Journalism & Teaching

I am a graduate student in a journalism program which I love. However, I am a single parent and I need a more stable job to provide for my child. I am thinking about teaching and I have just received my substitute teaching certificate to use in January after I finish my current unpaid and curriculum required internship. I'll be finished with school next December and I think journalism is something I can do once I get my finances together and my son is older. I do love journalism and I'll miss it but I can freelance to keep my feet wet. I would prefer to teach at the college level, but I would teach at the high school level if need be.

Am I doing the right thing by changing to education, and is there a way that I can gain a teaching certificate without adding to my loan debt and going back to school? How do I make myself appealing to substitute teaching jobs if I have had minimal interaction with children and no solid "career" type of jobs (seeing I went from undergrad to graduate school)?

Congratulations on finishing your degree. Having great communication skills is always an asset. It does sound, however, like you neglected to do some strong research prior to entering the field, or that your life situation changed course. However, know that the communication and writing skills you acquired will always be of value.

Education can be an extremely rewarding career, but you will need to learn more about the realities to make a good decision. It is also great that you have decided to become a substitute teacher so that you can see from the inside what it really is like. If you will need benefits and insurance you will not be able to continue as a substitute as it is contract work and it may or may not be steady income. That all depends on the needs of the school districts where you work. BUT if you decide to pursue teaching as a career, you need to do a bit more research.

You should contact the school districts in your area to find out what the requirements are to obtain a teaching certificate and how they might differ at the elementary or high school level. You might speak to teachers that you know or teachers at the schools where your children attend. The more information you obtain, the better you will be able to make the right decisions about your future. Also ask the districts what they look for in substitute teachers so you can try to fill in that experience and become more attractive.

Teaching at the college level is a whole different ball game, becoming a full time professor takes a long time and those who teach as adjuncts (a course here or there) are also contract employees with no benefits.

Because you are making such a big step and seeking so much information, you might want to meet with someone in the career services department of your school or at a local career counseling agency like JVS.

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