Boglehead teachers speak truths...

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gdetore
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Boglehead teachers speak truths...

Post by gdetore » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:13 am

Another thread was hijacked into an interesting back and forth between young and not young doctors-when to retire or not, satisfaction, etc. Partly about retirement savings, but more about expectations vs experience. I thought I'd try to start a thread for teachers new and old. Start with a few questions and let it wander where it will! Answer one, two, all, or add to topic.You don't need to have been a teacher to pipe up with your two cents.
If this thread exists already, moderator is welcome to delete or redirect us.

1. When do you expect to retire? Why?
2. When did you retire? Why?
3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
4. What role did money play in any of your decisions?
5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why?
6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts)
9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
9. DON'T MENTION REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, CONSERVATIVES, LIBERALS or we'll be locked up! ':lol:'

Levett
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Post by Levett » Tue Jun 30, 2009 6:01 am

1. n/a

2. retired 7/01/2000 (tomorrow is an anniversary :D ) at age 58.

3. 32 years as asst., assoc., full prof @ university. 2 yrs. T.A., 2 yrs. Instructor at community college. Total = 36. It was a great experience--many superb students, interesting colleagues, wonderful overseas experiences, ideal community in which to raise a family.

4. money played no role in my choice of profession.

5. Don't know. I've moved on to local gov't stuff.

6. No pension. Generous DC plan with TIAA-CREF and Vanguard.

7. Never have been accused of such. I taught thousands of students (a number in the state legislature!) and my research/publication record spoke for itself.

8. Excellent, low-cost 403(b)s with TIAA-CREF and Vanguard.

9. Teaching is a whole-body, whole-person experience. It occupies your entire life. I never lost "it." I just wanted to move on, when I felt I could afford to, and always believed you should exit before you lose "it."

P.S. I have retired in place because I can't imagine not living in a university community.
There are some things that count that can't be counted, and some things that can be counted that don't count.

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teacher
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Post by teacher » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:46 pm

When do you expect to retire?
At least one more year, however 2012 is the planned date. I want husband to retire, and I don’t think he will if I keep on working. Also, I want to spend time being a grandmother. If we retire in 2012, the plan is to go to the London Olympics to celebrate.

How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
I started teaching in 1972. I was an instructional assistant for two years while getting my masters degree before my first job teaching.

I have a passion for teaching. Several of my students have become teachers and my son and daughter-in-law are/will be teachers. It is the most creative, rewarding job imaginable, but it is not for everyone. If I had it to do all over again, I would do exactly the same. However I should mention, I am in a low incidence specialty and my class size is 12 or less students each period. I would not teach if I had to manage 38 high school students. That number of students five times a day is crowd control, and I am not cut out for it.

What role did money play in any of your decisions?
I don't think I considered what the salary would be prior to my first job. I had a couple offers in California and a couple in New England and the decision was to stay near family.

Staying on does not increase monthly pension much at this stage, however I don’t think it is a good idea for anyone to leave a job in a down economy as long as they are on top of their game. I believe taking revenue from a portfolio now could be a big mistake.

Is teaching career getting better or worse?
This is difficult to answer. The things that are worse are the students’ focus and training. More families are not able/willing to train their children in terms of personal responsibility, work ethic, courtesy and values. My school has not had the influx of gangs since the ‘80s, and we have not had to meet needs of multiple languages and cultures. However technology has reduced student focus and interest in traditional instruction so it is more of a challenge to keep students interested in the prescribed standards. It is almost impossible to keep them off of smart phones and iPods. Parents don’t always support the school rules.

On the other hand, when available, technology is changing the way we teach. Smart boards replace white boards, the internet replaces encyclopedias, teacher web sites and on-line grades and reports replace student- delivered notes, etc. The changes happen at the elementary level first and creep up to high school as the budget permits. With the current economy, students are entering high school to a technological environment not commensurate to what they knew in lower grades. It will be interesting.

How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
I started with variable annuities, then fixed, then American Funds, then transferred everything to Vanguard. I heard about Vanguard from Bob Brinker and from a fee based, one-shot financial planner in the early 80’s. We paid him $800 for a review and the Vanguard information was worth every cent.

In 1972, I had no responsibilities, and $8,000 plus benefits seemed fine. As life required more, and responsibilities increased, we realized we had to parcel out the meager amount and we budgeted faithfully. As soon as the mortgage became comfortable, I began DCA without fail for almost 30 years now. I did buy and hold, but did not worry about AA. I bought 100% equities by looking at long-term results in the prospectus. Overlapping abounded. It would be interesting to see what damage was done or if I got lucky with this method. The results are enough so it could be I lucked-out.

