Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Thinking About Being a Teacher

Are You Thinking of Teaching as a Career 2

Because I hope to be forthright with these commentaries, it’s possible you may wonder if I like teaching. You may be asking, if she doesn’t think teaching is a good career for the money, then why did she become a teacher?

I have been teaching my whole life. While, I’m not one of those people who looks at going into education as a calling–more power to those who see it that way–simply put, I have been teaching my whole life. I came this way. But most of the time, it wasn’t for money, or much anyway.

As a kid, I taught swimming lessons. I’ve had violin students off and on for decades. Taught sign language to teenagers. Acting for a children’s theater conservatory. In my church, I have taught every age group and type of teaching that is done, from helping others learn teach how to teach, to music and everything in between. I’ve taught workshops and writer’s groups, horsemanship, given guest lectures, written and directed plays for elementary schools. (Okay, that was a bit more like herding cats but it was still teaching.) I’ve even taught music conducting and hand embroidery. Need it taught? Give me a minute, I’ll figure it out.

That is who is am. A teacher and a storyteller.

Teaching makes sense to me. It’s like a superpower. I can read a class, sense the needs of individuals and adapt what I’m doing and how I’m saying it to reach them. On the fly. I can sense when to pivot (Education jargon alert! Sorry, just had to throw one in) and come at something at a different angle without hesitation. No, not every time. LOL…but generally.

I express myself by wanting to share my excitement over cool things and I do it by using my love of learning mixed with a generous dollop of performance. Teaching is something I enjoy. It gives me energy. Brings me joy. 

There is another more pecuniary reason that took me into education as a profession. I needed consistent insurance. My then-husband worked in IT in project management and he was perpetually (it felt like that anyway) being laid off. One project would finish and we were suddenly struggling looking for another job. It could mean months of fear and worry. I had children and we needed insurance. I was happily working for a national bookstore chain, but not making a whole lot and thanks to a changing world, it was going under. I had heard that teaching was a safe and steady career that meshed well with raising a family. It paid more than working in retail and for an entire year, I would be able to make sure my family was medically covered no matter what arose with my spouse’s employment.

Only one problem. I didn’t have a teaching degree. 


Sunday, March 5, 2023

Are You Thinking About Teaching as a Career?


Are you thinking about teaching as a career? 

There are an awful lot of discussions out there about teacher shortages. People leaving teaching. Alternate pathways to certification. Testing. Teachers should be paid more. Crowded classrooms. Teachers are not treated like many professionals. The Covid gap. Online learning. One of my favorites–you have summers off!

Perhaps I’ve heard enough. Perhaps I’ve seen one too many video shorts on Facebook. Perhaps I’m just plain ready to do something I enjoy–writing. But whatever has driven me to begin this commentary, please take it for what it is. My view. My opinion based on what I’ve seen and experienced. I cannot nor would not hope to speak for others. I will, however, over the next while, endeavor to bring up topics and ideas someone may find interesting and perhaps slightly thought provoking.

So let’s begin with money. We’re all out there working because we’re trying to support something. Ourselves. Our families. Our hobbies, etc.

I’ve seen many articles stating that starting salaries for teachers are over $60,000. Seriously? Where?

I am in my 16th year of teaching and should be at the top of my local district’s ladder or salary matrix (more on that later). I hold a certification as a Secondary Teacher in History and Geography. I have a Master’s degree + 28 hours (meaning I’ve taken enough classes after my master’s program that I have accrued more than 28 hours of university credit.) This actually does not include classes I took the first several years after I started teaching and I thought I would never need to worry about such things as school district ladders, lane changes etc., so I opted for state continuing education credits which counted toward re-licensure but did nothing for future remuneration benefits. 

If I were working full-time…(more on that later) I should be making $72,000. I don't know if that sounds like a lot to you. My children make much, much more than thatin other industries, of course. And, I live in Idaho. It's 37th in the nation as far as teacher pay.

If I were teaching in one of the largest districts in Utah, I would also make approximately $72,000. But, the price of my little house in Idaho, would cost so much more in Utah. That's actually why I moved from Utah. After I'd sold my house–with a small acreage–I couldn’t afford to buy another plain, simple house.

Most districts spread this salary out over 12 months. Many give you the option to decide if you want it spread out or to fit it into the nine months of full time teaching. I understand in California many districts do not give you that option which means you will not have a pay check during those non-teaching months.

So, if you’re going into education for the money–you may want to re-think. #teachingcareer

(Stats info came from https://worldpopulationreview.com/state-rankings/teacher-pay-by-state)