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  1. #1
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    Default Teachers! tell me about your job

    I am seriously considering going to teachers college. It would be for French, so I d have to take a few more courses this year (I am fluent but need a few more French credits, I already have a BA).

    Tell me about your job - pros and cons, impressions of what it is like for a French teacher,

    TIA!
    Former Username JOTR

  2. #2
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    I teach primary/junior. I have been teaching for 7 years. I was hired right out of teacher's college (not the norm).

    I love my job. Its a passion, and I wholy believe that you should not enter teaching unless its your passion. From a outsider's perspective, teachers work great hours and have great holidays. The holiday part is true LOL. The hours, not so much. I take home on average 2 hours of work/night and several hours on the weekend. My days are exhausting, physically and mentally. You become emotionally invested in every child you teach, and their difficulties and challenges go straight to the heart. There are days that I question wheather its worth it. And days when little things make it all worthwhile. It is a hard yet rewarding job.


    Its hard to find a permanent possition. Generally even once you do your job can change from year to year. I have only ever taught the same grade twice, although I have been at the same school a number of years. The ministry of education and the board are always hurling new initiatives and such at you....while providing little or no training and no time to learn. Expect to use a lot of your “free“ time to do school work.

    That said, there is a lot more opportunity for french teachers than any other teacher.
    "Anything is better than lies and deceit". Leo Tolstoy

  3. #3
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    Tell me more about the cons and creating a work/life balance...
    I need to really understand this if I am serious about pursuing it.
    Is dealing with the parents one of the biggest stresses? Or dealing with the school system?
    Former Username JOTR

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    Dealing with parent is A stress, but not the biggest one IME. IME, the biggest stress is the sheer amount of material I need to cover, in a limited time frame, and never with enough resources of support. I often feel like I am always on an uphill struggle.


    Its sometimes hard to find a home/work ballance. My DH works shift, so hes rarely here to help when I need it

    I have found that I really need to be uber prepared to make it work. I also find that if I teach the same grade twice in a row it really helps lessen the work load. I make resources and laminate them to use again. I try and keep home and school very organized and I find that reduces my stress and chaos.

    Our routine here when I am working is to drop L off at daycare in the AM about 7:30, 40 min drive to work. 40 mins to prep before kids arrive. Teach all day. Spend 20 min tidying up and gathering work to take home. 40 min drive home. Pick up L. In the house about 4:45. Throw something on for dinner. Play with L/dinner/baths etc for a couple hours. Put her to bed about 7:30. Tidy up the house till 8-8:30 then sit down and work till 10:30ish.......
    "Anything is better than lies and deceit". Leo Tolstoy

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    Yes exactly!!!!
    And add in the extra week after school ends of organizing your stuff and the 2or 3 weeks before thevstart of school for set up.
    I tried not to mark at home but it piles up if you skip it
    Plus reports! They take up a huge chunk of time.
    However like any job the rewards are incredible! You do get emotionally involved which makes the highs high and the lows even lower.
    I wouldn't choose any different though!

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    I know your probably considering a career here in Canada right? Well, just incase (cause I know you love to travel).......I will share my experience teaching kids in Mexico. I did not have a child at the time, but could have.......as it would have been a perfect environment.

    I taught at a bilingual private school that taught using US curriculum. Some of the staff's kids attended the school for free (learn in English, and in Spanish). And they had a daycare at the school, so depending on your child's age, you could just bring them to work with you, take them home when you went home. But at the bizarre same time, I remember one time, the daycare lady was absent and my friend had to take her 2 year old to all of her classes that day :P)-not ideal, but atleast she didn't have to miss work/money.

    Living accomodations paid for. Great vacation time.

    However, like the other teachers here in Canada have said: loads of your free time spent planning, marking, etc. I definitely agree with the need to have EVERYTHING organized.

