Is it dumb to consider teaching?

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bailey123456789
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Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:52 pm

Hi all. Thanks in advance for any replies. I've been working as an attorney for about a year now. I like it ok, but I am questioning whether this is something I want to do for the rest of my life. The stress of one wrong move being malpractice and billables and dealing with the clients and all that is a daily stress that is eating away at my otherwise usual cheeriness/optimism. When I was deciding to go to law school, it was either that or going into teaching, and even though I decided on law school, I never gave up on teaching as an eventual option. I would want to do elementary school teaching, and my student loans are paid off so that wouldnt be an issue. I know teaching will have its own stresses, I just think it might be more worth it. I'm curious to hear anyone's thoughts or perspective on this. Thanks!

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DrSpaceman
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby DrSpaceman » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:01 pm

No loans? You do you. Congrats on the freedom so early on.

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Strangely Appealing
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby Strangely Appealing » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:13 pm

Sounds like a good idea, especially if you've had classroom experience or can get some as a volunteer teacher's aide before making the jump to ensure it's not one of those frying pan-2-fire moves.

Also, spending another 6 months as a lawyer might give you some assurance that leaving the law was the right move for you. There have been several studies (no links handy, sorry) that show people begin to feel mastery at a job after 18 months. That any-mistake-will-be-fatal feeling may abate before another year passes.

Do you have your teaching certification already? If not, perhaps the time that will take will let you see if reaching the 18-month mark matters in your life as a lawyer.

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Feb 09, 2015 1:23 pm

Have a friend who went from being a NYC lawyer to teacher. She is way happier now. Still in lots of debt but very happy now. She gets lots of vacation, makes half of what big law lawyer make and 80% of what she made before. PSLF eligible. I would highly recommend leaving this shitstain of a profession.

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bailey123456789
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:29 pm

Thanks everybody. I really appreciate your responses. The idea of jumping ship is kind of scary so it's nice to hear other people say I'm not crazy for considering it.

kcdc1
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby kcdc1 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:45 pm

Teaching could be a good option, but I would caution you to be very careful about not falling victim to a grass-is-greener bias. I went from a legal position into a TFA-like program, and I can tell you that I found myself in a far worse situation after my move. Stress, hours, and job security were all worse after moving into teaching. Granted, my school was an unusually difficult environment (150% turnover in the year before I started), but it's worth taking a hard look at what you're giving up and whether the benefits you're hoping for are realistic outcomes and if so, whether they will be worth the income and esteem trade offs.

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sublime
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby sublime » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:51 pm

..

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JohannDeMann
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby JohannDeMann » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:56 pm

i dont know all the specifics but it took her a year to get her teaching certification. she took some classes and then did a semester of student teaching. she works in nyc as a teacher, hence the 75k pay.

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sublime
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby sublime » Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:59 pm

..

savethewhales
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby savethewhales » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:13 pm

kcdc1 wrote:Teaching could be a good option, but I would caution you to be very careful about not falling victim to a grass-is-greener bias. I went from a legal position into a TFA-like program, and I can tell you that I found myself in a far worse situation after my move. Stress, hours, and job security were all worse after moving into teaching. Granted, my school was an unusually difficult environment (150% turnover in the year before I started), but it's worth taking a hard look at what you're giving up and whether the benefits you're hoping for are realistic outcomes and if so, whether they will be worth the income and esteem trade offs.


+1

I did TFA and I would strongly urge you to volunteer in a classroom or in an after-school tutoring program before deciding to pursue teaching. If worrying about making mistakes / dealing with clients are your primary stressors now, I am not sure if you will really be able to escape that stress in the classroom.

