I’ve been thinking about teaching. I was whinging to the Snook the other day about my dissatisfaction with I.T. work when he suggested that I go back to school. Since I had so much fun leading training courses in London, he thought I should look into getting teaching credentials here. It’s an interesting idea. Max teaches, as do my friends Liz and Kel in California. Ma Snook is a teacher-librarian. If you’d asked my second-grade self what I wanted to be when I grew up, I’d have said “a teacher” without hesitation. So I decided to look into it.

Unfortunately, it seems it’s a lot more difficult than I anticipated. Not only would it take two full years for me to get my Masters of Teaching from Sydney Uni, but as I’m still classified as an “International” student (because my permanent residency won’t be fully “permanent” for two more years), I’d have to pay about four times the tuition that Australian students would. Then there’s the question of whether my enthusiasm for training eager adults would in any way translate into enthusiasm for teaching sullen and obligated young people. I’m not sure. I just finished reading this five-part story about a journalist who took a year off to teach seventh grade English. His experiences are pretty eye-opening. I was always a good student, and in class I resented the teacher having to go so slowly and repetitively for the sake of other kids who couldn’t care less. Apparently, though, that’s exactly what teachers are forced to do. I like the idea of “breaking through” with a difficult student and teaching them something new, but realistically, how often does that happen? I’m not sure I could deal with putting out a lot of effort and seeing it go to waste. Someone once told me that journalism and education are the most cynical professions and that you lose your youthful idealism pretty quickly. I get depressed enough in I.T.; would it really be wise to make a move? (Article link courtesy of Moire.)

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  1. what about university level teaching? i taught at polytechnic level for a year and a half. you don’t necessarily need teaching certificate to lecture (though I think a post graduate degree, either Masters or PhD helps). the students are that bit older, and in theory, are there because they want to be, not because they have to be.

  2. hey, i’m not teaching YET! i’m trying to sub now… classes just started, and i still have to go into compton for my interview. so, i’ve still got a little ways to go. lizzie and jack ARE teaching, though! 😉

  3. Yeah. You could lecture in *ahem* IT. Surely good lecturers in that will be in short supply?

  4. woah. i just read the whole article. i wonder if my sister knows what she’s getting herself into? she’s about 6 months away from graduating with her masters in education in the US. she’s going to teach high school science. whew.

  5. for my 2 cents worth i think you would make a fantastic teacher. did ya ever think of teaching kids? and i dont mean the teenager type who could care less what you have to say, i mean the little guys who for the most part really like to learn and still like going to school. everybody knows you are just a 25yr old 2nd grader so who better to teach kids than a grown up version of themselves. yeah i know being around a room full of kids all day could get a bit overbearing but compared to some of the adults i have had to work with im not so sure it wouldnt be better, besides if all else fails they are littler than you so ya can still scare the hell out of em. 🙂

  6. Well, it’s not for everyone, but you know I love love love it. The guy in the article made his first and biggest mistake when he went into a seventh-grade classroom. That’s asking for trouble. I honestly think you have to be CALLED (in a quasi-religious sense, almost) to teach middle school. Other people who try will be destroyed. It almost kiled me (I taught 7th and 8th grade Language Arts before moving to high school). I do love that the guy wrote, “To teach well is ridiculously hard.” I wish more people would read that and not roll their eyes when I talk about how exhausted I am after work (“But you get off at three o’ clock!” “But all you do is grade tests!” and so on).

  7. And by “kiled” I mean “killed.” I knew I’d make a spelling error in a comment talking about how much I love teaching English. 🙂

  8. See, Dad, even though I *act* like a kid, I’d go nuts if I had to be around them. A friend of ours teaches kindergarten in Sydney and just tells horror stories. Some of the little brats call her names that most adults would never use. Sure, I’d love to work with 20 beautiful little angels, but the reality would probably be far, far different.

    Teaching college is an option, I guess. But I really think the market for IT courses is drying up. At least, it should be. If anyone really believes that they can take a two-week course in HTML and go get a lucrative job in the high-paying computer industry, they’re living in 1997.

    Actually there’s another option that appeals to me: teaching English as a second language. Australia gets a lot of immigrants and these programs are pretty high in demand. I think that would be so fun and rewarding. I mean, these folks have come here to make a new life and they want to learn to speak like everybody else. I’m looking into the qualifications for that.

    Max, your situation is probably the only public school teaching job I could do. It sounds like you generally get to do what you want with a good bunch of kids. But how rare is that? Given stuff like this, I’m probably going to rule out public school teaching for the time being.

  9. Teaching is one of the noblest profession, especially to children with the pay as pitifull as it typically is.

    I’m not sure if you’ve used this comeback, Max, but ask anyone in a corporate environment who thinks your job easy about how much prep time and stress they put into their last presentation to a challenging audience of 30 people, and then ask them to imagine doing that 6 times a day, 5 days a week.

    All that said, I think you should go for it, Kris! (Although NOT with middle schoolers). Maybe try subbing first? Or seminars? The English as a second language is a great idea.

    As I’ve mentioned before, my mom LOVES her job, which is mostly teaching (I’ve never had a school librarian teach the way that she does).

    I think that we get so much more out of school when we’re younger; it would be a great thing to have the kind of impact on a child that we all had with our favorite childhood teachers.

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