    I didn't really feel a problem with the parents for the most part, but the administration was annoying/difficult to deal with (you could not discipline at all (couldn't restrict recess for not doing homework, or disrupting the class)........because the administration didn't want the kids going home to complain, in fear that the parents would threaten to take the kids out (thus no money for the school). So basically at times it felt like we were just babysitting rich spoiled kids. And to boot, the kids complained that the school wasn't strict enough. :S

    But other times, it was really rewarding! Helping students to be more confident, to take chances in their learning, etc. And yes you definitely feel emotionally involved with each child's struggles and gains.

    I've thought about teacher's college here in Canada too, but have friends that complain so much about the beaurocratic garbage, that I was drawn away from it. Which is why I've kind of gone into TESL for adults.......but still thinking about it.

  7. #7
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    I have been teaching for 11 years and love it. I have taught core French at a “tough“ school (loved it, loved the kids) and at a FI school (loved it, loved the kids). It is a lot of work and it can take over your personal life if you let it...it is hard not to. ITA with other posters, but I will say, regarding time invested in the job, that it does become easier the more experience you gain. Even though I am constantly reevaluating my lessons and working to do the best job, it has gotten easier. I can do things faster, I know where the resources are, and I know who I can ask for help when I need it. My first year of teaching, I worked from the end of the school day until about 7, stopped for a quick dinner, and then worked until about 10:30 or 11 almost every night. Weekends were very busy too. I have set boundaries in the past few years and now work efficiently during my prep periods and through most nutritional breaks most days, but this means much less to take home (my rule is work comes home Tues/Thurs only + a certain amount for the weekend). I work my butt off at school and don't waste any time now, and I am still as good at my job as I was before.

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    mominjuly do you prefer being a core teacher or at FI?
    Obvs I would take what I could get but just curious...
    Former Username JOTR

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    Laurensmom summed it up really well. This is my 11th year teaching and I echo all of her thoughts. I've been really lucky, though, in that I have been teaching the same grade since I started (minus the first year I had a split with that grade). I get exposure to the other grades through rotary teaching. Some people like changing grades - I love feeling like I am getting really good at that age group and curriculum.

    It is difficult to get a balance. I depend a lot on dh during report card “season“. Like everyone else, my first year was my worst - I have never been on such a steep learning curve and worked such long hours. I still work hard, but it's not to keep my head just barely above water anymore. Now it's to get as good at my job as I can possibly get.
    Now that I have experience, I don't mind dealing with parents at all. I work in a high-needs school and I love it. It can be emotionally draining, but I also feel like I am making a big impact on these kids.
    The holidays are wonderful, but I NEVER work an 8 hour day. I ALWAYS bring home 1-2 hours work, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Many times it's more, particularly during report cards.
    Since you will have French qualifications, I would recommend it. That makes it a lot easier to find a job. Without them now, it's very difficult to get anything other than supply work.
    I love teaching and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

  10. #10
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    Laurensmom summed it up really well. This is my 11th year teaching and I echo all of her thoughts. I've been really lucky, though, in that I have been teaching the same grade since I started (minus the first year I had a split with that grade). I get exposure to the other grades through rotary teaching. Some people like changing grades - I love feeling like I am getting really good at that age group and curriculum.

    It is difficult to get a balance. I depend a lot on dh during report card “season“. Like everyone else, my first year was my worst - I have never been on such a steep learning curve and worked such long hours. I still work hard, but it's not to keep my head just barely above water anymore. Now it's to get as good at my job as I can possibly get.
    Now that I have experience, I don't mind dealing with parents at all. I work in a high-needs school and I love it. It can be emotionally draining, but I also feel like I am making a big impact on these kids.
    The holidays are wonderful, but I NEVER work an 8 hour day. I ALWAYS bring home 1-2 hours work, including Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Many times it's more, particularly during report cards.
    Since you will have French qualifications, I would recommend it. That makes it a lot easier to find a job. Without them now, it's very difficult to get anything other than supply work.
    I love teaching and couldn't imagine doing anything else.

  11. #11
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    Are you considering doing rotary French in an English (eg, elementary) school?

