Comments: 271 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

lundqvist-is-mydaddy95 karma

Well I'm gonna be the first to ask the obvious- why did you quit??

whotookthenamezandl213 karma

I felt (a) unprepared, (b) underqualified, and (c) unsupported.

(a) The majority of the knowledge I gained during my time in college was of no use to me whatsoever. Most of the focus was on early childhood students and my professors all told me (us, I guess) that all we had to do was trust our students and be there for them and everything else would fall into place. When myself and others in my cohort in school would ask about more 'refined' behavioral issues (for lack of a better term), they'd shrug it off and say "Just do this and you won't have that problem." Everything was so idealistic for them and it became obvious later on how out of touch with teaching they were. So when I landed my job, I was naïve as could be and was overwhelmed from the second it started by student behaviors, shifting policies within the district/state, and the sheer workload.

(b) Beyond just not bracing for a realistic classroom setting, my school was a full inclusion setting, meaning kids in special education attended general education classes as often as possible. I love the system and think it's the way to go, but I had almost no realistic education for how to approach moderate/severe disabilities as a teacher. I didn't really know any of the available accessibility technologies or techniques for actually getting the major points across. Even assessing a student with severe disabilities was an enigma for me. I reached out for help from various sources, but each person told me so many different and conflicting things that I never managed to get it right.

(c) In the two weeks prior to the school year, I discovered I wouldn't have curriculum for my students. That's, like, a big deal. It's the road map of what you teach, and when/how to teach it. There was no mentor from the district that was promised when I was hired earlier in the summer. There were no textbooks or class novels. I had to work in the librarian at my school to apply for a state grant just to BUY THE PREVIOUS YEAR'S NOVELS, as I was then going off of that curriculum. My principal was letting all the 'rough' parents walk all over her when she was supposed to be a barrier between them and us teachers. Upper administration in the district had very little concern for any of my grievances, too, as there were a number of seat swaps in the headquarters and policies changing just as rapidly.

I never claimed to be a great teacher and I do blame much of my hardship on myself, but I was certainly never given an environment to thrive in.

lundqvist-is-mydaddy29 karma

Thanks for the detailed response. I currently work with children in a one-on-one type setting and love it. People ask me all the time why I don't pursue a career in teaching and while I've thought about it, the entire education system just seems way too overwhelming and unrewarding. I hope you find a new calling!!

whotookthenamezandl25 karma

Thank you for what you do. Being a para is an even less respected profession despite being the ones that make the biggest difference with those who need it.

Z3ro-sum16 karma

I'm a school bus driver. I get to hang out with each group of kids for around 20 minutes in the morning and afternoon. So pretty much I just get to hear their goofy stories, tell dad type jokes,offer quick advice...then drop them off for the day. It's pretty great (I certainly don't do it for the pay).

I can't imagine how the teachers stand up there with so many eyes on them all day every day and be expected to teach.

Hope you find a better niche in the system.

Edit: Though the benifits and paid time off can't be beat.

whotookthenamezandl10 karma

That's what subbing is like for me. I get to spend one day with a variety of different students and impart the best of what I've got to them, then I move on to the next school.

IT_guys_rule16 karma

My wife did a year of teaching and threw in the towel. She knew it just wasn't for her, plus her entire hands on classroom time was very young grades, like 1st and 2nd. She always wanted to do High School classes where she could make a difference and bond over reading and shit (yup, she lived in a fairy tale, it's cute though). She was so disgusted by what little machines they made the little kids into she said she was done before she finished the year.

She did however, become a substitute teacher many years later, and still does it to this day. She loves that she can tell them she's not available, or if she's off her normal job that day (yes she is, in fact, a machine with 3 jobs) she can go teach some kids P.E. or go over some reading skills. Just keep an open mind to that, it's pretty slick.

whotookthenamezandl15 karma

It's funny; I've actually gone back to subbing. It's certainly not what I plan to be doing two years down the road from now, but it gets me back into society doing what I still love to do - teach kids and see that spark. I treat my students with respect, cut some slack, but pull back on the reins when things get rowdy. I actually teach them their work and the teachers who regularly call me know this, and they just let me teach full lessons when they're gone now. I have my good schools and know the ones to avoid. Does that make me selfish? I don't know. But if I can't be invested in a specific classroom environment, I have to think those students won't benefit from me.

Thementalrapist3 karma

Little advice, my wife is a national board certified educator, she's been teaching for eleven years, she always said the first thing you do is get the class management down and then everything falls into place.

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

I think I always knew this but didn't have the right temperament or support network to implement a strong management system in my classroom. I eventually got it together after a tremendously rocky start to my school year and then everything, as you said, followed along shortly thereafter. But, yeah; management is the key.

Hey_Listen_WatchOut11 karma

Did you have para support for the IEPs in your class?

whotookthenamezandl27 karma

Occasionally. The system is so broken in Arizona, though, that the pay for paraprofessionals is barely above minimum wage and requires a hauntingly minimal amount of certification. This caused us to have somewhat of a revolving door when it came to our para staff, unfortunately. The paras we had were unsupportive, quiet, and would rarely act without being told exactly what to do. A talented para should be taking my cues as a general education teacher and modifying/accommodating off of that. I'm obviously still the teacher for the student receiving extra support, but the para is the bridge on most things.

BaginaJon7 karma

I work in Arizona. Which district, or region?

whotookthenamezandl9 karma

I was working in the northern portion of the Phoenix metropolitan area. I'm hesitant to say which district, but it was one of the larger ones.