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bailey123456789
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 3:49 pm

Thanks, this is just the kind of thing I was hoping for...to give me things to think about. To clarify, it's not making mistakes that stresses me out, it's the fear that something as simple as missing a deadline could = malpractice, and having that constantly hanging over my head and knowing how many opportunities there are for that to happen. The clients bother me only in that most of the time, I can't help but think how dumb and greedy most of what they are fighting over is. I actually don't have a problem dealing with them or talking to them or anything like that. One other thing I should add--I worked at an after school program for a year tutoring young kids and it was my favorite job ever. I know it's not the same thing as running your own classroom, but i at least have a smidgen of an idea of whether this is something I would enjoy. I'd appreciate any more feedback or things to consider

kcdc1
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby kcdc1 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:28 pm

bailey123456789 wrote:Thanks, this is just the kind of thing I was hoping for...to give me things to think about. To clarify, it's not making mistakes that stresses me out, it's the fear that something as simple as missing a deadline could = malpractice, and having that constantly hanging over my head and knowing how many opportunities there are for that to happen. The clients bother me only in that most of the time, I can't help but think how dumb and greedy most of what they are fighting over is. I actually don't have a problem dealing with them or talking to them or anything like that. One other thing I should add--I worked at an after school program for a year tutoring young kids and it was my favorite job ever. I know it's not the same thing as running your own classroom, but i at least have a smidgen of an idea of whether this is something I would enjoy. I'd appreciate any more feedback or things to consider

Volunteer in a classroom, preferably at the type of school you could expect to teach at if you switched careers. Tutoring a group of 5 students is pretty different than running a classroom, dealing with administrators, standards, tests, etc. I love tutoring. Teaching at my school was miserable. Again, I don't consider my experience to have been normal, and I doubt your experience would be the same. But it's definitely worth trying to get a very realistic picture of where you're headed before you make the jump. The first year, in particular, is usually rough.

lawschoolftw
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby lawschoolftw » Mon Feb 09, 2015 4:46 pm

I would just echo some of what has already been said. My SO is a teacher and I think her job is more stressful than practicing. She consistently works 12 hour days plus some on the weekends, deals with kids who have worlds of problems at home (which in turn makes it very difficult to reach these kids in any meaningful way at school), and has to deal with absurd teaching standards set forth by the state and the school, etc. She loves her job and I think probably finds more satisfaction in it than I find in mine, but it's also not a cakewalk and comes with a similar (albeit, of a different kind) level of stress. She also teaches in the inner city at a charter school, so her experience would vary from teaching in the suburbs in a public school, but the point still stands. Also, teacher burnout rates are similar to those of lawyers.

All of this to say, teaching is an incredibly noble profession for which I have the utmost admiration, but, like law school, it should not be a "because-I-didn't-have-anything-else-to-do" type move. I'm not suggesting that's what you're doing OP (because you've said you have some past teaching experience), but I would give it some meaningful thought. Best of luck.

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Strangely Appealing
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby Strangely Appealing » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:05 pm

Bwaahahaa - Kaplan does teacher prep!
http://go.kaplanuniversity.edu/TeachingEducation/

And teachers, of course, have forums...
http://teachers.net/mentors/student_teaching/

http://forums.theteacherscorner.net/activity.php

http://www.thestudentroom.co.uk/forumdisplay.php?f=97

Didn't look for "Top Prep Schools" forum, but it's probably out there, ready to look at your numbers and tell you whether you're a shoe-in to teach at Phillips Exeter or Miss Porter's (USNWR rates them, too). Beware Cooley High - they'll make you an offer that will ruin your life!

Ummm :::cough::: well how about this one instead - it has a state-by-state breakout of certification requirements: https://www.teach.org/teaching-certification

I could get into this.

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bailey123456789
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 5:34 pm

lawschoolftw wrote:I would just echo some of what has already been said. My SO is a teacher and I think her job is more stressful than practicing. She consistently works 12 hour days plus some on the weekends, deals with kids who have worlds of problems at home (which in turn makes it very difficult to reach these kids in any meaningful way at school), and has to deal with absurd teaching standards set forth by the state and the school, etc. She loves her job and I think probably finds more satisfaction in it than I find in mine, but it's also not a cakewalk and comes with a similar (albeit, of a different kind) level of stress. She also teaches in the inner city at a charter school, so her experience would vary from teaching in the suburbs in a public school, but the point still stands. Also, teacher burnout rates are similar to those of lawyers.

