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baidaho
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2009 10:34:08 AM
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I'm hoping I can find some help here that will steer me towards eventually finding a job teaching jr. high wood shop. Without putting too much into my first post, I'd like to give a little background.

I'm forty-seven-years old.

I have about two and a half to three years of college education.

For the last twelve years I've owned and operated a business where I designed, built and sold chairs.

I was widowed two years ago and I'm now raising my three-year-old son alone.

I believe becoming a jr. high shop teacher is the next chapter in my life. One of the main reasons is twelve and thirteen-years-old were some of the best years of my life - I can still relate very well with kids this age. I believe I have what it takes to unleash the hidden skills and creativity in these kids.

I am looking for input about where to find schools that may not require teaching credentials. Possibly private schools or school districts with lower requirements for shop teachers.

Right before my wife passed away she finished her masters degree. We had our lives built around the security of her education and job. With the resent downturns in the economy, my furniture business is not doing well. I am hoping to find a more traditional job and this one fits.

I live in Idaho, but would be willing to relocate for the right opportunity.



creighta
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2009 3:09:52 PM
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a number of years ago I started milling my own lumber for the school. While i was learning the trade I spent some time conversing through email with a gentleman who had taught wood shop and retired to build furniture. He also taught private classes out of his cabinet shop.

That has been about eight years ago, and I don't have any idea about contact info for him, but starting your own woodworking school may be a possibility to consider.

Given the current economic climate, I would have a hard time encouraging anyone to take up this profession, but I still have to say it is the greatest job in the world while it lasts.
baidaho
Posted: Friday, February 27, 2009 3:30:52 PM
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Regardless to what happens, I've started the process to go back to school. Maybe someday the economy will turn around and I'll have more furniture orders than I can handle. But for now, I've enrolled to start college courses online this summer.....
Jeffseiver
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009 12:44:24 PM
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Location: Mission Viejo/Calif.
If I were you I would stay in the chair buisiness and try teaching cabinet making through rop part time. To jump into a jr high teaching position in these times would probably be disasterous for you. You will have to have the right credential for your state so start looking at the colleges around you that have a program and find out what it will take to get it. besides the difference between your school days and the kids of today is like going to Mars and being stuck there. It's tough tough tough.
baidaho
Posted: Saturday, February 28, 2009 1:30:20 PM
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Location: Idaho
"besides the difference between your school days and the kids of today is like going to Mars and being stuck there. It's tough tough tough."

I have heard some real horror stories and how hard it can be. Hopefully we'll hear from some people here who find the job rewarding.

I've been busy since I posted that yesterday morning. I applied to College of Southern Idaho where I can earn a four year degree all online (I have about a year-and-half more to go). I also applied to University of Idaho where I plan to get my Occupational Specialist Certificate (this only requires a few credit hours of work).

My long term goal is to earn a Bachelors of Science degree in Education with Technology Education as my curriculum at University of Idaho. I'm hoping to have this done in about three-and-a-half to four years.

In the mean time, I'm putting my business on hold. Meaning I'm laying off my help, I'm dropping my workman's compensation insurance, I'm canceling my business insurance on my shop, and firing my bookkeeper. I have to - it's costing me hundreds of dollars each month to be in business, and if the orders are not coming in, it's taking food out my child's mouth.

I'll still take furniture orders, but I don't expect many, and I'll build the chairs without help.

This summer and for the next few years, I am going to be working full-time on my education, and maybe next year, I can pick up some part-time work at the high school teaching the kids how to make furniture.

