Any 2nd career teachers here?

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by redandblue, Mar 29, 2011.

  1. redandblue

    redandblue Mouseketeer

    Apr 13, 2010
    I thought I was posting this in the budget board but I accidentally put it in the family board so I am reposting.

    What I mean is you had your bachelors and worked in a different field then went back to school to be a teacher.

    I have my bachelors of Science in Business. I have worked in the insurance industry for the past 10 years and am 34 with a 3yo DS and a 1yo DD. And I a considering going back to school to be a teacher. I have some questions. (I also live in Michigan)

    1. How long did it take you to get your teaching certificate with a BS? Rough idea considering all the general ed courses already taken.
    2. Was it hard to go back to school and student teach with kids.
    3. What made you do it?
    4. How hard was it to find a job? (are schools looking for 20 somethings or do they like the prior experience)
    5. What made your decision to take the leap
    6. Would you do it over again with all the issues with teachers now? And am I crazy to even consider leaving a well paying job in this economy.
  2. daisyduck123

    daisyduck123 <font color=green>I just love those parmesan mashe

    Aug 18, 2005
    Hi! I'm not a "2nd career teacher" (I've been teaching 20 years) but I do just want to suggest that if you haven't already, you should really try substitute teaching for awhile. This will give you an idea of what the job is like. You will also get an idea for what grades/levels you prefer.

    I'm just suggesting this because there really, truly are a LOT of people out there who have no idea what teaching is really like. Everyone thinks they know it/are familiar with it just because they were students themselves & went through school. (And no, being a Room Mom or volunteering in the classroom does not many people seem to think they get a clear view of teaching that way:rotfl:).

    If, after subbing, you find that you do enjoy it, then I'd say it will be worth the time & energy you put into getting your teaching certificate. Good luck & have fun!
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  4. bridget

    bridget DIS Veteran

    May 12, 2005
    I also think subbing is a good idea.

    Right now there are lots of places that have hiring freezes and are laying off teachers due to budget issues.

    I have an IT degree and and elementary ed degree. I taught for 2 years, then used my IT degree in the business world for 8 years. I am now teaching again (I am a part-time reading specialist).
  5. amyy

    amyy <font color=royalblue> I do pat them out on a flou

    Aug 5, 2003
    I am kind of a 2nd career teacher as I am on a teacher's salary scale/contract.

    I agree with subbing. Try to job shadow as much as you can too. Weigh out if you need to take out loans compare to what your salary will be. Plus how many hours you work now as compare to what you might as a teacher. My district is extreme but a large percentage of the teacher's work 60-70+ hours a week. I know other districts where the workload is closer to 45-50 but I am sure there are a lot like the district where I work.

    6-probably not. I love my job but I would probably use my degree elsewhere. I live in Maine and if the Governor's gets his way with changes to our retirement I will probably find a different job. That sad fact is I have to pay the bills now and when I retire. It is hard to do that on a teacher's salary (at least in Maine). Not to mention a lot of stuff with standardized test scores etc. That is a whole other subject.
  6. gatormom2tots

    gatormom2tots DIS Veteran

    Apr 13, 2010
    Have to agree....sub first and make sure you are cut out for it....I easily put in 50 hour weeks! But I love my job...

    The other thing its not a great field right now. I have friends that have been teaching for 10 years at the same school and have been displaced. I work inthe largest district in the state of Georgia and over 300 employees with experience were displaced...can't even imagine somebody coming in straight from school.

    I keep hearing of all the grads who are still looking for a job 2-3 years later.
  7. Cindy B

    Cindy B <font color=blue>Have taken some furniture polish

    Oct 8, 2000
    I am 40 years old and currently in my first year of teaching. I have two teenagers. I have worked other positions and so teaching is my 2nd career.

    However, I did things a little differently. I have two bachelors, one in writing and one in education. I did the dual major so I could become a highly qualified teacher.

    1)It took me about 2 years to get these two bachelor's degrees with all general education courses completed (I already had an associates degree)

    2) Student teaching was challenging. I student taught in an urban inner city school and it was HARD. I dealt with extreme poverty, racism, challenging parents.. and I should mention I was in the most dangerous city in the United States. (I am a suburban Caucasian woman... I stuck out!)

    3) I always wanted to teach. That was the reason why I finally finished after 20 years after graduating high school.

    4) It is extremely difficult to find a teaching job. I had a 4.0 GPA, great recommendations, dual certifications in Middle School English and Elementary Education and still took 22 months to find a teaching job. I sent over 200 resumes and went on 17, yes, 17 interviews until I found my full time teaching position. As for age, I know in my situation, being older and more mature helps.