How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
I only read about these attitudes. People do not say these things to me. However, here are some little known objective facts about Ca teachers and some points apply to other states:
• no Social Security for self and cannot be qualified through spouse,
• no Medicare (unless qualified through spouse)
• most districts do not provide health insurance in retirement.
• no paid vacation time (every non-work day is unpaid)
• summer break (unpaid leave) is 10 weeks, not 3 months
• Ca teaching credential requires two additional years of college beyond BA/BS (6 year minimum). Some specialties require a Masters degree.

What was your experience with 403b plans?
EXCELLENT. My district had very generous offerings. I am able to purchase shares (not points) of Vanguard, Fidelity, and maybe a dozen others. My entire 403b is in Vanguard and I am able to deal directly with them. However, Vanguard does not allow Admiral status in the 403b.

How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
The effects of age have not hit me yet, although I may use a few more sticky notes, and I am more organized than in the past. I don’t get tired during the school day. I believe if I appeared tired, it would impact my students. If the teacher is dragging, it gives students permission to be lethargic and not get adequate rest or eat right. I talk to them about this.

The wisdom piece is big. One reason I don’t want to quit yet is my years in the classroom gives me knowledge and experience that makes me more effective, creative and empathetic. It is so fun now, and as long as the energy remains, it would be very difficult to give it up.

Teacher
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White Coat Investor
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Re: Boglehead teachers speak truths...

Post by White Coat Investor » Tue Jun 30, 2009 12:57 pm

gdetore wrote:Another thread was hijacked into an interesting back and forth between young and not young doctors-when to retire or not, satisfaction, etc. Partly about retirement savings, but more about expectations vs experience. I thought I'd try to start a thread for teachers new and old.'
How bout a link to that doctor thread?
1) Invest you must 2) Time is your friend 3) Impulse is your enemy | 4) Basic arithmetic works 5) Stick to simplicity 6) Stay the course

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gdetore
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Post by gdetore » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:31 pm

Sorry, I can't find the thread. The topic was about an investment decision so I think it was on the personal finance section, and an older doctor and younger doctor had a brief back and forth about a comment the younger dr made about never wanting to retire, he (she?) loved it so much, why would a doctor ever retire etc. Sorry, if I bump into it again I'll come back and post.

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gdetore
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Post by gdetore » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:55 pm

1. When do you expect to retire? Why?
As soon as possible. I am 55, taught 25 years-half in inner city (Richmond, CA and half in suburban paradise (Marin/Larkspur CA). Health reasons, cynicism, disillusionment with the test factory system being put in place with "no child left interested, er, behind)"
2. When did you retire? Why?
3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
Without tenure you are doomed to be a loaf of white bread as a teacher-every parent, student, politician, administrator, coworker has the right way to teach, the right skills to teach, the right politics, the right facts. To avoid getting fired (without tenure) you have to be so bland you bore even yourself -at least teaching literature and history, my two areas). Example: try teaching the Middle East, Palestine, Israel, American Execeptionalism vs American Imperialism, on and on. One year I had a parent complain because I didn't teach enough Holocaust. The same year and same class a parent complained I taught too much Holocaust. Multiply this by every topic.
4. What role did money play in any of your decisions?
None until Richmond District declared bankruptcy, teachers got a 9% pay cut, and it went downhill from there 1988 after the 1987 crash). Then financial advisors putting me and other teachers into unsuitable investments. Bogleheads and Vanguard rescued me, better late than never.
5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why?
Better: technology makes finding new ways of teaching incredibly easier and more satisfying. I can use Youtube to show FDRs inaugural address on the lcd projector. When I first started teaching I would have to reserve a 35 mm film six months in advance and hope I could thread the darn thing and it didn't jam, as class watched the frozen film heat up, smoke and burn.
Worse: The need for accountability on part of students and teachers has dumbed down what is taught to be easy enough to measure. I read somewhere that "everything that can be measured is not necessarily worth knowing, and everything that is worth knowing cannot be measured"

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
Didn't until 1999, so have enjoyed no return for ten years, thank you Wall Street
7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
I feel sorry that they can't have better benefits but wonder how hard they would work if there was no financial incentive. I work weekends grading and planning (free). How many other people work for free as a matter of course?
8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts)
Despicable (as described in many Bogle threads).Teachers are trusting and easy marks for the sharks. It took me six months to transfer my 403b from MFS to Vanguard in 2008, active and obnoxious effort on my part.
9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
I love how the sea of faces in Sept slowly comes into focus as I get to know the kids, from one dimensional to three dimensional. I know what kids can and can't do, how to go with the flow, help 30 x 5 classes of kids one on one.
Negative: it's hard to remember things. with all the interruptions you rarely end up where you started
10. The parents at my school donate about 600,000. per year to pta (1500 students in school). Parents are smart, accomplished and have sent to me the best and brightest. It's wonderful. But the students have a strange sense of entitlement, lack of interest in anything but the best grade, not the best ideas, and like a previous poster mentioned, are expert at texting, im ing, and going on the interest with devices hidden on their laps (our school has schoolwide internet access). Sometimes I can't blame them-at teacher meetings I find myself staring at my iphone, checking the boglehead forum or other news.
Conclusion: I'm glad Wall Street has become the whipping boy and taken the heat of teachers for a while as the source of all America's problems!

