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“way to go bro! I'm sure you will do really well. That's probably a great place to teach (Maine). As you probably know, teaching (substitute) in Brooklyn for a year really turned me off to the profession. The teaching was the easy part. Keeping the kids in line was what took years off my life. I can't stress enough the importance of the background a child comes from (home life, etc.). There is only so much you can do when you have them for a certain number of hours a day and then they return home to a less than desirable environment. I imagine the kids from Maine are worlds apart from inner-city kids. Try to absorb as much knowledge and advice from teachers at the school you are assigned to.”
“Thanks wolfmans bro.. that's sound advice. Even though rural kids tend to be better behaved as a whole than inner city kids, there'll still be trouble-makers in every class. But I'm ready, so BRING IT!!! :-)”
“Thanks Artex, I'll email her right now. I started teaching in Vermont in 1987. For som ecrazy reason I left. I still carry my VT license. Don't ever let them expire. Yes, rural kids can be very tough too. Poverty and ignorance knows no boundary.”
“I agree, but do they have 35-40 kids in a class in VT?”
“Another thing I've heard from pretty much every teacher I've talked with is that the first two years are extremely difficult. During that time, you're learning your own "teaching methods", spending a lot of time lesson planning, ect..
However, after that, the lesson planning apparently takes no time and you generally have the swing of things, and things get much easier and much more enjoyable.
“Artex--It was so nice meeting you on the trip to Harriman. I'm glad to hear you will be joining the ranks of teachers. Good luck in Maine!
As far as advice...here goes:
Get to know the teachers in your building and especially the ones in your department. They will be your lifelines for the first few years of your career.
Expect to spend as much as $3,000 out of your own pocket the first year on materials. Keep the receipts b/c now the gov't. lets you deduct up to $500. It's not a lot but it's something.
Hone up on your organizational skills. Your first three years you'll feel like your running around with your head cut off, but if you are organized and keep good files this will help a little.
Anytime the district offers educational courses or workshops, try to take advantage of them. Keep yourself up to date with new research and strategies. Stay current in your subject area. It's OK to not know everything, but it's not Ok to stop learning. Kids will follow your example.
There's a lot of negativity that comes with being a teacher. Many people will slam teaching any chance they get. Yes, we get summers off (in most areas)and we have some good holiday vacations. However, do you know any parent that isn't happy to see their kid go back to school after a summer or long vacation? That should tell you something right there. You will cherish those vacations just so you can capture your mental health again.
BE CONSISTENT!!! If you say you're going to have a test every Friday or that you're going to reward students for doing this or that, do it. They'll call you on it.
You might find that your first few years of teaching science will be in the lower level classes. This means that you'll have children with disablilities too. Find out who the special education teachers are and seek their support and help. Get to know the kid and his background, and read his IEP.
Be very nice to the secretaries and custodians. These people know everything and everyone!
Don't base your opinion on teaching until you've gotten passed the first few years. They aren't a true picture of teaching.
Finally, HAVE FUN!! Enjoy the kids.
Best of luck!!!
P.S. About NJ salaries...they are at the top. Salaries are contingent on experience and years of education beyond bachelors. Whether you teach at the elementary, middle, or high school level usually does not bare on your salary. A teacher is a teacher. Also, whether or not that district is affluent or receives a lot of federal $$ plays into teacher salaries. As far as reciprocity goes, it's not all that's it's cracked up to be. PA and NJ have reciprocity but I still had to take tests that PA required in order to receive licensing. Different states have different testing requirements”
“I have seen the budgets of my school district (yes, these are public documents). There were many teachers in high school making over $70,000. In elementary school, there were only a few, and these were teachers who had been with the school system for over thirty years. The only thing I can think of to explain what Mrs. Adventurist says vs what the school budget says is that the teachers at high school must have more credentials. I know that NJ pays better than a lot of other areas, but it also costs a fortune to live here. A teacher can start out at $35,000 but may not be able to afford a one bedroom apartment.”
