Being a High School Teacher?

Question:I just had my first Educational Psychology class last night and it was horrible. Well, just the fact that the teacher kind of presented that teachers are baby sitters and not, uhm, teachers.
I chose teaching because I, uhm, wanted to teach mathematics to the secondary level.

Any opinions on being a high school teacher? I realize that it depends on what state and ISD but, I'd still like to hear opinions.

Honestly, it depends on *you.* The teachers who don't get burnt out are the ones who integrate effective discipline into their instruction. Is it babysitting? Well... if you think you're going to have a classroom and "just" teach math, you're wrong. Kids come with all sorts of chips on their shoulders, and you'll have to find a way to "care" enough about the kids to firmly guide them through your subject. Otherwise, you'll spend half of each instructional period putting out little fires, redirecting attention, and deflecting attitude. You'll get burnt out, and feel like a babysitter.

Teaching isn't just about your content area, it's about helping kids get the skills they need (academic and otherwise) to be productive adults. Would I call it babysitting? No, but I don't just teach German. I teach kids how to behave, too.

I recommend reading "Discipline with Dignity," "Setting Limits in the Classroom," "Tools for Teaching," and "The First Days of School." It explains things a little better than I can here. I think teacher education programs, in general, really under-prepare teachers for the realities of discipline.
dunno what to say. sorry. :)
Just because this teacher sees teachers as babysitters doesn't mean it's so.
If you're serious about teaching and enthusiastic about it, you could become a great teacher.
Yes, you'll have to handle discipline along with teaching and some students will drive you batty, but there are a lot of good moments too. You'll have students come back and see you after they went to college, just to say hi.
Teaching is very rewarding. My son is now in 8th grade and still goes over to the elementary school to say hi to his 5th grade teacher. He stops by his 6th grade language arts teacher in the afternoon before going home. Good teachers stay with kids their entire life. Stick with it.
Ironically, your teacher shouldn't be teaching teachers. Teaching is a noble calling and anyone who feels differently is not cut out for the job. One thing I can definitely recommend is ensuring you are right for this profession before you pursue it further. The fact that your prof set off alarm bells would indicate that you are on the right track.
I've just completed my postgrad teaching course and got my first job as a high school teacher. I worked for 8months in two different schools during my training, and the best advice I can give you, if you want to teach your subject and not be a 'babysitter' is, get a job in a good school!! I worked in one of the worst schools in London, and to be honest it was less like babysitting and more like being a prison warden. Regardless I'd never take it back because now i'm in a great school, where I can teach my subject, and I am equipped with immediate ammo for pupils who try it on with me, because I've seen it all. I won't front with you, sometimes it can be like babysitting, if you have a low ability class, but you know - when a child from that class actually achieves something, you'll feel far more amazing than when your highest ability pupil gets an A. The pupils who are hardest to control are often the most rewarding and most frustrating all in one.

Don't give up, and don't let any of the hurdles that you come across in your training beat you. Good Luck (:
high school teacher are referees not babysitters.. or some schools parole officers...
just don't mess around with any students - even if they say they want to play "babysitter" - ruined my career! but i digress. teaching math in HS is fun!
That's somewhat the truth. You teach out of a book that has the lesson plan. You teach the syllubus the district says you must (If it's Tuesday in the third week this must be the Feudal system, if it's Monday in the fourth week this must be the Mercantile system). You're on a deadline to reach the goal in 20 weeks.

Now college leve gets better, but it's not until the Masters Program where the staff and the student work together to make the Student THINK indepdently that Education comes into play.

They don't do that in public schools.

And you won't have to time to help out the slower students without scarificing your scheudle with the average student.

The job of the school system in your field is over the course of 16 years to get the student to learn from group up

Numbers what they mean
Arithemetic how you use more than one number
Math how you deal with fractions and decimals and unknowns
Algebra how you systematically find a solution by factoring and simplification of mostly unknowns
Geometry, how you deal with shapes, areas, formulas and finally two coordinates
Trig how you deal with three coordinate systems, sine, cosine, tangents, chords, radians, angles
Statstics and how you do least squares coordinates, population distribution (Log e), graphing, charting
Calculus how you deal with areas and volumes off odd shapes, differentials advanced operators, summations and how you using algebra and simplifacation and factoring in the process

And that gets you up the Graduate level college.