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gdetore
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Post by gdetore » Tue Jun 30, 2009 1:55 pm

1. When do you expect to retire? Why?
As soon as possible. I am 55, taught 25 years-half in inner city (Richmond, CA and half in suburban paradise (Marin/Larkspur CA). Health reasons, cynicism, disillusionment with the test factory system being put in place with "no child left interested, er, behind)"
2. When did you retire? Why?
3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
Without tenure you are doomed to be a loaf of white bread as a teacher-every parent, student, politician, administrator, coworker has the right way to teach, the right skills to teach, the right politics, the right facts. To avoid getting fired (without tenure) you have to be so bland you bore even yourself -at least teaching literature and history, my two areas). Example: try teaching the Middle East, Palestine, Israel, American Execeptionalism vs American Imperialism, on and on. One year I had a parent complain because I didn't teach enough Holocaust. The same year and same class a parent complained I taught too much Holocaust. Multiply this by every topic.
4. What role did money play in any of your decisions?
None until Richmond District declared bankruptcy, teachers got a 9% pay cut, and it went downhill from there 1988 after the 1987 crash). Then financial advisors putting me and other teachers into unsuitable investments. Bogleheads and Vanguard rescued me, better late than never.
5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why?
Better: technology makes finding new ways of teaching incredibly easier and more satisfying. I can use Youtube to show FDRs inaugural address on the lcd projector. When I first started teaching I would have to reserve a 35 mm film six months in advance and hope I could thread the darn thing and it didn't jam, as class watched the frozen film heat up, smoke and burn.
Worse: The need for accountability on part of students and teachers has dumbed down what is taught to be easy enough to measure. I read somewhere that "everything that can be measured is not necessarily worth knowing, and everything that is worth knowing cannot be measured"

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
Didn't until 1999, so have enjoyed no return for ten years, thank you Wall Street
7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
I feel sorry that they can't have better benefits but wonder how hard they would work if there was no financial incentive. I work weekends grading and planning (free). How many other people work for free as a matter of course?
8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts)
Despicable (as described in many Bogle threads).Teachers are trusting and easy marks for the sharks. It took me six months to transfer my 403b from MFS to Vanguard in 2008, active and obnoxious effort on my part.
9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
I love how the sea of faces in Sept slowly comes into focus as I get to know the kids, from one dimensional to three dimensional. I know what kids can and can't do, how to go with the flow, help 30 x 5 classes of kids one on one.
Negative: it's hard to remember things. with all the interruptions you rarely end up where you started
10. The parents at my school donate about 600,000. per year to pta (1500 students in school). Parents are smart, accomplished and have sent to me the best and brightest. It's wonderful. But the students have a strange sense of entitlement, lack of interest in anything but the best grade, not the best ideas, and like a previous poster mentioned, are expert at texting, im ing, and going on the interest with devices hidden on their laps (our school has schoolwide internet access). Sometimes I can't blame them-at teacher meetings I find myself staring at my iphone, checking the boglehead forum or other news.
Conclusion: I'm glad Wall Street has become the whipping boy and taken the heat of teachers for a while as the source of all America's problems!

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Post by mlebuf » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:10 pm

1. When do you expect to retire? Why? - N/A

2. When did you retire? Why? – I retired from teaching college at age 47 in 1989 after 20 years as an asst.-assoc.-full professor. The reason why was that after they added accumulated sick leave, my university pension was about 49 percent of my 9 month salary and I could continue university health care coverage for life at very low rates. I saw little point in continuing to teach for half of my former income. I could have taken a job at another university as many of my colleagues did but opted not to do so.

3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to
pass on to others about your experience?
– I taught 18 of the 20 years as a university prof. and taught another year as a grad assistant while getting my Ph.D. Teaching is a wonderful way to make a living. Working for university bureaucrats is awful. As Balzac noted, “A bureaucracy is a giant mechanism operated by pygmies.” Also, I found that writing mundane articles for "The Journal of Unreadable Obscurity" and serving on the University Committee for the Terminally Indecisive were activities that contained all the joys of a root canal.

4. What role did money play in any of your decisions? – I decided to go into college teaching because I thought I would enjoy the challenge, the autonomy and the joy of working with young people in a positive environment. I didn’t expect to get rich but I knew I wouldn’t starve either. I also liked the option of taking 3 months off in the summers to do other things. I used my time off to develop a second career writing business books and speaking to businesses.