“That's why a lot of teachers who work in NJ live in PA. I work in Phillipsburg, NJ and have the advantage of living on the border of PA and NJ. As far as I know high school teachers do not have to have anymore credentials than elementary. The one big difference is the subject specificity. K-8 majors do not (at the present time) have to choose a specific subject (i.e. science, math...)My degree is in special education and I am certified k-12. In our district there is a payscale for all teachers and it does not delineate between the different levels. If districts choose to delineate between the levels, there unions must be very lopsided in their representative number of teachers at the elementary and high school levels. In my district that would not fly with elementary teachers. I'm not saying there aren't districts like that, but I wouldn't want to be an elementary teacher there. That has to create a huge rif between teachers at the varying levels. Imagine a veteran teacher whose been teaching 15 years at the elementary level making the same or less than a 5 year teacher at the high school level.”
“Thanks Mrs. Adventurist, I appreciate the advice! It's going to be a lot of hard work, but I really do enjoy working with kids and love teaching. Knowing that and my other attributes, I know it's the right choice for me. I'm pumped and I can't wait!!!! :-)
Look forward to hiking with you and Mr. Adventurist again soon!”
“There is some animosity along those lines. I don't know how the whole thing started since I only started paying attention over the last few years. The afterschool program for parents who work, pays their employees more per hour than a teacher's aide gets paid (who is usually certified and trying to get a real teaching job).”
“Are the employees that staff the after school program teachers? That's probably why their salary is higher than a paraprofessional's. In our district after school programs are paid a certain rate as determined by our contract. Paras should receive a higher wage than what they're currently earning. That is even more important now since Bush passed the No Child Left Behind law requiring paraprofessionals to meet more stringent requirements. Many paras will have to go back to school for college credits or find themselves out of a job.”
“I can't imagine any public school in America that differentiates in pay between high school and elementary teachers.
In my district, there are ten steps and three columns in our salary chart. You start at step one your first year and move up. Salary increases one or two thousand per year to the maximum after ten years. Most teachers in Michigan start pay in the $30,000-$35,000 range first year, step one.
Column two is for teachers who have achieved 18 credit hours of master's level coursework towards certificate renewal. That is an additional 3 or 4 thousand dollars per year.
The final column is for teachers with master's degrees. That is an additional 3 to 4 thousand dollar jump in pay.
On salary schedule alone, teachers can earn into the $60,000s. That is low for the state of Michigan.
Additional pay comes from additional jobs. Coaching and extracurricular activities can add thousands of dollars to pay. I make two thousand dollars extra to coach the high school quiz bowl team and serve as conference commissioner. There are many jobs like this in a district.
Of course, you can get a summer job as well to increase pay. Marry a teacher and you can make $120,000-$140,000 per year as a family after about ten years. Sure, you can make more elsewhere. But the life is flexible, the benefits are great. The pension is first rate.
Oh, and the job kicks all forms of ass.”
“Good use of words.
“i can see it now...
MRS ARTEX....CAN I GO TO THE BATHROOM?”
In the state of Michigan, I can purchase five years of retirement service credit. This means, I can retire with a full pension and health care after 25 years. I'll be 47.
BTW, I put 20,000 miles on my car and had 30+ interviews before taking my first job at a school in Illinois. It is not easy - in English, at least - to get a job with no experience. It took one interview before I was hired with one year of experience. Sometimes you have to suck it up for a year or two.
Also, be aware that many states are in big, big, BIG trouble with their budgets right now. This is greatly impacting schools in Michigan and Wisconsin - probably others. Most schools are currently in staff cutting mode right now.
Finally, I agree with previous posters about the difficulty of the first two years. I remember some bleak times. But I survived and now love, love, LOVE my job.
The kids are the best part of the job. I can't sneak into a store or restaurant anymore without a friendly smile from a student or parent. I am blessed to have the privilege of my job.”
“Sounds like you have it made RL!
“That's awesome news Artex! I didn't expect this to happen so fast.
Of course the downside is I am losing my bestest buttkickin hikin partner.”
“Thanks Pennsy.. but once I get the ball rolling and I have those summers off, and all that vacation time you get.. it could work out that we're hiking together even more! :-)”
“Like smileygirl I am also an engineer but am pursuing other paths. It's just not worth the money, any money, to not enjoy what you do in life...it's too short. I say find whatever it is that makes you happy and do it, even if everyone else thinks your crazy (as long as you can still provide for your family of course).
Artex..I got your pics, looks like you had a good time and congrats on the teaching job.”
“About "extra" jobs...I know a guy who says he made 12,000 last year officiating middle school and high school sports....field hockey, volleyball...”