All of this to say, teaching is an incredibly noble profession for which I have the utmost admiration, but, like law school, it should not be a "because-I-didn't-have-anything-else-to-do" type move. I'm not suggesting that's what you're doing OP (because you've said you have some past teaching experience), but I would give it some meaningful thought. Best of luck.


Can you give me an idea of what the most stressful parts of the job are for your SO? I'd appreciate the perspective

lawschoolftw
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby lawschoolftw » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:19 pm

bailey123456789 wrote:
lawschoolftw wrote:I would just echo some of what has already been said. My SO is a teacher and I think her job is more stressful than practicing. She consistently works 12 hour days plus some on the weekends, deals with kids who have worlds of problems at home (which in turn makes it very difficult to reach these kids in any meaningful way at school), and has to deal with absurd teaching standards set forth by the state and the school, etc. She loves her job and I think probably finds more satisfaction in it than I find in mine, but it's also not a cakewalk and comes with a similar (albeit, of a different kind) level of stress. She also teaches in the inner city at a charter school, so her experience would vary from teaching in the suburbs in a public school, but the point still stands. Also, teacher burnout rates are similar to those of lawyers.

All of this to say, teaching is an incredibly noble profession for which I have the utmost admiration, but, like law school, it should not be a "because-I-didn't-have-anything-else-to-do" type move. I'm not suggesting that's what you're doing OP (because you've said you have some past teaching experience), but I would give it some meaningful thought. Best of luck.


Can you give me an idea of what the most stressful parts of the job are for your SO? I'd appreciate the perspective


Sure. One of the things that is most difficult, and perhaps most similar to law, is that there's never enough time to do everything the way you'd like to. You have anywhere between 20-30 students who have individualized needs and you could literally spend every free minute you have lesson planning etc. to support their needs and still feel like you haven't done enough. Thus, there is always this constant cloud of feeling like you could or should have done more (even if you've already put in 60, 70+ hours weeks).

You can't really leave it at the office. We all suffer from this to an extent (i.e., if I messed something up at work I definitely take it home with me.). But, when you're teaching, you're often dealing with real-life problems that make our clients' problems seem real trivial. For example, my SO has a student who she often catches stuffing food into his pockets because his parents aren't giving him enough food. Aside from the sheer pain you feel for the kid, this puts you in the situation of "what do I do?" Do you report the situation which could ultimately lead to the separation of a student from what otherwise seems like a loving family (something that isn't always there)? Or do you turn a blind eye and hope that he's getting enough food during the weekend until Monday when you know he'll eat at school again? This is just an example, but these types of problems (even if wealthy suburban schools) often arise. And they can really weigh down on you.

A really successful teacher still has a significant minority of her students performing poorly. This is sort of tied to number one, but, even a really successful teacher will "fail" a number of her students. For example, a really successful year teaching elementary school level migh be to have 85 percent of your students attain grade-level reading. That means an uber-successful teacher will have between 3-5 students who aren't even grade-level readers.

Most state teaching standards are ridiculous. There is enormous pressure from federal and state governments to raise teacher performance. But, they connect teacher performance with student test scores. If you're unlucky enough to inherit a class that is far behind their grade level, you're deemed to be an "incompetent" teacher. By way of example, let's assume your state requires fourth graders to read at level 8 and fifth graders at level 10. (I'm making these numbers up, but many states/schools do use similar scales). You are a tremendous Fifth grade teacher but you inherited students who were reading at level 5. You bring them up so that they read at level 8's. T hey take the state/federal mandated reading exam, and only 15 percent of your students hit level 10. In the eyes of the State, you failed at a rate of 85%. Now, many states are tying tenure and pay to these test scores. So, your job security and already bleak salary are threatened by the fact that parents and earlier teachers have failed.

