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Stuck Working a Low-Level Job with a College Degree!


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I need some opinions, suggestions, etc.

 

I graduated over a year ago with an English teaching degree from a school that has the best teacher program in the whole state. I am certified to teach in the US, hold two teaching licenses for two states (which cost me over $100 to get them and a couple hundred dollars more to pass certification tests), have wonderful references, and have been working my behind off looking for a job. I have done volunteer work at a wildlife education center while I was in college (writing/editing articles, rebuilding a nature education center, running animal programs for schools and nurseries, etc.)

 

Unfortunately, I graduated at the wrong time when the economy is in really bad shape. I have applied for over 50 school systems in multiple states this year, twice as more than I did last year. I wanted to stay closer to home and save money, but this year it isn't an option and tried expanding my location. Every one of them has said they're in a hiring freeze, shutting down schools, laying off certified teachers, or are transferring teachers from different places. Wow... when I entered the teaching program I was told that there was a high need for teachers and it will be like this for ten years. No one expected this and I got screwed.

 

So what am I doing now? I'm working in food service. That's right. I am cleaning tables and making pizzas and sandwich wraps while holding a college degree.](*,) It's a slap in the face, but it's what pays the bills until I can find a career (it's like waiting for the cows to come home). I like the people I work with and I work hard, but it's definitely not what I want to do for the rest of my life. I've had customers asked what college I'm attending and they're extremely shock to hear my answer that I'm out of college and can't find a better paying job anywhere for the time being. I've even applied at newspaper and magazine companies, took an additional business writing class to show further credentials (heck I even wrote articles for the volunteer job), and still got rejected.

 

I do not know what I am doing wrong and I think it's the economy. I do not have a blog, Myspace, or Facebook that employers can snoop on. I am ultra paranoid about that kind of stuff. I have been to a mock interview at a job temp agency to see if it was my interviewing skills that needed work, but apparently I was told that I have a superb rating. The person who conducted the session was a previous English teacher and has interview English teachers when she used to work for a school system.

 

Right now I am trying to look for a way to advance. Nobody wants to work at food service forever. I substituted last school year to get my name out and to bring in more teaching experiences, but I didn't make enough money to cover my student loans nor did it gave me any benefits. The school I subbed even said they couldn't hire me because of the economy. I'm contemplating if I want to sub again next school year, but money is a major issue right now. Especially since I have a handicapped mother. However, what I did find was that I enjoy subbing for special education classes and earned preferences from special education teachers. Unfortunately, it didn't help me get a full-time teaching job.

 

 

What I'm trying to decide is would it be worth going for my Masters in Special Education or go for a different field with better job opportunities and better pay? Every school system has needed a Special Education teacher. I looked into Computer Networking which makes great money and is needed (I'm fantastic with computer too), but the problem is that I have to take another few years of getting a degree in that field and it's more college expenses than getting my Masters. The other concern is what happens if that doesn't pan out like when I wasted time in college with an English Secondary Ed degree?

 

I have looked into teaching overseas. I never been out of the country and am nervous how I would deal with culture shock. The problem is South Korea, China, and Japan are in demand for English teachers. Europe wants teachers who hold a Master's degree. I've heard bad stories about teaching in China (Chinese society rioting against English teacher programs because they feel they are losing their culture to English speakers), Japan's economy is worst than the US (I have two friends who are in JET and do not recommend applying the way things are over there), and the issues between South Korea and North Korea... I just do not want to be caught up in warfare and get killed while working there if it were to ever happen!

 

Any suggestions on what I should do? Is going back to school the right thing to do? Sorry this was a long post, but I wanted to be more specific.

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Personally I think you need to take a step back and really figure out what you want to do, but my suggestion to you is to go back to school for the degree in special education. If you're afraid of going overseas don't do it.

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Hi,

I'm on the same boat! I graduated a couple years ago with a BA art degree.

Been having tough time finding a decent job, and I'm stuck with something I really don't like. I'm going back to school next year to earn more skills.

 

As far as oversea teaching job goes, I have lots of friends who teach in Japan.

Everyone seems to be enjoying being there, and some of them even extended the visa to teach longer. Japan is pretty Americanized, so there's not much of a culture shock. You just need to get used crowded/packed trains (watch youtube video of Japanese trains)

 

I can give you some info on English schools over there if you are interested.

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Can you just get a certificate in Special Education? I have heard so many horror stories about people in the teaching field with Masters degrees. Typically it makes it even HARDER to find work because you are so qualified.

