Second, it takes an amazing amount of hard work, dedication and LONG hours if you are going to be a *good* teacher, especially for the first few years. Any teacher will tell you about the summer prep, the long hours of marking after class, the meetings you are expected to go to, the extra curricular you are expected to help with, the emotional stress and baggage of actually caring about your students,  all of these will take time away from your family as well.

What you really need to do is run the numbers on both scenarios and fully educate yourself about the pros and cons of each career path. Take the abstract and put it into firm, black and white numbers and see what each scenario will mean for your family/health and happiness.

It sounds to me, like you haven't taken the time to really come up with some goals and plans for your life. A map is useless if you don't have a destination in mind. The most telling part of your whole post (for me) is when you say you are saving about 50% of your income. On the surface, that is awesome! But you also mention you do not have any rent/utilities expenses. That means you are spending (approx) $32,000 on *stuff and life* Is this spending helping you achieve your goals? Bolding based on several other responses that mention your savings rate. I think this is really important because  you are spending basically a teachers FULL salary per year right now, without rent and utilities. You will have more expenses with more kids. If you keep up the same spending habits, post-kids you might be in trouble.

You definitely do need some work/life balance. Have you thought about ways you can make your current job fit your desired lifestyle better? Can you work from home one day a week or telecommute? Can you make yourself not available on the weekends, or overtime? Can you restructure vacation time to better meet your needs? As an example, we were taking holidays in full three week blocks. This year, My hubby took his three weeks off in one day increments and gave himself over three months of the working year in "long" weekends.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2014, 04:28:03 AM by swick »

mdub

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 4
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2014, 02:53:35 PM »
My parents were both teachers, my father a HS teacher, my mom part time elementary when I hit middle school.  My sister was a teacher, I have a HS teaching degree, but do not teach.  My recommendation would be to find someone who is a HS teacher in your area, discuss the continuing education you will need to take, what it will take for you to be certified in your state.  Find out what a first year teacher goes through, lesson plans, Parent teacher conferences, time it takes to grade papers, do you have to sponsor an activity at school, what are the required activities outside of the school day that you need to be a part of.  Don't forget there are are ad hoc calls with parents.  I applaud anyone who wants to be a teacher, a very honorable profession.  However, don't think it will be "regular" hours.  I never saw my dad in the a.m. because he had to be at work early, and when he got home in the evening, I saw him at dinner, and at bed time.  Loads of stuff he had to take care of otherwise for his job.

I don't want to steer you clear, but look beyond the summers off and make sure you are informed before you make the leap.

Vilgan

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 451
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2014, 03:32:10 PM »
There are some good reasons to consider becoming a teacher, but work/life balance sure is not one of them. My mother is a HS teacher and even with the summer break she works more hours over the course of a year than others with a more regular 9 to 5 job. I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a teacher because it seemed like it would be rewarding but it is a TON of work for very little pay. You are also very dependent on your union because there is only one relevant employer.

Wanting to find other things to do makes sense, but teaching sounds like less work than it really is if you want to be any good.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3514
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #7 on: October 09, 2014, 04:29:47 PM »
I am a high school teacher, and I'll bring in a completely different perspective:

Before you make up your mind, consider carefully that teaching -- especially high school teaching -- is a job in transition.  Admittedly, I live in a state where the legislature is actively trying to dismantle the educational system as we know it, and while today's system absolutely has its flaws, they want to replace it with something vastly inferior, which will hurt us for many years to come.  I fully admit that my comments are biased by the 7 years of salary freeze and other things that have happened to teachers in my state recently.  You should absolutely do some research and see what's current /truthful in Arizona.

Online learning is becoming HUGE:

- High school juniors and seniors are taking online college courses while they're still in high school.
- High school students are taking Virtual Public School classes -- some do this for remediation, while others do it to take advantage of courses not offered at their own schools.  Some students take 1/2 a day at a traditional high school and 1-2 courses online, while others are doing 100% online. 
- The newest thing is Blended Learning, in which the student comes to school one day /works at home online the next day . . . and the teacher teaches the same lesson two days in a row to two different groups of students.  At a glance, I'd think this would work well for a Chemistry teacher; the students could do the reading one day, then come in for a lab the next day.  The teacher would run the same lab two days in a row . . . then prepare to lecture the next two days . . . and so forth. 

Charter schools are also becoming HUGE, though their track record is sketchy.  Some are fantastic, while others are pure crap.  They're cheaper for the state to operate because they pay teachers less, they don't have to run busses, and they don't have to provide all the services of the public schools. 

The reality is that these (and probably other) new learning options are taking the place of public school . . . and every year they grow exponentially.  In all truthfulness, you will never have a 20 or 30 year career in a classroom like the one in which you went to school.  The opportunity will not exist.  If you want to ride the wave of new ideas in education, you should look to these other options; however, you have to realize that these new options PAY LESS than traditional teachers make today.

Another reality is that when I became a teacher, the deal was pretty good:  Put in your years at low pay, but you'll have good benefits and a secure retirement.  Today the low pay is still a reality, but our benefits have dwindled and the retirement will be on the chopping block long before you'll be able to take advantage of it.  The compensation is likely NOT to grow.  At the same time, the job security is disappearing.  It used to be that once teachers reached "Career Status" (often incorrectly called Tenure), they had some security in that they had to do something bad to be dismissed.  Now they're pushing to put teachers on year-to-year contracts, which essentially is a promise that they're going to kick anyone with more than 15 years' experience to the curb . . . so they can bring in new hires straight out of college, who will work more cheaply. 

Getting a job may not be particularly easy.  The new learning options I described above (especially online classes) mean that fewer teachers can teach more students.  This means that the people who are already IN the system are likely to keep those few jobs, and new people are going to have more trouble getting a foot in the door. 