Classroom/behavioral management is exhausting. You've done some tutoring, so you probably have a sense of it. But, when you spend five+ hours a day teaching, it's mentally and physically exhausting, which makes it all the more difficult to cope with the aforementioned stressors. People give teachers a lot of flack for having "summers off," but it is completely necssary recovery time (aside from the fact that most teachers work, coach, plan, etc.).

Anyway, this is sort of me rambling, but I hope this gives you a taste of the stressors. Again, I don't mean to dissuade you from the idea. My SO, despite being incredibly stressed at times, takes enormous pride in what she does.

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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby jwelsh » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:38 pm

kcdc1 wrote:
bailey123456789 wrote:Thanks, this is just the kind of thing I was hoping for...to give me things to think about. To clarify, it's not making mistakes that stresses me out, it's the fear that something as simple as missing a deadline could = malpractice, and having that constantly hanging over my head and knowing how many opportunities there are for that to happen. The clients bother me only in that most of the time, I can't help but think how dumb and greedy most of what they are fighting over is. I actually don't have a problem dealing with them or talking to them or anything like that. One other thing I should add--I worked at an after school program for a year tutoring young kids and it was my favorite job ever. I know it's not the same thing as running your own classroom, but i at least have a smidgen of an idea of whether this is something I would enjoy. I'd appreciate any more feedback or things to consider

Volunteer in a classroom, preferably at the type of school you could expect to teach at if you switched careers. Tutoring a group of 5 students is pretty different than running a classroom, dealing with administrators, standards, tests, etc. I love tutoring. Teaching at my school was miserable. Again, I don't consider my experience to have been normal, and I doubt your experience would be the same. But it's definitely worth trying to get a very realistic picture of where you're headed before you make the jump. The first year, in particular, is usually rough.


+1

Tutoring is vastly different than managing and leading a classroom. Additionally, "teaching" is only one component of the career of being a teacher. I love teaching (and tutoring) but the career of a teacher can be immensely frustrating for all the reasons others have listed. As was hinted at by others, one of the biggest frustrations is the (unnecessary) conflict between administrators, parents, counselors, and teachers. All these parties are supposedly focused on the needs of the students but rarely work together effectively. As a teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed the hours of 7:30-3:30 every day, but the rest of the career was burdensome.

jwelsh
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby jwelsh » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:43 pm

lawschoolftw wrote:
bailey123456789 wrote:
lawschoolftw wrote:I would just echo some of what has already been said. My SO is a teacher and I think her job is more stressful than practicing. She consistently works 12 hour days plus some on the weekends, deals with kids who have worlds of problems at home (which in turn makes it very difficult to reach these kids in any meaningful way at school), and has to deal with absurd teaching standards set forth by the state and the school, etc. She loves her job and I think probably finds more satisfaction in it than I find in mine, but it's also not a cakewalk and comes with a similar (albeit, of a different kind) level of stress. She also teaches in the inner city at a charter school, so her experience would vary from teaching in the suburbs in a public school, but the point still stands. Also, teacher burnout rates are similar to those of lawyers.

All of this to say, teaching is an incredibly noble profession for which I have the utmost admiration, but, like law school, it should not be a "because-I-didn't-have-anything-else-to-do" type move. I'm not suggesting that's what you're doing OP (because you've said you have some past teaching experience), but I would give it some meaningful thought. Best of luck.


Can you give me an idea of what the most stressful parts of the job are for your SO? I'd appreciate the perspective


Sure. One of the things that is most difficult, and perhaps most similar to law, is that there's never enough time to do everything the way you'd like to. You have anywhere between 20-30 students who have individualized needs and you could literally spend every free minute you have lesson planning etc. to support their needs and still feel like you haven't done enough. Thus, there is always this constant cloud of feeling like you could or should have done more (even if you've already put in 60, 70+ hours weeks).