 

I truly know how you feel, though I graduated in May. I am working at a nice job, but it's low paying and at risk of being gone. Things are just so hard right now.

 

Keep your mind open, keep your eyes open and your contacts close. People around you can help so much with random connections and ideas.

 

I wish the best for you, so sorry you're in this too.

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For me too these times have been tough and I've decided to go back to school - but this is simply because it's best option available for my specific skill set or lack thereof.

 

For yourself, I would HIGHLY advise going abroad to teach. With having a degree in the field already, the TEFL will jump all over you for you joining up. I have friends who have worked and remain working in Thailand, Japan, Italy & Spain and they all LOVE IT. I have toured all of those countries, bar Japan and would advise it in the following order...

 

1.Thailand

2.Italy

3.Spain

 

Can't really comment on Japan - but would love to go snowboarding there and experience the culture. Don't think about going back to study till you at least try working abroad. Seriously. I can't stress it enough.

 

The downside to Europe right now is the strength of the Euro Vs the Dollar/Pound Sterling which is one of the many reasons why I would go to Thailand.

 

I've travelled the country before and I'm heading out there on the 3rd of July for 5 weeks before starting uni - feel free to PM me about specific areas of interest. Likewise for Italy and Spain.

 

Don't for one minute think that SE Asia is daunting - granted China may have issues and from what I hear isn't so travel friendly, but Thailand is an open market for westerners and dripping with culture and friendly people, both native and tourists.

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How long have you been looking?

 

I know several people who finished school and had to work jobs that weren't ideal until they found a job in their career. For some it took a while...but they didn't stop looking until they found it.

For over a year now. I graduated from a class of 15... only 3 of them got teaching jobs. Others, including myself, are short of luck. I know I got "some" time, but I really want to get out of my parents house and live independently. That is the idea of finishing school, right?

 

Can you just get a certificate in Special Education? I have heard so many horror stories about people in the teaching field with Masters degrees. Typically it makes it even HARDER to find work because you are so qualified.

I actually have to be in a Special Education program to be qualified. English Education program wouldn't cut it because I'm not "trained" to handle massive amounts of paperwork and meetings. There are a lot of legal stances that come into Special Ed.

 

As for having a Masters, I'd thought it was the other way around; it would make stand out from the other candidates with Bachelor degrees. Plus I'd have a chance at applying for college level instruction. I know in the state of Maryland they require ALL of their teachers to have a Masters. I was told that one Maryland county only hires teachers with Masters because it saves the school system money from paying teachers with Bachelor degrees to go to college. Good old No Child Left Behind Act for you!

 

For yourself, I would HIGHLY advise going abroad to teach. With having a degree in the field already, the TEFL will jump all over you for you joining up. I have friends who have worked and remain working in Thailand, Japan, Italy & Spain and they all LOVE IT. I have toured all of those countries, bar Japan and would advise it in the following order...

 

1.Thailand

2.Italy

3.Spain

 

Can't really comment on Japan - but would love to go snowboarding there and experience the culture. Don't think about going back to study till you at least try working abroad. Seriously. I can't stress it enough.

...

I've travelled the country before and I'm heading out there on the 3rd of July for 5 weeks before starting uni - feel free to PM me about specific areas of interest. Likewise for Italy and Spain.

 

Don't for one minute think that SE Asia is daunting - granted China may have issues and from what I hear isn't so travel friendly, but Thailand is an open market for westerners and dripping with culture and friendly people, both native and tourists.

Wow... I would have to look into that. I am interested in Thailand AND Italy. I originally wanted to go to Japan really bad and had connections with someone who recruits JET, but my friends in Japan said they are having a hard time standing it out with the economy. One of them (not a JET) is trying to figure out how to return home since his expenses were sucked dry. Food is VERY expensive in Japan and so is housing. I've heard the benefits of South Korea being so well, but I am so afraid what will happen with North Korea.

 

Do you mind of sharing some highly reputable organizations that I could look into? That would be a big help!

 

There are shortages of teachers in New Zealand. . . .

But I doubt the pay would be much better here if not possibly worse.

I've looked in New Zealand. They have the highest literacy rate in the world. I couldn't find travel deals. If I wanted to work in New Zealand I would have to pay for everything myself, including plane ticket. In Asian countries, they pay me to come to their country and teach.

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My old friend has a Master's degree in teaching and was constantly passed up for those with BAs. The answer is simply: they think you expect more payment than a person with a BA. You stand apart from the rest, but you also deserve more money. Most schools just can't pay a person with an MA.