Doogaro6 karma

My guess is you were in Peoria Unified if so they are the lowest paid of the districts and the worst off with staff and support.

whotookthenamezandl13 karma

I was not, but I'm familiar with that district. I was paid very low for a first-year teacher, even by teacher standards. What's truly terrifying is that I know for a fact I was making more money than people who had been at my school for years. #thisiswhatnofundinglookslike

Doogaro7 karma

Thats how they are brining people in nowadays in Arizona. Teachers now are taking a year off and then coming back so they can get paid more since raises are non existent or if anything they are 1 percent or less. That is one of the problems in Phoenix, schools are underfunded yet we have so many districts all with administration overhead sucking up what little money there is.

whotookthenamezandl9 karma

Exactly. They need to attract people with competitive (lol) salaries by paying new teachers more, but then there's no money left to pay the veteran educators with. But if you pay the veterans better and the newbies less, you'll have an even larger teacher shortage than we currently do.

And every time a budget override gets struck down or an education-benefiting tax increase fails to pass, everything gets worse.

rearwindows9 karma

I had a similar experience. Nobody tells you that teaching the kids is really only 30% of the job. Parents, prep, grading papers, dealing with administration, being a surrogate parent, etc. is most of what you do. Plus, if you have a principal who doesn't support you, and makes you feel like the bad guy with the parents it is untenable. I had as many conversations with child advocates as I had with my team the first year I taught. I hung on for 3 years. Finally the principal was nice enough to can me when we "restructured" for the 4th time in 5 years.

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

I feel you. I do. What do you do now? Still teaching elsewhere?

rearwindows2 karma

I do not. I own rental properties now.

UhhNegative2 karma

That's my dream, own a bunch of rental properties and eventually just live off passive income.

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

I can imagine it's quite a bit of work to control and manage enough properties to live off of, but yeah; the whole idea is pretty alluring.

WhynotstartnoW2 karma

Parents, prep, grading papers, dealing with administration, being a surrogate parent, etc. is most of what you do.

Shouldn't they teach this in the schools that train teachers?

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

I learned nothing about dealing with parents aside from "be nice". Same goes for administration. I barely knew what any of my meetings were even about until I went to them the first time.

As for teaching methods, I was a whiz. As for nearly everything else, I was at a loss.

hillsfar5 karma

There is a huge difference between how the Amish even today can manage with minimal funding for a single schoolteacher with a one-room schoolhouse with multiple grade levels of students where older ones help younger ones and discipline problems are few, versus the administratively and financially bloated monster that is public education today. The Amish have strong parenting, strict expectations, discipline, shared culture of chores and work, and shares languages (Deutsch and English). LAUSD and Washington DC each spends $30,000 per student per year and still have shitty high school graduation rates.

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

That all makes perfect sense, but the unfortunate thing is that the public education system was not designed to improve those same cultural aspects that you mentioned the Amish are proud of. Throwing money at a problem is typically a good start, but without support from society nor understanding that those cultural strengths are essential, nothing's going to happen.


I've been teaching ~25 years. Still feel unsupported, unappreciated by my admins, yet don't want to leave because I went into teaching to teach. I just have to find other ways to do what I must.

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

Yeah, I feel you. I love teaching still, but most of the job isn't that. I get that all jobs have bullshit to wade through, but calling the job "teaching" is almost false advertising.

Subbing for the current school year is doing me a lot of good, though, I think. I get a chance to show up, teach, and leave. Good day? Coming back. It's been giving me a lot of motivation to take some hard looks at what I really did all of this for.

Jaerin3 karma

No education does what you ask, anymore. School maybe gives you the time and freedom to figure out your calling and sells you a small amount of relatively temporary credibility to establish yourself in a career. The idea that anyone is prepared for any particular job after college is naive and never explained to kids. College helps you by exposing you to higher levels of thoughts and ideas, but it is not a training facility and never really was. Trade schools did what you are asking and they rarely exist anymore.

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

That's fair, to a point. My professors in college weren't too helpful as described in the topic post of this specific thread, but it was almost like they were giving us misinformation because of how long they'd been out of the field. They were all older people who taught only as recently as ten years prior, with a few having only taught in the 80's-90's. I can think back to so many questions we asked and the answer we got was so outdated that almost nobody teaching today feels that way.

I get that college isn't trade school, but the learning curve for teaching versus nearly anything else is so steep that the majority slide back down and say "Well what the shit, hill?" That's my biggest concern. There needs to be total reform of the public education system, but it also needs to start at the source: where our teachers come from.

cookinggaybro3 karma

That people are unprepared for it is one of the main criticisms, I think, of programs like Teach For America. For instance, they take idealistic young teachers with little experience and expect them to actually effect change and it doesn't work that way. Do you agree?

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

It's exactly the problem we have right now. The training and preparation prospective teachers receive is so behind the times of a system that barely has any shared identity from year to year.

pillowcase1212 karma

You felt unprepared and unqualified which reflected in lack of support you were given. If teaching is something you want to do, perhaps a new school is needed. Each school has its own way of doing things...maybe teaching is what you want any more but I'd say don't let one school's lack of structure and ethos be the reason for that.

School you were at was crap. Not you. Maybe another school will be better. I say maybe - as deep down, only you know if you wanna carry on teaching.

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

I think I do want to try again. I mean I DO want to. The thing stopping me is the fear of failure, that I'll go back and find out it was me all along and now I've confirmed it.

But that's life, I know. Just need to work up the self-confidence, which has been admittedly dismal since my school year.

absolutebeginners1 karma

One year of teaching and you're an expert. Go away

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

Expert on what? Where did I say that?

I'm saying what I know. If you don't like that I'm sharing my firsthand experiences, then feel free to leave. This is an AMA, not a place for beggar trolls to loiter.

Pickman35 karma

Did you not have an in classroom shadowing period and student teaching requirement? Why did it take until your degree was completed for you to realize you would be a bad teacher?