You can't really leave it at the office. We all suffer from this to an extent (i.e., if I messed something up at work I definitely take it home with me.). But, when you're teaching, you're often dealing with real-life problems that make our clients' problems seem real trivial. For example, my SO has a student who she often catches stuffing food into his pockets because his parents aren't giving him enough food. Aside from the sheer pain you feel for the kid, this puts you in the situation of "what do I do?" Do you report the situation which could ultimately lead to the separation of a student from what otherwise seems like a loving family (something that isn't always there)? Or do you turn a blind eye and hope that he's getting enough food during the weekend until Monday when you know he'll eat at school again? This is just an example, but these types of problems (even if wealthy suburban schools) often arise. And they can really weigh down on you.

A really successful teacher still has a significant minority of her students performing poorly. This is sort of tied to number one, but, even a really successful teacher will "fail" a number of her students. For example, a really successful year teaching elementary school level migh be to have 85 percent of your students attain grade-level reading. That means an uber-successful teacher will have between 3-5 students who aren't even grade-level readers.

Most state teaching standards are ridiculous. There is enormous pressure from federal and state governments to raise teacher performance. But, they connect teacher performance with student test scores. If you're unlucky enough to inherit a class that is far behind their grade level, you're deemed to be an "incompetent" teacher. By way of example, let's assume your state requires fourth graders to read at level 8 and fifth graders at level 10. (I'm making these numbers up, but many states/schools do use similar scales). You are a tremendous Fifth grade teacher but you inherited students who were reading at level 5. You bring them up so that they read at level 8's. T hey take the state/federal mandated reading exam, and only 15 percent of your students hit level 10. In the eyes of the State, you failed at a rate of 85%. Now, many states are tying tenure and pay to these test scores. So, your job security and already bleak salary are threatened by the fact that parents and earlier teachers have failed.

Classroom/behavioral management is exhausting. You've done some tutoring, so you probably have a sense of it. But, when you spend five+ hours a day teaching, it's mentally and physically exhausting, which makes it all the more difficult to cope with the aforementioned stressors. People give teachers a lot of flack for having "summers off," but it is completely necssary recovery time (aside from the fact that most teachers work, coach, plan, etc.).

Anyway, this is sort of me rambling, but I hope this gives you a taste of the stressors. Again, I don't mean to dissuade you from the idea. My SO, despite being incredibly stressed at times, takes enormous pride in what she does.


Very good points here as well. Teaching is a great job-- a calling even-- but it is far more involved than most believe. Because of the points mentioned in the previous posts, it wasn't too uncommon to see teachers either: 1) burn out or 2) disengage and "go through the motions". Definitely don't take these posts as an attempt to persuade to not do teaching. Just be sure that you do so well aware of the realities of the profession.

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bailey123456789
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:45 pm

jwelsh wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:
bailey123456789 wrote:Thanks, this is just the kind of thing I was hoping for...to give me things to think about. To clarify, it's not making mistakes that stresses me out, it's the fear that something as simple as missing a deadline could = malpractice, and having that constantly hanging over my head and knowing how many opportunities there are for that to happen. The clients bother me only in that most of the time, I can't help but think how dumb and greedy most of what they are fighting over is. I actually don't have a problem dealing with them or talking to them or anything like that. One other thing I should add--I worked at an after school program for a year tutoring young kids and it was my favorite job ever. I know it's not the same thing as running your own classroom, but i at least have a smidgen of an idea of whether this is something I would enjoy. I'd appreciate any more feedback or things to consider

Volunteer in a classroom, preferably at the type of school you could expect to teach at if you switched careers. Tutoring a group of 5 students is pretty different than running a classroom, dealing with administrators, standards, tests, etc. I love tutoring. Teaching at my school was miserable. Again, I don't consider my experience to have been normal, and I doubt your experience would be the same. But it's definitely worth trying to get a very realistic picture of where you're headed before you make the jump. The first year, in particular, is usually rough.