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Do NOT get your masters. You will not get hired! You will become more expensive, and schools do not want to pay someone who has never had a teaching job when they can get someone for cheap.

 

What I'm counting on right now is the wave of retirement that my academic adviser promised me. Keeping my fingers crossed

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Ah, I'm sorry you're going through this. Not that it'll make you feel better, but most places (IT jobs included) are in a hiring freeze right now. About the only exception to this is the federal government.

 

As far as switching career tracks, it might be a very good option, but it would obviously depend on a lot of factors like how old you are, when you want to start a family (if ever), and your current financial situation. Also, something else to consider, and no offense, but your future earning potential would be WAY higher as a network admin than as an English teacher (even as a tenured professor), and you have a lot more flexibility in what you could do with an IT degree (management, lecturing at a university, etc.).

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Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Thailand isn't a good idea! They just had riots and hotel bombings last week! I found news articles all about it!

 

Ah, I'm sorry you're going through this. Not that it'll make you feel better, but most places (IT jobs included) are in a hiring freeze right now. About the only exception to this is the federal government.

 

Yep, that's where my best friend is! He and his roommate are computer science majors... only found jobs in the federal government. And they pay very nicely.

 

I guess it's just the economy right now. I'm not good in math and I can never be in the medical field (I have a huge fear of shots and squirm at the sight of blood). Guess I have to figure it all out or find another creative way to put my name out. If there are any suggestions keep them rolling! Thanks!

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good god i feel old when writing this....but!!

 

it's only in the last few yaars that things have been soooooo good, that recent coollege / uni graduates EXPECT these great jobs right out of colllege / uni. Now that things have fallen a bit, people think it's so bad.. but IMO it's just returned a bit to normal.

 

when I first graduated from my first degree in 1999, when me and all my friends finished NO ONE got a full time job right away. I was working in a restaurant / catering place, others were working in a fish market/ doing temping / retail etc

 

Then a few years later, the job market became a bit better and all these university graduates were walking straight into these permanent well-paid positions with no experience. This is what many called this entitlement generation... according to some i'm still in that, but I think I just slipped out of that!

 

dont' be turned off thailand from one news report... it's a great country. If you read anything in the paper you wouldn't leave home. Thailand is a very well travelled place, so it's not like it's this strange foreign land way out there. Well it is... but very very easy to travel in.

 

Also, I taught in Japan for 3 years.. great experience.. good and bad but would recommend it to anyone. I went on JET. The applications are due in November. The yen isn't as strong as when I went in 2001, but it is still a good deal.. and it's a job.. and in another interesting country.

 

 

Where are you from? Many commonwealth countries have reciprocal working holiday visas... Canada - New Zealand - Australia - UK - very easy to get work visas.. you just apply online.

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My old friend has a Master's degree in teaching and was constantly passed up for those with BAs. The answer is simply: they think you expect more payment than a person with a BA. You stand apart from the rest, but you also deserve more money. Most schools just can't pay a person with an MA.

 

In some places you actually cannot get a teaching position at all unless you have a MA, so no... this isn't really THE answer... it depends on the area you are in and where you are applying. And yes, I'd say the current economic situation does just... well.. suck, and it is unfortunate.

 

I definitely can sympathize with the situation however. I too have a BA and have felt somewhat stuck working jobs in an unrelated field that I am not passionate about and that don't make me enough money. And so I am currently working on getting a masters in the field I love, and I am hoping the economy will be more kind to me when I finally finish.

 

I think looking into going abroad is definitely a good idea if you can get over your reservations. It looks wonderful on a resume, you can pick up language skills, if you pick the right destination you can make very decent money, it is highly enriching, and it would still give you an opportunity to teach. My brother currently teaches English in Taiwan and does fairly well at it and one of my best friends did 3 years in the JET program. The benefits are many, but above all it is simply an unforgettable experience.

 

If you decide not to go abroad and still are having trouble finding a position, heading back to school may not be a bad idea. Just don't do it because you are angry at the economy - do it to enrich your own career and education.

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That has been the general consensus of elementary education. Unless you were looking to become a professor, having a BA was all you needed to become a teacher in K-12. Anything else was considered being overqualified. I didn't know a single teacher with an MA in high school.

 

Maybe it is just Michigan.

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IMO, i think you should definitely go abroad. China, Beijing specifically, is a GREAT place for foreigners to the country like yourself. I went there myself (i'm from canada), and i was really intimidated at first, but i discovered there was a huge expatriot community in Beijing, literally, people from all over the world live and work there. The locals are also extremely welcoming to non-chinese visitors ever since the Olympics were held there.

