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Thread: Almost finished with school, now what?

  1. #1

    Almost finished with school, now what?

    Evening all!

    Long time lurker, first time poster!

    I have been going to school off and on without any sort of plan. In fact, to earn money while in college I picked up a part time job as a dog groomer! It turned out to be a fantastic way to make money (and dogs are awesome), so I didn't have too much motivation to finish school in a hurry.

    I have continued my education mostly because I find it interesting. I will be graduating with an English degree. It seems the natural path would be to pursue a degree in education so that I can teach. I have a friend who graduated 2 years ago or so and has had terrible luck trying to find work. He did finally land a part time position..but he says it's not very stable and he will never know until last minute if he will have the position for the next year.

    I guess I am just looking for opinions from others who have been there. I don't want my degree to go to waste (although, is education ever a waste?) I can certainly make a living with my current job; I guess I just feel like I could be doing more.

  2. #2
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    Dont go into teacher because you think it's the only option. I have worked with teachers in that position, they are often poor teachers and they often don't like what they do. The first is a result of the second.

    It is hard. The trick is to find what you are passionate about and pursue it.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  3. #3
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    I have continued my education mostly because I find it interesting. I will be graduating with an English degree. It seems the natural path would be to pursue a degree in education so that I can teach. I have a friend who graduated 2 years ago or so and has had terrible luck trying to find work.

    Unless someone were absolutely passionate about teaching I would advise them strongly to avoid majoring in education... at least in the US. The field has changed drastically from when I first began to teach not all that many years ago. The field has become incredibly politicized with teachers being blamed for virtually every failing of students and the society as a whole. State governments, short of funds due to the banking collapse and the decline in property values have targeted teachers (along with other state employees) as being grossly overpaid (in spite of the fact that when the economy was roaring along just fine, we were laughed at for wasting our efforts in such an underpaid and undervalued field). Here is Ohio, some 20,000+ teachers were laid off last year with another 10,000+ lay-offs expected this year. State politicians are pulling every trick possible to slash teacher salaries and benefits in an attempt to privatize the schools. Right now the focus is upon the big urban school districts, but teachers in the smaller suburban districts should recognize that when they are able to destroy the power of collective bargaining and the unions in those districts, the rest will fall into line or collapse like dominoes. A law pushed through in Ohio, but rescinded by voters last year established a salary schedule in which a teacher with a Masters Degree and 15 years experience would earn $30,000 a year. One could do better flipping burgers... with less stress and more respect.
    Beware of the man with just one book. -Ovid
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    Yeah, my sentiment exactly on teaching. You got to have a passion for it. Never mind the political garbage StLukes mentions (though he brings up very real problems that does effect teachers), his points about money are quite poignant, though. It illustrates that you really do have to have a passion for teaching. It's a hard, thankless job with students who are usually annoying at best, and complete a-holes at worse (or on average).

    I'd suggest maybe try finding an editing job. It doesn't even have to be book--companies hire people to help create their documents, write for them, etc.

  5. #5
    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    What country do you live in, OP?
    __________________
    "Personal note: When I was a little kid my mother told me not to stare into the sun. So once when I was six, I did. At first the brightness was overwhelming, but I had seen that before. I kept looking, forcing myself not to blink, and then the brightness began to dissolve. My pupils shrunk to pinholes and everything came into focus and for a moment I understood. The doctors didn't know if my eyes would ever heal."
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  6. #6
    Original Poster Buh4Bee's Avatar
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    Don't do it! It's quick burn out and too much stress. I sound like your friend. I struggled through my first 2 years of probation at the school I am currently at. (You are on probation in your first 2 years.) I made it and will have another contract for my fourth year in the school. Now that I made it, I know that I virtually will have a job as long as I need one. I work with the special ed. We say job security. It's hard to find a good special educator. I love the special ed. and will probably drag myself back for the next 20 years complaining the whole way.

    St. Luke's is extremely articulate about the state of education in the USA. I live in a different state, inwhich all our superintendent does is obsess about test scores. What can you do except nod and smile. No teacher believes in these test, but they are not going away because of NCLB. The American society is obsessed with accountability as a way to control which direction the money flows.