Keep in mind, too, that you say you'd like to teach Chemistry.  You're probably imagining rooms full of motivated, high-achieving students.  The reality is that you'll be certified to teach 9-12 Science.  That means that in any one semester you might be teaching two sections of remedial 9th grade Physical Science and one section of Honors Biology . . . and then you might not teach those particular classes again for another two years.  You might not get a crack at Chemistry for a couple years.  Non-teachers tend to think that they can work really hard one semester, design GREAT lesson plans, and then sit back and use them again and again -- no.  It becomes easier as the years go by and you have a backlog of lesson plans, but you're never going to teach the same thing over and over. 

You should definitely investigate what's new in education in your own state.  I would not recommend that anyone become a teacher in North Carolina these days. 
« Last Edit: October 09, 2014, 05:35:15 PM by MrsPete »

shanghaiMMM

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 171
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #8 on: October 09, 2014, 05:27:59 PM »
Hi,

As others have said more eloquently (and more relevantly, as I am a China based-UK MMM teacher) - choosing teaching as a job to get more hours at home and have less stress is probably not a good move.

As enjoyable as I find teaching most of the time, there are definitely easier, more comfortable ways to make a living than becoming a teacher.

Good luck with whatever you choose!

SocalMustache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 1
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2014, 07:40:46 PM »
Another high school teacher to chime in and provide another perspective:

Financial considerations aside, I think there are two key factors to keep in mind when making this decision.



First consideration, do you REALLY want to be a teacher?  I'm not implying that you have to be a saint or anything like that, but teaching is definitely more of a calling compared to others jobs that are out there.  As others have mentioned, it can be a very demanding/draining job because there are so many demands throughout the course of the day such as lesson planning, meetings, dealing with students, dealing with staff, extra curricular activities (coaching, clubs, etc), etc..  Even though students are in session from 8am-3pm at my school, I typically put in about 10-11 hours everyday plus 6-8 hours on the weekends playing catch-up.  The time demands are much higher than the "hours" would suggest. 

This is why I think it's crucial that you REALLY want to go into teaching for the right reasons (helping students) instead of the ancillary benefits (summers off, benefits, tenure). 


Second, the site that you teach at is very important as well.  The composition of students, staff, and resources can vary dramatically from district to district.  For example, at my school site most of my students are English Language learners, low-income, more behavioral issues, etc. compared to the district right next door in which every student has an iPad, 80% plus are college bound, proficient in English, little behavioral problems, etc..  Don't get me wrong, I love the school I'm teaching at and the demographic that I work with, but it's definitely a personal preference that you have to figure out.  I've talked to some teachers who would never teach in the district that I'm in, but they are perfectly happy at their site because of good students, administration, resources, etc..  So, if you decide that teaching is for you I would highly recommend you research the districts in your area to find a school that would be a good fit.


Now that the disclaimers are out of the way I wanted to highlight some of the positive aspects and "here's what I would do if starting over again."

As mentioned above, if teaching is the right fit for you then you will love this job.  You get paid to help others learn and are able to continually learn in this profession.  Aside from the occasional performance review, I don't have a boss breathing down my neck and generally have a great deal of autonomy in how I want to teach and run my classroom.  In addition, I find being around young people to be invigorating and allows me to be a little sillier than I would get to be in other professions.

Finally, my advice to people that are new going into the profession would be to get proficient at classroom management and lesson planning ASAP.  Nothing will sap your enthusiasm for teaching quicker than having lots of behavioral issues and having to do lesson plans late into the night.  I'm not going to lie, the first year or two of teaching is tough as you are figuring out how to manage a classroom and lesson plan when you are exhausted after having put in a full day and want to spend time with your family.  Also, find a good mentor teacher that can show you the ropes and that way you have someone to swap stories with at the end of the day.  Teaching can be an isolating profession as you spend so much time with teenagers all day, so it's good to have a colleague that you can debrief with daily. 



toodleoo

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 112
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2014, 07:41:08 PM »
There are some good reasons to consider becoming a teacher, but work/life balance sure is not one of them. My mother is a HS teacher and even with the summer break she works more hours over the course of a year than others with a more regular 9 to 5 job. I briefly flirted with the idea of becoming a teacher because it seemed like it would be rewarding but it is a TON of work for very little pay. You are also very dependent on your union because there is only one relevant employer.

Wanting to find other things to do makes sense, but teaching sounds like less work than it really is if you want to be any good.

This, times a million.

I was a middle/high school math teacher for two years. The hours are brutal. Planning lessons, grading papers, calling parents, giving extra help before lunch/at lunch/after school, tons of administrative crap, etc. For example - you give a test. Johnny can't take it because he was absent the past week and today is his first day back - he has no idea what is going on with the lessons. Sally has to leave early for a field hockey game and won't be in class to take it. 3 other students are absent. Now you are giving make up tests. They have to be different from the original test. But not everyone can come in to take the test on the same day, so you have to make multiple make up tests. Etc. Etc. Etc.

There's a reason why the teacher attrition rate is so high. It is a TOUGH job.

teen persuasion

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1087
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #11 on: October 09, 2014, 09:06:52 PM »
DH went back to school to become a HS English teacher in his thirties.  His employer closed up, so they were offered retraining (NAFTA), and he finagled it into one year of tuition.  The other year was on us, but student loan rates were low then.  After his year of unemployment was up, he found a series of part-time jobs to keep things paid while he did his student teaching.  He was hired by an alternative school: no union, no pension, lower pay, tough crowd of kids (restraints were common).  He also worked summer school for the extra pay, until we paid off the mortgage; then he was glad to stop.

After twelve years, his salary was $34k, at the top step.  He has just started a new job, NOT teaching.  He was sad to leave, he truly loved teaching, but the IEPs and other paperwork had begun taking over his job.

