Edit #5 - Bedtime for me. It seems these can stay live for a while so I will get to more questions tomorrow. There are a few that I have come across that are similar to ones I have answered, so I may skip over those and hit the ones that are different.

Very glad that this is insightful for you all!

Excited to answer some questions and hopefully challenge/inspired some of you to find your passion as well πŸ™πŸΎ


Proof I am a teacher: http://imgur.com/a/CNcbDPX

Edit #2:

Proof I came from corporate: http://imgur.com/gallery/Mv24iKs

Edit #3:

This is SO MUCH FUN. Many of you asked, here is a episode of my YouTube show (K_AL Experience) on Education, Personal Development and Music: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i9i9xiKMkrw

Not sure How long these go for, but I will continue until the moderators lock it.

Edit #4:

I am back and ready to answer more questions. I'm a little nervous for how many more questions came in the past couple hours. But let's do this!

Comments: 1957 • Responses: 44  • Date: 

weejetar1899 karma

Genuinely interested in doing the same thing. I'm currently and engineer. Do you have any tips?

kallen8151794 karma

Yes I do! I also have an engineering background! And 2 masters. My advice is no matter what find what makes you happy and pursue finding (or making) a career out of that 😎

Unpocopop1353 karma

Was it worth it?

kallen8152711 karma

100000% I absolutely love teaching and I wouldn't trade it for anything. I wake up everyday with a sense of purpose. Never had that at Verizon.

NotAnAsset968 karma

How hard was it to get certification to be a teacher? Did it take long and what did you have to go through in your state? And was it something you could do while working for corporate?

kallen8151132 karma

I'm in NJ. It wasn't hard at all. All I needed was to pass 2 praxis exams which were not bad at all πŸ™ŒπŸΎ

alexius339700 karma

Did you have to make major lifestyle changes to accomodate the pay cut?

kallen8151254 karma

I didn't thankfully. A great question. I took care of my finances, and to be honest, the salary I was making at Verizon, I lived rather modestly. ie, for my salary, I could have afforded a bigger house, much better car etc. I never cared to do upgrade in that way.

kallen815393 karma

Everyone!!!! Super excited to be here and answer some questions! Let's get it! πŸ™ŒπŸΎπŸ™ŒπŸΎ

squishmaster306 karma

I was a teacher for six years. At the end of year five I thought, "I'm in this for the long haul." Halfway through year six, I thought, "I can't work for these morons any longer." How do you cope with administrators being the least competent educators in the building, yet getting twice the pay and all the power?

kallen815279 karma

I've heard stories like this. I am super fortunate that my adminstration is AMAZING. And I'm not just saying that. My head of school and my principal are both very compassionate people who care about what they do. I've learned so much from them in the 1 year I've been here. Added (unexpected) bonus

UtterlyArbitrary279 karma

As someone in the teaching field I (think) I understand the motivations to jump ship from a corporate job to the world of education. Congratulations!

Between me and my colleagues it’s generally thought that middle school can be the most difficult age to teach and is less desired than elementary or high school positions. My question is this, did you choose middle school? If you did, what were your motivations to do that?

kallen815301 karma

Hey fellow teacher! Great question! I have heard the same. I did not pick middle school out right, the opportunity presented itself. However, MAN I LOVE TEACHING MIDDLE SCHOOL. Now I don't know if I would like other grade levels more or less, but its hard for me to imagine enjoying a grade level that I like more. Maybe eventually, I will have a chance to teach other grade levels :)

JTC80212 karma

Thanks for doing this AMA. How have your family and friends reacted to your decision? Do they see it as a good thing, or is everyone like β€œhow could you walk away from all that money?”

kallen815275 karma

Mostly everyone was super supportive and on board! My grandpa coming from a different generation didn't understand it, and some teacher friends I had were super hesitant to give me their cosign. Perhaps because they were in schools with poor leadership.

WildRyc187 karma

How has your work/life balance changed?

kallen815373 karma

So mentally I really feel like I am doing what I was put on this Earth to do. For that reason, I am a lot happier. While at Verizon I was very good at what I did but I did not feel I was making a positive impact in people's lives like the way I wanted. So Work/Life balance I would say is about the same because I was never overwhelmed with work or anything at VZ. Let me know how I did answering this question!

Sniper_Brosef127 karma

Are you actually answering questions?

kallen815122 karma

I am!!! I'm sorry I'm a bit late! Ask away!

itsjakeandelwood124 karma

Why do you think smart, ambitious people (I'm assuming like you) start as engineers instead of turning their ambitions toward being a teacher in the first place?