5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why? – I’ve been gone 20 years and feel totally unqualified to give an informed answer.

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension? – I just put away as much as I could as long as I could. I used a financial planner for the first 8/9 years after retirement. Then, I found Vanguard and moved everything there when it was tax efficient to do so.

7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits? – If they think teaching is such a good deal, then tell them to go back to school, acquire the necessary credentials and go into teaching. Last I heard, the opportunity is there for everyone.

8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts) – I didn’t even think about them when I was teaching. I just put aside the most into tax deferred plans that I could.

9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age? – Inasmuch as I retired early, age and health problems played no role in my decision to retire.
Last edited by mlebuf on Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Best wishes, | Michael | | Invest your time actively and your money passively.

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Re: Boglehead teachers speak truths...

Post by simplesimon » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:19 pm

EmergDoc wrote:
gdetore wrote:Another thread was hijacked into an interesting back and forth between young and not young doctors-when to retire or not, satisfaction, etc. Partly about retirement savings, but more about expectations vs experience. I thought I'd try to start a thread for teachers new and old.'
How bout a link to that doctor thread?
http://www.bogleheads.org/forum/viewtop ... 1246315031

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Post by statsguy » Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:54 pm

1. When do you expect to retire? Why?
I have a bad case of arthritis and can no longer work the long hours needed to be a good teacher and researcher so I am retiring in two years at the age of 57. Next year I am on sabbatical and must return for one year after that.

2. When did you retire? Why?
N/A

3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
I have been teaching since 1978. I have loved every year of my career as a researcher and teacher. I have taught at Texas, Iowa, and Rhode Island. Currently I am a full professor of Statistics in the California State University system.

4. What role did money play in any of your decisions?
We have had enough to retire for a few years, my wife retired in 1991 when she was 37. Money, other than having enough, is not a reason to retire.

5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why?
In California it is getting worse. The class size in my general education classes has increased from 30-35 to 90 in the past three years. California has no money.

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
Our first investment was TIAA-CREF Traditional Annuity. I have kidded statsgal over the years that our first investment should have been stocks, but it turned out OK. We have always saved and began investing in a taxable account in 1990, that was the year we paid off our first house. The taxable account is now about 50% of our portfolio. We have always max out our 457 and ROTHs... but somehow have been able to save more in taxable.

7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
Teachers have never been overpaid. Many of our friends do not understand why I have turned down 6 figure salaries to stay in education. I will probably never see a six figure salary.

8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts)
403b plans suck. OK not all of them, but all the ones I have ever had. We invested in several over the years. I took a 5% penalty rather than wait out the holding period and moved it all to Vanguard in 2003. It was a very good decision.

9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
I think teaching keeps you mentally sharper. Teaching for me is like acting. I tell myself a joke on the way to class and think about putting on a show. When I say a show I mean I want to teach the class something, and during the lecture there is always something we have done before to recall or something that ties into the news of the day etc.... and I try work that into the lecture to keep the students interested and participating/

9. DON'T MENTION REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, CONSERVATIVES, LIBERALS or we'll be locked up!
Am I free to mention that I am a registered GREEN? :-) If not then I will delete it. ***That is one of the things that marks a career in academia... act first and if necessary ask for forgiveness later.***

Stats

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Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:46 am

statsguy wrote:

Am I free to mention that I am a registered GREEN? :-) If not then I will delete it. ***That is one of the things that marks a career in academia... act first and if necessary ask for forgiveness later.***

Stats
I used to think green party was a bunch of loopy radicals.

Now I think they were 20 years ahead of their time, and still are. Where they are now, other parties will be in 20 years time. And I still think they are a bunch of loopy radicals ;-).

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Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:55 am

gdetore wrote: Parents are smart, accomplished and have sent to me the best and brightest. It's wonderful. But the students have a strange sense of entitlement, lack of interest in anything but the best grade, not the best ideas, and like a previous poster mentioned, are expert at texting, im ing, and going on the interest with devices hidden on their laps (our school has schoolwide internet access). Sometimes I can't blame them-at teacher meetings I find myself staring at my iphone, checking the boglehead forum or other news.
Conclusion: I'm glad Wall Street has become the whipping boy and taken the heat of teachers for a while as the source of all America's problems!
I know quite a few teachers or parents with teenagers in the UK and Canada.

Being a teacher in US sounds very much like in UK. Either you are in a motivated (usually private school) which ranks itself and with parents on one criterion: percentage of 6th Form admitted to Oxbridge (Oxford and Cambridge) OR you are in the state system which is all about meeting targets, filling out boxes and adhering to the 23 different goals of the National Curriculum. Like being stuck in the Soviet Union.