That said, you can raise a larger family on a teacher salary with a SAHM, we have 5 kids.  We've only really made any headway on retirement savings in the last five years or so.  The mortgage got paid off 15 years early, we switched that money to retirement accounts, I began working part-time when the youngest started school, opened Roths for both of us, and the oldest started college.  All roughly the same year or so.  We've made lots of progress, but I wonder where we be if we'd been able to save more earlier rather, than later.

Nudelkopf

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Australia
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #12 on: October 09, 2014, 11:15:27 PM »
There are some good reasons to consider becoming a teacher, but work/life balance sure is not one of them. My mother is a HS teacher and even with the summer break she works more hours over the course of a year than others with a more regular 9 to 5 job.
I'm a high school teacher (just finished my first year)(in Australia). I do work from 7am til 3.30pm, with half an hour's break most days. Sometimes I stay 'til school 'til about 4, but rarely. I also do maybe 2 hours of work on the weekends. Sooo... 47 hours/week, but with 12 weeks off per year. I earn $60k/year.

To the OP: I wouldn't be a teacher if I was only being paid $38k per year. It's not that fun.

lifejoy

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3919
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Canada, eh
  • Lovin' the Mustachian life!
    • Not Buying This
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #13 on: October 09, 2014, 11:32:35 PM »
My mom has been teaching for almost 30 years. Grade 2. She works 7am-6pm most days. Often takes work home with her for evenings and weekends. Yes, she loves those kids and they're lucky to have her... But dayum! If you want to teach, tutor high school kids for some extra cash. Being a teacher looks like so much work for so little reward!! YMMV

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4931
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2014, 04:20:34 AM »
My husband left a field science job making more than you are now to transition to teaching HS chemistry and physics ten years ago. He's finally teaching chemistry and physics, and nothing else this year. It might happen again someday, or it might not. Meanwhile, he's still working 60-hour weeks plus bringing work home, and he's worked a couple of weeks every summer full time unpaid for various "important, one-time" training type things that are different but equally urgent every year. Summers, by the way, are three weeks in June and three and a half in July, with a week of that spent planning. He's now up a little above $40k a year.


He loves it and wouldn't go back, but it has to be for love. It's sure not for money or time off.

RetiredAt63

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 13006
  • Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2014, 08:05:16 AM »
My daughter swore she would never be a teacher - she watched both parents spend way too many evenings/weekends doing school work.

Two stories:
My HS general science teacher (grade 9) was a chemist who thought he would like to teach.  He tried so hard, it was horrible for him, he lasted one year.  Some of the students were massively unmotivated, they were there because they had to be, not because they wanted to be.  They made his life hell.

I used to teach Vet Tech. We had veterinarians in clinical practice come in to teach one semester specialty courses.  You could just see them thinking how easy it would be.  None of them ever applied to teach the course a second time.  And they were teaching motivated students.

If I knew then what I know now, I might not have gone into teaching either.  And teaching College/University is a lot less stressful in terms of the student attitudes, compared to high school.  Not that the workload is any less.

Kansas Beachbum

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 182
  • Location: Kansas City Metro
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2014, 09:14:28 AM »
One thing to be very aware of is that most public school districts are part of their own retirement system.  As a result, any Soc Sec benefits you have earned to date are severely impacted.  My wife actually has a teaching degree, but has never taught.  She began looking into it as a possible semi-retired kind of second career...major, major hit to SS benefits, without enough time in the public school system to build anything up to offset.  Might not be as bad for someone at age 29, but then if you ever decided not to be a teacher and go back to your current career, you'd still be screwed.  I also agree with Arebelspy that I would not trade off FI in a decade or so for a lifetime of teaching.  Finally, a lot of people get into teaching thinking they will love it, will be a positive influence on future generations, have summers off, etc.  Then once they've been doing it for 10 years or so they become very jaded, hate kids, wish they did something else.  It's a tough job, not like it used to be, many more hours than you are envisioning, kids that don't care, parents who care even less...or worse, blame the teacher when their little darling is failing (couldn't be that the kid never comes to class, hasn't opened a book at home all semester...no, it's always the teacher's fault).  Wouldn't tell you not to do it, it's not my life, would just urge you to consider all aspects before making the decision.

clarkm04

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 182
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2014, 10:07:08 AM »
 A couple of points:
- Find a way to shadow a teacher ahead of doing anything
- Look into what you have to do to get certified.  Usually there's barriers (classes and extra stuff)
- Every school or district can be radically different
- Schools have pecking orders, so despite having a chemistry degree you might be teaching classes you don't like since you're the low person on the pole.  At my school, that's the freshmen and the dead end senior class for slackers.

I teach and love it, but it's a tough job.  Best quote I've ever read, "Since everyone went to school, everyone is an education expert.  Great teaching looks easy despite being difficult, so everyone thinks they can do it."

My hours: Usually 7 - 4:30 with between 2 - 8 hours on Sunday.  Varies depending on what I'm working on or how much grading I have.

Earliest time I've gotten to school: 5:45 am.  Latest 7:30 am.

What makes things tough is how little time you have to work on stuff outside of teaching.  Being in block, I get 85 minutes daily to lesson plan, grade, answer e-mails, and get organized.  This just isn't enough time, so things spill over.

At least once every other week I go back or bring stuff home to work on.

I teach at a great school with very bright college bound students so the work is enjoyable but tough.

Compensation:
~ 51 K (in my 14th year)
Work picks up 85% of my health insurance
I work in a private school, so no pension.  They do contribute 6% to a 403(b).

The first year of teaching can be hell.  Usually a tough teaching assignment in a tough school and new teachers have the exact same expectations as veterans.  Few, if any, careers require a fresh new employee to handle the complexity of a master, but teaching is one of them.