Did working in corporate allow you to get a head start on home ownership and retirement in a way that will make being a teacher easier?

kallen815152 karma

Amazing question!!!! Maybe my favorite so far. I think that being an engineering and working in corporate gave me an immense amount of experience and yes it certainly allowed for me to save up and buy a house and things like that. Ultimately, now that you mention it, it take pressure off the financial side of teaching because I am not concerned about the pay as much as I imagine most teachers are. Regarding why not get into teaching earlier, probably because I didn't know that's what I saw myself as. :)

Thanks for the thoughtful question

mandown230887 karma


kallen815216 karma

It's my passion!! And as I've gotten older I realized that money was not everything. Happiness and a sense of purpose meant a lot more or me πŸ™‚

pleasedontbetaken12372 karma

I bounced between several career plans before figuring out I should teach. Now I listen to all my corporate friends complain about work constantly and I never feel that way. My question though, how often do you integrate your real world experience into your lessons? Do you feel your middle school are old enough to grasp those lessons?

kallen81562 karma

Congrats on that!! We can relate.

Good question, I do think my real world perspective has been super helpful to make some things in math make sense. Think, mean salary vs median salary for a large or small business. Perhaps HS (and definitely College level) would be even more effective. I get the impression my middle school students really appreciate the real world perspective!

robint8869 karma

I've forgotten pretty much all of my maths learning from my school days (32 now). I know khan academy helps but are there any places online that you suggest to your students that you could recommend for someone wanting to relearn everything?

kallen81589 karma

Im 32 as well! I think Khan Academy is fantastic... I use Kuta as well as they have a lot of practice problems with answers. I have used (I think its called) Purple Math as well. And of course YouTube will have explanations on how to do any type of math :)

farcense60 karma

What was your biggest hesitation leaving the corporate job? How did you overcome it?

kallen815245 karma

I needed a reason to "not leave all 12 years I worked hard for behind for nothing" if that makes sense.

There was a voluntary severance package offered to the entire company. The day I found out about this, I felt like a weight was lifted from me!

The rest is history!

Well, math.

Aloh4mora59 karma

I often hear teachers say that the kids are great and they love the actual teaching part, but the parents and school administration makes their life a living hell. Do you feel your background in the corporate world has prepared you for these situations?

kallen81571 karma

Another amazing question. In a word, yes! That's exactly right! Being able to communicate with adults is a skill I've learned in corporate. Now that I think about it maybe that's why people straight from college struggle with that. They've never worked somewhere where they have to work with adults. Hmmmmmm interesting

BlG_BOSS53 karma

What did you do at Verizon? Was it difficult to make the change from that job to teacher?

kallen81585 karma

I did a lot: Engineering, Operations, Project Management, Product Management, Marketing, and some Pole Climbing during the strike. I thought it would be a lot harder. But it really wasnt. I was a bit nervous the first day (really, just a bit) but after that I felt like a complete natural. A natural who was super appreciative of the awesome staff he works with who were willing to coach and share experiences, and feedback.

MR_DoubleT33 karma

Anything you miss from the corporate world?

kallen81579 karma

Yeah, The gym is the first thing that comes to mind. And the cafeteria. Meeting up with coworkers for coffee at the on site cafe after a long morning.

And my 1 on 1 with my mentors. I still keep in touch but haven't met in person... yet.

organizedrobot30 karma

What are some things you would like to say to parents that they could do at home to help their children improve their math skills? I really admire you for changing your career to teach.

kallen81533 karma

Appreciate the kind words.

I would recommend having a routine and getting adequate practice. As easy or straightforward as that may sound, it's critical in my opinion. Also having a mentor or tutor that can relate to the student is super helpful πŸ™‚

Tschalala24 karma

What's the best and what's the worst of both jobs? and why?

kallen81598 karma


Worst - No sense of fulfillment

Best - Really a combination of: Salary, Lack of Stress, and Work/Life Balance

Side note - do these "best" items make it more intriguing that I left?


Worst - hmm HONESTLY, having to enter homework into PowerSchool every day lol. That's it.

Best - Knowing I am having a positive impact in the lives of our next generation. There's nothing that comes close to that sense of fulfillment

jaj-io22 karma

What is your stance on bullying? Too often during school I watched teachers turn a blind eye to students who were being bullied. How do you hope to prevent bullying in your class?

kallen81559 karma

I haven't seen or heard of too much of it in my school, however, in my class if anything close to that happens, what I would do is call the student up, and speak to them privately outside the classroom. I've learned that speaking to students with RESPECT at all times is crucial. I think now, my students respect me in a way where they don't want to disappoint me. That's how I feel, at least.

riptide8117 karma

How have your teaching techniques changed under quarantine? Are the kids engaged?