    I work full time in the same inner city I student taught in. I still deal with extreme poverty, racism, danger, and truth be told very SCARY student. The town is still the most dangerous in the nation. The need is great in this district. Everyday is an extreme challenge. Younger teachers can't do it.. my oldest students are 16 year old 8th graders.. the age gap is too small. Being a parent even a grandparent helps you.

    5) The leap was needed. I know that having a bachelors degree would never be "wasted" because other professions require a bachelors. I worked for the Federal Government for over a year and my bachelor degrees were a prerequisite.

    6) Would I do it all over again? I did leave a stable Federal Government position to come to my teaching position. Somedays I question my sanity. Somedays I see the light bulb over my students heads and it makes it worthwile. I'm still in my first year so it is difficult to say.

    At this very moment, I would say to stay where you are. Depending on your state, you may be in a difficult position. I'm "lucky" because of my district.. nobody is knocking down doors to work in this town due to the violence and crime. Would I love a suburban district where all is right, and all I have to worry about is kids chewing gum... yes! Right now, I have homeless students, students who are in juvenile detention, students who have drug and alcohol problems, students who live in extreme poverty, students who can't resist the pull of the street corner and easy money. Note this is a public school.. not a school for troubled teens or an alternative school.

    Many days I come home crying.. today was one of them. I will say that this experience has made me stronger. By the way, I subbed for 6 years while I was going to school. I subbed in surburban districts and I should have subbed in urban districts to understand the students better.
  8. Tink-aholic

    Tink-aholic DIS Veteran

    May 23, 2007
    I am in my fifth year teaching now and I LOVE it! I will answer your questions:

    1. I am still working on my teaching certificate. I took a few tests to get my preliminary teaching certificate and had five years to take seven 3-credit courses and complete a mentoring program. I will finish this June and most of it will have been paid by the school where I work.
    2. I didn't "student-teach" -- they just tossed me to the wolves on the first day! My first year was the hardest. Like the PP, I work in an impoverished district. We deal with gangs, drugs, teen parents, etc. My kids are all seniors in high school and some of them have more than one child by this point. At least they are still in school.
    3. I had taught a few night classes and found that I liked teaching. Teaching adults skills that they want (and pay for) is COMPLETELY different than teaching teens, however. Some days, I feel like I am herding cats all day. But sometimes, I know that I make a difference in someone's life.
    4. I was lucky in that my school wanted to hire me before I knew there was a position open. It is much harder to get in here now.
    5. I was working in healthcare before and this job pays more than double my last job...and for sixteen fewer weeks! And the benefits are crazy (15 sick days a year?!).
    6. Not sure what you mean by the last question and "issues with teachers now". Bullying? Sex with students? Breaking up the unions? Standardized testing? These issues have always been around. I am glad that they are taking a stronger stand against ALL of them (yes, I am a teacher and yes, I am against unions).

    I read a statistic once that said that more than half of all new teachers quit and change professions within the first three years. That is a risky proposition if you don't know if you are even going to like it. Many districts aren't offering subbing right now, but you could teach other classes. Try night school/GED classes, etc. Get your feet wet and see if you like it. You might just get hooked like the rest of us. :goodvibes

    Good luck.
  9. Tink2Day

    Tink2Day DIS Veteran

    Dec 30, 2010
    I'm a first career teacher and a second (or is it third?) career something else.

    Most districts are cutting drastically. Many have no subbing available.
    My home state is increasing class size to 60 students and have a hiring freeze and buy-out retirement in place.
    This is a state which was routinely 'raided' by other states for the teachers, but not happening now.
    Take a look at Wisconsin and some of the States where they are closing schools to save money.

    This economy? Unless you have a stable income from a spouse/partner I'd say wait it out a bit. Volunteer at the local youth centers or something similar and teach a class of some type there to see if you even like it.

    I have a friend who has a degree in Chemical engineering and went back to get her teaching degree and certification. I believe it took her two years. She's waiting it out until her children are older and then wants to be a professor, so more work ahead for her.

    Gone are the days (just about 5 years ago) where the local University was offering accelerated avenues to certification, taking life/work experience into account and allowing people to take a couple of years worth of classes and student teach and be certified in 2 years.

