From Law to Teaching

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Anonymous User
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From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:05 pm

Hi folks,

I'm a 3L in the bottom half of a decent school (T30) who is currently investigating alternate careers. Although I strongly want to practice law and have been applying to legal jobs for months, there's a strong possibility I'll never get the chance to do so given my serious C&F issues. Therefore, I am looking at other things to do with my degree out of necessity.

I did City Year before law school and really enjoyed tutoring and mentoring at-risk students, so I thought about teaching as an alternative if law doesn't pan out. Has anyone here transitioned from law to teaching K-12? Is the JD a "scarlet letter" for teaching careers like it is for everything else non-legal? Should I keep it on my resume for teaching jobs? If I pass a teacher certification program and apply to K-12 teaching jobs, will my advanced degree merit a pay bump? Or would I need a relevant degree like an M.Ed. to cop dat pay bump?

I am fluent in Spanish and particularly interested in teaching that subject at the K-12 level; also interested in special ed. I've heard that STEM teachers are in demand, however, unfortunately I royally sucked at those subjects in school.

In addition, what are good JD-Advantage jobs for someone who is public interest oriented? My legal work experience is all PD/Legal Aid.

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bmo
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby bmo » Thu Jan 08, 2015 10:31 pm

Teacher currently applying to LS here.

What are the C&F issues? Most/all schools will look heavily into your background and any red flags will result in you not being hired. As a teacher, your private life is not private.

I couldn't speak as to whether a law degree would be hurtful to the application process. You'd probably have luck if you want to teach in an urban environment; high turnover results in a constant need for teachers. These are also the most challenging positions, hence the high turnover.

I would strongly encourage you to spend some time in a classroom, not only observing but also actually teaching full classes if possible, before you pursue a certification program. Classroom management is the most draining part of teaching for new teachers, and coaching/tutoring children in groups or individually is much different than being in charge of a full class.

Teaching is not a "backup profession." It is far to much work and commitment to be worth it if you do not love it. However, if you find you enjoy teaching, it may be an excellent option. Just be sure to know what you're getting into first.

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 09, 2015 9:40 am

My C&F issues have to do with school discipline during law school--my criminal record is as clean as a whistle.

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Jan 09, 2015 10:03 am

I'd love to hear more about this too (especially how the JD is seen/performs in teacher hiring. I work in an urban HS now+ I love it. I love the kids, and I teach a full class of 20 (including several English language learners) so I know Id love it full time as well.

I'm just torn because from what I've seen, it isn't easy at all to get hired as a full time teacher in English/civics/history (even in an urban school)+ my credentials for LS should get me top 6 w/$. If the law degree would be any sort of a boost in teacher hiring down the line, I'd feel way better about leaving my position for school =\

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BlueLotus
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jan 09, 2015 7:00 pm

BUMP. Also interested.

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worldtraveler
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby worldtraveler » Sat Jan 10, 2015 7:50 am

You can pretty easily teach English at universities in Asia and they will count the JD as a PhD (sometimes) and give you a pay bump. You might also be able to more easily find jobs teaching poli sci or gov at undergrad campuses abroad or at international middle and high schools.

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:34 pm

worldtraveler wrote:You can pretty easily teach English at universities in Asia and they will count the JD as a PhD (sometimes) and give you a pay bump. You might also be able to more easily find jobs teaching poli sci or gov at undergrad campuses abroad or at international middle and high schools.


What are good sources for scoping out such jobs?

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BlueLotus
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:15 pm

If I passed a certification program and became a teacher, would I receive a pay bump for having a JD? Or do only "relevant" degrees like M.Ed. count for pay bumps?

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Feb 21, 2015 3:10 pm

What areas of teaching are in demand? I unfortunately don't have a STEM background.

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:24 am

Will teacher background checks find out about the college discipline?

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Strangely Appealing
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Strangely Appealing » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:31 am

Some thoughtful, recent commentary here that's very pertinent:

viewtopic.php?f=23&t=243522

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Kinky John
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Kinky John » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:33 am

Currently a teacher. One teacher in my building has multiple DUI's and arrests on record. Another is a convicted felon and former drug dealer (the kids call him OG). No, they generally will not find out about or care about college discipline.

STEM is in demand but you should check your state's licensing requirements to see if you need a bachelor's in a relevant field or not. My guess is no, you probably only need x number of college credits and a passing praxis grade. If you don't want to bother with all of that, look for opportunities in private schools.

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:37 am

swadianfc wrote:Currently a teacher. One teacher in my building has multiple DUI's and arrests on record. Another is a convicted felon and former drug dealer (the kids call him OG). No, they generally will not find out about or care about college discipline.

STEM is in demand but you should check your state's licensing requirements to see if you need a bachelor's in a relevant field or not. My guess is no, you probably only need x number of college credits and a passing praxis grade. If you don't want to bother with all of that, look for opportunities in private schools.


Thanks. I am fluent in Spanish and minored in that subject in undergrad. I am interested in teaching Spanish at the K-12 level.

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BlueLotus
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby BlueLotus » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:40 am

How about teaching political science/gov't at the community college level with a JD?

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby a_fireinside » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
worldtraveler wrote:You can pretty easily teach English at universities in Asia and they will count the JD as a PhD (sometimes) and give you a pay bump. You might also be able to more easily find jobs teaching poli sci or gov at undergrad campuses abroad or at international middle and high schools.


What are good sources for scoping out such jobs?


As a current high school teacher a private high school in Shanghai I would like to ad onto this.