  7. #7
    All are at the crossroads qimissung's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stlukesguild View Post
    I have continued my education mostly because I find it interesting. I will be graduating with an English degree. It seems the natural path would be to pursue a degree in education so that I can teach. I have a friend who graduated 2 years ago or so and has had terrible luck trying to find work.

    Unless someone were absolutely passionate about teaching I would advise them strongly to avoid majoring in education... at least in the US. The field has changed drastically from when I first began to teach not all that many years ago. The field has become incredibly politicized with teachers being blamed for virtually every failing of students and the society as a whole. State governments, short of funds due to the banking collapse and the decline in property values have targeted teachers (along with other state employees) as being grossly overpaid (in spite of the fact that when the economy was roaring along just fine, we were laughed at for wasting our efforts in such an underpaid and undervalued field). Here is Ohio, some 20,000+ teachers were laid off last year with another 10,000+ lay-offs expected this year. State politicians are pulling every trick possible to slash teacher salaries and benefits in an attempt to privatize the schools. Right now the focus is upon the big urban school districts, but teachers in the smaller suburban districts should recognize that when they are able to destroy the power of collective bargaining and the unions in those districts, the rest will fall into line or collapse like dominoes. A law pushed through in Ohio, but rescinded by voters last year established a salary schedule in which a teacher with a Masters Degree and 15 years experience would earn $30,000 a year. One could do better flipping burgers... with less stress and more respect.

    This is about what my district is going through, and it isn't pretty.
    "The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its' own reason for existing." ~ Albert Einstein
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  8. #8
    Artist and Bibliophile stlukesguild's Avatar
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    I was laid off last summer, hired back on the first day of school then given a second lay-off notice when I arrived to work on the first day. This lay-off was then rescinded. Class sizes are now 40+ students in the upper grades. Discipline is the worst I've ever seen (as the administrators fear losing further students); chaos, noise, and violence are a day to day reality swept under a rug by administrators fearful of the repercussions should the truth get out. This year my school made the news when a food fight turned into a riot resulting in dozens of injuries and hospital visits. With the collapse of the district... soon to be followed by public education in this state as a whole... I am looking toward pulling my retirement and returning to school and earning another degree... in anything but education.
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  9. #9
    Wild is the Wind Silas Thorne's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aidan View Post
    I have continued my education mostly because I find it interesting. I will be graduating with an English degree. It seems the natural path would be to pursue a degree in education so that I can teach. I have a friend who graduated 2 years ago or so and has had terrible luck trying to find work. He did finally land a part time position..but he says it's not very stable and he will never know until last minute if he will have the position for the next year.
    I think you should kill all your desire to work (permanently I mean) immediately after your degree, and go overseas to teach English. Pick up a English-teaching qualification and go travelling.

    Or, just work for a while and travel. Then go back to where you came from, or don't. Just get out for a while to reflect on what you want out of life, instead of following what you think right now is a 'natural path'. Be sure that the path that you follow is something you won't regret later on, and not just for reasons of job stability.
    '...the rain
    is full of ghosts tonight, that tap and sigh
    Upon the glass and listen for reply'

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  10. #10
    Drinking San Miguel Daily Neely's Avatar
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    Christ that's bad. I'm sorry that things are in such a mess, though I know that you mentioned some of that to me before but it is still shocking.

    With teaching a lot depends upon where you are - what age you teach, what school, where (what country!) etc, etc, but for almost everywhere I know of is not easy at the moment anyway. I suppose that could be said for a lot of things, but it certainly applies to teaching. In many respects teaching is a thankless job and also not something that I could honestly and openly recommend at the moment. Of course if you end up in a nice position in a nice school then that's a different thing, but it would be a gamble branching out in this area, you could end up loving it (if you are very lucky) but the greater probability (without knowing your personal circumstances) would not be so positive.

    It is hard. The trick is to find what you are passionate about and pursue it.
    I used to think the same thing but now I don't believe it anymore, I don't think this is good advice. I think it is much better not to look to work as something that is going to be fulfilling because following that road is likely to end in disappointment. It could be better to see work as a necessary evil and nothing more - besides what a person is passionate about very rarely can be transformed into steady paid work. I am very passionate about a number of things but none of them can be found at the job centre.