    Tink-aholic, lucky you. In this state you don't teach if you aren't certified and you have to re-certify.
    When I graduated eons ago, we had 5 years max to obtain our Masters, it was a requirement or no tenure. Times have changed and frankly so has the educational system and the quality. I thought at one time 45 children in a class was at times overwhelming.
    Imagine SIXTY!
    p.s. I'm opposite, I now work in healthcare and make MUCH more than I did teaching. But my area is very well paid and somewhat technical.
  10. aprilfoolwed

    aprilfoolwed DIS Veteran

    Nov 15, 2008
    Not a second-career teacher yet, but I am in school for it. This is my 2nd semester. I had to take one class in my "major" (English), one 3-credit math class (6 credits are required by PA for any teacher), and then a whole bunch of education classes. I am a part-time student, and it will take me 2.5 years to get my English 7-12 cert. I also want to get my special ed cert, but that will take longer, and because of some changes to teacher certification in PA, I am opting to at least get my English done by the close of 2012.
  11. tasha99

    tasha99 DIS Veteran

    Aug 20, 2006
    I will be sort of a second career teacher starting this fall. My BA is in English, but I went back to school to get a Masters in Communication Disorders and Sciences. I'm almost done, and it will have taken 3 years-- 1 for postbac work, and 2 for the Masters.

    I did my student teaching last term and am doing my medical externship this term. That's sort of a plus--there are several other routes than teaching with this degree. I don't have a job yet, but had my first interview last week. The school district actually contacted me first to invite me to apply, so that's promising. Just an idea, since school districts are cutting, but many seem to be short of speech teachers (as well as PTs and OTs for that matter--probably even more so).

    As for your questions:
    1. How long did it take you to get your teaching certificate with a BS? Rough idea considering all the general ed courses already taken.
    n/a--Masters required.
    2. Was it hard to go back to school and student teach with kids.
    Easy because I LOVED it. I'm 44 and was the same age as my supervising teacher. It made it fun to be agemates like that. The kids were great and loved speech class. I student taught at a community elementary school and two schools with residential programs for kids with severe behavior problems. It was a great teaching experience there too. I found being older helped, because I had experience with behavior management from my own life (3 kids, mostly grown.)
    3. What made you do it?
    I realized I didn't enjoy working in a law office and wanted a job that would be more fun and give me more income. My friend, a retired PT, started suggesting I go for OT or PT. I thought about all the therapy jobs and realized that for someone who loves language, being an SLP would be a great career.
    4. How hard was it to find a job? (are schools looking for 20 somethings or do they like the prior experience)

    Well, I just started looking, so I can't say for sure. I have heard it can be harder with experience that counts on the pay scale, but as a new teacher, none of yours would. Youth vs. wisdom--it would probably vary.
    5. What made your decision to take the leap
    I just did it. I thought about it, went and talked to someone at the grad school, and applied for my post bac classes in a two week period. I figured the time will pass no matter what I do--might as well be getting some skills.
    6. Would you do it over again with all the issues with teachers now? And am I crazy to even consider leaving a well paying job in this economy.
    Yes, I would. About your situation, I couldn't say. I was leaving a $15/hour no benefits secretarial job so I wasn't risking as much. What do you want to teach? Have you job shadowed anyone to get an idea of what the job entails?
    Here's data on an upcoming job fair for Oregon Educators. It gives an idea of how many people are applying for how many positions, at that fair at least.

    Position #Applicants #Schools w/positions
    Math 130 30
    English/LangArts 163 20
    K-3 425 32
    4-6 444 33
    Science 111 23
    Social Studies 141 12
    PT 2 11
    OT 2 11
    SLP 8 17
    Special Ed 128 36
  12. StephMK

    StephMK DIS Veteran

    Mar 22, 2004
    I'm at the end of my schooling to be a second career teacher. I have a BA in Psych & also have worked in insurance for 10+ years. I am still working for them PT from home while in school.

    1. How long did it take you to get your teaching certificate with a BS? Rough idea considering all the general ed courses already taken.

    It's taken me 2 years FT and I have 2 more classes for my sped cert. I am getting my MEd in Elem Ed. All my gen ed classes applied so I took 4 education pre-reqs-music, art, etc. and all the ed classes.

    2. Was it hard to go back to school and student teach with kids. YES! I am student teaching now. My kids are older elem & HS so they are fairly independent, which helps. Plus DH has a flexible job w/regular hours.

    3. What made you do it? mid life crisis! :lmao: Actually, my 1st major was elem ed but the market was horrible back then too. I've always wanted to go back and get my masters.

    4. How hard was it to find a job? (are schools looking for 20 somethings or do they like the prior experience)

    I get mixed reactions to that question. I think my maturity will help & I'm not going to marry/get pg/etc. & leave in a year. My resume is out so just waiting for the hiring season to pick up. My student teaching school has at least 1 opening.

    5. What made your decision to take the leap see above! I could not stomach the thought of spending another 20+ yrs in insurance. I mean, seriously, like I was going to poke my eyes out if I had to keep sitting in front of that desk for that many more years. Something had to change so I took the leap.