I only ask because I spent 1 week as a student teacher in my program and switched majors the next Monday. Kids are assholes.

whotookthenamezandl77 karma

I was a fifth-grade student teacher for a full semester at a public school in a substantially wealthy area of Phoenix. My teacher was a 60-year-old hippie who had been at the school for 20 years, so everybody knew him and respected him before they even met him. It was terrifically simple and straightforward, and there were almost no behavioral issues or students with genuine learning difficulties. The school also had a considerable amount of extra money from outside donations to afford extra paraprofessional staff and technologies/opportunities for the kids. Then I went and took a job at a Title I (low-income area) school with students whose parents were imprisoned or who didn't know where their next meal would come from on the weekends.

Really, though, it wasn't the kids. Any of those kids one-on-one were tremendously self-aware and able to evaluate complex situations/problems. It was the mob mentality during whole-class instruction and less constructive times that was difficult.

jaytoddz20 karma

What is making the school system so broken?

whotookthenamezandl66 karma

Teaching to the test, mostly, and then probably lack of support in state/federal politics, underfunding, and feeling like teachers don't have a voice.

It seemed that every two weeks was another mandated test from either the district, state, or federal level. These tests were also in between my own subject tests and reading level diagnostic exams. I felt so bad for the kids, for how long and how many times they had to sit in the computer lab and click/type away their imaginations and creativity. My two other colleagues in sixth grade decided to take recess out of the school day, too, because there simply was no time to get everything required done. I am a huge proponent of recess time in school (and I think they were, too), but I couldn't disagree with their logic.

curmudgeonlylion-48 karma

You dickbeaters elected Trump. Do you really need more root cause analysis?

whotookthenamezandl4 karma

Not sure who "you" is here, but rest assured that the vast majority of teachers do not back a political party founded upon the idea of restricting financial assistance to the needy.

As for my state, there isn't much to say. I can't stand Arizona for several reasons, but I love the state for many more. That, and Arizona has always been red, but that doesn't mean that the blue voice is silent.

curmudgeonlylion-18 karma

You. Your Country. Americuh. Fucked. Its been proper fucked for 3 decades.

whotookthenamezandl4 karma

No shit. It wasn't by my hand, though. I'm part of the first generation of students to be cultivated by the fucked up system and then go back into it to teach. So now everything's being turned on its head.

SpiritofInvictus19 karma

What was the worst and the best moment in the classroom for you?

whotookthenamezandl60 karma

Worst moment and best moment revolved around the same incident. It definitely had to be the one regarding a troublesome student who came from a rough background and was consistently having trouble fitting in. He and I were always closer than most other students were to me and, despite his (and my) shortcomings, our relationship grew into a strong trust over time.

During parent/teacher conferences in which us three teachers all met the parents at once (because fuck 90 different meetings for EACH teacher), one of my colleagues mentioned that she saw the student stealing food from another student's lunchbox and bribing another for food. I, personally, had never witnessed this and was honestly a little surprised when I heard it. Well, Mom went home and shamed the kid and he roared in during my first class the next day and shouted me out, screaming that he trusted me and thought I'd be there for him and how I lied just to get him into trouble to keep him under control at home. ... It's tough to even recall the memory as it's still so vivid in my mind. Eventually, he apologized and I did, too, as for all he knew I DID say those things - I couldn't just say the other teacher lied or whatever. We ended the school year amicably with a giant hug and he promised me he'd go on to do good things with his life and help others like himself.

omardaslayer10 karma

fuck that other teacher. had they never thought maybe the kid was not fed well at home? that very well may not a behavior issue, but an issue of abuse.

whotookthenamezandl4 karma

It wasss... a complicated issue with that kid. Mom in prison, dad just starting to get it together because of it but still sort of a tool, stepmom being a breath of fresh air for both of them, etc. None of us thought he wasn't receiving enough food from home (largely because he always brought a lunch and never once indicated to any of us that food was an issue). I'm not saying it wasn't possible, but he also had issues with stealing things even when he didn't need them. It's a 'survivor' mentality. A lot of kids from rough backgrounds pick it up during times when they DON'T have anything, and latch onto anything they can.

I think my colleague was more just pointing out that he was stealing in the first place and not insinuating that, because it was food, he's hungry.

falloutz0ne17 karma

Did you talk to any current teachers in your state before deciding on being a teacher?

whotookthenamezandl10 karma

Not directly, no. But we (my college cohort and myself) all knew the common grievances going into it. We also knew that there are good schools and struggling schools, good districts and struggling districts, and that we could choose where to end up.

Of course, that didn't prepare for just how polarizing the difference between an affluent school and a Title I school is.

falloutz0ne6 karma

How early into your college career did you commit to going into teaching?

whotookthenamezandl9 karma

When I started college, I was a Music Education major. That came out of my own uncertainty of what I'd do with my life and the fact I was musical all throughout grade school. I did this for a couple years as I grew disillusioned and jaded with my lack of personal accountability in those beginning years. Once I kinda got my shit together around my junior year, I realized I didn't want to be a music teacher and made the switch to Primary Education (as, in another post here, I explain why I always admired the idea of being a teacher). It the took me three years between making up for lost ground and starting a new program, but then I student-taught in what was technically my sixth year, and graduated in that December.

falloutz0ne4 karma

because this is an AMA, I'll come out with this one:

Did anyone ever say to you: "you need to find out more about education as a working environment before you commit to that as a career path."

Like, did anyone at your university or anything advise you to find out about things like.... all the things you didn't know wouldn't suit you about teaching?

I considered being a teacher at one point, and then spoke to 2 people who were currently teaching, and based on what they said and what I knew about myself, I decided against it.

I just wonder why no one advised you to actually examine the teaching environment/talk to 2 or 3 actual teachers in your area before committing to education as a career.