+1

Tutoring is vastly different than managing and leading a classroom. Additionally, "teaching" is only one component of the career of being a teacher. I love teaching (and tutoring) but the career of a teacher can be immensely frustrating for all the reasons others have listed. As was hinted at by others, one of the biggest frustrations is the (unnecessary) conflict between administrators, parents, counselors, and teachers. All these parties are supposedly focused on the needs of the students but rarely work together effectively. As a teacher, I thoroughly enjoyed the hours of 7:30-3:30 every day, but the rest of the career was burdensome.


Id love to hear a little more about your experience, if you have the time.

And lawschoolftw, thank you SO MUCH for the post. I really appreciate it...i will definitely be keeping that in consideration while I try to figure this out

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BaiAilian2013
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby BaiAilian2013 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:54 pm

As a disclaimer, I'm pretty down on careers in education in general and I actually enjoy biglaw, so take this for what it's worth. And maybe try to divorce the content from the bitchy tone that will inevitably creep in. That said:

I considered k-12 education before going to law school and rejected it largely based on who you end up working with and for. In biglaw, attorneys are supervised by more senior attorneys. If I get negative feedback, it's coming from someone who generally is at least as smart as me and knows what the fuck he or she is doing. I might get a little upset with myself, but it's kind of hard to be resentful of the supervisor, because they are genuinely improving my work. Teachers don't have that comfort. Teachers aren't supervised by better, more experienced teachers; they're supervised by administrators, who are not teachers and in many cases have never been teachers. So, not only is there a major mismatch in incentives in that they have only the most tenuous stake in your working conditions, but they are also completely unequipped to be your bosses. They don't know what you deal with on a daily basis, they don't know about classroom management, they don't know what will work and what will be a disaster, etc. And they demand a bunch of BS busy work (endless, super-detailed lesson plans, etc.) to justify their existence and give them some foothold in their impotent oversight, all of which takes away from the time you could be teaching or grading (your actual job). All jobs have frustrations, but for some personality types, that's the kind of frustration that can really eat away at you over time in a damaging way. It's embittering.

You also get treated like an animal. In the district where I'm from, teachers at most high schools can't go to the bathroom unless they have a free period, because you can't leave your classroom even during the breaks between classes (because a student could come into the classroom from the hallway and then they'd be unsupervised). So you have to time your liquid intake to make sure you're not going to need to pee. That's not how you treat a fucking professional for god's sake. Add in the fact that you get paid peanuts, and no fucking thank you.

To try to end on a more positive note, I guess I'm saying look out for grass-is-greener and really be aware of your personality and what you can and can't deal with. I have stresses in biglaw, but they're the kind of stresses I can work out in the gym, maybe have a drink over now and then, and muddle along with. The stresses in teaching would have made me a worse person. It's important to know what makes you tick before you make a drastic career move.

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RemyMarathe
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby RemyMarathe » Mon Feb 09, 2015 7:59 pm

savethewhales wrote:
kcdc1 wrote:Teaching could be a good option, but I would caution you to be very careful about not falling victim to a grass-is-greener bias. I went from a legal position into a TFA-like program, and I can tell you that I found myself in a far worse situation after my move. Stress, hours, and job security were all worse after moving into teaching. Granted, my school was an unusually difficult environment (150% turnover in the year before I started), but it's worth taking a hard look at what you're giving up and whether the benefits you're hoping for are realistic outcomes and if so, whether they will be worth the income and esteem trade offs.



I went biglaw legal assistant--> law school --> drop out after 1L --> TFA type program. I stupidly went to law school after hating working as a legal assistant (though, thank god, to a T1 with a near full ride -- glad you also took the money).

