ballcaps wrote: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.
I'm in my second year with TFA. I actually think BaiAilian's characterization of teaching is closer than you give him/her credit for. You're right--admin almost always have several years of classroom experience. But there are a lot of procedural demands--submitting lesson plans--that are demanded by most school districts (not the admins fault, but still sucks for teachers). I think the biggest thing though is "who you end up working with and for." The environments are totally different. I think you will encounter a lot of incompetence in the public school system. Because of competitiveness for jobs, BigLaw can fire bad associates; a lot of schools can't afford to fire bad teachers. Also, as long as you are a teacher, you will be at the bottom of the totem pole. Everyone tells teachers what to do--admin, instructional coaches, parents. Even though you are supposed to be a professional, no one will see you as an expert.