Is it dumb to consider teaching?

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stoopkid13
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby stoopkid13 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 8:31 pm

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.

lawschoolftw
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby lawschoolftw » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:05 pm

ballcaps wrote:
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.


This isn't exactly true, depending on where you want to work. In New York, for example, it's very difficult for even people who went to college for teaching to find jobs. That said, my guess is a JD would probably be more of a negative than a bonus as schools might be afraid youd jump ship when a legal job came along.

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bailey123456789
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:07 pm

Do you have any suggestions for things I can do to see if teaching is the right path for me while I am still at my current job?

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bailey123456789
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:09 pm

lawschoolftw wrote:
ballcaps wrote:
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.


This isn't exactly true, depending on where you want to work. In New York, for example, it's very difficult for even people who went to college for teaching to find jobs. That said, my guess is a JD would probably be more of a negative than a bonus as schools might be afraid youd jump ship when a legal job came along.


Do you think this fear would still be there if they know I am coming from a good law job that I voluntarily left?

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RemyMarathe
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby RemyMarathe » Mon Feb 09, 2015 9:34 pm

bailey123456789 wrote:Do you think this fear would still be there if they know I am coming from a good law job that I voluntarily left?


Anecdotally, the certification program I went through had two former practicing attorneys (leaving decent jobs) and two recent law grads with no legal experience. All four got jobs, which echoes ballcaps point that there is no such thing as over qualification. However, ballcaps and I are both around urban charter schools where turnover/demand for new teachers is very high.

kcdc1
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby kcdc1 » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:38 pm

bailey123456789 wrote:Do you have any suggestions for things I can do to see if teaching is the right path for me while I am still at my current job?

Narrate the office supplies around your desk that are sitting silently. Before lunch, give stickers to the objects that sat silently all morning. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hMUsft3ZODM

Try this script for your first couple times:

The stapler is sitting silently at its desk. The picture frame is upright in its place and silent. Printer, you're not silent, your paperclip is moving down the calendar. I'll be calling your manufacturer tonight.

ub3r
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby ub3r » Mon Feb 09, 2015 10:57 pm

I just want to say that the two long posts about teacher life and teacher/administrator relationships are SPOT ON. I'm a 0L, but my SO is an established, very good teacher (though young).

My main reason for posting is to draw attention to the grass-is-greener syndrome that a lot of people experience, and in this case, is pretty accurate.

My SO and I were having a talk about how things would change if/when I entered biglaw. I was explaining to her how I would be working long hours, potentially 8-6 every day, or worse, and sometimes on weekends. Then she just kind of quietly pointed out that she already works those hours as a teacher (and for far less pay, theoretically). Aside from summers and other school holidays, our time together wouldn't really change if I entered biglaw. In fact, our hours would be the same.

I know this doesn't really contribute much to a qualitative comparison of the professions, but I thought I'd throw in my experience. And tip my hat to those two lengthy posts about teaching. They're really accurate.

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Tue Feb 10, 2015 12:03 am

ub3r wrote:My SO and I were having a talk about how things would change if/when I entered biglaw. I was explaining to her how I would be working long hours, potentially 8-6 every day, or worse, and sometimes on weekends.

Not to derail this thread unnecessarily, but you should be warned now (while you're still a 0L) that if those are what you think biglaw hours look like, you may be in for a very unpleasant surprise.

ub3r
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby ub3r » Tue Feb 10, 2015 1:46 am

Oh yeah, I'm aware of my naivete. I'm not making any real assumptions, lol. I know it's incredibly varied and most likely worse than I imagine.

My main revelation was that as notoriously terrible biglaw hours are, it's not as though the hours are great or the work isolated to the workplace if you're a good teacher. Or a lot of seemingly cushier jobs, for that matter.

Thanks for the heads up though. :)

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FlightoftheEarls
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby FlightoftheEarls » Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:53 am

ub3r wrote:Oh yeah, I'm aware of my naivete. I'm not making any real assumptions, lol. I know it's incredibly varied and most likely worse than I imagine.