As to bright students: absolutely (I don't teach them directly but I know the type). Profound sense of entitlement, quite self-centred, more so than the ordinary 'teenagerness' ornerariness. And the capacity to self-distract and all the toys to so do. Trained at exams, skilled at 'working the system' but not particularly intellectually curious.

A friend of mine taught these kids at one of the top 10 private liberal arts colleges in America. He loved them on one level, but made all the same comments. Eventually he changed careers.

Rapt - by Winnifred Gallifrey

http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/Book ... 00,00.html

not as good a book as it appeared (obvious in parts) but a good summary of the latest research on attention (and it ain't pretty: Blackberries, IM etc. are all disasters). I see the culture of distraction in our managers.

The kids know they are there to academically succeed and attend prestigious institutions of post secondary education. If they do not do so, the parents (and the students) tend to blame the teacher and the school.

The only exceptions are the children of immigrants, whose parents tend to believe that if the kids are failing, it is because they are not working hard enough, and who have cultures that respect teachers and teaching. You see people come to the parent-teacher meetings who barely speak English, who have spent 18 hour days at the restaurant, the corner store or the dry cleaning shop, yet whose kids are quiet, obedient, have done their homework (as well as working 4 hours at the family business in the evenings).

In Anglo-Saxon cultures, we have turned teachers into another glorified service provider that we blame for other failings in our society.

How can we possibly educate kids who have TVs in their own bedrooms? Whose families never sit down together for dinner? Whose parents never read and discuss the newspaper with them? Who watch Reality TV?

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Post by VictoriaF » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:28 am

Valuethinker wrote:Rapt - by Winnifred Gallifrey

http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/Book ... 00,00.html

not as good a book as it appeared (obvious in parts) but a good summary of the latest research on attention (and it ain't pretty: Blackberries, IM etc. are all disasters). I see the culture of distraction in our managers.
I attended Gallifrey's lecture organized by the Smithsonian and was not too impressed with the presentation. I intuitively agree with the harm of multitasking, but I also wonder if this is an artifact of my lack of appropriately placed synapses.

Victoria

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Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:51 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Rapt - by Winnifred Gallifrey

http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/Book ... 00,00.html

not as good a book as it appeared (obvious in parts) but a good summary of the latest research on attention (and it ain't pretty: Blackberries, IM etc. are all disasters). I see the culture of distraction in our managers.
I attended Gallifrey's lecture organized by the Smithsonian and was not too impressed with the presentation. I intuitively agree with the harm of multitasking, but I also wonder if this is an artifact of my lack of appropriately placed synapses.

Victoria
The only exceptions are the children of immigrants, whose parents tend to believe that if the kids are failing, it is because they are not working hard enough, and who have cultures that respect teachers and teaching. You see people come to the parent-teacher meetings who barely speak English, who have spent 18 hour days at the restaurant, the corner store or the dry cleaning shop, yet whose kids are quiet, obedient, have done their homework (as well as working 4 hours at the family business in the evenings).

In Anglo-Saxon cultures, we have turned teachers into another glorified service provider that we blame for other failings in our society.

How can we possibly educate kids who have TVs in their own bedrooms? Whose families never sit down together for dinner? Whose parents never read and discuss the newspaper with them? Who watch Reality TV?
Besides my parents' Chinese dry cleaner, I had you in mind when I wrote those words above ;-).

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Post by Valuethinker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:52 am

VictoriaF wrote:
Valuethinker wrote:Rapt - by Winnifred Gallifrey

http://us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/Book ... 00,00.html

not as good a book as it appeared (obvious in parts) but a good summary of the latest research on attention (and it ain't pretty: Blackberries, IM etc. are all disasters). I see the culture of distraction in our managers.
I attended Gallifrey's lecture organized by the Smithsonian and was not too impressed with the presentation. I intuitively agree with the harm of multitasking, but I also wonder if this is an artifact of my lack of appropriately placed synapses.

Victoria
Martial arts teachers teach to do one thing, and do it very well.

Then one learns to do one thing, and then another, and then another, in very quick succession ;-).

But even walking up the street yakking on the mobile, I notice how unaware I am of my surroundings.

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Post by teacher » Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:40 am

Valuethinker wrote:
The only exceptions are the children of immigrants, whose parents tend to believe that if the kids are failing, it is because they are not working hard enough, and who have cultures that respect teachers and teaching. You see people come to the parent-teacher meetings who barely speak English, who have spent 18 hour days at the restaurant, the corner store or the dry cleaning shop, yet whose kids are quiet, obedient, have done their homework (as well as working 4 hours at the family business in the evenings).
In October of 1999, a counselor walked into my classroom with a new student. She was timid and appeared scared. She had just immigrated from Ukraine and knew only one word of English, “pizza.” Since we have no accommodations for English Language Learners at our school, I was chosen to help her succeed due to my background in language acquisition and my ability to give individual attention. I am so grateful I was chosen. This girl, and a handful of boys and girls from Eastern Europe that followed, changed my life. They were well educated in their homelands so my task was to access that knowledge with the new language. It was very easy because they were so motivated.