    6. Would you do it over again with all the issues with teachers now? And am I crazy to even consider leaving a well paying job in this economy.

    If you ask my father, he would say yes, you are crazy. :rotfl: I would definitely go back again. Too soon to tell if I would pick education again. I have also wanted to be a counselor and wonder if I should have gone that route since there are so many issues. I love working w/the kids though and feel like I have options in my future.

    Research all your options. There are 17 approved ed programs in my state & I looked at all of them. I'm at a private college because it was a better situation than the large public college in the same town. I have spent a lot of time in schools during my 2 yrs but can't sub because they require certified teachers. I have taken a few classes online in the summer from another college because it is cheaper & helped me get some core classes out of the way.

    I want to teach sped and there are still openings around here for that. Another college has a EdS/PhD program for sped, which I hope to look into or possibly school counseling (which requires 2 yrs of teaching in my state).

    I am looking forward to graduation in May & keeping fingers crossed that I can find employment. Let me know if you have any questions, I'm happy to share any info that might help you!
  13. RangerPooh

    RangerPooh DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2005
    1) My BS is in Environemntal Studies but I went back to schoo and got my Masters degree in Teahcing Elementary Educariton, with K-8 certification. The program that I went through is designed ot be a 1 year program that is very intense. Right before I started the program I found out that I was pregnant, and as a result was encouraged to delay my student teaching a semester or two. In the end my program took almost 2 years to complete.

    2) It is difficult. When I started my kids were 1.5 years and a newborn. It was very challenging!

    3) While working towards my BS I was employed as a interpretive guide for the state parks in Ca, where I gave historical presentations to 3rd and 4th grade students. I enjoyed the job, but saw that having teacher certification would be benefical down the road.

    4) I will be honest when I say that in the first year following the granting of my teacher certification that I applied to almost 200 positions throughout the country. I attended 3 job fairs and had a number of interviews, and 1 job offer that I declined. In the second year of searching (as it's more of a March-August kind of search) I attended 6 job fairs, had multiple interviews, applied for close to 100 jobs across the nation, and was offered 1 job that I accepted. As a result we moved our family halfway across the country. At the end of the year I was laid off.

    Over the last few years I have attended multiple job fairs in Michigan (yup, lived there and was told that even with Michigan teacher certification no one would hire me as I have my degree from a non-Michigan university :sad2:), Washington, 2 in South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida (a few different ones), Pennsylvania, and another state or two I'm sure...and found job candidates from all over the nation were searching for jobs because their home states were not hiring. As PPs have said, lay offs and hiring freezes have really affected the teaching market.

    5) na

    6) Honestly I don't know. The market is tough right now, and it looks like there could be additional difficulties for teachers coming down the pipeline. I am considering returning to the field of interpretation as it's still a form of teaching.
  14. EKW

    EKW DIS Veteran

    Jan 10, 2010
    You are crazy for leaving a well paying job in this economy. There are massive lay-offs going on in education. I lost my job last year...and will probably lose the one I have now...due to ongoing budget shortfalls. The teachers who do have jobs are being asked to take massive paycuts...after 4 or 5 years of pay freezes, AND pay more for insurance.

    I moved "home" 4 years ago. I'm making $7K a year less than I was prior to the move...and paying double what I was paying for insurance. When you consider the general increase in food and energy prices, I am living on far less now than I was 10 years ago.

    If you've seen Waiting for Superman and think you can solve the problems in public education, please know that teachers are not a bunch of greedy, lazy idiots. There are corrupt systems, and I've known bad teachers, but don't feel you need to give up a decent living to try to save the world!
  15. eeyorethegreat

    eeyorethegreat DIS Veteran

    Jan 31, 2005
    I think you have to go in with realistic expectations and pp have been pretty honest with you. I have my teaching degree and cert. in Special Ed. I taught pre K for several years and due to various reasons left that position (it paid peanuts so it wasn't much of an income loss) . DH is a Spec Ed teacher too (currently on active military duty but will return to teaching when his tour is through) so I am aware of all the time and effort he puts into his students. The paperwork and testing is overwhelming. When I left my Pre K job I decided I did not want to have to deal with all the testing meetings paperwork etc. I am currently a Spec Ed ed tech (teachers aid) and am enjoying myself but I do not know if my position will be open next year. There are so many cuts to teachers and ed techs all around. Many positions are cut and when a teacher leaves they do not fill the position. What we see in the area districts here is that once a program or position is cut it is never reinstated. It is a sad state of affairs.