I'm actually pretty excited. I've been building for a long time; it feels right to move onto teaching now. I'll keep you all posted.
Joe Barry
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009 11:48:57 AM
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I recommend you ask around and see if you can observe a day in a couple of different schools and programs so that you know what you are getting into. You will find great differences between systems and individual teachers. Talk to the teachers about their daily and programmatic issues.
hammersmith
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009 12:20:42 PM
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Location: Alameda, calif
Well, having just retired after an almost identical situation here in California, I can safely say it's not what you think
(teaching woodshop) and here is why. I taught high school so some of these points will either be more or less emphasized in jr high school.
Due to no child left behind (NCLB) you will be testing and doing a great many things, many many things that have NOTHING to do with wood or anything relating to it. It's about teaching children so if that's not your first calling defiantly think twice about it. In Calif. we have so few teachers period and even less for the vocational arts that in the past 20 years it has dropped from 36,000 programs statewide to less than 3000. Seems like a no brainer right? WRONG ! There isn't the money for facilities, counselors or even support from the administration to fund these vital courses even as industry all around me screams for trained workers.

If you still want to try it, I would agree with one of the previous posters and get your credential but with this caveat; get a Designated Vocational Credential specific to what you want to teach and not waste your time with classes that you don't need in the long term. I admired your altruism but my friend it's not worth it. Also the idea of going ROP is a good one due to the fact that their funding stream is separate from the categorical funding distributed to the rest of the state school funds.Woodshops are expensive and risky for schools ( regardless of your devotion or skill set, no parent wants to get a call from school that says Johnny or Susy got the fingers cut off) It's raging hormones, drugs, sex in the bathrooms, fights and then guess what? throw in POWER TOOLS!
You may start drinking now, it will save time later.

Lastly consider a private school or community college or even adult night school as a forum to share your skills.
(PS, I have moved onto teaching at the university level and love it!!)

I could write a book on this, sp feel free to post any additional questions
baidaho
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009 1:46:07 PM
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Location: Idaho
I understand what you guys are talking about. I have had long talks with my sister who thought she wanted to teach and like 50% of teachers she quit within her second year. She Hated it.

Maybe this isn't the right thing; I'm going to keep talking with people and ask questions.

I'm looking at it this way, not is this a good job for me, I'm asking if this a good job for my son's father?

Right now building chairs has a real sketchy future. I am looking at a job that that will use some of my skills and and has a secure future. The only other job I can think of that has real guarantees will be hiring is nursing. That's out of the question.

Quote:

Due to no child left behind (NCLB) you will be testing and doing a great many things, many many things that have NOTHING to do with wood or anything relating to it.


I was already made well aware of that and that is why I would be ultimately be teaching Technology Education, not just woodshop. That actually appeals to me more. I do have a lot more to offer than just my building skills.


Quote:
...get a Designated Vocational Credential specific to what you want to teach and not waste your time with classes that you don't need in the long term.



I think I already may be doing that with the Occupational Speculation Certificate. I don't know maybe the Designated Vocational Credential is something different in Cal. In Idaho, once I get the OSC I can teach woodshop, if I was lucky enough to find a school district that had was looking for a shop teacher. I'm not holding breath.

Quote:

I admired your altruism but my friend it's not worth it.


I think you're mistaking my making a practical decision and being positive as altruism. I have spent the last thirty years screwing off with my two main objectives as having a good time and not paying taxes. I did really really well at both.

It's time for me to join mainstream life and get a secure job for the sake of my son and my future (as I mentioned I am forty-seven). I am open to ideas on a better, more secure job than teaching if anyone has it.

Quote:

Also the idea of going ROP is a good one due to the fact that their funding stream is separate from the categorical funding distributed to the rest of the state school funds.


What is ROP?

Quote:
Lastly consider a private school or community college or even adult night school as a forum to share your skills.
(PS, I have moved onto teaching at the university level and love it!!)


Absolutely! Something like that would be my first choice. I have a friend who teaches cooking at a college level and he only has a four year degree. I know someday I may fall into something nicer than teaching thirteen-year-olds Technology Education. My thought is train for the job that you know will be there, and keep my eye open for something better.

I also think the good jobs like you mentioned might be hard to come by; I assume having experience teaching and the education will be what it takes to get those jobs.

