Friday, March 16, 2012

Dear Susie

I can't believe you are so close to graduation! You have truly earned the right to walk the stage for your diploma and continue your walk of life into the great wide open. I am confident in your ability and tenaciousness to achieve what you set out to do. It helps that your outside is as beautiful as your heart and soul.

This also concerns me since Mom told me you want to be a teacher like Mom and me. As my favorite I have an obligation to share theses thoughts.

Specialize: Major in Reading or Math. Stay away from Special Ed, ESE, Music, Art, etc.

Have a fall back plan/major: Business, Fashion, Art, have demonstrated a talent in each of these areas.

Go elementary: no higher than 4th grade. Less ground to make up. Kids still motivated and willing to learn. Those parents who paid you extra to "tutor" their kids you babysat got a deal.

Stay local: your family name is respected based upon our work ethic and our community's recognition. This is important since it will provide you with a positive established reputation. You'll still have to earn YOUR reputation but it won't be an uphill battle. (You're welcome.) It is also easier when you work in the culture you are used to. It was hard for me to imagine why some parents behaved so contrary to their child's best interest. This can really wear you down especially when those above you (admin) won't acknowledge the fact and support your efforts.

Never be alone anywhere with only one student. Always have a reliable witness watching in the wings. Direct any guidance issues to the guidance counselor. It's their job and they are trained to do it. Fight that urge to advocate. Never, ever promise "not to tell", agree not to "say something" or give up your right to decide what course of action to take if a student confides in you.

If you must move to get a job work in a right-to-work state, join the union but only for your first 2 years. Get a copy of the contract and read it . Then pay attention. You will notice that some of those around you get paid the same or more for doing less than you do - that's just the way it is. Don't fight it but don't pay for it either. A good effective teacher is a welcome addition to any faculty. You don't need an organization to promote mediocrity. The money you save should be put aside for a lawyer that will be used just in case. He must be willing to sue for costs and defamation. Ask and make sure he isn't connected to the school board.

Explore Department Of Defense teaching positions here and abroad.

Join a credit union. This is an echo from your grandfather. He worked in finance and knew how favorable they treated their customer/owners. Save for retirement like no one else because no one else will.

Save your money and pay off any school debt. Pay yourself first, pay cash and live below your means. Being free of debt is very liberating. No one will care more about you than you. Don't rely on the governor or government. Vote smart every time.

Don't have a baby until you are married at least a year. Notice the implied time line - it's there for a reason. We can discuss this further - in private.

Don't post or email ANYTHING you wouldn't want the world to misinterpret. Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, blogs, etc. Watch who takes your picture and the texts you send. This stuff doesn't go away and is available to anyone with or without critical thinking skills. Remember how we laughed when your brother insisted "it's true! I saw it on the internet!!!". Assume any prospective employer thinks the same way.

I'm sure I forgot some things but there is time for us to talk this summer.

Always with you.



Anonymous said...

Good advice. Think I'll copy and paste it to my niece.

Anonymous said...

Why would ANYONE go into teaching these days? Tell your niece to be very, VERY cautious.