“After high school I went in the Navy and then to college.I tought high school for eight years and coached football and basketball for additional pay.About.11cents an hour but was the best years of my life.I then tought college for three years but the high school experience was more rewarding.Seem to be able to reach the students better and have more influence on their lives.I no longer teach because of a family tragedy but it was my calling and I miss it very much.”
“Good luck, Artex...I taught English in Portland, Maine for 25 years.”
“Thanks everyone! You guys are great!
Wow, reformed lurker, that kicks a$$!! Very good to read that!
JDGreen, so true, life is too short. I can't wait to get the ball rolling. Hope your plans work out for you as well.
And re: sports, coaching.. I think that'll be a blast, I really hope to get involved with that at whatever school I wind up teaching at. I think that'd be a lot of fun!”
“Mountainmaster - wow, 25 years! How'd you like it?”
“My daughter teaches 3rd grade.”
“Portland was a great city to live in. It is fairly cosmopolitan, the lobster is plentiful, but it isn't cheap.
Where are you going to teach? Teaching in Maine was a terrific way to make a living, but the winters got to me. Granted I was born, raised, educated, and lived in Maine until I was 54, but I have to say I LOVE So. California.
Again where you teach in Maine determines much about your levels of enjoyment. Most places are small, as are most schools. I taught at Deering High School, a suburban HS ranked about third largest in the state, and there were only about 1,000 students.
Please let me know if you have more questions. Being an outdoorsperson helps, but the winters up there are VERY long.”
“maybe you could take them on dayhike fieldtrips arty.....you said earth science, right?”
“Artex, something I wanted to let you know. When I was interviewing for teaching positions, nobody questioned my knowledge of the subject. Probably because the administration was doing the interviews, and didn't know any chemistry. What I was asked all the time was, "how would you handle this _________ situation". You can fill in the blank with any disciplinary situation you can imagine. Kid sleeping in class, mouthing off, not doing HW, etc. So be prepared for those questions. They want to make sure that you are going to be able to handle the kids and keep them under control.”
“You really do have to love the outdoors to be happy in Maine - and there is sooooo much to do here. There's still about a million places I haven't been yet, things I haven't done.
Artex will love it!
We are experiencing a huge State budget crisis right now, not sure how that will affect teachers though.”
“Mountainmaster - I've been okay'd to teach biology and earth science for grades 7-12, and would like to do so at the high school level. Teaching at a rural school appeals to me more, and I LOVE the cold and LOVE Maine, so it sounds like my plans should fit just fine. :-)
Avagadro, thanks! That makes sense.
Twiggie, yeah I've been reading about that. Hopefully it won't affect me too much. I've also read archived articles from the newspapers in Augusta and Portland about how a present teaching shortage is going to go from bad to worse, so hopefully things will still work out okay. If you get any inside scoop on education budgets, lemme know! :-)”
“Well I would but...I work in the budget office and they pay me extra to keep my mouth shut, LOL!
And put a hat on that little smiley guy will ya - it's cold out there!
(-2, -21 with the wind chill)
“Reformed Lurker, I understand what you are saying, that the teaching scale should be the same for elem and H.S. teachers, but the numbers I saw did not show that happening. My reaction, was "Oh S&$t!" because inevitably, the district would have to bring the salaries of the elem teachers up and our property taxes are already unbearable. People routinely move out of town as soon as the kids are done with high school, because the taxes are so high. Most towns in the area are like that, due to the construction boom over the last ten years. Some towns have crappy schools and the wealthy live their because they sent their kids to private school anyway.
I think that the teachers should be paid well, but the money has to come from somewhere. We have no additional classrooms, so we either keep class sizes high, or get portables, and hire more teachers to have smaller classrooms. Pay your teachers more or hire more teachers. To do both would cause catastrophic tax increases. So this is why I was alarmed when I saw the differences between the high school teacher pay and the elem teacher pay. Bottom line is that, along with the other issues, it has to be fixed too. That doesn't even get into all the structural repairs needed because most of the schools are 40 years old and have been added to and patched over the years.
Then we have people who clearly never worry about paying bills, who come to the board meeting and ask "What is the problem here? Why can't you just scrap the old high school and build a state of the art new one big enough to handle all the classes?"