Good luck!  We do need young bright minds with strong science skills, so do consider it but it's important to enter with eyes open.

afreeman85

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 12
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2014, 10:45:42 AM »
I am a former teacher and my wife is still a teacher. I just want to echo the sentiments of most people here. You really need to find out if teaching is really for you before making that kind of jump. As other people have said, work/life balance is NOT a reason to become a teacher. In fact, I would argue that to do a proper job teaching, especially for the first few years, requires almost a 100/0 work/life balance.

This balance is one of the reasons I left teaching. I did not love it enough to pour all those extra hours into it  and not get back any compensation. I would say that I worked 7am-6pm at school. Then did at least 1-2 hours of work at home most evenings and then probably 2 hours on Saturday and 6-8 hours on Sunday.

Are there teaching jobs that don't have this kind of demand? Probably. My student teaching was in a middle school where I taught the same thing 5 times per day. This really cut down on my prep time. These jobs are not the norm and are very hard to get.

I made 36k my first year and got a 3% raise for each of the next 2 years. My 3rd year, I was making just over 38k. I was burnt out and was going to have a whole new curriculum that I would have to learn and prepare for and I just couldn't do it anymore.

I let my principal know I would not be returning and got a part time job making $10.60 per hour while I figured out what I wanted to do. My wife was more satisfied in her teaching career (but just as over worked) and a little better paid.

The grocery store job was fun and I was really good at it. I was able to work Full Time hours and decided I wanted to try to advance within that company. I was able to get up to $13.45/ hour at 40 hrs per week about 6 months into the grocery store job. Then 5 months after that got a promotion to a Service Manager making 45k/year. That was the summer of 2012. I am now an Assistant Store Manager making 53k per year and have a pretty good chance of becoming a Co-Manager (probably around 65k per year) within the next 1-2 years. I will probably get around a 3-4% raise and a 2-5k bonus each year (but I never count on my bonus as part of my monthly budgeted income) while I am at my current position.

I still work very long hours (50-55 hours per week), but I do not take my work home with me, I can enjoy my days off, and am making a good deal more money than I was teaching. The only downside is my schedule right now. I work nights (1pm-11pm) and most weekends and therefore don't really see my wife often. If I can move to that next management position my schedule will be back to roughly 7am-6pm with 1 weekend day off.

If teaching is REALLY what you want to do....go for it, just make sure that you know. I think anyone (especially educated professionals) just look at teaching as something they can "fall back on" if they are sick of or get burnt out in their current field. I am not saying this applies to the original poster, but it seems to run rampant and is a HUGE slap in the face to the teachers out there that put in the crazy hours and emotional energy.

Metta

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 670
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2014, 11:34:47 AM »
I am 29 years old and currently making 64k in a science field. There is still opportunity to grow and move up in my current career. I enjoy my job to some degree, but the hours are long and not family friendly at all. We are living a mustacian lifestyle.

You may want to look into other science opportunities that don't require the same commitment as teaching or research. One of my friends tired of the endless hours and the need to kill small animals in her research field and found a job with the U.S. Patent office. She tells me that she works normal hours and has weekends off. She seems quite happy with her choice.

Another form of teaching that comes with better hours is teaching people in the corporate world, which is another mostly 40 hour work week job. If the corporation is working in a scientific field (for example materials science, pharma, and so forth) they might need someone.

MayDay

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4374
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #20 on: October 10, 2014, 12:52:45 PM »
I am currently a SAHM, and was a chemical engineer.  I am working on my sub license right now, and I have enough chemistry and math credits to qualify for a long term sub license. 

I plan to sub for awhile, see if I like it, hopefully get to cover a maternity leave sometime.  My ideal would be to fine either a PT job or a job-share.

I may find that subbing is all I want- a little extra cash but no work to bring home.  We'll see.  All I am committed to at this point is seeing how it goes, trying it out.  I know subbing is really nothing like teaching permanently, but it should give me an idea.  My district pays, I think, 85$ a day.  I will have 15$ a day in childcare costs. 

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3514
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #21 on: October 10, 2014, 08:49:03 PM »
First consideration, do you REALLY want to be a teacher?  I'm not implying that you have to be a saint or anything like that, but teaching is definitely more of a calling compared to others jobs that are out there.

This is why I think it's crucial that you REALLY want to go into teaching for the right reasons (helping students) instead of the ancillary benefits (summers off, benefits, tenure).
Yes, two good points. 

Good teachers are BORN teachers.  Oh, I don't mean they know automatically how to manage a classroom.  I don't mean they don't NEED the things they learn in their college classes.  Rather, I mean that a person who's going to be successful in the classroom MUST be born with the right personality to teach.  You can always learn material to teach, but you cannot fake the personality. 

And, yes, the people who go into teaching because they think finishing work at 3:00 and having summers off will be a cushy gig . . . well, those people don't last long.  Three out of five new teachers leave within their first five years of teaching. 
One thing to be very aware of is that most public school districts are part of their own retirement system.  As a result, any Soc Sec benefits you have earned to date are severely impacted.  My wife actually has a teaching degree, but has never taught.  She began looking into it as a possible semi-retired kind of second career...major, major hit to SS benefits, without enough time in the public school system to build anything up to offset. 
Verify this for your own state.  I know it's true in some places, but it is not true in my state. 

I pay into the teacher retirement fund.  I will one day receive monthly checks from that fund.
I pay into Social Security.  I will one day receive monthly checks from Social Security.
In my state, these two things do not affect one another. 


