Teaching

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Oct 19, 2009 6:54 PM GMT
    I know this has been posted before. However, I recently signed up for my spring courses, and one of the five is "Introduction to Education" (I want to be an English teacher), so, what should I expect? The course requires 30 hous of "field training/experience" which is to say I am going to a school campus and observing a teacher teach, and (depending on the teacher/"mentor") teach a lesson myself. The point I am trying to make is that this is going to be a stepping stone on a career I really want. What should I expect for the rest of my life? Is there any friction with being gay and a high school teacher? How about the profession itself? Any feedback?
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    Oct 19, 2009 11:04 PM GMT
    Interesting question. I loved teaching. It was fun, and I liked interacting with kids. It can be nerve-racking at first standing in front of twenty kids with their eyes focused on you. Routines and procedures are very important along with time management. It is better to over plan than to under plan. Kids need to stay on task.
  • creature

    Posts: 5197

    Oct 20, 2009 12:22 AM GMT
    I can't speak from personal experience, but I have a friend who is a teacher. From what I gather, she is not happy. That's not to say she doesn't enjoy teaching, because she had a wonderful time when she was teaching special needs students, but now she is a Photography teacher at a high school and she complains about how rude her students are, and also about the bureaucracy.

    Gay teachers, I'm sure, face different experiences, depending on where they teach, and the type of students they get (which shifts every semester for high school students). You may have an administration or colleagues who are homophobic, or you'll be in a school that is welcoming. For the most part, students show respect for the teacher, at least where I grew up. Even if they throw the "fag" word around with each other, they wouldn't directly say it at the teacher — unless it is a bad apple, and those are rare (depending on where you teach).

    Just be the best teacher you can be. Your homosexuality is likely to be a non-issue.

    I hope you can find some teachers on here to stay in contact with to exchange ideas and feedback. If not, if you haven't already, I suggest also becoming a member of a popular forum for teachers.

    Best of luck.
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    Oct 20, 2009 12:42 AM GMT
    If you're just starting out, be sure to have a Master Teacher/Mentor whom you feel comfortable with.

    You're expected to assume control of the class your 3rd month in, and will need to begin lesson prep/cohort discussions almost immediately.

    Expect to be challenged by students and their parents, in both exciting and frustrating ways!

    This is definitely a rewarding career--as far as I can tell, and it's only my second year!
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Oct 20, 2009 12:44 AM GMT
    inmate_6655321 saidI know this has been posted before. However, I recently signed up for my spring courses, and one of the five is "Introduction to Education" (I want to be an English teacher), so, what should I expect? The course requires 30 hous of "field training/experience" which is to say I am going to a school campus and observing a teacher teach, and (depending on the teacher/"mentor") teach a lesson myself. The point I am trying to make is that this is going to be a stepping stone on a career I really want. What should I expect for the rest of my life? Is there any friction with being gay and a high school teacher? How about the profession itself? Any feedback?


    I teach in a high school. I love it. No friction whatsoever. It's the greatest opportunity you will ever have to make a difference in a large number of young peoples' lives... and for those who walk in with their parents' close-minded opinions, they will walk out feeling differently if you make a difference in their lives.

    You will have various opportunities to get up and teach something in front of students... be prepared for anything. I recall going as a small class or group to an observation once, and the cooperating teacher divided up his own lesson plan amongst four of us, gave us 45 minutes to come up with a plan, and then we each had 10 minutes to teach some aspect of his plan with a class we had never seen before. It was fun... you just need to approach this with an open mind and be prepared to laugh at yourself.

    Best of luck. Teaching is the most wonderful profession of them all.
  • westguy79

    Posts: 175

    Oct 20, 2009 2:26 AM GMT
    I've been teaching for 8 years. Your sexuality has nothing to do with what you do in the classroom.

    Be prepared and confident. Your mentor teacher wil help you.
    You'll do great!
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    Oct 20, 2009 2:55 AM GMT
    Coincidentally, I'll be applying to teacher's college this year and this also has me worried. Are any of you out to your students? If so what was the experience like? If not, what's keeping you from being open?
  • danisnotstr8

    Posts: 2579

    Oct 20, 2009 3:20 AM GMT
    I'm out to students, faculty, and staff. It's best this way. The students respect me so much more... and I have had numerous students come out to me already this year in my new position.
  • dwk1984

    Posts: 19

    Oct 20, 2009 3:53 AM GMT
    It's a great job, but a lot of work. Planning is hugely important, as is having a sense of humour,

    It is best to remember that at the end of the day, they're kids. Many of whom have a hell of a lot more shit to deal with than we ever did when we were their age. If they do something that makes you mad, give it a day, and things will be better on both sides.

