After spending ten years in the business world, I decided that it was time to get out. I always had wanted to be a teacher and I felt like it was now or never. Not once have I regretted my decision...and I've been teaching now for ten years.
I agree - most high school kids have gotten a bad rap over the years. Of the students that I've had, approximately 1% would fall into the "bad" category. And, some of those students are reachable as long as you are willing to get to know them on a personal level (i.e. "Billy" likes Metallica, so I happen to mention that I saw a Metallica special on VH-1 and we discuss it. Now "Billy" sees me as a person and not as a "teacher-robot" that assigns homework.).
Teaching is hard work if you do it correctly. You can't just lecture and show movies. The students will not respect you. You have to be willing to get involved and be excited. You have to be honest with the students (obviously within reason) when they ask you questions not related to the topic...or maybe to the topic, depending on what you're discussing. You have to be fair and impartial. The rules must apply to everyone equally. You must be consistent with EVERYTHING. Most kids do not respond well to change. In my experience, they like structure and order (they just won't tell you that). Most importantly, you cannot be someone whose feelings get hurt easily. If you are, teaching is not for you. Kids sometimes say some pretty mean/nasty things. If you take those things personally, you will burn out quickly.
Ah, the dreaded drop-in-pay. I worked as a corporate officer. The drop was dramatic, but SO worth it for me. I feel like I make a difference, not just spend my life pushing around papers. You will be spending your own money on the classroom and students - that's just part of the job. You may think that you'll have summers off, but you will need to keep current with your licensing and, most importantly, with what's going on in your field (if you want to stay relevant).
My advice: if teaching is something that you've always wanted to do, go for it. Life is uncertain. You may end up loving it, as I do, or you may find out that it's not what you want to do. If that's the case, move on to something else. However, you will never know unless you try.
High school kids have really gotten a bad rap thanks to movies and the media. Most of these kids are hungry for knowledge and very respectful. Only a few fall in that category of what I would call "bad kid" and most are just misguided and need a little extra care.
Yes, you will experience an extreme drop in salary - but what you will gain is an environment that is less stressful, more rewarding and allows you more time for your family.
If you can share your love for IT with your students, they will reward you with their participation and engagement. You have to WANT to teach in order to be successful. If you think of it as only a job, it isnt' the place for you. Yes, you are making a huge sacrifice, but think about the countless young minds that you are preparing to be citizens.
What the kids are like is somewhat dependent on what you teach and where you teach it. I teach freshmen and sophomore English to kids at risk for dropping out, so it's pretty stressful. It's also very rewarding. The main things I'd say you need are to be fair and consistent, and make it VERY clear what things you will not accept. I've had trouble by being too mild-mannered, so even though I felt strongly, I'd give a rather easy-going "stop", and the kids didn't realized I wouldn't accept that behavior. It became a much bgger hassle later in the year, when they're more comfortable and tired of doing work. Like everything else, I got better at this over the years.
Plan on feeling incredibly stressed the first couple of years. Unfortunately, many new teachers only last about 5 years, which is ironically the point at which studies have shown stress goes down and your feeling of competence goes up. Not much I can say about the money, tho--it's probably gonna be a decent sized drop. Work on dumping a couple hundred dollars per paycheck into savings that you used to spend. That way, you'll start getting used to a smaller salary while building savings for if you quit working while you go to school.
Good luck! We need more good teachers out there!
Hey, I love teaching and every thing about it. I had my worries in college but after I got their I loved it.
I am 26 years old and teach high school Earth Science and Physical Education 10. Good luck in you quest.
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