I am at the stage of going back to school and taking core classes right now, I have plenty of time to make changes if necessary. My plan is get the education for a job (possibly a lousy job) that I know will be there, and be on the look out for better job (private schools, community college etc..)


swillner
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009 6:08:33 PM
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Location: Galt, CA
ROP stands for Regional Occupational Program. These are programs designated for high school students and older. Students can be in high school and many programs are run at high schools although some communities have a regional occupational center. Students must be a minimum age of 16 before than are allowed to enroll. The goal of the programs are specific job training skills in a wide variety of trades.
I admire your desire to enter this field, I did after many years of activity I am not very proud of, chose a field where I had a woodshop teacher who made a difference for me, and decided to follow suit.
There are many heartaches with the job, but the rewards are long lasting. There are very few that want to go into this field since so many schools have eliminated programs, but there are jobs out there. There is a middle school near where I work that has been begging for a woodshop teacher for the last two years after the previous teacher passed away. I don't know if they would be willing to hire someone with industry experience on an emergency credential, but it would not hurt to ask

Stephen Willner
Galt, CA
mrb1977
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009 6:41:26 PM
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Location: Albany, ny
I would like to respond to this subject matter and maybe shine some light on some questions. I have been teaching Technology Education/Industrial Arts for 7 1/2 years. My first two years of teaching consisted of teaching in a small rural school in Northwest Colorado, green as I could be just out of college. One of the most challenging tasks I ever embarked on. Living 2000 miles away from my family, and not having a clue about what teaching middle and high school students was about, only the theory I learned in college. I did my best for two years at this school to give back to the kids the skills, that I once received from a few of my teachers. It was a difficult two years of my initial teaching experience. My position was cut due to budget factors, and I took a year off from teaching.

Within about 7 months not teaching, I missed the everyday experiences of making a positive difference in kids lives. I knew I was destined to be an educator. I accepted another 6-12 Technology education position within a few minutes of of hometown. Five years of teaching at that school helped me shape and practice teaching methodologies that would help me become a better teacher for all kids that came into the wood shop.

Just this week, a former student from my first year of teaching in Colorado contacted me via email, thanking me for the help and direction I gave him in the construction industry. He told me that he is pursuing his B.A. in Engineering and will be finished this spring. As we as teachers put in countless, and selfless hours to help those students who show interest in what we are teaching, we never know the positive differences we are making. I hope this short story wasn't too boring or off topic too much.
Mr.B
hammersmith
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009 7:55:31 PM
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Location: Alameda, calif
Hello Mr B and others,
This is such a necessary thread I just wish it were someone besides other shop teachers to read it
(anybody know how to post this to Prez. Obama's twitter account?)

One starts with all the energy of a hurricane for sure, but it was the excess of discipline plus money issues (not pay but funding) that got to me most. When I got to my school the industrial arts were all but dead, if it wasn't for the ROP funding there would not have been any CTE courses at all so the core was stripped from the curriculum no one not even the district administrators knew what they had lost.

Back in my day,and I am 50, we had to start with 10 weeks each in our choice of elective classes (four different that year with drafting being mandatory.)The second and third years you could pick
and there was a waiting list. Now they almost use it for a punishment due to overcrowding.The counselors just put kids wherever they can regardless of whether there is any interest in the course.

My best class was drafting and design, unfortunately also the most expensive due to the computer software license and equipment.
18 scholarships! That had never even come close to happening before, these students still call and keep in touch with me at my university, so I can't leave an all bad impression. I did reach a vital few and perhaps that's all that is necessary.

Onto your questions; The NCLB requires that your main credential be for the course that you are teaching (Highly Qualified!)so regardless of the subject you teach or credential you hold your first job is teaching not training of industrial techniques or methodologies. Said another way it's a form of educationally entertaining kids through their adolescence. The shock of going from a woodshop that works and makes stuff to a classroom full of kids well being kids can kill or make some people crazy. I have seen seasoned teachers walk out and never come back from 65K positions!