Elderwood17

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 525
  • Location: Western North Carolina
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #22 on: October 11, 2014, 07:07:43 AM »
I've thought of teaching as a post FI career where I could influence the next generation and use the pay for somewhat extravagant vacations.  I feel the reality of teaching would drain my enthusiasm rather quickly though.
I have considered the option of teaching post FIRE too.  I love teaching (have done some at the college and tech school levels).  My earliest skills inventory tests all said I should be a teacher but I was encouraged to study elsewhere.   Cannot imagine the work life balance not being better as I currently work 60 plus hours a week and check email every hour all evening and weekends, and I currently get a whopping 20 days a year off total for vacation, holidays and sick combined.  My brother and his wife both are teachers and they visit us more per year than I get off total, so again I am not too worried about the work.

However, the more I look into it the clearer it is that it is not an "easy" profession by any stretch and needs to be looked at as a full time stage of ones journey.

To the OP, if it is really what you want to do go for it!

Rural

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4931
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #23 on: October 11, 2014, 07:12:35 AM »

One thing to be very aware of is that most public school districts are part of their own retirement system.  As a result, any Soc Sec benefits you have earned to date are severely impacted.  My wife actually has a teaching degree, but has never taught.  She began looking into it as a possible semi-retired kind of second career...major, major hit to SS benefits, without enough time in the public school system to build anything up to offset. 
Verify this for your own state.  I know it's true in some places, but it is not true in my state. 

I pay into the teacher retirement fund.  I will one day receive monthly checks from that fund.
I pay into Social Security.  I will one day receive monthly checks from Social Security.
In my state, these two things do not affect one another.


+1 to this, but let me say verify by district. It's generally not true of this state, but at least one very large district has some sort of local substitute for Social Security in place. It's worked to the advantage of our friend who teaches there because he's also in the Reserves and is paying into both systems.

RunHappy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 561
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #24 on: October 11, 2014, 10:23:31 AM »

It sounds to me, like you haven't taken the time to really come up with some goals and plans for your life. A map is useless if you don't have a destination in mind. The most telling part of your whole post (for me) is when you say you are saving about 50% of your income. On the surface, that is awesome! But you also mention you do not have any rent/utilities expenses. That means you are spending (approx) $32,000 on *stuff and life* Is this spending helping you achieve your goals? Bolding based on several other responses that mention your savings rate. I think this is really important because  you are spending basically a teachers FULL salary per year right now, without rent and utilities. You will have more expenses with more kids. If you keep up the same spending habits, post-kids you might be in trouble.

This is a REALLY good catch.  If his budget stays the same he would be going from a 50% savings rate to spending 84% of his income and that is IF he starts at the top of the salary range.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3514
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #25 on: October 11, 2014, 06:53:46 PM »
I've thought of teaching as a post FI career where I could influence the next generation and use the pay for somewhat extravagant vacations.  I feel the reality of teaching would drain my enthusiasm rather quickly though.
I have considered the option of teaching post FIRE too.  I love teaching (have done some at the college and tech school levels).  My earliest skills inventory tests all said I should be a teacher but I was encouraged to study elsewhere.   Cannot imagine the work life balance not being better as I currently work 60 plus hours a week and check email every hour all evening and weekends, and I currently get a whopping 20 days a year off total for vacation, holidays and sick combined.  My brother and his wife both are teachers and they visit us more per year than I get off total, so again I am not too worried about the work.

However, the more I look into it the clearer it is that it is not an "easy" profession by any stretch and needs to be looked at as a full time stage of ones journey.

To the OP, if it is really what you want to do go for it!
The question isn't really, "Would teaching provide me a better life-balance situation than I have currently?"  That's just comparing your current job and teaching.  The real question is, "Out of all jobs available, which one will provide me the optimal life-balance situation?" 

You're interested in traveling ... re-read what I said earlier about online learning.  It's a topic that is booming, and -- after your training period is over -- you can do it from anywhere.  Of course, it has its drawbacks. 

No, it is not an "easy profession".  3 out of 5 new teachers will leave the profession within 5 years.  The biggest reason people leave is that they come in with unrealistic expectations.  Typically teachers who fail come in thinking exactly what you just said:  It's an easy job.  Or, they come in thinking it'll be an ideal "mom job" because they'll only work while their children are in school. 

I AM a teacher.  It's not just my job; it's a part of who I am.  Like you, all my aptitude tests said I should be a teacher.  What was my second choice?  Librarian -- like there's a big difference.  But it's a job that's changing significantly, and you really should put in some significant research before you make any permanent moves to leave your current job. 

My best advice:  Look into the possibility of substituting -- I know, not so easy when you have a full-time job.  It'll give you the best possible glance into the world of high school without making much of a commitment. 

triteacher

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 7
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #26 on: October 12, 2014, 10:19:41 AM »
I'm 26, and this is my fourth year teaching. Right now I'm teaching 5th grade, but I taught middle school math for three years before that.

My base salary is $34,000. For the past three years, I've declined my health insurance (piggybacked off my parents) so I don't pay for benefits and receive $300 cash in lieu of insurance monthly. I also coach track and football. Our district pays about $3000 for each season coaching. That brings my school salary up to about $42,000.

I also bar-tend once or twice a week, which brought in around $12,000 last year.

So yeah, it's doable. But, man, am I tired. I worked till 2 A.M. last night and I'm sitting at my kitchen table grading papers this morning. Be really sure that teaching is what you want to do. I would do anything to go back to school and change my major - I save every penny I make bar-tending and am trying to plan an exit strategy from the classroom, either into administration or out of education completely.

I'm curious about the ex-teachers on this thread. How many of you successfully transitioned careers out of education? How did you go about doing that?

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28254
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #27 on: October 12, 2014, 10:49:59 AM »
I'm curious about the ex-teachers on this thread. How many of you successfully transitioned careers out of education? How did you go about doing that?