    For what it is worth my advice would be to try to develop your own business in something by working self-employed, in anything. Start by apprenticing yourself, learning the trade, save like mad and then gradually break away on your own. Save the passion for reading for your spare time just concentrate on making money and putting as much of it aside so you can retire early and get out of the whole sorry business for good. This is my honest advice.

    If things fall as I plan it I will never work again after 50. This could have been much sooner if I knew back then what I know now, but of course everyone must learn their own errors in life too late. This is just cruel experience and can't be helped.

    Dont go into teacher because you think it's the only option. I have worked with teachers in that position, they are often poor teachers and they often don't like what they do. The first is a result of the second.
    On an idealistic level I agree with this type of sentiment. However, where does passionate for a subject get you? Can you honestly tell me you have come across many people more passionate about art than that of Stluke's for example? Take that passion and ram it through the thankless red tape and political nightmare that is the teaching profession and what becomes of it? By the time you have come out of the other end of the mangle it is a miracle that you are still standing, let alone still passionate about teaching, and that is before you even think about the students...
    Last edited by Neely; 05-08-2012 at 03:29 PM.

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  11. #11
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I am willing to admit that I haven't been in the profession long enough to shake off the idealism of it, but I disagree that all passion is destroyed by the politics of school. It is crushing, yes, but there are those who are able to shrug it off and remember that they are they to inspire/teach students - these are the good teachers, they do exist.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

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    If you can find a job you're passionate about and love to do that it's a joy, good for you, but one should realize that's not going to happen. I've yet to meet anyone, no matter how much they like their job (teachers most definitely included), who doesn't look forward to Fridays and dread Mondays.

    Still, I don't think work has to be as bad as a necessary evil, though I know many people who see work this way. I think it's quite possible to find a job that is fulfilling and enjoyable, difficult as it may be.

  13. #13
    Drinking San Miguel Daily Neely's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charles Darnay View Post
    I am willing to admit that I haven't been in the profession long enough to shake off the idealism of it, but I disagree that all passion is destroyed by the politics of school. It is crushing, yes, but there are those who are able to shrug it off and remember that they are they to inspire/teach students - these are the good teachers, they do exist.
    Passion is something you would want in a teacher but it is not the only thing, neither is it the most important. Quite often I see a lot of posts where people talk about passion in teaching as if it is the only thing of importance. This is sometimes accompanied by the 'I'm here entertain me' school of thinking, when really learning is a two-way process and requires effort on both sides.

    Having effective behaviour management, being consistent and fair, being calm under pressure, actually being in the classroom teaching and not endlessly off on courses (!), having clear objectives and outcomes, the ability to see the bigger picture - having presence (which is something you can't learn); using pace and intelligent structuring of lessons and other such things are as important if not more so than a passion for the subject/teaching. What use is an ardent passion for John Keats if the students around you are sticking pens in the ceiling or stapling their arms to the table? Some teachers would give up passion for the whole Romantic School of thinking for a deeper voice and a stern expression.

    I'm not saying that passion is not a desirable element, it is, but neither does the formula: passion = good, no passion = bad, work at all, passion I find is overrated in this context. I have seen it with my own eyes; teachers who hate the job to the teeth but can cast a spell over the whole class and produce unbelievable results.
    Last edited by Neely; 05-09-2012 at 12:58 PM.

    Oscar Wilde (1854-1900).

    I have the simplest tastes. I am always satisfied with the best.
    Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.

    Moderation is a fatal thing. Nothing succeeds like excess.

  14. #14
    In the fog Charles Darnay's Avatar
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    I did not mean to say ti was the only quality necessary, and I completely agree with what you wrote. But I do believe that passion (for teaching, for your subject, for your students) should be the impetus to go into teaching, as opposed to the idea of "well, what else am I going to do?" as the OP suggested.
    I wrote a poem on a leaf and it blew away...

  15. #15
    BadWoolf JuniperWoolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silas Thorne View Post
    I think you should kill all your desire to work (permanently I mean) immediately after your degree, and go overseas to teach English. Pick up a English-teaching qualification and go travelling.
    That's what my friend Alex did, he's got a master's in English lit. Apparently the work is easy, the expectations are low and the pay is good. Plus he gets to travel.

    For those of you saying he SHOULDN'T teach: what do you suggest he does instead? (besides the suggestion already given by Silas).
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