Hi, Latoya: Interesting study. I'm no longer in K-12. I'm in higher ed now so I can't respond, but
I going to school to become a teacher. I plan to teach first or second grade. Can you share any info about when you taught k-12? Not for the report, just curious. I will share my results when my report is done :O)
Best wishes with your research! I loved teaching second grade. Working in that school with those people and the principal was wonderful. In my background I have a few great administrators that I've worked with and many more who were totally incompetent. That school had, and still has, a real team effort and camaraderie. They are truly student-focused and the principal is a real leader by example. He will probably retire soon and that makes me wonder what will happen when he leaves. That team leads a whole group of great activities that are outside the traditional school year and traditional curriculum. They are great at the basics too, but the fact that they believe in doing more and doing whatever is needed is the key.
The kids were great because second graders are a perfect balance. They have the skills to be more independent and are overall more confident. They are reading and working independently much more. You can add more variety to the curriculum and methodology. They also are still young enough to look up to you. want your attention and affection and get excited and engaged about the lessons and activities you offer.
I think the curriculum in K and 1 keep me from really enjoying those grades that much. It is so much more narrow and repetitive. Because I like more variety and the ability to branch out a little, second and higher appeal to me more. I really like fourth grade.
I hope this helps.
Teaching second grade sounds great. I can not wait to
I work in a small, southern, rural high school teaching Spanish. Until a couple weeks ago, I didn't care for my job. I mean, it was okay, and there are certainly worse things to do for a living, but if I won the lottery, I'd be out the door the next day, KWIM? Then the new semester started, and I'm teaching Spanish 3 for the first time, and I love it! But this is due to the fact that I have excellent students, small class size (12), and this is the first time Spanish 3 has been taught, so I can more or less take it in any direction I want.
The school environment (outside of the one Spanish 3) class is depressing. We are football-oriented, not academics-oriented. Seriously, the football team made it to the playoffs, so every day of a playoff game, the players got to go to the field house and watch movies all day. The principal excused them from classes. The school is on probation, and if we can't get our graduation rate up in the next 2 years (from 73% to 85%), we will be fresh-started. That means every person in the school will be fired and replaced with a new teacher. Our principal's solution is to water down the classes and lessons. His greatest brilliant plan is to start what he calls a "Second Chance" program. If a student fails a test, then he gets a chance to take it over and over until he passes. My reaction to this idea was: why don't I just hand them the final exam on the first day, and let them take that until they pass it? That way I don't have to be bothered with actually teaching. If I truly taught a lesson, then students should be held accountable for the material learned in class. By giving them a "second chance", they are once again, not having to be responsible for themselves.
Another reason I am frustrated is because I have high expectations for students. If they plagiarize a paper, I give them a zero. Well, this past semester, I gave a football player a zero, and his mom complained. The principal wanted me to change the grade until head of the English department stepped in and agreed it was plagiarism. The principal's argument was that it was kind of gray area. The boy had changed one word ('and' to 'or') in a sentence.
Oh, and the other day, the Guidance Department sent a student to me who had failed first semester. They told her to ask me if she could just do some extra work to change her grade since she was a senior. My response was "No. You had your chance and you blew it." I remembered that she actually just printed a paper off the Internet (different-colored fonts and underlines too!).
So, in essence, I don't really care for teaching. I like my Spanish 3 class, but for me, one class isn't enough. If it were a job that was academically-focused, like it should be, I think I could do well. But I don't believe that graduating morons is in my job description. I know you are probably wondering why I stay with it then. To be honest, I like the schedule: short days, at least one holiday every month, several longer breaks throughout the year, summer vacation, and the pay isn't bad, etc.
I can't tell you how gratifying it was to read your post. I went into teaching because a) I'm creative and I wanted to use that creativity to help people, b) because I had a difficult time in junior/high school and I wanted to make it better for kids, and c) because I know how to write a strong essay, and I know how to teach others to write a strong essay. What I didn't know was that it wouldn't be enough to make me love this job no matter what.
I teach in a large high school and often I feel that I am lost in the shuffle. I have been transferred to different schools twice and expected to start teaching all new classes in the middle of a semester. I teach all remedial reading classes (every period is a different level, so they all have different preps), I travel to a different classroom each period, and the rumors about layoffs surround me every day. I have the least seniority in the school because no one was hired after me. So basically, to agree with the previous poster, I don't really like the job that much.
I like the kids. They are funny, sweet, and often they make the job worth it. There are some days when they test my patience and I cannot WAIT for the bell to ring, but there are days when I love being with them. That said, teaching is not always (ironically) about the kids. It's about the school, the climate, the pressure, the standards, the expectations, and the politics. Everyone claims that those things are in place "for the kids," but they're not; they're to make the adults look good.
I worry about losing my job in this economy, and yet I feel like if I stay much longer I might lose my mind. Like the previous poster said, I don't know if a few hours with kids I like are worth it in the long run. I know that I will not be a public school teacher much longer, but that I'd like to stay in education in some fashion. But in this position, where I can't be creative, where I can't stay organized because my schedule changes all the time, and where my future is out of my hands because of the budget, I'm really just getting by.
I'm just a student teacher, but I spent years subbing and one teaching full-time on emergency certification, so I'll go ahead and chime in.