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

I was (am?) passionate about teaching and knew what I was getting myself into. I did talk to people, and they told me realistic things. What I didn't account for was an unsupportive school district causing a dramatically increased amount of stress beyond what I knew was expected.

whotookthenamezandl12 karma

Need to step away for a little while. Thank you for your questions and keep them coming! I'll get back to answering them when I can.

imnotyourlilbeotch11 karma

Are you fresh out of college yourself? Or did you come to the profession later in life?

whotookthenamezandl9 karma

I formally graduated in December 2013 after completing my student teaching, and was a substitute for a semester (hence the certification) to get a feel for different schools/environments.

Glarks9 karma

What did you expect from the job and how did your experience contrast?

whotookthenamezandl12 karma

I was looking for an outlet for my creativity, personality, and passion for helping children gain knowledge and an understanding of the world around them in a safe but realistic environment. I expected to take a group of humans and give them the tools they needed to be successful as they transitioned into a traditionally tumultuous time in their lives.

I think I still followed through with that mission statement for the vast majority of my students, despite how the school year went. You can probably read the other responses and get a fair sense of how it all went down.

colibri_beleza8 karma

It sounds like your teacher education program was normal. in my opinion, no teacher education program really prepares you for classroom management. How can they? You have to be in the classroom experimenting, applying different techniques and procedures. No amount of abstract information will help you until you can actually be in the classroom practicing.

All first year teachers feel unprepared and underqualified. But unsupported should never happen, although unfortunately it does. This is just part of teaching nowadays. It's a choice we have to make - if we are willing to put up with the immense amount of bullshit that has become a part of the profesion. There are some schools that are better than others. If you have any teaching bone left in your body, I encourage you to seek out a better school. Now you know what to ask about in the interview.

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

That's all fair. The sad thing is I, too, think my education was typical of most any teaching program. But that's the problem. The professors stood there and spoke to us of a fairytale land where we'd be knights in shining armor and be Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, standing on the desk and changing the world one class at a time. Aaaaand then the real world happened.

fistasaverb7 karma

I've been teaching for 10 years. It's definitely not for the weak. You'll be largely unsupported but have overbearing administration and ridiculous expectations made of you. While it's neither here nor there whether the kids like you or not, gaining their respect is something that takes experience to earn. I've taught in two districts, the current one being pretty amazing and we'll paying despite its title 1 status, and the previous being a horror show, also title 1.

I like the subject I teach, but holy shit, is it rough, with each year getting harder.

My question is this; what's your next plan of action career wise? I'm looking into doing something else but still not sure what. I was just to know what options you feel are available. Thanks!

whotookthenamezandl5 karma

I still have no clue. I'm subbing right now but that's obviously not a long-term thing. I have a number of creative endeavors id like to begin, but I don't really have the tools or outlets to follow through at this point In my life.

fistasaverb1 karma

Consider some kind of self employment if possible; that's the direction I'm looking in.

I had thought about becoming a barber, but it isn't very lucrative in my area (strangely). I've also thought about self-training as a tattoo artist (currently an art teacher) and hopefully get good enough top start a shop. I'd love top be my own boss and stop answering to dumb asses and entitled brats.

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

It is alluring. So much of teaching is already similar to being self-employed that making the switch seems like a no-brainer.

acv18987 karma

Fellow educator here! I teach in a title 1 as well. Did your students lay hands on a teacher and the admin did nothing? Where I'm at it's happen twice and the admin blames the kids rough childhood.

whotookthenamezandl5 karma

That's rough. We never had issues with physical violence against staff, luckily, but I know it exists in certain areas/schools. There WAS one time when the principal came down and pulled a regular troublemaker out of class (rough background; it was hard to blame the kid) and she spoke with him out in the courtyard. With all our doors open as it was nice outside, the kid abruptly shouted, "FUCK THIS SCHOOL, THIS IS BULLSHIT," right in the principal's face, then stormed off into the bathroom. That kid got a one-day in-school suspension and that was it, all because our principal was a pushover and was afraid to deal with the [admittedly awful] parents. But that was her job, and she didn't do it. So that kid committed student-career-suicide and got a light slap on the wrist.

It's so terrible to be in a position where your administration, your lifeline and shield, doesn't protect you. But hang in there. Mad props to you for sticking it out. Those kids need strong people in their lives and you're going to make the difference where your administration can't.

Lance771 karma

Just out of curiosity, what SHOULD the punisment have been for telling the principal that?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

It would be up to the principal obviously, but it should have been an out-of-school suspension for probably two days. That's, like, something I would've been KILLED FOR had I done it at that age.

Lance774 karma

Was mostly curious because I had some behavioral problems in school, not quite THAT direct, but still pretty antagonistic. Got suspended a couple of times but teachers didn't give up on me. I have a really good life/career now and I'm not sure where I'd be if my teachers had given me up as a lost cause.

Mostly just wanted to say to you, and any other teachers reading, that I was a shithead student, and I didn't get better while in school, but the efforts my teachers made DID have a positive impact, it just took a few years after I got out of school before the lessons finally worked their way through my thick skull. The fruits of your labor isn't always visible, but you likely have a positive impact on more lives than you realize based only on feedback/results in the classroom.

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

I think most of us know it. I certainly never assumed my "shithead students" would just keep being shitheads their whole lives. Everyone (well, most) grow up at a certain point and get it together. I was always striving to make differences in my classroom that I could see in real time, but I know that the biggest changes I've caused have yet to occur still.

Thanks for your insight and words.

solosam42 karma

Yep. That's what I cannot comprehend about kids nowadays. I mean, when I was a kid I remembered reading about that kind of thing in the newspaper and being confused as to how that sort of behavior was even possible. Now my Mom is a teacher and she has to deal with violent, disruptive students. At one point she had a six-year old threaten to kill her. (Last I heard, the student and his parent had a very unpleasant conversation with the local police officer, and the mom ended up quitting her job so she could try to work with him full time.)

