Is teaching a job? or a career? or ….

As a teacher I often talk to my middle school students about preparing for their careers. Many times I have students ask What is the difference between a “Job” and a “Career”. My simple answer is that a “job” is a way to earn money (temporary, hourly pay), where as a career is a job where you advance your roll into leadership or require higher degree of learning (longer term, salary). I give examples of jobs as waiting tables or working cutting grass. Career examples I give are retail jobs where one can move up to management or police, firefighter, doctor. My students often respond to the retail example stating it is a job that could be a career if nothing else pans out. I have to point out that starting low in retail and working up is a time-honored tradition, giving the example of a friend of mine from college who worked in a Jockey Retail store and has worked his way up to a district manager position.

My view is a similar view of what Trent wrote in a blog “The Simple Dollar“. I have used this blog in the past help explain the difference in a career planning unit I have taught during middle school advisory lessons. Up until recently I have always thought of teaching as a career and not a job.

I have a masters degree that is in the field of educations. Check one-off in the career column. I have been teaching for 13 year. Check. I have a salary. Check. I work hard and want my boss to notice my work. Check. Sure does look like a career. But I think there is more to teaching than calling it a career.

After re-reading Trent’s blog, a few ideas stuck in my head. A career is “connected employment” leading to “higher pay and higher prestige.” That really does not happen in teaching. If I want higher pay and prestige I have to leave the teaching gig and head into management and consulting. I guess you can call those teaching jobs, I don’t really see it that way. I teach because of the students. Sure someday I might leave them for a different kind of student but I don’t want to go into management. I am like most teachers very dedicated to my students. We all work hard. Spend time outside of our normal working hours, working to better us at our craft. So I don’t see teaching as a career I see it as a LIFESTYLE. Sure we might know some who see it as a job, They leave the job after the first 5 years. Some see it as a career, the move up the ladder quickly forgetting how it was to be in a classroom daily. But there are some who live teaching 24/7/365 and to us it is truly a LIFESTYLE choice.

My Dilemma as Chat host

As I sit here at my desk tonight, mulling over topics for this week’s #mschat, I am confronted with a dilemma. I have a family, 3 children (8,3&3) a wife and a dog. It appears I picked the worst night to have a chat for my family. My oldest son, Griffin, just started playing football. They have practice Thursday nights, same night as his cub scout meetings too. My work doesn’t seem to help to much either with Thursday night Open house and conferences. My 3 year old twins don’t help much either with the 8 pm bed time on a busy night.

I love what #mschat has become, a place for middle level educators to come together and talk about current ideas to helps us reflect on our teaching practices. I don’t want to lose the momentum we have gained over the last month of chats. Easy answer is to move the chat either back to later in the evening or to another night. Moving the chat will mean I might lose some members of the audience. It also means I will be bumping into other chats. Since I started #mschat, I have become involved in #atplc chat that follows in the 9 pm time slot. I have also found value in other chats during other nights.

Since I am going to continue #mschat please comment on this post as to a suggested time/night for the chat to take place. It seems right now that Monday-Wednesday are pretty free for me but 2 months ago Thursday looked good. We will have a Thursday night chat this week worked in around my son’s football practice and open house but look for a move soon. I value my PLN’s input so please give it.




#mschat Guest Host for Sept. 6, 2012

I am a “live in the moment” type of person. I don’t wear a watch and rarely look at a calendar. So when I planned on starting up #mschat in July I did not have the foresight to notice that the 4th chat would coincide with School Open House. Can’t miss the opportunity to meet with parents and work on that all important connections. I also don’t want to abandon #mschat group that is growing and creating a great PLN. A friend has volunteered his expertise to our chat for Sept 6th. Ben Curran of Engaging Educators will moderate this week, leading the discussion on the topic of Common Core State Standards and how it impacts us in the middle school. I will be joining in from my cell as soon as the open house is over.