Also... Verizon? What is it like serving the devil?

cheraphy33 karma

Apparently bad enough he took a 60% pay-cut and a career dealing with hords of little psychopaths to get out of it

kallen81512 karma

Hahahahhaha good one

kallen81527 karma


Quarantine reassures me that I am in the field I belong in, because I truly miss being in the classroom. Most kids are engaged, yep! Some are not. Working on and thinking of creative ways to keep everyone engaged! It's been fun and challenging!

offurocker15 karma

Was the move voluntary or was there a tipping point to make the career change?

kallen81515 karma

Tipping point was a voluntary severance package being offered and I knew I would get money to hold me over until I landed a position. Thankfully it didn't take too long!

UrMine2Todd13 karma

Did you have a β€œnest egg” from your corporate days to make the jump to a lower paying job more palatable?

kallen81514 karma

So I guess you can say I did. However my savings are set aside and haven't been touched. So it wasn't needed in my case, I've been paying bills and living life with only my teaching salary :)

Blackinkcartridge12 karma

How on earth do you have to take a 65% pay cut? Here in the Netherlands we think that there is a large wage discrepancy between corporate and education, but I am pretty sure it is not 65%!! Does that mean that you earned a lot of money in your corporate job or does the salary suck so much with your teaching job? Anyway good for you that you made the switch, glad you like it!

kallen81517 karma

Hahahah. Sounds pretty crazy right? I was in 6 figures. But under $150k for context

Artistic-Result11 karma

What made you quit corporate?

Was it the 9 to 5 time?


Midlife crisis?


What advice do you have for someone in their 20s? Thanks!

kallen81533 karma

The fact that I really felt a strong conviction about doing something with my life that will allow me to make a positive impact in the lives of as many people as possible.

Teaching (coupled with me tutoring, and playing the piano LIVE on Reddit sessions these past few days) allows me to do just that!

RickOShay2510 karma

How do you feel about the paycut and lack of mobility in teaching? (Assuming you made more in corporate)

kallen81515 karma

I did! I took a massive paycut to teach. I feel that it's not right and that teaching is a super important job that should pay more. That being said, I don't need more money personally. I supplement with tutoring and have some ambitious goals for myself for the near future 😎

Roques0110 karma

How do I the opposite? I'd quite like to earn triple what I do now, and work, I suspect, less hours.

I don't do quite the same job, and I'm in a different country.

kallen81513 karma

Ha... That was my wife's best friends question. She ultimately settled on finding a different teaching job and she is loving it and thriving! I suppose making the change the other way isn't as easy because our society values corporations more than teachers, perhaps.

YetAnother2Cents9 karma

Can you stand and deliver? Seriously, congratulations! I hope it brings you the fuller life you deserve.

kallen8159 karma

Ayeeee! Appreciate you. Super satisfying so far. Love teaching!

Omegax1x9 karma

As someone about to retire from the military and is heavily considering teaching somewhere in the 8th-10th grade range. How was the conversion and certification process?

kallen8156 karma

Congratulations and thank you for your service!

It was a super smooth transition for me personally. And the cert process was straight forward. All I needed in NJ was to pass 2 praxis exams :)

littlekiddolover8 karma

Hey! Thanks for the AMA. Was it the fascination for math or your passion in teaching that led you to this decision?

kallen81516 karma

You're so welcome! Super exciting that people are interested! For me I love how there are several ways to get to the same answer in math. How cool is that?!

prendslaparole8 karma

I'm a teacher and I feel conflicted about this. It is basically like saying I am so successful in my field let me just try teaching ....it can't be that hard? I have seen 4 teachers up close do this from the STEM field and fail miserably and most have no idea how badly they are failing because their egos are so big and schools are hesitant because it looks good to have unconventional teachers.

Just because you have all the degrees and experience (and a guilty heart) does not mean you can teach high school math etc.- in fact is often an impairment. I have my MA in my field and you know what? It's useless FOR my job as a hs teacher. Whenever I hear people say I'm going to make a lot of money and then I'll retire and teach I cringe.

*If you genuinely think you will be a great teacher don't sit on it- a great teacher can change everything.

kallen8159 karma

This is a super interesting perspective! And one I have never heard. So from my end, I can say for certain I am not in that category, as I love doing it, and I know my students enjoy and appreciate my teaching style. However I can TOTALLY get how the statement you've made can certainly make sense in many other insurances. Thanks for sharing! πŸ™‚

justz00t7 karma

How many days a week do you question the choices you have made in life?

kallen8159 karma

0 days. I have never questioned this decision. It was really an easy decision for me.

pwalkz6 karma

How do you feel?

kallen81510 karma

Unbelievably amazing. I love teaching so much. Being in quarantine and having to transition to teaching remotely reminds me how much i love and appreciate being in the actual classroom.

Nomed734 karma

Middle school???? I tried one year of middle school and then went back to high school.

I am glad you found what brings you joy. I love teaching.

kallen8154 karma

Awesome, maybe I am missing out! lol I have heard HS and elementary are more preferred to middle school as well.