When I was in school, the worst disrespect I ever saw was a kid who just quit. We were required to pass a Speech class in order to graduate High School. There was this one kid who didn't give a damn and never had. When his turn came to give his presentation to the class, he refused. The teacher very calmly and patiently explained that if he didn't do the presentation, he would not pass the class and that meant he wouldn't graduate. He didn't care. That was the last year I saw that kid in school. I have no idea what happened to him, but good riddance, as far as I'm concerned.

To this day, that mentality still baffles me. The very notion that disrespecting teachers is okay, or that you are just allowed to quit because you don't like something, is a worldview that I find utterly alien. Personally, I say fuck the little shits. Kick them out and never let them come back.

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

To a minor degree, I agree with you. I was never one for too much handholding in my classroom, but I also know that kids are malleable. I may not be able to fix their family's issues or change their horrid living situations, but I can plant the seeds of real change. It's still up to them to water and help them grow, but they're there.

That's why I don't like teaching high school. Sure, most are just trying to figure out what role they'll play in the world, but then some are so resigned to a life of mediocrity and failure that it's actually quite depressing to wonder what happened to them and how the system failed them.

hbkbfan6 karma

Fellow teacher here. If you really like the idea of teaching I'd try another school. Even in the same district schools can vary greatly. Go and ask the teachers if possible without administration to get an honest sense of the school climate.

I don't have as great school related question so...what did you get for Christmas?

whotookthenamezandl5 karma

Gift card to a good pizza place in town that my wife and I love, a high-quality waffle iron, a gas grill for our new patio, and a few smaller but equally neat things.

rydog021 karma

What would you consider a good pizza place in town?

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

The place is Sauce. It's one of those new-fangled Fox Restaurant Concepts, but it's actually pretty solid. Pizza is decent but their pasta is where it's at.

Beyond that (assuming you're talking about Phoenix), Pizzeria Bianco and Parlor are both fantastic.

lmaes2466 karma

What is "Structured English Immersion" ?

Veride5 karma

It is a requirement for Arizona teachers to prepare us for teaching students with limited English abilities.

Source: 7th grade social studies teacher (in Arizona) in my 2nd year teaching and earning my teaching certification through a teaching internship program but I love my job. PS.. sorry OP that it didn't work out for you. Teaching can be so very stressful without a lot of support and our state is a mess when it comes to that.

whotookthenamezandl4 karma


Also, thanks. Hope your break is going well. Lord knows you need it. :)

LolAlibi5 karma

How do you feel that education careers will change in the future? I am going into college for education this fall and this is a huge worry for me.

whotookthenamezandl6 karma

Teachers will always be needed, but the methods with which we teach will always change. Incorporating technology into the classroom right now is essential for many reasons, the two most crucial being that students' lives are already dominated by tech and it's how you're going to reach them most often, and teaching them through new technologies will also teach them ABOUT the technologies, preparing them for the real-world.

As for how much educators will be supported, well, that's probably not about to change a whole lot with the recent string of elections on state and federal levels.

darrendewey4 karma

I taught for a year also at a Title 1 school. 3rd grade, I quit pursuing it because my school cheated on the standardized tests and the politics. I'm just happy I know the best methods to teach my daughter. There's a lot of really passionate teachers that are extremely dumb. I don't trust the educational system anymore. Do you trust your colleagues?

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

I learned to respect and learn from their individual views in order to improve my own. I didn't always agree with what they said/thought, but I also understood they had been at this for far longer than I had. There were also plenty of kind-hearted and truly magnanimous educators at my school who lived for it.

Similar to you, I now feel more confident in raising my [eventual] children because I have a lot of good examples of how NOT to.

SirArchdukeEsq4 karma

So I have a friend who is in his 3rd year of teaching 9-12 earth sciences. I asked him what the worst part of teaching is and he said it's dealing with people who don't want to learn because it reflects badly on you. Do you agree with this or is there something worse? Besides pay of course.

whotookthenamezandl6 karma

Absolutely. My worth as a teacher to the state was almost solely based on the test scores of not only my own students, but all students at my school and even within my geographic area. I had a number of students whose parents were rather vocal about their distaste with teachers/schools and were very, ehh, anti-establishment in general. So when their kids strut into my room, refuse to learn, and any sort of sense I can get into them is instantly deleted when they're picked up, how is it remotely fair that my credibility as a professional is based on their test scores? Or how about my student who came to school the morning after being taken into Child Protective Services because his mom almost died from a crack overdose? The last thing on their mind is "being a good test-taker," yet that's where my job security lies. The system is horrendously biased against students with less stable home lives and, therefore, against teachers in lower income areas. So it's no wonder the state has trouble filling these positions and keeping people there for longer than 5 years.

CustomDippinSauces4 karma

I graduated less than two weeks ago with a degree in history. I'd like to teach high school. My old high school principal told me if I can get a year or two of teaching middle school on my resume, I'll be a shoe-in for any high school gig after I get my masters. So, I'm getting ready to start teaching middle school social studies. The problem is I've had virtually no training or instruction on how to be a teacher.

Now here's my question: on the scale of 1 to "Piper Perri in the same room as Lexington Steele," how fucked am I?

whotookthenamezandl6 karma

I'll tell you what I wish I could've told myself before I started my school year: Go in confident. Go in with a plan. You're going to have awkward moments and times when you feel like you're losing control, but recover quickly and be consistent with your actions. Set clear expectations for your students and let them know that that's how it's going to be. Be a strict authoritarian in the beginning and you'll eventually find the freedom to ease up later on.

Cyclok4 karma

My wife teaches middle school ESE in a title 1 school right now and it's her first year. She loves to teach but She is having difficulty understanding things aren't what they seem from college>professional life. It's hard and stressful. My question for you is: What resources are out there that I, someone with no experience teaching, can use to help reduce her workload and relieve some of her stress? I want her to succeed and thrive and will do whatever I can to help.

whotookthenamezandl5 karma

There aren't too m[any] resources out there for what you're describing, to MY knowledge, beyond just little teacher appreciation discounts and crap like that. What YOU can do is offer to help grade, bring her dinner if she's there late/surprise her with lunch, and let her decide if she wants to "bring work home" or keep the job at the school. If she wants to talk about her day, let her know she can, but don't force it. Teaching is impossible to set aside in the mind during the school year, so anything you can do to enhance that experience for her in lieu of just trying to get it her mind off will work.