Whatever you decide, do what you know and love, make beautiful things and plant trees.
baidaho
Posted: Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:10:41 PM
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All of the advice and stories here are incredible and a lot to think about. Thank you very much.
Jeffseiver
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 12:51:42 AM
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Location: Mission Viejo/Calif.
wow what a can of worms!!!!!!!!

Everybody is right. The first three years are the toughest. Each teacher finds his own way and how he should handle things in those years.
If you feel like you can handle it jump in and swim around. One thing for sure though, if you want a good program you are going to have to put your own money into it. Going through the district or ROP budgets you'll find they are small.
But hey! your young and can take a beating.
creighta
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 7:42:09 AM
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Location: Georgetown/OH
if you can afford try to double major in something else. It may add a year to your school, but if you like to teach it will give you more security after you get some seniority.
baidaho
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 11:52:38 AM
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creighta wrote:
if you can afford try to double major in something else. It may add a year to your school, but if you like to teach it will give you more security after you get some seniority.


I believe my future plans have plenty of back-up and security. I will always take small furniture orders as part of my income, and hopefully someday land an enjoyable teaching job showing others how to build chairs. The back-up and security part is the degree in Technology Education. I was told there is a very high demand for qualified teachers in this area.

So if the economy continues in the same direction, I will get a job teaching secondary education. If things turn around, I'll be getting furniture orders and will have the training and education to teach at a private school or possibly adult education.

I believe I am covering all my bases. And I hear what a lot of you are saying that teaching junior high and high school kids can be "tough, tough, tough", but if no one is buying furniture or willing to pay to take classes making furniture, I'll gladly take the job.
Jacob Adams
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 1:22:20 PM
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Location: Jefferson City/MO
wow, can of worms is right.

All that I can add being as green as they come is to keep the enthusiasm up. Also, look for good stories to keep you going. Just reading these responses today has made my day so much better.

I agree with the money thing. My advice is to not even keep track of how much you spend on school stuff, it just depresses you in the end
baidaho
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 1:30:40 PM
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You guys are depressing. How many here honestly believe he went into the wrong profession?
baidaho
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 1:43:03 PM
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Location: Idaho
Quote:
But hey! your young and can take a beating.


I assume you're joking - I'm forty-seven. And as far as taking a beating, I believe I've already done that with my retirement investments.

After reading through what most of you had to say, I am going to do more exploring into the idea of teaching somewhere outside of secondary ed. I still believe being qualified to teach high school could turn out to be very valuable.

It sounds like plenty of are unhappy with your jobs. I just laid of my help, and have more or less, no orders right now. Does anyone else see the irony?

Jacob Adams
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 7:37:51 PM
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i don't mean to sound depressing. I am in my first year and I love my job. I honestly can't do anything else, this job is in my blood now. I don't love to spend my own money, but the students really see that you care when you are INVESTED in them.

Hang in there, you are doing the right thing. Even with budget cuts we all know that our jobs are important. I know this may sound hollow but to know that you are doing the right thing makes me feel better. tbockman is a model that we could follow

Giz
Posted: Monday, March 02, 2009 11:46:58 PM
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baidaho wrote:

I am looking for input about where to find schools that may not require teaching credentials. Possibly private schools or school districts with lower requirements for shop teachers.


I've been busy since I posted that yesterday morning. I applied to College of Southern Idaho where I can earn a four year degree all online (I have about a year-and-half more to go). I also applied to University of Idaho where I plan to get my Occupational Specialist Certificate (this only requires a few credit hours of work).


Sorry.......but Wow.....

I don't have any idea where you'd find schools that don't require teaching credentials, and frankly I hope they don't exist, but I wouldn't wanna work there. Ditto for districts with lower requirements for shop teachers. We DO work in the most dangerous classrooms on campus, and you're looking for a district with low standards?

Additionally, any college or university that offers all classes online wouldn't get you in the door of my shop. You need to learn the profession under a veteran professional, who will properly supervise you.

I can't in good conscience, endorse your plan. Anyone planning a career in a shop facility needs to put in the time and effort in a quality program. Don't cut corners.


That's my .02. Your mileage may vary.
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