I learned so much about their culture and life experiences, and their willingness to attend to instruction and to study for hours every night made my job feel like play. Their families invited my family to birthday parties, anniversary dinners, weddings, and a Christmas play. After meals, they serenaded us with signing and piano music. They gave me gifts of homemade cakes and food. At Christmas, Olga’s family came to our home and sang Christmas carols to our family. One night I was driving home from work, and it was already dark. Bogdan, from Ukraine, called and asked if I would like a salmon he had caught that day. I drove to his apartment parking lot and found his entire family waiting for me to present me with the newly caught salmon. (After 8 months, Bogdan had learned enough English to take classes at the community college.) These students are directed to programs off campus now, so I do not have the opportunity to meet and teach them when they first arrive.

Teacher

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cinghiale
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Post by cinghiale » Wed Jul 01, 2009 1:40 pm

1. When do you expect to retire? Why?
I hope to retire in 7-8 years upon turning 60 or 61. As much as I like my job, it is "what I do," not "who I am." There is so much else that I want to do, see, and accomplish. Though I would consider seeking emeritus status and teaching a course or two each year past formal retirement, the full teaching load is too demanding in and of itself, and it becomes more so with every passing year. I want to have time (while I still have the health and energy!) to do other things.

2. When did you retire? Why?
n/a

3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
I have taught since 1994, and full time since 1996. Academic life has been perfect for me (despite the stresses and administrative load), though I recognize that I ended up at a good, supportive university with wonderful colleagues. With a different campus culture and departmental dynamic, it could have been so very different. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this job to others. There are far too few open positions being sought by an increasingly large applicant pool. Tenure may soon become a dinosaur. Each year adds some new responsibility. It is hard to look at all of this and encourage someone to pursue doctoral studies.

4. What role did money play in any of your decisions?
Money played no role in deciding to return to grad school or in accepting my current position. As has been mentioned already by other posters, having "enough" will be a factor in considering retirement at 60.

5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why?
I think it is pulling in both directions. Worse because we are being asked to do more with less. (I am at a teaching university with a comparatively full 4-3 teaching load.) Worse because I am a print-and-page teacher grappling with a screen-and-keyboard culture of learners. Better because this current generation of 18 - 21 year olds is a good group and (most) have a good sense of why they are in college.

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
I have maxed out my 403 and 457 in addition to the built-in 401 plan. I opted out of the state plan (if I mentioned which state, you would understand why...) and went with the optional plans. Planning? Hah! Until I ran into the Bogleheads, I was at the mercy of whim and whichever newsletter writer caught my eye. It has taken the last three years to truly develop and implement a "plan" that integrates my work retirement plan(s) with my wife's retirement plan and our joint savings.

7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
OK, I admit that the "Oh, you're off for the summer" line rankles, since I have spent most every summer doing research and writing. The aforementioned teaching load does not leave much leftover time for "scholarship" during the academic year.
Past that, I choose not to respond to any put-downs, whether overt or implied.

8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts)
I went with a higher cost provider for quite a while, but moved into TIAA-CREF once the reality of fees and expenses over time finally sunk in.

9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
So far I have not felt any discernable decline. However, as a tenured full professor, both the workload and the attendant stress have lessened somewhat with the years and the rising in rank.

9. DON'T MENTION REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, CONSERVATIVES, LIBERALS or we'll be locked up! ''
Hey, wasn't the last question #9?? Is this one of those mental acuity tests? (Did I pass?)

-- Cinghiale

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gdetore
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cheating too

Post by gdetore » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:03 pm

Cingailh wins the plastic apple for catching the two 9 questions. Now I have to hand grade the scantron (inside joke for teachers).
Although sweeping conclusions about immigrant students (high school for me) makes me nervous, my experience has also confirmed the pleasures of teaching children of immigrants-better behavior, better work ethic, more ambition, more respect for teacher (I'd settle just for that one!).
But it also depends on the socio-economic background of the parents-well educated immigrants tend to have children who will have better success at assimilating academically.
I was lucky to be able to teach a US History course to a class of immigrants. Any problems with language and writing were far outweighed by the pleasure of meeting their parents and the delight of teaching to kids who were really interested in the topic (maybe to help pass citizenship test, but still).
On the other hand, I have lost count of the parent conferences with parents who, like their offspring, express outrage if an A or B is not given, extra credit offered (even after finals in June!) etc. A bit dispiriting. "I can't get into... if you give me a C." Umm, why would you want to get into a school that probably is too hard for you?
CHEATING TOO.....
For anyone who is still reading, I have a tangent question about cheating. I had a student who was caught changing the answers on his test using an answer key. He suffered some minor consequences, but got into West Point partly because the cheating did not result in a more public accounting or grade drop. Do you think he deserves the second chance, and should have gotten into West Point? Or did I play a part in allowing a flawed young person into a system that demands utmost integrity and honesty? I guess I will never know, but it makes me nervous thinking he might be a general some day, and expressed no remorse at cheating, just anger at getting caught "everybody does it" .