ApostleThirteen3 karma

What is the standard PTSD medication for someone like yourself?

whotookthenamezandl7 karma


2longDidntReddit3 karma

What made you want to teach in the first place?

whotookthenamezandl6 karma

Not really sure. I am the youngest of three children with a brother and sister both 6+ years older than I am, so I always loved the idea of having someone "littler" than me to teach, like a big brother would. Most of my friends growing up were either in my grade or 1-2 lower than my own. Teaching these younger kids things was kinda how I passed the time and it made me feel useful and proud to be looked up to. So that's probably where it came from.

So the idea that I could teach was always there, but I finally made the connection that it could be my career around the beginning of college.

PurpleURP3 karma

What are you going to do for money?

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

Now? I'm a substitute teacher for the time being. I was one for a semester after graduating in December 2013 before teaching, so I went back to gain perspective from afar. My wife is also fortunate enough to be making enough money at this time to largely support the both of us.

As for what's to come? I don't intend to be a substitute beyond next school year, but I still legitimately have no idea what's next. I have so many creative interests but still feel drawn to teaching and obligated to return in time.

booby1113 karma

Part of me is sad you let it get to you but the other part of me is glad you realized you couldn't handle it and quit. I'm a third year teacher at a tough school and it makes me angry when people who aren't cut out for it stick around because it's the kids who suffer. I saw that you said college left you unprepared but how do you envision someone trying to teach human interaction knowing that every situation is going to be different and unique?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

I know it's not possible to teach being a teacher before they get out there. I'm just an advocate for an updated system that gives teachers a realistic expectation of what's to come not only in their first year but their first five. Almost all of my classes taught me that I'm going to be their hero and they'll love me and I'm a special little snowflake with magical fucking powers that is going to change the world! Like, seriously; that's what it was. And that was at a state university. :/

So all I'm saying is that we need to be telling people "Yeah, this job is hard and your kids won't always listen and you're going to be disrespected regularly and have shitty parents and shitty meetings and you'll be teaching to the test until things get better." Almost none of that was brought to my attention until the first day of school.

booby1113 karma

I'm sorry to hear that. I feel fortunate that during my Masters program my professors didn't hold back in that regard. They made it pretty clear how shitty parts of the job were going to be. I wonder if they were trying to weed people out before we started. I also came to teaching after running a warehouse for six years so I knew for sure adults are dicks and I like dumb, disrespectful kids way better, at least they can change. So maybe that gives me an edge. I agree with you though, something needs to be done.

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

I hear you there. Kids can be shitty, but adults are spiteful cretins when they want to be. Kids just say stuff because they heard it from somewhere else. In fact, whenever I was left alone to teach my classroom and didn't have to worry about parent interactions or meetings or policy or red-tape or bullshit, it was good. I mean, obviously teaching the kids is the best part of any of it, but god was it refreshing.

illgetup_andflyaway3 karma

Greetings. I might be late to the party, and I gave the comments a quick skim to see if my Qs had been asked/answered, but if they have you can point me to them or just ignore. But: What state did you teach in? Title 1 is subjective to the state/district the school is nested in. yes? (<---Serious question)So what was the ses makeup of your school? Rural poor or urban poor? What was the support of parents like? What about administration? Thanks for answering and happy/merry whatever you believe/don't believe in. Cheers

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

For the most part, Title I is the same just about anywhere, though criteria and some minor differences may vary from area to area.

The socioeconomic status of my school was largely urban poor, ranging from a few middle class all the way down to homeless and state foster services.

Parent support was intermittent. We had a handful of genuinely concerned parents who could always be trusted to be in contact, volunteer at events, and spare a little gift of appreciation from time to time. The majority of parents were distant but still in touch with their kids' academic performance, usually not reaching out to us unless we came to them first.

The worst kind of parents were the ones who THOUGHT they were being attentive to their kids' performance and behaviors but were just unintentionally perpetuating and encouraging those negatives tendencies. One kid, for example, had to have had ADD. It was bad; never listening, staring off into space, constantly asking completely unrelated questions, losing everything, etc. He was very kind and knowledgeable, but he could not look at or think about one thing for more than 8 seconds. His mom absolutely refused to take him to a doctor or do anything about it whatsoever, passing it off as just a phase or whatever. She wound up pulling him out of our school and put him into a charter, a move we later learned didn't work because he switched schools twice after that. So because his mother was in denial of almost the entire list of ADD symptoms, he suffered.

My administration, both on-site and district, we largely unhelpful and unsupportive. My principal was courteous enough in the beginning, understanding that not having curriculum is a problem, and gave me some preliminary tools to get started. But as the school year went on and I figured out the academic side of things, she became less and less supportive of the staff while dealing with parents and student behaviors. By the end of the school year, parents were walking all over her and we had no backing on our decisions, so the parents took over a lot of parts of our behavior plans - parts that had been working up to that point.

Hope this answered anything you were curious about. Merry Christmas. :)

thefirstblackman3 karma

I'm student-teaching with ASU with one semester to go... can I ask if you did your program with iTeachAZ or another program?

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

I don't think I did. I went to -cough- NAU -cough- and they kinda just did everything on their own.

Happy_Laugh_Guy3 karma

My SO is on her second year at a Title 1, and she did an ARL program so literally no preparation in college. Everything you said in your replies is spot on with her experience. I'm sorry teaching wasn't what you'd hoped.

How many tacos can you eat?

