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I have a multi-layered college question


ShepCarlin
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My youngest is 15, currently homeschooling 10th grade. He's starting the college and course study search. We live in Georgia and he is eligible for both the HOPE scholarship and the Zell Miller scholarship which combined would save him a hefty sum of money. The issue is that out of all the colleges here he is only interested in the University of Georgia which is not only known for being unfriendly towards homeschoolers but is pretty hard to get into. Also, UGA is a bigger school than he'd prefer-currently 30K undergrad.

He is considering majoring in either education, English or history. His dream is to teach public school. He has been a TA at our co-op, worked at scout summer camp and mentors scouts in his BSA troop. With the exposure he's had so far, he really feels drawn to teaching.

Other than homeschooling the boys, I do not have a teaching background. I don't know if there are schools that are better suited for teachers or not. My gut tells me he should pick a major that would allow him to do more than teaching. I don't want a discussion on the merits of teaching - my concern with his chosen profession is the high rate of burnout. If he teaches for 5 years and then decides to change career paths, wouldn't it be better if he had a non-teaching degree?

His brother is currently at Western Carolina University majoring in biology and is absolutely thriving there. Brother was also eligible for the two big scholarships here and made the choice to not take advantage of them and go out of state. They both have money saved up for school and barring any obscene tuition prices, can pay for an out of state school within reason. Younger son really likes what he as seen so far at WCU through his brother's eyes. School size and location are perfect for him. But I sure would like to see one of these kids stay in state to take advantage of the scholarships.

So my questions are:

Are there universities in the southeast that offer outstanding teaching degrees? Or a chance to get a degree in a particular subject with an emphasis on teaching?

What should he look for as either an education major or majoring in a different subject but with the intent to teach that subject?

Anyone have experience with any of the other Georgia public universities? He's not interested in Georgia Tech, thinks Georgia Southern is too country, Kennesaw State University is too close to home, University of North Georgia strikes him as being too military (I've suggested we visit...he keeps shooting that idea down), Georgia State is too urban. It's like Goldilocks and the Three Bears! 

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Some thoughts.

UGA- what do admission stats look like and how can he make himself competitive.  AP classes instead of mom grades. Practice tests for the PSAT to strive for National Merit, and by default a good SAT as well. Dual enrollment classes. 

Teaching- what are the hiring requirements for your public and private schools?  There is seriously such a shortage of teachers that requirements seem to have lessened and an education degree may not be a necessity. What subjects does he enjoy? I know you mentioned English and history.  
 

Does he enjoy math or science?  I know in our area high schools cannot keep a computer science teacher.  They can make way more money working in industry so these positions are always open. And the schools kind of don’t care whether the person willing to teach has a teaching background or not. They don’t even care whether they have a CS background or not, as long as they are willing to learn enough to teach the classes. 

Some psychology type courses may be helpful as well.  So many personalities to deal with daily in schools. 

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Re: UGA. I hate that UGA comes across as so homeschool-unfriendly. The reality is that there are more hoops to jump through than there should be, but it's definitely possible to get in as a homeschooler, particularly if you plan in advance, which you're doing. My oldest was admitted early action and auto-admitted to the honors program 4 years ago (he went elsewhere; he also wanted a smaller school). But it is a tough admit for anyone these days, homeschooled or not, so it's certainly good to look at other options. The only other school we have experience with is Kennesaw; I have three who are doing or have done DE there, and my husband got his masters in math education there a few years back.

So, re: teaching. My husband is a high school teacher. He has a math (not education) degree and did web development for a few years before he started teaching. For him it was not a problem at all that he had a subject degree and not education (he did a program his first year teaching designed to give him his teaching certificate while he was working with a provisional certificate)...but he's a math teacher, which is generally going to be in higher demand than English or history. I mean, right NOW all teachers are in high demand, but I don't know what things will look like in a few years. I would talk to some people who know more about what hiring looks like in those subject areas and see. That said, if the issue is hireability if he burns out on teaching (and I definitely agree that's something to consider), I don't know how much more valuable an English or history degree would be for career changing than an education one (speaking as an English major). Honestly, though, I'm a fan of doing what you love in college and trusting that it will work out. But I understand the drawbacks of that approach (speaking as the mother of a clarinet performance major; we'll see what I say in a few years!) One thought is that it's usually a good idea to get a masters before you start teaching; my husband did it while he was teaching and we had 3 young kids, and it was a tough year and a half. If you can get it and start out at the higher salary and not need to worry about it while you're working, that's idea. So maybe a BA in English or history and then a masters in education? Again, my only experience is with math, so YMMV.