    When my mom returned to teaching after being off for years as a SAHM, she landed a job by going in as a French teacher (when there was a shortage of French teachers, but the board otherwise wasn't hiring new teachers). The pro: it got her foot in the door, hired when she otherwise wouldn't have been due to lack of openings. The con: the kids (particularly the grades 6 - 8s) were terrible to the rotary French teacher. The French teacher has no authority or disciplinary weight, overall: for instance, a bad grade in French won't hold a kid back or affect them negatively compared to the rest of their report card (from their homeroom teacher), because she's rotary, so the kids know that they can torture the French teacher and pretty much get away with it. For years, they would crank call our house, until mom got an unlisted number, they keyed our car once at a school dance, etc. The years teaching French were the absolute worst ones of my mom's teaching career by far, and now that she's managed to switch away from it, she absolutely refuses to ever teach rotary French again. (She's only a few years away from retirement now, so knock on wood.)

    French Immersion would be different, I would think, because you'd be the main/homeroom teacher. And high school French would be different, because all classes are rotary there, and graded/passed individually, but rotary French in a regular, English elementary school can be tough.
    Last edited by Ceili; 01-27-2011 at 12:12 PM.
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    Not a teacher yet but I cannot wait to get into a classroom!
    The downsides I looked at were while the holidays are great when you have small children, they are not so good once your children are grown. Your stuck travelling at the most expensive times of the year until you retire, and really the vacation time is not that much when you consider other professions and the amount of prep you'll be doing during the time.
    Another con for me was that yes it is a decent paying job but you'll always have a cap.
    Anyway, those were my downsides but they weren't enough to stop me. I know it's the right field for me.
    Cole is 8 years old! January, 2005
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  13. #13
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    One other negative you may want to consider, is that teaching really opens you up to judgement and scrutiny from others.

    People think that since you are a teacher they have a right to pry into your private life. They will think nothing of calling you at home, emailing you at all hours, looking at your FB stuff etc, even coming to your home. And, if you don't fit their expectations of what a teacher “should be“ as far as living situation, marriage, what you do in your time off, be prepared for gossip and lack of respect. I know many many teachers who have deleted all their FB etc....most I know don't have thier numbers listed in the phone book under their own name.....etc.

    And, every time you leave the house, you can count on running into a former student or thier family......even when you're in your PJ bottoms, looking like you just rolled out of bed, trying to get meds for your kiddo, well after bedtime.....or better yet, as you walk out of LaSenze carrying your new bras......

    When you go out for a night on the town and drinks with the girls.....be prepared to be sitting at the table next to a student's family.....
    Last edited by laurensmom; 01-27-2011 at 01:40 PM.
    "Anything is better than lies and deceit". Leo Tolstoy

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    Quote Originally Posted by jennontheroad View Post
    mominjuly do you prefer being a core teacher or at FI?
    Obvs I would take what I could get but just curious...
    I taught Core French for 4 years with a homeroom (1/2 day rotary, 1/2 day my own class). I taught grade 7 or 8 FI homeroom for 5 years. I taught K-3 rotary prep (FI) for 6 months between maternity leaves. I loved them all. I just love teaching - I'm one of those people who got really lucky and got to do what makes them happy for a living. The only part that is not nice IMO is not having your own space. Going from one class to another compromises lesson quality, makes you a slave to the clock - to the minute - and, IMO, can make it more difficult to set the tone you want. That being said, I was lucky to have my own class the vast majority of the time while doing the K-3 prep, so I'm speaking from my colleagues' experiences. Some complain about not having a supportive administration and I can see how that could be true too.

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    I went to teacher's college 4 years ago and it was my 2nd career. I only wish that I had listened to my parents and made it my 1st and only. I love everything about it, it is a lot of work both inside and outside the classroom, but it gets more manageable as time goes on.
    I have been at the same FI school for all 3 years of teaching and I can honestly say that the kids, admin. and staff are wonderful. I have met many lifelong friends who have become very special and close to me already. I know teaching isn't for everyone but, honestly I can't imagine doing anything else now.

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