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

Though I wasn't really going for sympathy, I appreciate your words nonetheless. I have a friend who has just decided this year (his third) is his last year. He had such a hard time deciding what to do earlier this school year and he and I discussed his options and what he wants out of life at this point. He realized that stepping away isn't admitting defeat, and you shouldn't have any obligations to stay and continuing doing something if it's making you miserable each day.

If they're approximately the size from Taco Bell (but much better so I don't vomit later), 4 before I'm just forcing it.

StoIen_memes2 karma

Student here. Im a highschool sophmore now but i remember when i was in sixth grade, the kids were pretty vulgar. They cussed, they made sex jokes and the majority were just rude altogether (and most of them still are now). Although the teachers seemed to not notice this repulsive behavior. Do y'all just ignore it? Or mabye you just dont catch it. Do you develop a sort of immunity to this behavior and these words?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

It largely depends on the quality of te school and exterior environment that the kids live in. Having subbed around for some time now, I can safely say some classes are dicks who do everything you described and more while others are well-behaved, mild-mannered, and academically focused.

As a full-time teacher, the class of kids we had were largely immature, talkative, and disrespectful. They were going to be cussing and talking about all sorts of bullshit whether we let it happen or not, but they usually at least had the decency to keep it all out of earshot. We eventually taught them more about respecting one another and when certain types of language are less appropriate than at other times (not that, y'know, much of what came out of their mouths was appropriate ever). Thankfully, we didn't have too many problems with vulgarity or cussing after the first month or two. We knew it went on, but that's just dumb adolescents doing what they do. As long as it didn't come inside or impact the learning/safety of the kids, it wasn't of too much concern.

elzeus2 karma

Have you ever considered teaching in another state?

whotookthenamezandl6 karma

It's definitely crossed my mind, but I think I'd need to convince myself to go back to teaching in the first place... uh, for lack of a better term, that is.

That would also require my wife to uproot herself from her career (in which she's fairly invested), and so I don't think it's in the cards. If I DID, I'd go to Washington or Oregon. They have some of the highest-ranked and best-funded programs in the country. I've also heard Alaska, of all places, is a surprisingly pleasant place to teach.

Frillshark2 karma

As a kid who was traumatized (not using that word lightly) by teachers who hated working with children, I just want to say: Thank God you had the self awareness to get out when you realized you didn't like your job. It's healthier for you AND for the kids. If only more teachers (and people in general) were like you.

And out of morbid curiosity, were any of your cowokers (other teachers, principal(s), etc) downright awful to their kids? Or was your school a pretty nice place to be?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

My school was actually quite a decent place to be despite a disproportionately high amount of behavioral issues. I saw a couple teachers say and do a few things that bordered between strict and rude, but I never saw anything that shot up warning flags.

Hernandezseven2 karma

I'm in the credential program as we speak. I plan to teach high school math. Any advice?

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

Classroom management is #1. Ask as many questions about it as you can and ask to have hands-on time practicing it. Have a system in place and well-established before your kids walk through the door on the first day. Be strict early on and you'll find the room to ease up as the year progresses.

daaaaaaBULLS2 karma

What other jobs have you had? What's your plan now?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

After teaching, I did some odd jobs here and there to support my wife (who was fortunate enough to have a lucrative career already at that point) like temp administrative assistant at a friend-of-a-friend's law firm, freelance article writer, etc. Some were to pay bills while others let me explore some creative outlets.

Currently I sub in a different school district. Aside from the pay, it's just better than teaching full-time. I get to show up, teach with everything I've got, and leave the classroom a better place. I've got a number of teachers who call me regularly nowadays and trust me to continue lessons they've started and teach material while they're out. It's a lot of fun, but I don't feel the grind setting in again.

I may try focusing on smaller student interactions, like maybe in a tutoring setting. I've always felt most beneficial and connected to students in small-group or one-on-one work, so that's a possibility. If teaching in its entirety doesn't work out, I'd been wanting to get into writing more. It's not really a career (unless I commit even harder than a teacher must) but I've always been passionate about it.

ValkittyPrime2 karma

What was the worst thing that happened to you on the job, whether from a colleague or student?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

A kindergarten teacher had a student who bit her multiple times, but the coup de grâce was when the same student went into the restroom, smeared his own shit all over his shirt, and the ran back into the room slinging it around the air over his head. Yeah; that happened. The mom's reaction was basically just "lol boys will be boys," so that was great.

Luckily, I never had it so rough. I did have a student with severe anxiety and social trauma who regularly screamed out across the room and nearly kicked the door down in blind rages triggered by almost nothing whatsoever. He threw stuff around the room, but never at another student or myself (not intentionally, anyway). One day he just decided his chair and backpack looked better in the fountain outside. He didn't last very long.

Robert_Bresson1 karma

Are you a Polyglot? Random question, but something a teacher might become.

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

(Had to look that up - isn't multilingual the same thing?)

No, I'm not. I can get by in Spanish and know some written French, but I'm nowhere near fluent in either.

Godzillarex771 karma

How do you feel that Arizona's education system is shit? Source: Mom is a teacher for FUSD

whotookthenamezandl5 karma

I don't know; it IS shit. Not much I can do about it beyond voting and trying to be a better educator and human. It's an atrocity of human justice perpetuated by the close-minded apathy of millions who feel uninvested in the system despite the fact that society uses and falls as one.

If I do go back, I would focus far more on educating the whole person beyond just academically.

rydog021 karma

Wow your cert almost looks like mine. Why not just switch districts? Heard pvusd isn't bad. Unless you're looking for more? Dv and Peoria or even Dysart are looking?

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

I'm familiar with all of these except Dysart, though I know Dysart is simply too far from where we currently live.