Edited by kokotg
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First, let me say that I had a kid in the same sort of situation. Very led to teach. So, I'm suggesting what I would do if we had it to do all over again.

If he is feeling the call to teach English or History, I would think he would need a degree at least specific to those fields. And, let's be honest, it's not like there are a million jobs waiting out there for an English or History major either. 😁

I would suggest that he get the degree in education, or, perhaps, double major in education and English or History. This will make his path to teaching SO much easier, especially since he isn't a STEM teacher. The education degree will get his student teaching hours in, etc. so that he can just *start teaching* and won't have to get additional certifications right off the bat.

If he changes his mind at any point, it is easy enough to go back to school for another bachelor's in another field or for a Master's degree. He can change paths at ANY point.

But, having a kid who reallyreallyreally wants to teach get a degree in *something else* to be safe can lead to college burnout really fast. Ask me how I know! 🤪

On the other note, UGA is huge, but there are so many ways to make a huge school "feel small." Scholarship programs, honors programs, major programs, etc.

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18 hours ago, ShepCarlin said:

 

What should he look for as either an education major or majoring in a different subject but with the intent to teach that subject?

 

My undergraduate (not in the south east) had a history education major - basically a history major with required education courses. Many of our local secondary ed social studies teachers went through that program. I believe they had a similar program for English education majors. 

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PM me for more details... 

Your son get into UGA more easily as a transfer student than as an undergrad. 

KSU is a large university that will offer him many of the same opportunities as UGA but with less emphasis on  football and drinking. (I have had kids at both schools) 

I would gently encourage him to keep in open mind with his college choice. Scholarships will be needed with an education degree as he won't want to have loan. He might  qualify for a grant or a  loan that can be  forgiven if he teaches in a high-need field or school. 

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10 hours ago, matrips said:

Some thoughts.

UGA- what do admission stats look like and how can he make himself competitive.  AP classes instead of mom grades. Practice tests for the PSAT to strive for National Merit, and by default a good SAT as well. Dual enrollment classes. 

 

He just started his first DE class with the local community college and has already been accepted at Kennesaw State for DE next year so he's set on dual enrollment. Most of his high school transcript grades are co-op classes, Homeschool Spanish Academy and Derek Owens. Very few "mom classes". His SAT score from August 2022 was really good. He'll take the PSAT next October as I think he's got a good chance to score well.

My concern with UGA is I've know other kids who had outstanding GPA's, test scores, community service, etc. who did not get accepted at UGA. I don't want him pinning all his hopes on one school. The original plan was that if he doesn't get accepted to go to another school for a year or two, then transfer to UGA but it's not ideal for many reasons. One of which is that many, many kids have resorted to that plan only to find there are so many of them they still can't transfer! 

11 hours ago, matrips said:

 Does he enjoy math or science?  I know in our area high schools cannot keep a computer science teacher.  They can make way more money working in industry so these positions are always open. And the schools kind of don’t care whether the person willing to teach has a teaching background or not. They don’t even care whether they have a CS background or not, as long as they are willing to learn enough to teach the classes. 

He hates math and science yet he does very, very well in both subjects. It's a little frustrating for me to watch as I would have given anything to do as well as he does in math and science as I would have pursued a career in those fields. But he's just not interested.

7 hours ago, easypeasy said:

I would suggest that he get the degree in education, or, perhaps, double major in education and English or History. This will make his path to teaching SO much easier, especially since he isn't a STEM teacher. The education degree will get his student teaching hours in, etc. so that he can just *start teaching* and won't have to get additional certifications right off the bat.

If he changes his mind at any point, it is easy enough to go back to school for another bachelor's in another field or for a Master's degree. He can change paths at ANY point.

But, having a kid who reallyreallyreally wants to teach get a degree in *something else* to be safe can lead to college burnout really fast. Ask me how I know! 🤪

On the other note, UGA is huge, but there are so many ways to make a huge school "feel small." Scholarship programs, honors programs, major programs, etc.

I like the idea of a double major. More options are always better :). I want him to study in a field that he is truly interested in, not the field I *think* he should. To be honest, this is the last profession I would have chosen for him-mainly because I think it is just a hard, challenging job (rewarding too but man, I feel for teachers) He doesn't tolerate nonsense and I worry about how he'll deal with demanding parents, administrative bull crap, etc. But he feels called to do this so I don't want to steer him to something else. I want him to figure that out if that's the case. 