The wife and I are still teachers (I taught 4th/5th for 7 years, the wife teaches HS English), and we're transitioning out via FIRE in about two years.

We love our jobs, but they are a lot of work, and we want the freedom to travel.

Like you, we didn't just relax during times off, but pushed to earn more income (way to go with the coaching/bartending/etc.!).  We did summer school, tutored after school, saturday school, etc.

Figured it was worth pushing hard now for an early FIRE.  But we also really enjoy teaching.  It's been a great job to have while pursuing FIRE.

The thing is, your major is only sometimes relevant to your job, so don't feel pigeonholed into what you "have" to do.  Neither of us were education majors.  And if I quit today there's a bunch of other things I'd do to make money, most not "traditional" jobs.

Keep working hard, keep your expenses low, and start looking for opportunity.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

jamaicaspanish

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 110
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #28 on: October 12, 2014, 02:27:53 PM »
Triteacher,
There are lots of different gigs within the teaching world.  I transitioned to a specialist position (ESL) for the last half of my public school teaching career and never looked back.  I still did my job well, but I didn't have the huge stacks of work outside of school that classroom teachers always seem to have.
And since we were all on the same salary schedule, it didn't make sense to me to expend all my energy on schoolwork.  I had the time and energy to  tutor on the side. To take additional coursework to move up in salary.  To attend all of my kids' activities.
I would encourage all teachers to consider the possibilities--reading specialist, ESL specialist, counselor, speech-language pathologist, translator/interpreter, p.e. teacher, IT teacher, etc.  Someone in your building is helping kids, contributing to the community, working smart, and going home with energy.   Find out who that person(s) is and look into those opportunities.

BPA

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1203
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #29 on: October 12, 2014, 05:00:36 PM »
I love my students, but teaching isn't easy.  The hardest thing about my job is the emotional component.  In one year, one student I was very close to committed suicide and I had a child protection issue go horribly wrong.  I tried my best to help but things didn't get better for the girl I was trying to help.  They got worse.  I wound up on leave because I felt so helpless to help those kids.

Lately I find that I am dealing with so many abusive, unreasonable parents.  Being called a "fucking bitch" and threatened because I bust a kid for plagiarism is not acceptable.  Being bullied to raise a kid's final mark from 25% to a pass is ridiculous.  My colleague had a pissed off parent run an illegal credit check on her and dig up information like where she lived and what her children's names are and what school they went to when my colleague refused to accept a plagiarized assignment. 

I wish teaching were only about helping kids learn.  The kids are great and I so love this generation of young people, but, after 18 years, I am starting to burn out.

mancityfan

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 160
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #30 on: October 12, 2014, 06:52:30 PM »
I made the change from being a registered nurse to being a middle school teacher around 16 years ago. I was in a nurse management position with some very long and unpredictable hours. I had always wanted to teach so I made the switch and took a one year masters course to become certified. I certainly back many of the points already made, especially those saying that teaching is a 'calling". Do it because you are passionate about it.

One of the biggest considerations is the type of school you end up in. I live and teach in a well to do area. Discipline problems in my school are very minor when compared to inner city schools. As a result, I am able to teach. It can be fun and rewarding. Teaching in a "challenging" school is a whole different experience. Even after 16 years experience I am not sure I could pull it off.

Another consideration is the current changes in education. Common core, excessive testing, erosion of tenure etc. Teacher morale is certainly dropping and there may be hard times ahead. My two cents.
 

Pigeon

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1244
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #31 on: October 13, 2014, 10:28:55 AM »
I'm married to a high school science teacher. 

You're going to have a bunch of kids and a SAHM on a teacher's salary in a state that doesn't pay teachers particularly well?  I know this forum champions living on next to nothing, but I sure couldn't do that.

Being a teacher today is very, very different than it was when you were in school.  Dh works very long hours planning lessons, grading papers, calling parents, and doing all the unproductive crap that is now required by the state but does nothing to improve the quality of anything.

Teaching is not a respected profession.  Politicians want to paint you as greedy and lazy and at the root of all society's problems.  Many students are rude, have no work ethic, and expect to be entertained all day long.  If you aren't entertaining them, you must be a bad teacher.  Many kids have horrible home lives.  Dh teaches in a blue collar area.  It's not the inner city.  He's got kids of drug addicts, kids who are drug addicts, kids from abusive homes, kids with parole officers, kids who don't know where their next meal is coming from.  And he's got the occasional juvenile psychopath.  He's had kids pick up metal desks and swing them at his head.  Most of the kids are OK, but all it takes is a handful of kids with real behavior problems to derail your carefully crafted lesson plans.

Make sure you understand the political climate for teachers.  If a kid never comes to school, it's your fault he's failing.  If a kid shows up stoned out of his mind, it's your fault he's failing.  If a kid flat out refuses to pick up a pencil to take notes or fill out tests, it's your fault he's failing.  So much of what goes into deciding if you are an "effective teacher" is entirely out of your control.

Find some people who are working in the districts you might be working in and find out what it's really like.  My husband is glad he is a teacher, sort of, but it is nothing like what it was twenty years ago.

investfell

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #32 on: October 13, 2014, 11:13:04 AM »
Wow! Lot's of really good advice here, especially from you teachers. Because of a couple of face punches, my wife and I have reworked our budget and are now projecting a 64% savings rate of gross pay.  I think getting rid of out biggest expense (rent) made us get lazy in our spending. I'm sure we can do even better. We may post our budget later for some more face punches.

I think I will wait things out for 10 years or so. And if becoming a teacher still sounds more appealing to me than early retirement, then I will give it a shot. At least then I can know for sure if I am doing it because I love it or if I just need the money. And if it is not a fit, then it won't be a problem getting out.

Thank you all for you responses. I have read and re-read just about everything multiple times. Still chewing on a lot of this. I am going to work harder to find ways to spend more time at home, especially when the baby is born.


MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3514
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #33 on: October 13, 2014, 04:18:56 PM »
Triteacher,
There are lots of different gigs within the teaching world.  I transitioned to a specialist position (ESL) for the last half of my public school teaching career and never looked back.  I still did my job well, but I didn't have the huge stacks of work outside of school that classroom teachers always seem to have.
And since we were all on the same salary schedule, it didn't make sense to me to expend all my energy on schoolwork.  I had the time and energy to  tutor on the side. To take additional coursework to move up in salary.  To attend all of my kids' activities.
I would encourage all teachers to consider the possibilities--reading specialist, ESL specialist, counselor, speech-language pathologist, translator/interpreter, p.e. teacher, IT teacher, etc.  Someone in your building is helping kids, contributing to the community, working smart, and going home with energy.   Find out who that person(s) is and look into those opportunities.
Eh, while that sounds good in theory, it's a tough sell in real life: 

- In my area, the ESL teachers are the just-out-of-school English teachers.  The paperwork and class numbers are staggering, and they ALL move into an English classroom as quickly as a spot opens up.
- Guidance counselors and Speech Pathologists DO fit your description, but a big school probably has only 3-4 counselors and Speech Pathologists tend to be 3-4 per county.  You could literally wait years for a job to open up. 
- PE teachers don't have the paperwork that other teachers do, it's true . . . but they're expected to coach sports teams after school (yes, for extra money, but it's also extra time).  Also, there's a push to begin paying "in demand" positions like math and science more . . . to keep average-demand positions like English and history where they are now . . . and to decrease easy-to-fill jobs like PE and history teachers. 
- Receptionists and other clerical workers don't bring work home, but they have to come in earlier.
- Administrators don't take work home, but one of them has to attend EVERY school event -- consider how many sports events, school plays and concerts that means.  They earn every penny they make. 

Seriously, it's tough to find someone in the school system who has an "easy job". 

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3514
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #34 on: October 13, 2014, 04:22:31 PM »
Lately I find that I am dealing with so many abusive, unreasonable parents.  Being called a "fucking bitch" and threatened because I bust a kid for plagiarism is not acceptable.  Being bullied to raise a kid's final mark from 25% to a pass is ridiculous.  My colleague had a pissed off parent run an illegal credit check on her and dig up information like where she lived and what her children's names are and what school they went to when my colleague refused to accept a plagiarized assignment.
Yeah, I've had my share of that.  Ever been punched?  Threatened?  I have.  Ever had that student who punched you sent right back into your classroom after a three-day suspension?  I have. 

Fortunately, these things are not commonplace.  Most of my students (and their parents) are nice people, but those few, oh, those few. 

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3514
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #35 on: October 13, 2014, 04:26:56 PM »
I'm married to a high school science teacher. 

You're going to have a bunch of kids and a SAHM on a teacher's salary in a state that doesn't pay teachers particularly well?  I know this forum champions living on next to nothing, but I sure couldn't do that.

Being a teacher today is very, very different than it was when you were in school.  Dh works very long hours planning lessons, grading papers, calling parents, and doing all the unproductive crap that is now required by the state but does nothing to improve the quality of anything.

Teaching is not a respected profession.  Politicians want to paint you as greedy and lazy and at the root of all society's problems.  Many students are rude, have no work ethic, and expect to be entertained all day long.  If you aren't entertaining them, you must be a bad teacher.  Many kids have horrible home lives.  Dh teaches in a blue collar area.  It's not the inner city.  He's got kids of drug addicts, kids who are drug addicts, kids from abusive homes, kids with parole officers, kids who don't know where their next meal is coming from.  And he's got the occasional juvenile psychopath.  He's had kids pick up metal desks and swing them at his head.  Most of the kids are OK, but all it takes is a handful of kids with real behavior problems to derail your carefully crafted lesson plans.

Make sure you understand the political climate for teachers.  If a kid never comes to school, it's your fault he's failing.  If a kid shows up stoned out of his mind, it's your fault he's failing.  If a kid flat out refuses to pick up a pencil to take notes or fill out tests, it's your fault he's failing.  So much of what goes into deciding if you are an "effective teacher" is entirely out of your control.

Find some people who are working in the districts you might be working in and find out what it's really like.  My husband is glad he is a teacher, sort of, but it is nothing like what it was twenty years ago.
Yes, I've seen these things.  When I started teaching, society's view of teachers was that we probably weren't very smart . . . but we were genuinely good people with hearts of gold.  Today we're considered lazy, unwilling to do anything to help students, and standardized testing is necessary to be sure we bother to teach anything at all.  It's disheartening.

Just today I was in a meeting with a set of parents about why their son -- a senior -- is failing my required class: 
Me -- He's failing because he isn't doing his reading.
Them -- But he has test anxiety.
Me -- If he'd do his reading, he might not feel so anxious when asked to answer questions.
Them -- But he doesn't like the reading, and he has a hard time forcing himself to do it.
Me -- Reading is a requirement for this class.  He must do the reading, if he is to pass.
Them -- Reading takes him so much time, and he falls asleep.
Me -- Reading does take longer for some students.  Here is a list of things that can help strengthen his reading and help him focus. 
Them -- Oh, these would mean extra work!  These would be harder than just reading the material. 
Me -- Well, you're saying that he has a hard time with the reading.  These ideas will help strengthen his reading skills. 
Them -- These ideas just won't work.  The material is too hard. 
Me -- According to his previous tests in previous years, this reading is well within his ability level.  He cannot pass this class without doing his reading.
Them -- Reading shouldn't be required to graduate.  It's too hard, and it stresses him out. 

It's frustrating. 

