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Is teaching a mediocre profession?

  • Yes

    Votes: 7 18.9%
  • No

    Votes: 30 81.1%
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Public school, private school, charter school, religious school, higher education at college, childhood education, etc. ...

Do teachers engage in a mediocre profession?

You can argue what mediocre means in the comments, but I'll leave the poll options at yes and no. Some of you hate/hated school, some of you have had sucky teachers. I'm interested in hearing your views.
 

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No, I'd say being a teacher is something one should definitely be proud of. Of course, I have always had the greatest respect for most of my teachers and professors. I'm hoping to be a graduate student instructor at least in the next few years, should I decide to do all that.

Especially being a professor, I think, is one of the most respectable professions one can have.
 

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I respect teaching as a profession. But like most professions, the day to day doesn't always live up to the concept. Doctor, fireman, police officer, scientist, etc. It's true about just about anything that might be considered a noble calling.

I've had amazing teachers that made me love subjects. I've had teachers that just weren't very good. I've had teachers that were okay, but you could tell had lost whatever passion they started off with. But most cared about what they were doing, and did their best for the students under their care.

I'd also say it's not always the teachers themselves. Sometimes, it's the students or the system that don't live up to expectations. I know a woman who trained to be a teacher. She wanted to teach at inner city schools. She got hired at one such school, and quickly discovered that the administration had higher priorities than ensuring a proper educations. Things like funding, teaching for tests, forcing high graduation rates, etc.

I'm also concerned about the politicization of higher education at the moment. It's been awhile since I've been in school, so it's hard to tell how widespread it is or whether it's mostly hyperbole. But it's probably too broad a topic to discuss here.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I know a woman who trained to be a teacher. She wanted to teach at inner city schools. She got hired at one such school, and quickly discovered that the administration had higher priorities than ensuring a proper educations. Things like funding, teaching for tests, forcing high graduation rates, etc.
That happened to one of my friends, and she is really turned off of getting a teaching job now.

I'm also concerned about the politicization of higher education at the moment. It's been awhile since I've been in school, so it's hard to tell how widespread it is or whether it's mostly hyperbole. But it's probably too broad a topic to discuss here.
I definitely want to learn more about the topic. My university is located in the middle of oil and gas country, and professors have left over not being allowed to publish research over damaging aspects of the industry, threats to public safety, etc. The university needs the money from the industry, but it hurts us as a scientific entity to be subjected to the will of the companies. I didn't consider that other universities were dealing with similar things, but I guess they are. Is there a place on the forum where people are discussing this topic?
 

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It is [dependent] on the objectives, what they wish to accomplish as a teacher/professor, and their aim.
 

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It depends what you mean really. If you mean is the idea of teaching mediocre then nah, not at all. I think the curriculum teachers are having to teach is extremely mediocre, but it's a very important role.

If you mean in terms of job satisfaction then yeah that one's different, I'd reckon the job probably sucks for them with how the kids tend to behave. But in my opinion that's because of the schooling system. It's straight up broken and not fit for purpose at all and it stresses the students out. With how stressful the job must be with how the kids behave it's a complete shock to me that people go for teaching jobs.

Unless it's private tutelage for a specific subject. That must be a pretty chill job to have.
 

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Based just on my impressions, while it theoretically doesn't have to be and ideally shouldn't be, often.... yeah. A very large % of teachers, at all levels, are neither particularly good at their subject of choice nor particularly good at teaching itself, and basically defaulted into the profession.

I of course have a lot of respect for teachers and professors I've known that were really talented and committed to what they were doing, but I've found them pretty rare.
 

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I saw a news segment over here in Oz about universities churning out huge numbers of education students who lack basic numeracy and literacy skills. I even heard on the radio about bottom-of-the-barrel science and maths university undergraduates being 'encouraged' to study education! Obviously--you can't teach what you don't know, and a 'struggling' undergraduate isn't likely to be the motivated or knowledgeable type who can share his knowledge with school students. Maybe the perception of 'mediocrity' may have something to do with admission practices of universities that treat all students like potential cash cows at the expense of rigorous education and training?
 

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I definitely want to learn more about the topic. My university is located in the middle of oil and gas country, and professors have left over not being allowed to publish research over damaging aspects of the industry, threats to public safety, etc. The university needs the money from the industry, but it hurts us as a scientific entity to be subjected to the will of the companies. I didn't consider that other universities were dealing with similar things, but I guess they are. Is there a place on the forum where people are discussing this topic?
You might try Critical Thinking & Philosophy, Debate, Current Events, or Education & Career Talk (though that one is usually more about getting advice about schools or job search). I don't know of a current thread for it, but you're welcome to start one wherever you think it might fit.

Such a thread would likely get politically polarized (much like the problem), which is why I don't want to discuss it or take sides here. It would likely derail things.
 