My main revelation was that as notoriously terrible biglaw hours are, it's not as though the hours are great or the work isolated to the workplace if you're a good teacher. Or a lot of seemingly cushier jobs, for that matter.

Thanks for the heads up though. :)

No worries. My SO was a TFA'er for a few years, so I can certainly respect the challenges facing those in the profession - long and stressful (and often thankless) days were very much the norm. Just wanted to make sure you recognize that biglaw is just a different beast when things get really ugly - a couple times a year I'll have a week or two straight of consistent 4-6 a.m. nights leading up to a signing or closing on an unnecessarily aggressive timeline. That shit can be just brutal.

ub3r
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby ub3r » Tue Feb 10, 2015 4:29 am

Cool, thanks for the reality check, Irish rugby guy :mrgreen:

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bailey123456789
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby bailey123456789 » Tue Feb 10, 2015 2:01 pm

I don't mean to drag this thread on or be beating a dead horse, but would the fact that I'd be aiming to work in a parochial school change the equation at all?

jwelsh
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby jwelsh » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:09 pm

bailey123456789 wrote:I don't mean to drag this thread on or be beating a dead horse, but would the fact that I'd be aiming to work in a parochial school change the equation at all?


Yes and no. Like the legal profession, one of the major determinants for QoL as a teacher is the group that you work with-- admin, other faculty, parents, and students. Good, qualified and supportive administrators do exist. Talented, caring and helpful colleagues do exist. Supportive, cooperative and understanding parents exist. Intelligent, hard-working kids exist. You just have to find them and they aren't automatically found in a given type of school. Schools that offer a good environment for teachers and students tend to be created and maintained by solid administration and experienced teachers. Schools with such reputations will be known in the teaching community. One my favorite teaching experiences was at a treatment center for kids with diagnosed learning, psychological, and emotional disorders. Everybody bought into what we were trying to accomplish with the kids in the school and, as such, there was a great deal of collaboration and general respect within "the team".

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yomisterd
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby yomisterd » Tue Feb 10, 2015 5:44 pm

Teaching takes a special sort. It is hard to be directly responsible for 100+ souls per day, many of whom would rather be anywhere but school (for oftentimes good reasons). I would echo the volunteer and observe suggestions. As a 1L, I can't speak to comparisons between practicing law and teaching, but teaching was one of the hardest things I ever did.

but no, I wouldn't say it is dumb to consider it at all. It can be very rewarding and is great for certain types of people. The key is to make sure you are that type before diving straight in.

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chem!
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Re: Is it dumb to consider teaching?

Postby chem! » Sun Feb 22, 2015 12:14 pm

yomisterd wrote:Teaching takes a special sort. It is hard to be directly responsible for 100+ souls per day, many of whom would rather be anywhere but school (for oftentimes good reasons). I would echo the volunteer and observe suggestions. As a 1L, I can't speak to comparisons between practicing law and teaching, but teaching was one of the hardest things I ever did.

but no, I wouldn't say it is dumb to consider it at all. It can be very rewarding and is great for certain types of people. The key is to make sure you are that type before diving straight in.

I'll repeat the volunteer and observe suggestion, too. Even then, you won't have any idea what it will actually be like until you actually do it, because you won't have to deal with all the negatives that come along with teaching. If admin won't back you up when parents/students are across the line, it gets ugly in a hurry. The order of importance in any situation is student, parent, school, teacher. You are at the bottom of the list, but you're on the front line.

The quality of life as a teacher is very campus-dependent, because the people above and around you make a huge difference. I've always found the students to be the best part of teaching, but a shitty principal or school district can make your life a living hell. Teaching is definitely a calling, and you need to understand that it looks like a 40-hours per week job on paper, but the reality is far, far different. You will be there before and after your "duty day" many days a week, because you'll have to tutor, reteach, retest, etc.

I left secondary science teaching to attend law school, then left law school after a little over a year to return to teaching. I enjoyed law school and did well, but the situation was negatively affecting my children, so I decided the price was too high for me to justify. I am back in the classroom now, and happy to be there, but teaching is definitely not for everybody.

Feel free to PM me.




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