I really like my job, but it is not the same as when I began -- political changes, societal changes.  However, in all fairness, I think a lot of that is true in other jobs too.  My husband has seen negative changes in his work too.  Work used to be a whole lot easier than it is today -- and a whole lot more fun too. 
« Last Edit: October 13, 2014, 04:34:13 PM by MrsPete »

nirvines88

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 79
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #36 on: October 13, 2014, 06:40:50 PM »
I'm married to a high school science teacher. 

You're going to have a bunch of kids and a SAHM on a teacher's salary in a state that doesn't pay teachers particularly well?  I know this forum champions living on next to nothing, but I sure couldn't do that.

Being a teacher today is very, very different than it was when you were in school.  Dh works very long hours planning lessons, grading papers, calling parents, and doing all the unproductive crap that is now required by the state but does nothing to improve the quality of anything.

Teaching is not a respected profession.  Politicians want to paint you as greedy and lazy and at the root of all society's problems.  Many students are rude, have no work ethic, and expect to be entertained all day long.  If you aren't entertaining them, you must be a bad teacher.  Many kids have horrible home lives.  Dh teaches in a blue collar area.  It's not the inner city.  He's got kids of drug addicts, kids who are drug addicts, kids from abusive homes, kids with parole officers, kids who don't know where their next meal is coming from.  And he's got the occasional juvenile psychopath.  He's had kids pick up metal desks and swing them at his head.  Most of the kids are OK, but all it takes is a handful of kids with real behavior problems to derail your carefully crafted lesson plans.

Make sure you understand the political climate for teachers.  If a kid never comes to school, it's your fault he's failing.  If a kid shows up stoned out of his mind, it's your fault he's failing.  If a kid flat out refuses to pick up a pencil to take notes or fill out tests, it's your fault he's failing.  So much of what goes into deciding if you are an "effective teacher" is entirely out of your control.

Find some people who are working in the districts you might be working in and find out what it's really like.  My husband is glad he is a teacher, sort of, but it is nothing like what it was twenty years ago.
Yes, I've seen these things.  When I started teaching, society's view of teachers was that we probably weren't very smart . . . but we were genuinely good people with hearts of gold.  Today we're considered lazy, unwilling to do anything to help students, and standardized testing is necessary to be sure we bother to teach anything at all.  It's disheartening.

Just today I was in a meeting with a set of parents about why their son -- a senior -- is failing my required class: 
Me -- He's failing because he isn't doing his reading.
Them -- But he has test anxiety.
Me -- If he'd do his reading, he might not feel so anxious when asked to answer questions.
Them -- But he doesn't like the reading, and he has a hard time forcing himself to do it.
Me -- Reading is a requirement for this class.  He must do the reading, if he is to pass.
Them -- Reading takes him so much time, and he falls asleep.
Me -- Reading does take longer for some students.  Here is a list of things that can help strengthen his reading and help him focus. 
Them -- Oh, these would mean extra work!  These would be harder than just reading the material. 
Me -- Well, you're saying that he has a hard time with the reading.  These ideas will help strengthen his reading skills. 
Them -- These ideas just won't work.  The material is too hard. 
Me -- According to his previous tests in previous years, this reading is well within his ability level.  He cannot pass this class without doing his reading.
Them -- Reading shouldn't be required to graduate.  It's too hard, and it stresses him out. 

It's frustrating. 

I really like my job, but it is not the same as when I began -- political changes, societal changes.  However, in all fairness, I think a lot of that is true in other jobs too.  My husband has seen negative changes in his work too.  Work used to be a whole lot easier than it is today -- and a whole lot more fun too.

That's a good example.  I've had similar conversations.  I'd like to think all of us have a bit of test anxiety; there are definitely students that may have a debilitating form of test anxiety, but I've yet to meet one, despite claims to the contrary.  These claims occasionally arise with students saying they cannot remember so much information.  I like to ask them: Can you remember your address?  Can you remember your phone number?  How about your facebook account and password?  How about your twitter account and password?  Students will usually reply yes to all of the questions, at which point I'll say: You are capable of memorizing things, especially things that appear important to you.  In my class, remembering the content is important to your grade.  Make the time to remember the content and you will improve your test scores!

To get back to the original topic: If I was the OP I probably wouldn't switch away from that high paying job, unless I felt teaching would truly make me happier.  I have days where I wouldn't trade my job for anything and days where I wonder what I'm doing - it's just the nature of the job!  Consider shadowing or subbing to get a better idea before making a decision.

Psychstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 984
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #37 on: October 13, 2014, 08:08:18 PM »

- Guidance counselors and Speech Pathologists DO fit your description, but a big school probably has only 3-4 counselors and Speech Pathologists tend to be 3-4 per county.  You could literally wait years for a job to open up. 

This is very much dependent on the area. In my mid sized district in the suburb of a major metro area, we have TONS of central office and campus support staff that have an easier job, and make more money, than a teacher does. We currently have about 30-40 evaluaters for special education, dozens of curriculum specialists at the central office and even instructional specialists on campus, and around 70 Speech Paths. I'm sure there are several other jobs and titles that I am forgetting, so there can be opportunities to get the perceived (which is an illusion for the most part) work life balance of being a teacher without having to put up with the incredibly real difficulty we have created about being a teacher.

Pigeon

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1244
Re: Career change to HS teacher?
« Reply #38 on: October 14, 2014, 11:09:41 AM »
In my state anyway, you need a masters to be a speech pathologist, and to be admitted into the masters programs you need a lot of prereqs.  Same for guidance.  Both of these would probably require the OP go back to school for quite a bit.  Also, speech language pathologists are contractors in many areas, which might make it a little less desirable than being a district employee.

The job outlook for speech pathologists is good, but most of the growth is going to come from working with old people rather than with school kids.