    I think you should take a hard look into if teaching is really right for you and if it is decide if it is reasonable to believe that you would be able to find an open position and be hired. If you really think you have a heart for it, it could be a wonderful thing for you. You could get your cert and get right in or your could be looking for years. It took DH 4 years to get a teaching job because at the time he finished schools there just were no openings similar to what it is like now.

    Best of luck in your decision.
  16. stm61

    stm61 DIS Veteran

    Mar 3, 2004
    OP check the colleges within driving distance of your home. I'm a 2nd career teacher also. I had a choice of another BS degree in elementary ed from the state college, or a Master's from a private school. The private school accepted any BA/BS and put you into a 2-2 1/2 yr program that included student teaching. I chose the private school (and I'm still paying the loans after 15 yrs!). I dual certified in spec. ed. and elem. I've only taught spec. ed. As others have said, the job market is horrible right now. I'm in SC, close to the NC border. NC has had furloughs and lay offs for the past several years. SC had furloughs this year and we don't know what we're looking at for next year. For every job opening, there are hundreds of candidates. Teaching is still a field, at least in the areas that I've lived in, where WHO you know counts more then what you know, your degree, experience, etc. I love my kids, but if I had to enter the job market now, I don't think I'd do it.
  17. nunzia

    nunzia You can't top pigs with pigs, but you CAN top Toys

    Oct 19, 2007
    I used my BS to teach for a brief time but decided against going to get the full teacher certificate. I totally HATED IT..I was in mid high in a bad school and it was amazing the level of disrepect allowed from kids and uncaring for actually educating the kids that was evident in the administration and with the parents. NO support from the administration and many teachers resented me being there with a different degree and made it very known. I would not join the union (right to work state) so I'm sure that didn't help. I had thought about options to get a teaching certificate for younger grades btu the college people basically gave me a run around, pretty much lied (as I found later) and made me feel that couldn't be done.
    And, at the risk of getting flamed, I think the pay is pretty darn thinking about teachers pay it is only fair to break that down to days worked. If you make 40K..that is for 184 contracted days where I live. My DH..with a degree..makes far less than that, as do I, for many many more work days. And yes I know work days can be long and work taken home, but all jobs have extra duties. Not many have 184 work days though.
    Still..if you can be in a decent school wtih decent support I can see it would be a good thing, but from my experience, never again.
  18. redandblue

    redandblue Mouseketeer

    Apr 13, 2010
    op here, thanks for the honest responses. Honestly I am going through a funk with my job. I just get work piled on me and have to meet these demanding requirements including customer service and to be honest I have never liked my career choice, I have always regretted not going to school to be a teacher. I am a claims adjuster.

    But whenever I mention to one of my friends (who are teachers) how I considered going back to school they get all defensive and say teaching isn't easy and they are tired of people just saying "Oh I wish I could be a teacher" I think they think people just want to do it for the summers off. :confused3

    Really I only have 1 friend out of many that are teachers that will admit that having summers and other holidays off is a nice perk, it is like teachers are afraid to say the enjoy some time off.
  19. redandblue

    redandblue Mouseketeer

    Apr 13, 2010
    Oh and I know how hard it is to find a job as a teacher I have a cousin that graduated 2 years ago and no a few others that have been looking for a few years. I am sure it is hard to find a job that most openings only occur once a year.
  20. raider97

    raider97 DIS Veteran

    Apr 5, 2007
    OP, I'm right here with you! I am planning to go back to school to get my master's degree and elementary teaching certification in the fall, my little one starts kinder then. My dh thinks I'm crazy in this market. But this is something I've wanted to do forever, and I have a ton of friends who think I only want to do it because it is an "easy" job. Not sure why they think it is "easy", I sure don't. I worked as a substitute teacher for a year, it started as just a job while waiting for my bar exam results, but I loved it so much I kept substituting three times a week even after I got hired on at a law office until my DH graduated. :) I've been looking forward to being able to teach since then. I'm going on hoping that by the time I get it out in 2+ years the market will have gotten better. If not, I have my B.B.A. and J.D. to fall back on.

    Good luck!!
  21. RangerPooh

    RangerPooh DIS Veteran

    Aug 6, 2005
    Something else to consider is, are you willing to relocate for a job? The area where I live is saturated with teachers, where you do get a couple hundred applicants for 1 job. So if you live in an area with smaller districts you need to consider if relocating is worth it to you as there is no guarantee that you will be hired at your local district, or even a district within 45 minutes of your home.

    I don't know if you are are interested in teaching in a high needs field, but it is something to consider. This can vary by area, but it has typically been special education, math, and science. Sadly I was laid off from a job in SpEd, and a girlfriend of mine from Math; so it's still no guarantee that there are jobs.

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