 

If you're looking for some higher education, try applying to a masters program in Beijing! There's a quite a few international schools that have programs taught in english. That way you can diversify your education, and it will look great on a resume.

 

Good luck!

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That has been the general consensus of elementary education. Unless you were looking to become a professor, having a BA was all you needed to become a teacher in K-12. Anything else was considered being overqualified. I didn't know a single teacher with an MA in high school.

 

Maybe it is just Michigan.

 

It isn't just Michigan, but it IS area specific. I live in NY state, and for a professional teaching certificate here you do need the masters.

 

In general, just because someone has their masters and has felt turned down or overqualified because of it, I do not think this is a good reason to tell someone NOT to further their education. YES, the economy is strapped right now and schools are having a hard time hiring teachers in this country, but in time things will turn around.

 

"Stay less educated" is never good advice in my personal opinion. Someone WILL value your education in time, in the right place.

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It isn't just Michigan, but it IS area specific. I live in NY state, and for a professional teaching certificate here you do need the masters.

 

In general, just because someone has their masters and has felt turned down or overqualified because of it, I do not think this is a good reason to tell someone NOT to further their education. YES, the economy is strapped right now and schools are having a hard time hiring teachers in this country, but in time things will turn around.

 

"Stay less educated" is never good advice in my personal opinion. Someone WILL value your education in time, in the right place.

 

This was the case in the early 90's as well and when things weren't so bad.

I would have suggested the same thing years ago.

 

The OP is looking for work more than continued education at this time... sometimes you have to wait. In certain fields, continuing education immediately doesn't pay.

 

It's offensive to suggest I am giving the advice to stay less educated. Sometiems you just have to have a strategy.

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That has been the general consensus of elementary education. Unless you were looking to become a professor, having a BA was all you needed to become a teacher in K-12. Anything else was considered being overqualified. I didn't know a single teacher with an MA in high school.

 

Maybe it is just Michigan.

 

you can't teach with just a BA in Canada... you need an Education degree.

 

I would hate the fact that my children (if I had them) were being taught with someone who had no teacher training... that is terrible!

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you can't teach with just a BA in Canada... you need an Education degree.

 

I would hate the fact that my children (if I had them) were being taught with someone who had no teacher training... that is terrible!

 

I think teachers should have doctorates... Sadly I do not make the rules in America...

Based on experience with friends and classmates, having a Masters degree in teaching has gotten them sidelined for jobs accross the country. I have a friend who was a music teacher at a Junior High in 2004, she got her Masters and was fired a week later. (All of this before the economy crashed)

It's just sad.

That is ALL I am saying.

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I think teachers should have doctorates... Sadly I do not make the rules in America...

Based on experience with friends and classmates, having a Masters degree in teaching has gotten them sidelined for jobs accross the country. I have a friend who was a music teacher at a Junior High in 2004, she got her Masters and was fired a week later. (All of this before the economy crashed)

It's just sad.

That is ALL I am saying.

 

Oh I know.. I was just commenting on the facts... not you!

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Oh I know.. I was just commenting on the facts... not you!

 

Ok. lol

 

It doesn't make sense that we would only expect a BA from the people teaching our children... not to mention how little they are paid. They should be paid top dollar and expected to experience a great deal of training.

Their jobs are so important!!

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Ok. lol

 

It doesn't make sense that we would only expect a BA from the people teaching our children... not to mention how little they are paid. They should be paid top dollar and expected to experience a great deal of training.

Their jobs are so important!!

 

 

I agree.

 

Well I know where I'm from in Canada, you basically need a 4 year degree and then another education degree on top of it. And many go and get a Masters (Education related0 on top of that.

 

Even if someone has 8 Phds, they can't teach in a school here unless they have an Education degree in there as well.

 

I actually worked for Teacher Qualification service for a while and I remember a lady coming who had just moved here from the US and was surprised that she wouldn't be able to teach in Canada with her B.A.

 

 

I think though, even if someone has a masters or a PhD, that doesn't neccesarily mean they wil be a good teacher. They do need some teacher training. A BA, or BSc, or even a Masters of Science (or whatever0 doesn't teach you how to teach.

 

I had profs at university who had 2 PhDs and they knew there subject very very well, but couldn't teach at all.

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I don't think you have to be working in food service with a degree. It's so many other jobs that are much better like Customer Service, Clerical, Front Desk, or Sales. No way should you be in food service, that kind of job is for someone in highschool or a person without a highschool diploma.

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