Very happy with my decision to leave law school. The stress of, e.g., inadvertently producing privileged documents to opposing counsel absolutely trumps anything thrown at you in school. Teaching is stressful in entirely different ways, but I'd rather have some crazy kid off his meds flip desks and have to explain to his parents why he's suspended, than explain to a partner why those privileged documents slipped out to opposing counsel.

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ballcaps
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby ballcaps » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:00 pm

third-year teacher (TFA, urban charter school) who's going to law school this year.

the first year was hands-down the worst of my life. second year was significantly better, as was the third year.

there is no possible way for anonymous posters to tell you if this would be a good choice. teaching is a performance profession, so it gets better in proportion to you getting better at the performance. it's takes mental toughness and, above all, incessant positivity.

you should absolutely spend time in a classroom in the type of environment you would teach in before considering this any further.

for some reason many people assume the pressures of teaching are fundamentally different from the pressures of any other profession. they're not.

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ballcaps
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby ballcaps » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:04 pm

BaiAilian2013 wrote:As a disclaimer, I'm pretty down on careers in education in general and I actually enjoy biglaw, so take this for what it's worth. And maybe try to divorce the content from the bitchy tone that will inevitably creep in. That said:

I considered k-12 education before going to law school and rejected it largely based on who you end up working with and for. In biglaw, attorneys are supervised by more senior attorneys. If I get negative feedback, it's coming from someone who generally is at least as smart as me and knows what the fuck he or she is doing. I might get a little upset with myself, but it's kind of hard to be resentful of the supervisor, because they are genuinely improving my work. Teachers don't have that comfort. Teachers aren't supervised by better, more experienced teachers; they're supervised by administrators, who are not teachers and in many cases have never been teachers. So, not only is there a major mismatch in incentives in that they have only the most tenuous stake in your working conditions, but they are also completely unequipped to be your bosses. They don't know what you deal with on a daily basis, they don't know about classroom management, they don't know what will work and what will be a disaster, etc. And they demand a bunch of BS busy work (endless, super-detailed lesson plans, etc.) to justify their existence and give them some foothold in their impotent oversight, all of which takes away from the time you could be teaching or grading (your actual job). All jobs have frustrations, but for some personality types, that's the kind of frustration that can really eat away at you over time in a damaging way. It's embittering.

You also get treated like an animal. In the district where I'm from, teachers at most high schools can't go to the bathroom unless they have a free period, because you can't leave your classroom even during the breaks between classes (because a student could come into the classroom from the hallway and then they'd be unsupervised). So you have to time your liquid intake to make sure you're not going to need to pee. That's not how you treat a fucking professional for god's sake. Add in the fact that you get paid peanuts, and no fucking thank you.

To try to end on a more positive note, I guess I'm saying look out for grass-is-greener and really be aware of your personality and what you can and can't deal with. I have stresses in biglaw, but they're the kind of stresses I can work out in the gym, maybe have a drink over now and then, and muddle along with. The stresses in teaching would have made me a worse person. It's important to know what makes you tick before you make a drastic career move.


this post should be read incredibly cautiously, as it describes approximately 2% of all the teaching conditions i've ever encountered.

e.g. every single administrator i've ever met - district, charter, private, whatever - has had at least some classroom experience.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:08 pm

Is a JD a plus for K-12 teaching jerbs? Or just a neutral? Thinking of making the transition from law to teaching if my C&F shit doesn't work out. Worked as a tutor and mentor for at-risk teens thru City Year before lawl school and really loved working with students so hopefully that will translate into liking teaching.

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ballcaps
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby ballcaps » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:17 pm

BlueLotus wrote:Is a JD a plus for K-12 teaching jerbs? Or just a neutral? Thinking of making the transition from law to teaching if my C&F shit doesn't work out. Worked as a tutor and mentor for at-risk teens thru City Year before lawl school and really loved working with students so hopefully that will translate into liking teaching.


absolutely irrelevant. most districts can't find enough qualified teachers; add to that the already-outrageous turnover, and over-qualification just isn't a thing.




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