You got 12-16 years to do all this in.

And the AVERAGE student with a BA degree in something OTHER THAN MATH has abosutely no concept how some of this works, but they don't how to do it.

They know SINE is a ratio

But they don't think of SINE and COSINE on two waves and TANGENT angle in terms of a boat on a wave and how it lifts or looses position.

The don't have the understanding of SINE, TANGENT, CHORD angle like the surfer does when he or she catch a wave.

Surfing is APPLIED Geometry and Trigonometry

A surfer knows they blew it or they got into the pocket.

They see that wave and the valley below and THEY KNOW EXACTLY what radian to hit, to form a tangent, with what chord angle to gain maximum momentum and ride that MOVING radian point (which must always stay the same) to make to shore.

The moment their CHORD or TANGENT changes they wipe out.

But the average High School or College student don't know this, because they didn't get an EDUCATION

They just got ROTED how you do it all.

I had no interest in or aptidue for higher math until I got into Computer Programming which is ALL algebra, a little Trig and some Geometry.

A circle on a computer is a polygon (geometry) formed by x and y coordiantes (geometry) for pixels with a fixed radius (geometry) and then by using SINE and COSINE (trig) and X and Y and XX and YY cordinates you draw that polygon at the COORDINATES of the closes pixel to the RADIAN of the SINE or COSINE as you move the light pen around.

And it's ALL expressed algebrically.

And in electronics I learned how the Television signal is synchronized use AC line cord SINE WAVE and each sync pulse represents a radian point that controls electromagnetic coils that alter an electron beam causing it to move left to right and down as the same time in a helical pattern across X and Y coordinates of pixels.

A Genlock simply coodinates all cameras or monitors to start in-phase at given radian so they all scan the same area at the same time.

The people thunk this up were geniuses. Engineers who SAW MATH as more than just ROTED CONCEPTS.

As a result they use AC line signal as a sync source and thus didn't have to build a circuit from scratch to do that job.

The downside is England and US use different sine wave frequencies, hence incompatiblity.

But you see, it's a NO NO to Teach Trig this way.

It has to be ABSTRACT not CONCRETE

Math Majors seem to have an appitude for this ABSTRACT thinking but the average students just MEMORIZES the concepts and formuals.

These people have NO CONCEPT of what they are doing, they just mimick what you teach them.

One student in your classes will become a MATH wiz, the rest are just deers in the headlights. Some will retain and pass the tests. Some will not and you will reluctantly have to give Ds and Fs, even though they might be smart kids.

And those Ds and Fs will harm them and make them hate school and education.

But you can't in all honesty pass them.

They didn't come close to mastering your 20 weeks of Roting.

The CLOSEST you will come to a real math teacher in high school is the person who teaches AP Physics because they will have to use what YOU roted into them to work out NEWTON'S body problems.
Teaching and learning about teaching are two different things. I absolutely hated my methods classes in college, and love teaching now that I'm actually doing it. Stick to it, and switch Ed Psych classes (didn't like that class too).

Good luck!
Hi, Again!

I have sent you email before, so you know that I taught for 21 years (11 in special ed at the middle school level and 10 in math at the high school level...Algebra I-A, Advanced Algebra, Trig, and Foundations of College Math). Other responses to your question have been good. Your classroom will be what you make it, but you do have to deal with crazy things from the Board of Ed and the administration, and teens who come in with the "I dare you to teach me" attitude. I loved being in the classroom and I loved high school! For me, using humor worked better than anything to keep students focused and involved. Being a good listener, understanding that they do have lives outside of your classroom, and not taking their moods personally will take you a long way. I always read a tiny book called "The Ten Commandments of Teaching" before I began every year, just to get my head in the right place. Things like "Thou shalt dangle the carrot high" and "Thou shalt remember that the little things make a big difference" help to put life in the classroom in a good perspective. Teaching is not easy, nor should you go into it if you expect to become a millionaire. If not for health issues, I would still be in the classroom. I hope you will keep us posted. Also, learn from the professors that you don't particularly enjoy what things you should NOT do in your own classroom! Think about the teachers you had that inspired you and you will realize it was more about how they treated you than the content that they presented. Be real and be enthusiastic! Good luck!

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