    As for the sexuality thing - some kids know, some may have an idea, and some have no clue whatsoever. It's a joy of teaching in a k-12 school. Nobody has ever given me any hassle for it. Last year a couple of kids in gr 8 came to me and said "we heard a rumour that you're gay, so we thought we'd just let you know what people are saying". I thanked them for the piece of information, and said to them "my sexuality doesn't affect your learning" - because the reason they are at school after all, is to learn.

    Good luck. If you have a good mentor, you'll be fine.
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    Oct 20, 2009 4:30 AM GMT
    The best advice I can give about teaching that hasn't already been said (having done it in both the private and public sector), is when students breach your norms of conduct, remember to be fair and impersonal. I had a student call me a faggot because he didn't agree with my homework policy (I already was bending rules for him). This is an extreme situation that may be unlikely to happen, but can. DO NOT REACT IN ANGER. When that happens, they are looking for validation, they are looking to see that their anger is warranted because of the anger you throw back at them. It is perfectly alright to step back from the situation and give yourself a couple of seconds to gather yourself. After setting the class on their individual practice, I took the kid aside and had a calm conversation with him.

    Also, students can smell new teachers and while they may not present any behavioral breaches in your first couple of days, they will be testing you to find out where you will be lenient. Once they find out that they can get away with certain behaviors, they will try to take more liberties. It is immensely easier to be a stickler in the beginning than to reign your students' behavior back later in the semester.

    Finally, have systems in place for EVERYTHING. It will save you so much precious time.

    Good luck and have fun! It truly is the best profession in the world.
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    Oct 20, 2009 1:33 PM GMT
    Two disparate comments on the subject.

    1.) Look for a job in a state with nondiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation.

    States banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression (13 states and the District of Columbia)
    Minnesota (1993); Rhode Island (1995, 2001)1; New Mexico (2003); California (1992, 2003)1; District of Columbia (1997, 2005)1; Illinois (2005); Maine (2005);
    Hawaii (1991, 2005, 2006)2; New Jersey (1992, 2006)1; Washington (2006); Iowa (2007); Oregon (2007)1; Vermont (1992, 2007)1; Colorado (2007)

    Laws banning discrimination based on sexual orientation (8 states)
    Wisconsin (1982); Massachusetts (1989); Connecticut (1991); New Hampshire (1997); Nevada (1999); Maryland (2001); New York (2002); Delaware (2009)

    2.) Teaching is a separate skill that must be learned with competency not unlike the area of expertise. To often, people believe that expert knowledge in a subject are qualifies them to teach. It doesn't. There are so many expamples of this that I don't think I need to give them (as that would be an aspect of teaching.) icon_twisted.gif Applying knowledge and imparting knowledge are two different things.
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    Oct 20, 2009 7:27 PM GMT
    Thanks for all the support, I seriously wasn't expecting it. I'm glad the whole myth about teaching being a "last resport" and it being "horrible" isn't true icon_smile.gif. Great advice, I'm taking every last drop of it, including on being strict, planning, etc. As for the whole gay thing...I'm just asking because there are some issues (which was actually addressed, such as the "rumor" scenario), and discrimination laws (sadly, I live in Miami-Dade aka the Latin Bible Belt). However, I have another question. How about work clothes? I see teachers at times just wearing jeans and a band/graphic/sarcastic t-shirt while others wear more "professional" attire. Question is...what is suitable? A simple 'thank you' cannot sum up as to how greateful I am for the feedback. And as to a mentor, my neighbor is an elementary school teacher, and I have a few teachers from high school that I still talk to. They basically gave me the same advice.
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    Oct 20, 2009 7:34 PM GMT
    I wore shirts and ties Monday through Thursday, and jeans and school shirt on Fridays. The reason I wore shirts, ties, and slacks was for my boys in the school. Some of the boys didn't have fathers and I provided them with a well-dressed male figure. We would also have Tuesdays where all the male teachers and the male students would wear shirts, ties, and slacks.
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    Oct 20, 2009 8:02 PM GMT
    I did the same as Balljunkie. Shirt, slacks, tie. (That and I thought that the appropriate decorum for teachers' dress as established by out union was just plain sloppy and sent the wrong message about professionalism to the students and parents alike.)

