Should I get my teaching certification or a job?

The reason I’m posting this here is because my friends–as wonderful as they are and as much as I love them–aren’t good at advice. They tend to answer out of a knee-jerk rebellion, or change the subject.

Anyway, I suppose I should ask the question that my friends aren’t able to help me with.

I’m set to graduate from a private university with my BA in English in December of this year, and at the age of 20. This is a full year and a half early–I had a lot of AP credits. This is mostly because my dad lost his job, and, as he’s sort of upper-middle management in a tech field, it might be a while before he finds another one. Graduating early, IMHO, would save my parents some much needed money.

Additionally, I am engaged to a really, really wonderful guy. I would like to be able to live with him, as the long-distance thing–while manageable because it ain’t all that long–isn’t the funnest thing in the world (nor the most economically feasible).

Now, after I graduate…to be honest, I don’t much care what happens in terms of a job and/or education. I’ve been running on “high” since 4th grade. I’ve been challenging myself and taking honors/advanced classes, working hard on my writing, and being a Good Daughter and behaving (not even one detention or tardy through all four years of high school!). In other words, I’m getting burned out. I find it hard to justify going with engines at 100% anymore simply because I’m so freakin’ tired. This is hard to explain to my parents, because it doesn’t seem like I’m working. I don’t show it; it’s not my nature. But, I’ll tell you what, I’m sure as hell not getting these grades based on my looks.

I know that I really don’t want to go get my master’s right now (though, if my some fluke of nature I got into a UIowa graduate writing workshop, I would–after they got me down off of the ceiling). I’m too tired of intellectualizing and analyzing literature and all that good stuff. It’s not fun anymore.

Because of the nature of my degree, that doesn’t leave me with a lot of options. With a few months studying, I could probably take the MCAT or the LSAT and do decently enough; possibly very well on the MCAT. But that would mean more school, which, frankly, I don’t think my parents and I can afford, since my dad’s busy buying brand new freakin’ Jeep Cherokees with his unemployment (I refrained from writing a Pit rant on this. Words wouldn’t do my anger justice). Though at least my classes would have some practical application…:wink:

Basically, that leaves me with two options. I could get a job with my English BA, write in my spare time, and hope that the economy picks up or something. Or, I could graduate from the private school I’m in right now, and get my secondary education certification from NIU, which is about an hour from both my parents’ house and my SO’s house.

Right now, I’d like to be able to do the second–so long as I could live with my SO. My dad has, as of late, demonstrated evidence of severe emotional problems. As he was emotionally abusive before all this, I don’t see things getting any better later. However, I don’t know if my parents would finance my education if I were married and/or living with my fiance. I don’t even know if I have a right to expect them to pay a dime. I do wonder if maybe I could take out loans, but I don’t know how well a later teaching salary would pay for them. Plus, getting my certification means still more school!

I don’t know what to do. I don’t even know what I want to do. I think it boils down to “I want to get the hell away from my father,” but maybe that’s not it.

So I look to you guys for some semblence of advice. I don’t know how well I’ve explained myself, or even if I deserve to be getting advice. I do know that I really, really need it though. Even if you don’t have any…thanks for listening.

How long does the certification take?

Angel of the Lord,

For the love of God, Pete and all that’s holy…

Don’t be a teacher! Don’t waste your time and money.

As a career, teaching sucks.

Low starting pay. Little chance of advancement. Salary barely or not keeping up with inflation. High stress. High workload. Low social status, yadda, yadda, yadda.

I know teaching is a ‘noble’ pursuit but leave that nobleness for others.

Trust me on this.

No, don’t trust me. Do this:

Find 3 teachers you really liked in school. Not new ones but ones with 15+ years under their belt. Take them out to dinner. Someplace where you won’t be overheard. Tell them you are thinking of becoming a teacher but are thinking of other non-teaching possibilities and you want their opinion.

You will probably be surprised at how much they try to rescue you from a bad decision.

I’ve given this advice before. One time someone took me up on it. She wanted to go into elementary eductaion. She did this and when I saw her a few days later, she told me how surprised she was at how adament/insistent her ‘role model’ teacher was on not entering teaching. Make sure you bring up you are thinking of non-teaching possibilities…

um…take the teachers out seperately :wink:

Do you want to be a teacher? If it’s just a fall-back career and nothing more, you maybe in for some rough times. If educating young people is something you truly desire to do, you’ll be able to deal with the frustrations of the job, same as any other field.

FYI, in some states student teaching can take up to a year and you may not be able to work a second job.

It’s something that I’d really like to do–one of the few jobs I’d find worthwhile. However, what I really want to do is write, or something involving writing. Or even something like web design or video work.

LaurAnge, getting certified would take 1 1/2 to 2 years.

As far as the trials and tribulations of being a teacher–I’ve heard them all. Unfortunately, English is my passion, and my major. I don’t know what kind of job I can get with my degree alone, or if I can even get a job. If I’ve spent all this time in school and stuff only to say “do you want fries with that?” then my time, and my parents’ money, has been wasted.

It’s not that I’m worried so much about how much I’ll make–I’m more worried about getting a job that isn’t going to make me want to tear my hair off out of sheer boredom or banality. Teaching would fit the bill.

If your academic discipline is your passion, then do not enter teaching! DO NOT!

No. You get the sheer boredom and banality with high stress, low social status, low pay and no advancement opportunities.

I know you probably have doubts about industry and whether you will be allowed to work up to a good job. However, teaching is not the answer. It is a trap. Avoid it.

Don’t go into teaching unless you think you’d really love it. I’m the author of the “Ask a former prison guard” thread. I knew more than a few guards who were former teachers but became guards because it was less stressful than teaching and paid more (which wasn’t much.)

My English major college buddy went into the publishing business after college. If you’re aspiring to write, it might do you good to become familiar with publishing from the business end. And the pay is much better than teaching.

But, hey, you’re only twenty? Why not do something interesting that you might not want to do for a lifelong career, but which will give you some good life experience. That’s part of the reason I spent 2-1/2 years as a prison guard. Now that I’m just another Dilbert-clone engineer in a corporation, I am certainly am glad I did.

Become a traveling salesperson, answer one of those ads for jobs in Alaska, go teach English in a foreign country, join the military, something like that.

Oh, yeah. The boyfriend. Oh, well. Keep it in the back of your mind.

Good post about prison gurads TGWATY.

Teaching is one of the very few careers in which many people will seriously consider spending $$$ and YEARS getting prepared for without doing a cost benefit analysis.

Consider that the OP is considering spending this time and money. People do this because teaching is a ‘calling’ or ‘noble pursuit’.

Male bovine manure.

It is a career like any other. If people would start treating it as such then positive change might be do-able. However, as long as there are people ready to spend time and money to prepare for their ‘calling’ rather than a career, teachers will always be treated as they are.