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gdetore
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Post by gdetore » Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:03 pm

double post. sorry

tfbandie
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Re: cheating too

Post by tfbandie » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:33 pm

gdetore wrote:Cingailh wins the plastic apple for catching the two 9 questions. Now I have to hand grade the scantron (inside joke for teachers).
Although sweeping conclusions about immigrant students (high school for me) makes me nervous, my experience has also confirmed the pleasures of teaching children of immigrants-better behavior, better work ethic, more ambition, more respect for teacher (I'd settle just for that one!).
But it also depends on the socio-economic background of the parents-well educated immigrants tend to have children who will have better success at assimilating academically.
I was lucky to be able to teach a US History course to a class of immigrants. Any problems with language and writing were far outweighed by the pleasure of meeting their parents and the delight of teaching to kids who were really interested in the topic (maybe to help pass citizenship test, but still).
On the other hand, I have lost count of the parent conferences with parents who, like their offspring, express outrage if an A or B is not given, extra credit offered (even after finals in June!) etc. A bit dispiriting. "I can't get into... if you give me a C." Umm, why would you want to get into a school that probably is too hard for you?
CHEATING TOO.....
For anyone who is still reading, I have a tangent question about cheating. I had a student who was caught changing the answers on his test using an answer key. He suffered some minor consequences, but got into West Point partly because the cheating did not result in a more public accounting or grade drop. Do you think he deserves the second chance, and should have gotten into West Point? Or did I play a part in allowing a flawed young person into a system that demands utmost integrity and honesty? I guess I will never know, but it makes me nervous thinking he might be a general some day, and expressed no remorse at cheating, just anger at getting caught "everybody does it" .
I'm going to respond to this first then the questions. He hould not have gotten into west point. Had you named college, I'd be more lenient. But one of the most important things at the academies is your honor. From what my friends have witnessed at the academy hey went to (Coast Guard) anyone caught cheating was kicked out on the spot, no matter how slight the offense was. If you feel strongly, I believe in writing a letter to West point with the proof of cheating, and he might even have his acceptance rejected.

tfbandie
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Re: Boglehead teachers speak truths...

Post by tfbandie » Wed Jul 01, 2009 7:46 pm

1. When do you expect to retire? Why? 32 years

3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience? I have taught high school for 3 years, mostly Physics. I want teachers, administrators, parents, school board, voters to keep in mind one question: What is the purpose of a high school education? I find it is a question rarely asked or considered

4. What role did money play in any of your decisions? Well hopefully I'll have my pension by then so money will be somewhat, but acting in a positive manner
5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why? Hard to say with only a few years under my belt and all at different schools. But I will say I am very excited about the technology and the use in education

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension? I'm maxing out my roth first. Once I reach that (hopefully next year) I'll start in on a 403b as well as other investments like college funds, home improvements.

7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits? Depends on the person and my mood. I might point out that over 50% of new teachers quit within 5 years, or I might mention the extra 10-20 hours of prepping/grading done at home per week, or that summers especially for new teachers are filled with PT jobs and grad classes (I'm taking 5 courses this summer)


8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts) Don't know yet, but we did get a notification saying Vanguard has signed on so wel'll see what happens :D

9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?

Sometimes I feel I'm mentally not progressing: I miss the engagement of debates at college and the expansion of ideas. But one thing I've learned in teaching is to focus on what ails you, and turn it into a positive. Now I have students do current events for science and really dive into it. And I get joy from watching them learn vast new things (eg after explaining that a google would be about all the atoms in a mol of universes, then hearing them come in the next day saying they had trouble sleeping because they couldn't stop thinking about how big a google is and how small an atom is.)

hopefully teaching will get easier with age, I know I'm still in the settling in phase and hope to hit my stride in a year or two now that I'm contracted and have my position at a school I love

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AThiker
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Post by AThiker » Wed Jul 01, 2009 11:32 pm

1. When do you expect to retire? Why?
I'd like to do so early, say, switching to PT work at 40. Key will be keeping expenses low. Why? I want to spend more time painting and hiking.

3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
I've been teaching English in Japan for 4 years at businesses and elementary schools. I have a lot of practical advice regarding classroom activities and methods, but not a store of general experiential wisdom I can pass on to others (yet).

