I can’t afford to be a teacher. Not now and most likely not anytime soon. I have my college degree in biology education. I have my teacher certification in biology and middle school math, too. All I need to do is apply for jobs. But I simply can’t cross that finish line that I started toward about six years ago.
My student loan repayments have kicked in, so there is that massive extra financial burden now. I’m certainly not making tons of money right now, but even so, I would be taking a pay cut to become a new teacher. I simply can’t afford to do it.
And then there is whole mess of no more teacher tenure. There is the whole mess of stressing about end-of-course tests and how students’ performance on them would play a big part in whether I would have a job the next school year. I’m secure in my present job with little threat of suddenly being kicked out the door on my rear. It doesn’t appear that would be the case in teaching.
I’ve seen how hard a teacher’s job truly is. A requirement for my college degree was a three month internship. It was such a short time period, but I worked long into the night every night preparing for the next school day and most of my weekends were eaten up in a similar manner. It was exhausting. Heck, I didn’t even have 100 percent of the responsibilities the actual teacher had.
Nonetheless, I would still like to be a biology teacher. And there is supposedly a shortage of science teachers in Florida. But for Florida to get what it wants and for me to get what I want, we would have to meet somewhere in the middle. I would need to be paid enough so that I could in turn pay my bills. I would need some assurance that I wouldn’t lose my job because a principal doesn’t like me or some students were having a bad test day (or didn’t even bother to show up for the test). In return, I promise to focus all of my energy and expertise on teaching and engaging students’ interest. I promise to do everything I can to infect as many students as possible with the science bug.
Hey, Florida, think about it and get back to me, OK?
What sparked this post? An article in the Orlando Sentinel: Tougher standards may worsen science-teacher shortage.
Looking to boost the quality of science education, Florida has just made it tougher for aspiring teachers to pass required certification exams.
Honestly, I don’t have a problem with that. I already passed my certification exam, but I feel confident I could do it again, higher standards or not. But the reporter delves a bit deeper into the issues of becoming a science teacher.
… many college students with talent and interest in science don’t pursue teaching careers. Those who do, she said, often find they can earn more at public schools in other states, including neighboring Georgia.
Money certainly is a problem, Florida. Sticking your head in the sand isn’t going to make it go away.
It costs $200 to take a subject-area certification exam the first time and $220 after that.
The fees had been $50 but went up in 2009 when the Legislature cut funding.
Yup, I paid that $200 and it really hurt the wallet. Right now I think I threw that money in the toilet. Thanks, Florida. Raising standards is fine. Raising exam fees isn’t.
State test data make it clear Florida teacher-preparation programs train relatively few new science teachers. Last year, 611 people took the biology-certification exam, for example, compared with more than 1,600 who took the exam to teach middle- or high-school social-studies classes.
So, Florida, what do you plan on doing about this? Anything? Hello? Anyone out there?