To be honest, I didn't watch the state of the union address. I was either sleeping or working--I really don't remember which (and, yes, I take a nap on my couch sometimes/a lot after work). Anyway, I heard that Mr. Obama was telling young Americans to become a teacher if they want to do something for their country. The sentiment is nice I guess, but young Americans, I think you should hear what I have to say first.
Contention 1: Many other great careers are out there.
Young Americans, why not consider becoming an extreme logger or a crab fisherman? True, the survival rate is like 50% or something, but you will side step a lot of the land mines in the field of education.
If you feel that is not altruistic enough, why not work for Starbucks? Making coffee is not-so-extremely-stressful and it makes people happy too. Trust me, coffee goes down much easier than a proper education.
Contention 2: You should contribute to the economy by paying your bills.
As a teacher, this will become much more difficult. If you're ever able to pay off your student loans for all the education required, you will find yourself paying recertification fees, and endorsement fees, and continuing education fees just to stay qualified. I am actually wondering if in the end, I will pay education more or it will pay me more.
Contention 3: Even if you have a lot to give as a teacher, your hands will be tied by politics, red tape, and customer satisfaction often.
Yeah, it's been said that what we really need is to recruit bright and talented young teachers. The truth is that being bright and talented does not remove politics, red tape, or often customer satisfaction. Endless mountains of meaningless paperwork will take away from your talent. Rules that make no sense, but absolutely must be followed will trump your ingenuity AND your common sense. Political correctness and the mandate to keep customers happy will overrule the drive to be effective. Expect to be thrown the occasional mandate to use a resource or a method that is insane and will never work, but simultaneously be under the demand to channel your inner teaching genius and raise test scores. Don't complain that it makes no sense or it can't be done because logic and common sense have no place in the world of education.
Yes, if your wondering, there is something that really set me off today. Another post about that will be coming shortly, BUT seriously, young Americans, consider my rebuttal. I am a pretty young American myself and I can tell you first hand that teaching often comes with very low job satisfaction.