I guess I'll just come out and say it was Deer Valley where I worked, but I can't obviously divulge which of the 15+ elementary schools I was at. I'm currently subbing in Paradise Valley and enjoying it, for the most part. I have 3 close friends who work full-time in the district and they're pleased (as much as one can be, anyway) with how things are going there. I also spent my post-graduation semester subbing in PV, so I'm very familiar with them.

If I were to go back, it would probably be with PV. DV was a shit-show (not sure if they've improved, though speaking with some PV teachers indicates they haven't really). Peoria has its own troubles AND pays the lowest out of any Phoenix district.

rydog021 karma

Had a friend go to Peoria but she's a math teacher. I grew up in dvusd but as a teacher I don't hear much on how they treat their current staff. If you want to sub at a high school in pv let me know!

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

I've already been to each of the high schools this school year except for PVHS itself.

Tinbelly1 karma

Did you have a Kevin?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

Did not. Wouldn't tell you if I did, but no; I did not.

raglefragl1 karma

This is the majority of people who go into the educational field as well as social workers. Generally new people in this profession can only get jobs in inner cities working with the "worst" people. They tend to burn out after a year or two because they did not realise they would be interacting with people they have very little experience with. Since I need a question, what did you expect the experience to be?

whotookthenamezandl1 karma

I expected to be a helpful person who could motivate those around me to become fully functioning members of society. I think part of that still came across, but my expectations for myself for the school year drastically changed after the first month or so. I got better at my job as the year progressed, but I simply wasn't willing to risk going back in and finding myself in much the same spot as I was beforehand.

Ghastly_Vocabulary1 karma

Ever meet any kids you were 99% certain would turn into felons?

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

As someone who is enamored by the innocence of children and knows that people can change, I'd be hesitant to say I have.

As someone who has a level of anonymity here, yes. It hurts to think of a student that way and I would certainly never let the thought escape my own mind, but yes. For as much as I'd help one specific student of mine and talk to him and get him to open up, you got the sense that his fate was already decided. It sucks and it may make me sound shitty, but I'm also a realist and take the world as it is. I feel like I tried my best and didn't let that thought bias my treatment of him, but I fear it wasn't enough.

Ghastly_Vocabulary2 karma

It's okay. Children of products of their environment. You often cannot blame them. More often than not - even. I was raised by poor white trash. I moved away, studied technology, and spent years overcoming my accent. I literally practiced in my free time. Now, I make a very comfortable living in a nice city, while my brothers/family are, sadly, rotting at a factory job in a meth town. People can't even tell I am from Kentucky. ;]

While you could never get away with this these days, the teacher who said I wouldn't ever be anything - I don't know if I want to flaunt my success or thank her for pushing me to prove her wrong. Ego can sometimes work out in your favor - as fuel.

Anyways - I've always wondered this. I wouldn't teach K-12 if my life depended on it. I have seen some absolutely savage children. It appears to me that we keep children in this world of falsehood, never letting them close to reality. When they do - its quickly sink or swim with often zero preparation. I graduated high school knowing a few words in Spanish but I knew nothing of balancing income and credit ratings.

Edit: I am not knocking teaching, but my true teacher growing up was google. I grew up on 56k. People really under estimate the amazing potential of having a box that can answer any question or show you anything. People are often astonished when I say I am self-taught. Self-taught perhaps isn't the best term. Google taught me - everything.

I learned the piano, Russian, how to start building computers and configuring routers - which lead to programming, how to change my own car oil, how to build my credit (Just hit 800 range :D), how to cook, how to shop, how to breathe correctly to stop oxygen headaches (extremely bad allergies), on and on and on.

Creepily enough, google was my best teacher and parent.

whotookthenamezandl2 karma

I witnessed so many administrators and fellow colleagues relentlessly blaming mad shaming kids for their behaviors while the obvious home life situations stared them dead in the face. I'm not saying students shouldn't have accountability for their actions, but blaming the student's situation instead of the student himself really opens your eyes and shows you how you can approach discipline in very different ways.

It's good that you picked up the motivation to improve your circumstances somewhere along the way. It's a story that makes any teacher's heart warm. I was always hesitant to use ego as a way to motivate students and it can obviously backfire almost as easily. There were times, though, where it was almost essential for a few of my usual troublemakers. I firmly believe they came out better because of it, though.

my_hunt-1 karma

So you couldn't cut it. There are lots like you and the few like me who survive get to deal with the mess you leave. Your thoughts?

whotookthenamezandl6 karma

Mess? I inherited a mess and still got those kids out the door with test scores above the district average and social skills ready for middle school. So you're welcome for that.

Maybe you have me mistaken for someone else.

You seem eager to blame those who walk away from a broken education system instead of actually identifying the problem. I value that you stay and appreciate your personal sacrifices for the greater good of society, but please do not belittle me or others in my situation just because we wanted a different job.

Plongerz1989-5 karma


whotookthenamezandl2 karma


Plongerz1989-2 karma

R u gabby??

whotookthenamezandl3 karma

Naw. I'm a dude.

Aliciasuxxx2 karma

Hey gabby can be a dude !!

whotookthenamezandl2 karma


ryanguy86-5 karma

Was it the teachers union that made you quit? Or the constant teaching for testing that public school worry about. Or was it the age that burned you out. 6th grade kids are stinky tyrants. My brothers taught at a charter school and he said he liked it because the kids acted like little professionals that wanted to be there. My guess is public schooling is the opposite.

whotookthenamezandl11 karma

Just because some kids in public schools have behavioral issues doesn't mean those in charter schools don't. I've been to enough private schools to know that there is no real difference. I've been to public schools where students willingly dress in polos and slacks tin order to take school more seriously, and I've seen private schools literally almost taken over by an unruly student body.

That also goes for the age group. Through subbing, I've had the chance to teach an extremely wide variety of types of students. Some sixth-graders ARE dicks (which is where the stereotype comes from), while others are simply young adults just trying to navigate through an awkward social period.