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Author Topic: Adjusting from public school teacher to Professor  (Read 7048 times)
crossing_bridges
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« on: December 05, 2012, 11:32:36 PM »

After teaching middle school for 32 years, I happily retired for only a year, and reentered the educational (college) world as an Assistant Professor in Education.  There's so many differences, yet some similarities. I find myself feeling like I am on the outside circle looking in. Any advice?
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barnaclegoose
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« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2012, 1:14:30 AM »

It might be helpful if you framed a more specific question. What aspects of the switch are you finding challenging? Institutional culture? Classroom expectations? Assignment or course design? Something else?
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archman
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« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2012, 8:16:58 PM »

Unlike contemporary public K-12, where teachers for the most part are relegated to worker bee status and teaching-to-the-test, college faculty actually get to think and act independently.

Your students can be allowed to fail. You have great autonomy in what you teach, and how you teach. Your service and research duties are occasionally assigned, but for the most part are selected by you. You are expected to stand out amongst your fellow peers, as they will stand out against you. You are an academic professional, and an academic leader. You will be expected to take your own initiative in solving problems and getting jobs done. Being able to effectively network, delegate, and multi-task are absolute requirements.

You are actually treated with respect within your institution. You are considered a valuable, long-term investment to the college.
« Last Edit: December 06, 2012, 8:17:28 PM by archman » Logged
seniorscholar
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« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2012, 8:54:25 PM »

It also depends on what and who you're teaching -- undergraduates? graduate students? in education courses? or in subject courses?

And, FYI, I found when first serving as a TA as a graduate student that the classroom management skills I'd learned as a junior high  (yes, I'm of that generation) and high school teacher were very useful in classrooms of 1st and 2nd year undergraduates.
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prytania3
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Prytania, the Foracle


« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2012, 10:28:40 PM »

Oh honey, this is the easy part! Middle school for 32 years? God bless you. You are now on Easy Street.
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I'm not a narcissist. I'm just angry and violent.
punchnpie
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« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2012, 11:39:30 PM »

A story:

My mother taught primary for years, then got a masters and started adjuncting at our local community college. During one class, she realized she needed to go to the ladies' room and panicked when she couldn't think of anyone to watch her class while she was out of the room.

Then it dawned on her that her students were adults and she could just excuse herself for a minute and the room wouldn't be in a shambles when she returned. It was a defining moment for her.

As Pry said, you are now on Easy Street. Enjoy it.
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He's allergic to chocolate. I had to beat him.  -Tower Heist-
spinnaker
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« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2012, 12:00:17 AM »

Support the union!
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"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
crossing_bridges
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« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2012, 12:32:18 AM »

So helpful!  All these comments!  I think I am having  a lot more fun than my undergraduate students! It could be my middle school background, but how refreshing not to have to give detentions and say "stop poking him!"  It's the hierarchy and politics that has me in a quandary right now. Trying to figure it out slowly but surely.
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spinnaker
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« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2012, 2:16:35 PM »

So helpful!  All these comments!  I think I am having  a lot more fun than my undergraduate students! It could be my middle school background, but how refreshing not to have to give detentions and say "stop poking him!"  It's the hierarchy and politics[/b] that has me in a quandary right now. Trying to figure it out slowly but surely.

This might be one thing that would make you miss your middle school.
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"I never agree with Spinnaker, but..."
edumacator
Let our love be a flame, not an ember/Say it's me that you want to dis-
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« Reply #9 on: December 11, 2012, 8:22:32 PM »

I was in K-12 for several years before stepping to a college classroom this past year.  It's a wonderful change, especially in light of the NCLB mandates and test-prep curriculum I was obliged to follow.

My biggest adjustment was the realization that they're adults, which is good and bad.  Good in that they're, well, adults.  Bad in that if they refuse to do their work, I can't call their mothers.

I'm pretty sure I'll get over that, though.

Enjoy!
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yoyoy
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« Reply #10 on: December 11, 2012, 8:46:52 PM »

Bad in that if they refuse to do their work, I can't call their mothers.

I would argue the opposite. If they don't do their work, you don't have to call their mothers. If they don't do their work, it's not your problem.
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zuzu_
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 11:16:55 PM »

It's very nice to hang up on their mothers.

My husband the middle school teacher talks to all kinds of mothers all day long.
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scholarysomething
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« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2012, 4:12:09 PM »

It's very nice to hang up on their mothers.

My husband the middle school teacher talks to all kinds of mothers all day long.

Indeed, it is a freeing feeling to say "I'm sorry Mrs. NosyMomma, but due to the law, I am unable to discuss JuniorMomma's grades with you."
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 4:12:41 PM by scholarysomething » Logged
amynes
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« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2013, 8:07:40 PM »

I am looking to switch from the public school system into the college setting.  Looking for advice of any kind.  I currently have 16 years teaching experience in Physical Education at all levels k-12.  Bachelors in PE, Masters in Health Ed. Thanks!
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sagit
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2013, 9:29:39 AM »

I am looking to switch from the public school system into the college setting.  Looking for advice of any kind.  I currently have 16 years teaching experience in Physical Education at all levels k-12.  Bachelors in PE, Masters in Health Ed. Thanks!

Amynes, you might be able to pick up a class or two as an adjunct in a school of education at your local college or university.  But it doesn't seem likely that you'd be able to get more than that without an EdD or PhD in education.  So either keep your current public school job and try to get a course or two in the evening or enroll in a good PhD program in education (try to avoid EdD programs if you want to be as marketable as possible).
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I like to think of the student as a mischievous badger.
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