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UGA has some programs that would allow him to get a bachelor's in English or History and a master's in teaching:

https://doubledawgs.uga.edu/ProgramPopup/16286

https://doubledawgs.uga.edu/ProgramPopup/15474

https://doubledawgs.uga.edu/ProgramPopup/17946

https://doubledawgs.uga.edu/ProgramList

And who knows - maybe he'll take math or science class with the extra college credits he's building up and discover he loves them

Edited by Malam
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On 1/24/2023 at 10:39 AM, ShepCarlin said:

So my questions are:

Are there universities in the southeast that offer outstanding teaching degrees? Or a chance to get a degree in a particular subject with an emphasis on teaching?

What should he look for as either an education major or majoring in a different subject but with the intent to teach that subject?

 

There is a subreddit for teachers that might be able to provide some career advice.  Warning, though, the unhappy teachers tend to post a lot.  And boy are they unhappy.  

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@Caroline

I keep forgetting about Georgia College. I'd suggested it to him months ago and he said he wasn't interested because it wasn't near the mountain. I think it could be a good fit. 

@daijobu yikes. I bet they are unhappy. I don't know if I want to look. He says he knows what he's getting into but he's 15! I love his optimism but he needs some reality. But I know the more I talk about how hard it is, the more he's going to dig in his heels.  

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7 hours ago, ShepCarlin said:

@daijobu yikes. I bet they are unhappy. I don't know if I want to look. He says he knows what he's getting into but he's 15! I love his optimism but he needs some reality. But I know the more I talk about how hard it is, the more he's going to dig in his heels.  

For my kid, I think the shock was that she had been homeschooled her whole life and under-recognized the importance of my being able to "choose our own adventure" each day/week/month/year. We had the freedom to do amazing things without having to pay attention to all the red tape day-in and day-out. When she was teaching in the classroom, she discovered the career was 90% red-tape and <2% about the students. It broke her heart to see all the red tape that got in the way of actually HELPING children who needed it.

The veteran teachers said it had gotten so much worse since Covid, but man, were they burnt out. DD just had to live it to really understand/comprehend it all. She's now in another career and very happy, but still misses the kids & wishes she had the power to change the system (but has the wisdom to understand that, unless she wants to devote her entire existence to that end goal, it's a lost cause).

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My 9th grade dd is in brick and mortar school for the first time. She has always thought she wanted to be a teacher. She has the perfect personality for it. She would be amazing. 
 

It took her about a week in (small Catholic supposedly good) school to realize she didn’t want to be a teacher. She loves her teachers and loves her school but sees how bad it is for her teachers. 
 

I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. I was relieved for her to see that on her own because I felt the same way about worrying about her choosing it and I honestly had told dh we just needed to guide her to an inexpensive undergrad and plan to help her go back in five years to get something else. 
 

We need teachers, though, and I never want to be discourage kids from pursuing their interests. I would just find a way for him to really get exposed to it if he hasn’t. But it sounds like he has and knows what he wants. So then I would support him and encourage an open mind. I wouldn’t worry too much about double majoring, honestly, because those other majors probably wouldn’t give him another smooth career path. I would probably figure I would get him through as quickly/cheaply as possible with the idea he would likely go back for something else in grad school and I’d encourage him to keep an open mind about other things. 

Good luck!

 

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7 hours ago, easypeasy said:

For my kid, I think the shock was that she had been homeschooled her whole life and under-recognized the importance of my being able to "choose our own adventure" each day/week/month/year. We had the freedom to do amazing things without having to pay attention to all the red tape day-in and day-out. When she was teaching in the classroom, she discovered the career was 90% red-tape and <2% about the students. It broke her heart to see all the red tape that got in the way of actually HELPING children who needed it.

The veteran teachers said it had gotten so much worse since Covid, but man, were they burnt out. DD just had to live it to really understand/comprehend it all. She's now in another career and very happy, but still misses the kids & wishes she had the power to change the system (but has the wisdom to understand that, unless she wants to devote her entire existence to that end goal, it's a lost cause).

It was 100% evident to me that that was the way things worked during my student teaching semester (decades ago).  The bureaucracy was so awful that not only did I make the decision to never teach in a school, but I swore my future kids would never attend a public school.  At the time, I thought private schools, but obviously I discovered homeschooling.

I think it takes a certain type of personality to survive working in a public school, but I agree that we need teachers, good ones.

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