    Balljunkie also brings up an important point. Not only are you teaching your content area (already something that can be difficult to do, especially if you know your subject well), you are also teaching social skills to your students. None of them have had the same experience and, by and large, most of your students don't know how to interact with one another and with adults on a social level. I can't tall you how many students didn't understand (or know how) shaking hands is a mutual sign of respect.

    I think the thing to take away is that everything you do in your classroom, your locus of control, influences your students. From what you teach, how you teach, what you wear, to how you treat people, your students will see and in turn emulate.

    Also I think this flow chart probably best illustrates, at least to me, how one should go about thinking how to get your desired student outcomes:

    Teacher's knowledge, skills, and mindset
    influence
    Teacher's actions
    influence
    Students' actions
    influence
    Students' outcomes

    In the end everything you come with, your knowledge set, your skill set, your mindset on teaching (including biases in whatever way they are present) manifests in your actions as a teacher, which in turn influences or directs your students' actions, and therefore has a direct effect on their outcomes.

    Which is to say that if you are unsatisfied with how your students are doing on a particular subject/assignment/quiz/behavior, look back to see what is influencing that outcome. Then make changes.

    Good luck!
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    Oct 22, 2009 12:27 AM GMT
    thansk guys with the attire advice, and anyhting else extra. icon_smile.gif I am so excited to finally start this career. wish me luck, anything else I'll ask lol. You guys...huge confidence booster! icon_razz.gif Thanks so much
  • Webster666

    Posts: 9217

    Oct 22, 2009 1:12 AM GMT
    You should expect to be a professional teacher, as should all teachers, regardless of their sex or sexual orientation. Make the classes fun and interesting. Involve your students. Don't just stand up their and lecture. Don't let any of your students fall behind.

    Good for you for wanting to be a teacher. It's a very demanding job, requiring long hours and insufficient pay.
  • dwk1984

    Posts: 19

    Oct 22, 2009 1:41 AM GMT
    Each school will have its own dress code for you to adhere to. I find semi-casual works with what I am teaching.

    As for any additional advice, if you can integrate the arts into your core subjects and get kids actively engaged and moving while learning, it is more fun for you as a teacher, and your kids will love your class.
  • tbone25

    Posts: 144

    Oct 24, 2009 12:35 PM GMT
    Be prepared for the students to want to know a lot about your personal life, especially when you are young. My first year of teaching, I remember someone bursting out in the middle of class... "Do you drink?" This is just one example. My response was, "Did you ask Mrs. J, (a 50 some year old tough teacher)?"

    Stay focused on teaching them and keeping your personal life out of things. You will know based upon your school district how people would or will react when you come out to the community. I worked in a very conservative school district where it would not have gone over well.

    Teach Life through English... that's why it is rewarding.

    Best thing I ever did for classroom management was teaching my students my reactions. "If I am teaching and you start talking, I'll probably stop talking... you'll notice this and know that you need to stop." "If I cross my arms, I'm pretty annoyed and you better stop immediately doing whatever you are doing...i'm ticked off." "If I cross my arms and lean against the black board, you better hold onto your hat, I am really angry and you will undoubtedly be getting an ear full." First time, I crossed my arms, I heard the whispers..."he has his arms crossed. shhh..." Can't say I much every raised my voice after teaching these simple things.

    My school district had a dress policy that stated you wear your professional Conscience. I wore a tie every day for my first few years (until tenure). It is good to look professional for the students and the other faculty. After tenure, I would forget the tie on Fridays.
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    Nov 11, 2009 2:49 AM GMT
    icon_cry.gif horrible news: the school I'm thinking of transferring to (FIU) dropped and closed most education majors. The only ones left are probably UF or UM...but then again Florida has ridiculously conservative education laws regarding english ed. (we still have the 'banned book list'). so...LIU might do it for me. so...whatcha guys think? icon_razz.gif