Wow, I feel warmer already!”
“that hat doesn't even cover his ears!”
“fergot yer goggles, did ya?”
Okay.. hat, earmuffs, and goggles. Well, kinda. It's the closest I could come up with.
“Whoa.. I made it invisible!!! Must have stepped into HTML land while making myself warm...
insert Twilight Zone music here”
“I was wondering what you were talking about...”
“I'll just borrow your hat then, Twiggie. o(:-)
“Lyndy and RL, what is the obhjective reasoning that says HS teachers and Elem. teachers should be paid the same? That sounds like teachers' union intereference with the free market, driving costs up for the taxpayers with no real benefit to anyone....except all those elementary teachers, forced to join the union and pay their dues, have something to show for it.”
“Hey now I'm cold! Brrrrrr!
We're all saying how glad we are we skied out of BSP on Monday and not today or yesterday - it is mutha lovin' COLD out there!
(I know, makes you wanna pitch your tent don't it Artex)”
“Fritz, I fell asleep on the couch last night, sorry I didn't email you those links like I said I was going to do. I'll get them to you tonight.”
“LOL @ Twiggie!!! That could be interpreted on many different levels..!”
“You are too funny!
Hey I think I camped with your female counterpart this weekend, Fartexina/Belchetta.”
“I hope you kept her away from any open flames! [:-)
Hey look, I'm wearing one of those hats like on Fargo!”
Living with a Teacher
“My wife is a 2nd grade teacher and I'm a civil engineer. We make a great couple but she could never work in corporate america and I could never teach. She loves the vacation time, the ability to plan her own day, and to teach how and what she wants to teach. Unlike corporate where you get squat for vacation time and someone is always telling you how and when to do something. I love corporate america because of the pay and because you get rewarded for your performance. Unlike teaching, where the only way to increase your pay is to get grad. credits and stay in the same school district for several years. It drives me insane that there are teachers at her school who are horrible teachers who get paid more than my wife who works her @ss off trying to get ESL (english as a second language) kids to learn english. She teaches at an "at risk" school in Las Vegas which has kids who speak over 30 non-english languages.
Let me rant about the pay for a minute and then I'll stop. There was just local news article about teacher's pay compared to the national average. It said that Nevada teacher's should be placed in the top 15 highest paid in the country because their pension should be factored into their yearly salary. How can you factor money into a yearly salary that you don't have access to until you're 55? The article also didn't mention that in Nevada a single parent in their first few years of teaching is categorized as LIVING BELOW THE POVERTY LINE! Thank you for letting me rant, I feel much better now.
Final thoughts, I applaud anyone who truely loves their job as a teacher; you have the toughest, most underappreciated, most important job in the world. Thank you.
Artex, living in Maine and having the vacation time to enjoy it, you are truly lucky. Best of luck!”
I don't think that I'll convince you to like unions.
In my district, we have a track record of working with administration to solve problems collaboratively. This past fall, our administrators calculated a $500,000 shortfall for THIS year. They were in the process of laying teachers off. Our union voted 50 to 20 to take a pay cut to keep the teachers employed for the year.
Blanket anti-unionism is unproductive. Some help make the workplace better and more efficient. Some don't.
Often people want a free market system, but they don't want to give up representation on an elected school board. And they want their learning disabled or autistic child to be taught free just like everyone else. In a free market, no special education student gets taught.”
“Thanks Reptiles! [:-)”
“Artex, congrats I know you have been working towards this for a while and itís about to happen, thatís awesome.”
“Fritz, I don't have kids in high school currently. When I was in high school myself, I have to say that my teachers did NOT work as hard as I see most elementary school teachers working. In high school, one size was expected to fit all. Now, in grade school, a teacher is required to teach a wide spectrum of abilities, with pressure from parents to challenge the smart ones, as well as improve the skills of the ones lagging behind. Many parents ignore their own responsibilities as far as their children's learning goes. But these kids will all take the standardized tests, and the teachers will take the abuse if the town's scores don't meet with the scores of surrounding communities. The high school is very focused are achieving their scores in the PSAT and SAT tests, as well as other national tests, and that pressure also exists in elementary school.
I'm sure that things are very different in high school today, and maybe there is a difference worth more dollars in salary, but it remains to be seen.”
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