4. What role did money play in any of your decisions?
I got an MEd before coming to Japan, arrived hoping to find a university position, but so far no luck. I'm happy enough making ~43k at a job where others with no academic credentials earn the same, but still, I'd like to earn more, have some time for research and publication, and have more vacation time with my family. My nice living situation, a young child whom I want to experience both parents' cultures, and DW's nearby and loving extended family keeps us from moving back to the US too soon.

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
No pension other than what's taken out by the government each paycheck as 'pension insurance'. I do save/invest around 20% of gross income in boglehead fashion.

7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
I've experienced none of the above. Besides, I feel teaching is demanding work and the rewards are not what many people (the critics) would consider comensurate (I think they're incalculable) if they actualy tried teaching. I am more than happy to complain about my own lack of vacation time, not-so-great benefits, and relatively low pay; if I just told a critic the actual numbers I think they'd let go of my leg. :lol:

9a. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
I am interested in posters' responses to this question because, like any job, teaching does exact a toll on one's overall wellbeing that can be quite high. I know my mental wellbeing suffers from being away from my family sometimes 15+ hours a day. However, interacting with my students and seeing their English improve can be very fulfilling and energizing. As I get older, of course, I have less surplus energy when I finally get home, but exercising, eating well, and time in nature are reinvigorating. I can perhaps forsee a decline in mental acuity over the coming decades... :P

9b. I have yet to teach English to the men who drive around in black vans blaring nationalistic anthems and diatribe. They could probably get by with a few simple English phrases that I prefer not to mention! :D

AThiker

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legio XX
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Boglehead teachers speak truths . . .

Post by legio XX » Thu Jul 02, 2009 8:17 am

1. When do you expect to retire? Why?
- When they stop giving me sections to teach.
- a) need the $$ and b) it's probably a good idea not to become a total stackrat, which is what I might do otherwise. Once had an idea about payback to the profession, but seems less tenable these days.

2. When did you retire? Why?
- I've been semi-retired since the day I defended the diss. Either I do a lousy interview or they noticed I was a bit older than the other candidates.

3. How long have you taught and what did you learn or do you want to pass on to others about your experience?
- taught my first class in '82; my published work will have to speak for itself

4. What role did money play in any of your decisions?
- doctorates in humanities, especially at an advanced age, are a luxury purchase. I'm glad to have the Rolls, but no way it qualifies as an investment. OTOH, learning routine business related programming 40+ years ago might have gotten me financial security, but at what cost?

5. Is teaching career getting better or worse? Why?
- 15-20 years ago I enjoyed it more, but I was in a very different situation then. I had a few students half a step behind me in the library. These days they pretend that being ignorant of the use of a library is a sign of their techno-savvy. Since they lack any critical skills, they buy the pop media stereotype of themselves and don't even know they're being caricatured. And they get all annoyed when proper citation practice for web-based material is explained. I suppose this is a good sign. some of them are sharp enough to realize this largely kills cheating.
- I was a lousy, lazy student way back when. Maybe the universe has a sense of humor - rooms full of me but expecting an A for it?
- this teaching to the test crap - like many things that were once good ideas - has produced kids who outright resent being required to think
- not from my personal experience, but those who go into the public school system these days earn their pay before they ever enter the classroom. <rant>

6. How did you plan/invest aside from/in addition to the teacher pension?
- pension? OK, some of the schools match a bit for a 401K or 403B, but it's mostly my own effort. I've funded a traditional IRA for over 25 years. Obviously a late start. A small inheritance helps the projection, but not much.

7. How do you respond to people who think you are overpaid, have too much vacation, and are a bloodsucking public employee causing economic crisis with your cushy, safe benefits?
- "Please perform for me a physical impossibility."
- "Your position is anatomically impossible."
- "Sit and rotate," delivered with appropriate demonstrative gesture

8. What was your experience with 403b plans (best to not mention specific school districts)
- hey, a little extra $$ and enforced saving

9. How did body age/problems/health balance with mental acuity/accumulated wisdom in your decision to keep teaching-does teaching get harder or easier as you age?
- One of the problems with part-time teaching is that it often has to be done in a number of places. This can result in hauling around a lot of stuff. In my case the hauling is done on public transportation. Worst case scenario: materials for two different locations, may or may not include materials to be graded or to return after grading in addition to classroom stuff, food, workout clothes, some of my own work to look at while students are not showing up for office hours, necessary shopping. I can't haul this stuff as easily as I once did.
- workout clothes - as I get older, "Use it lose it!" gets truer and truer.

9. DON'T MENTION REPUBLICANS, DEMOCRATS, CONSERVATIVES, LIBERALS or we'll be locked up! ':lol:'
- A plague on all your houses?!

Thinking about retirement has brought out the grumpy old prof. Sorry. Will someone start a 'great things about my students" thread?

Vic

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