1: If you want to teach at an international high school you will need a teaching certificate, and most interview at large international conferences where you go around and interview with different schools from different countries. Ultra competitive.

2: Teaching English is difficult. Many of the schools in China look for foreigners to just come in as a foreigner and give the schools credibility. Depending on the schools there can be contract issues (pay, housing, visa's, etc. etc.), and it can be very difficult because teaching English is not the same as teaching in the states.

Currently I teach social studies. My biggest challenge is that most struggle with English, most of the students are rich and think money can get them into a good university in the US or UK, and most struggle with critical thinking. Sure math and science are "easy" for them, but ask them to write an essay, and it is a struggle.

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Kinky John
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Kinky John » Sun Feb 22, 2015 11:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:
swadianfc wrote:Currently a teacher. One teacher in my building has multiple DUI's and arrests on record. Another is a convicted felon and former drug dealer (the kids call him OG). No, they generally will not find out about or care about college discipline.

STEM is in demand but you should check your state's licensing requirements to see if you need a bachelor's in a relevant field or not. My guess is no, you probably only need x number of college credits and a passing praxis grade. If you don't want to bother with all of that, look for opportunities in private schools.


Thanks. I am fluent in Spanish and minored in that subject in undergrad. I am interested in teaching Spanish at the K-12 level.


Then you should be fine. And if you're genuinely interested in special ed., adding that cert. would make you very employable.

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ballcaps
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby ballcaps » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:02 pm

third-year teacher going to ls this year.

i want to emphasize that there are no scarlet letters in teaching. former lawyers teach, and former criminals teach. in a profession where retention is the #1 concern, there's simply no room for scarlet letters. lol at this:
bmo wrote:Most/all schools will look heavily into your background and any red flags will result in you not being hired. As a teacher, your private life is not private.

OP, certification should be your last concern right now, as most schools can even hire you without one (although pretty soon you'll need to start pursuing a master's if you enter the classroom.)

your main concern should be getting exposure to teaching, trying to understand what it's like to own a full class/homeroom, and if you might prefer it to law.

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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:08 pm

What's preferable--an alternative certification program (i.e. TFA, NYC Teaching Fellows) or the normal route?

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:12 pm

BlueLotus wrote:How about teaching political science/gov't at the community college level with a JD?

These jobs are extremely difficult to get. There are plenty of candidates with PhDs in the relevant field and teaching experience fighting for them, and the JD is not usually seen as the equivalent. Also, it's extremely common to start off teaching one course, and only moving to full time after a number of years adjuncting (while adjuncting you're only paid per course, which might be a couple thousand bucks), so it can be hard to rely on this for money when you start.

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Kinky John
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Kinky John » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:14 pm

ballcaps wrote:OP, certification should be your last concern right now, as most schools can even hire you without one (although pretty soon you'll need to start pursuing a master's if you enter the classroom.)


Depends on your state re: a master's degree. If you want to teach, getting certified is one of your primary concerns. No state will fully license you right off the bat but you'll need your state's provisional cert. or whatever they might call it in order to teach. The requirements for that are definitely something to consider.

+1 for exposure to teaching though.

What's preferable--an alternative certification program (i.e. TFA, NYC Teaching Fellows) or the normal route?


Are you looking to teach anywhere or specifically in NYC?

a_fireinside
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby a_fireinside » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:15 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What's preferable--an alternative certification program (i.e. TFA, NYC Teaching Fellows) or the normal route?


There are many schools like CC, 2-yr, or 4-year institutions that have 1-year certificate programs. Some even do the MAT (Masters of Arts in Teaching) in a specialization like English, Social Studies, Math or Sciences in which you'd want to teach for potential teachers who never had a BA in education. As part of the masters it helps you with the initial certification process you'd have to take to become a teacher for whatever state you'd like to teach in.

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ballcaps
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby ballcaps » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:16 pm

Anonymous User wrote:What's preferable--an alternative certification program (i.e. TFA, NYC Teaching Fellows) or the normal route?


depends - there are advantages to alternative programs, especially those ones (logistics, branding), but they're very competitive.

some schools, especially large charter schools, will enroll you in a program and pay for it after they hire you.

there are some experienced teachers at my school who were never certified; they're currently taking a mostly-online program, and it's free.

since pedigree matters not one single bit in teaching, in this case it only makes sense to go with the cheapest option.

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ballcaps
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby ballcaps » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:18 pm

swadianfc wrote:If you want to teach, getting certified is one of your primary concerns.


not when it's cheap, easy, highly accessible, and loosely time-bound, and certainly not when compared to the decision to switch careers after a terminal degree.

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chem!
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby chem! » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:18 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:How about teaching political science/gov't at the community college level with a JD?

These jobs are extremely difficult to get. There are plenty of candidates with PhDs in the relevant field and teaching experience fighting for them, and the JD is not usually seen as the equivalent. Also, it's extremely common to start off teaching one course, and only moving to full time after a number of years adjuncting (while adjuncting you're only paid per course, which might be a couple thousand bucks), so it can be hard to rely on this for money when you start.

Yep yep yep.

The community colleges here also want a Master's degree or a minimum number of graduate hours in the specific subject area, and they are not flexible as to what can be considered subject area.

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Kinky John
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Re: From Law to Teaching

Postby Kinky John » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:24 pm

ballcaps wrote:
swadianfc wrote:If you want to teach, getting certified is one of your primary concerns.


not when it's cheap, easy, highly accessible, and loosely time-bound, and certainly not when compared to the decision to switch careers after a terminal degree. yes, but that's not what we're discussing here


Where do you teach that certification is "loosely time-bound?"




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