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It's an important profession, and very rewarding.
 

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mediocre or not, we're all the result of it. think about all the time spent there - it formed you.
 

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Youve made the mistake of lumping all teachers into one when really, it isnt that simple. For public schools, definitely, theyre mediocre jobs done by mediocre people and the whole system is a cause of many of the problems of young people.
 

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I think the problem is that there are a lot, and I mean a lot, of bad teachers simply because the standards are so low.

Teaching itself SHOULD be a respectable career, but I've known too many creepy or terrible teachers who were protected by unions because they happened to be old. The bad teachers are just as common as the good ones in my experience and it's really sad. Usually university professors are better, but that's probably because it's a competitive field and requires better education.

I went to Catholic school up until I attended public high school, as a disclaimer. Maybe the things I noticed weren't as bad as I thought, and most teachers were totally fine, but the environment was extremely stressful and it was made so much worse by a few of the teachers there.

It was awful. We had a teacher who would stare down girls' shirts during class (but the unions protected him because he was 70+ years old), a teacher who would 'teach' using examples of girls in the class doing sexual things with one another and would have students meet with him alone at school outside of normal class hours to discuss papers, teachers who would intentionally make students do embarrassing things (ie dancing on camera in order to become a staff writer in the journalism class), teachers who lost half of their class in the first week because so many people went home crying... so many people complained about them. We were told that it would be 'looked into', and that was about it.

I'm going to refrain from answering the poll. I've been toying with the idea of becoming a teacher myself, but the problem is that there are so many bad teachers out there and they're constantly defended because for whatever reason their job is more important than the health and wellbeing of children who are literally forced, by law, to be in a classroom setting. There are so many truly good teachers, yes, but there are enough bad ones that I have a lot of problems with the public school system.
 

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A teacher, like any professional, is as good as the effort they put in. People will generally think higher of someone who works hard and puts more effort into their job. Provided that the person isn't incompetent, that makes the difference between a good employee and a great one.

And the society of the future is largely shaped by the teachers of today, so that makes it pretty darn important.

I do not believe that teaching is a mediocre profession, though I do believe that it is one that is under-appreciated by many people.
 

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No, in fact I think teachers are highly undervalued.

A lot of godawful teachers though, especially prior to high school. I'm in college now, and the difference is enormous. I'd agree with @Taileile in that the bad or at least mediocre teachers exist in a number that would not be allowed in any other occupation that I can think of, and I believe part of the reason that this is allowed is because teachers are so undervalued. I have friends and relatives in that profession, and they'll rant at length about this. I also know one, a very liberal person who certainly supports unions, yet has complained about teachers unions protected crappy teachers.
 

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Be proud if you're a teacher.

It's also one of those professions where if a guy tells me they're a teacher, I become innately attracted to them. :D

Granted, I have noticed a lot of them are whores... huh...
 

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Please elaborate??
Hahaha, was more of a joke.

But honestly, I've noticed a lot of the teachers (at least gay males) are quite promiscuous--you'd think otherwise for a teacher.
 

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I suppose I can't answer this question objectively, as I'm a teacher myself. But I agree with whomever it was saying that teachers are undervalued in society. It's a problem with capitalism, essentially. The most talented people are flocking to the occupations that pay the highest salaries, creating a situation where there's literally a shortage of teachers. The only way to attract more qualified and competitive candidates to be teachers is to offer salaries and benefits that rival those of competing industries, such as engineering, tech, medicine, oil and gas, finance, etc.

Of course, this is less true for the humanities, since it's harder for those of us without a strong background in quantitative disciplines to go into more lucrative fields (or, being idealistic fuzzies, we're simply more inclined to industries like social work, teaching, and mental health because we find them more fulfilling). The result of this is that the United States teachers are actually doing a generally solid job of promoting literacy, at least according to the PISA international education tests. It's in STEM fields that American students are trailing behind.

But back to the capitalism argument: it's incredibly short-sided to treat our education system as anything less than an investment that is paramount to securing the future welfare of future generations, especially as blue collar, automated work is replaced by jobs requiring high-levels of abstract thinking and learning. Right now teachers across the country are protesting the fact that they're not making enough money to survive. Especially as a teacher of means, there is no way that I would ever move to or stay in a state where I wasn't treated well (ranging from expensive regions like Silicon Valley and Hawaii to states in economic crisis, such as West Virginia and Kentucky). When teachers aren't compensated well, they leave, causing students and communities to suffer.

Of course, none of this changes the fact that there are terrible teachers out there, just collecting (puny) pay checks. But unless we're willing as a country to make an investment in the future of our children and communities... you get what you pay for.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I'm able to teach and pursue my passion largely because I was given really good training (a liberal arts school and a master's degree), and my finances are in a pretty comfortable place (inheriting a good chunk of change from my family and having a partner with a high paying job).
 
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