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Teaching? Graphic Design?

Squisheee's Photo Squisheee 12 Jun 2019

Hi Lovelies,

Apologies in advance about the long post. Tired out mumma here, pondering a career change and looking for some advice.

I am after open, honest, realistic advice about whether a Primary/ Kindergarten career is a good fit for an introverted, shy, self-deprecating, idealistic perfectionist with low self esteem and anxiety issues? :omg: :omg: :omg: (sounds alot worse written down!!)

I have always aspired to complete a Bachelor's Degree in Primary Education, however due to long-term health issues have been unable to do so despite several attempts. I eventually decided to establish my personal life (wedding, house and baby) before returning to finish my studies. I'm now trying to decide what direction to take to improve our financial position and find a personally fulfilling career.

Along the way I have constantly pondered over returning to study. However I have equally doubted whether my personality is ultimately a good fit for the job, yet I can't seem to let the idea go. As a classic introvert I enjoy socializing and engaging with others, however I require lots of alone time to recharge. I find polite small talk at work to be exhausting. I obviously worry that days filled with teaching, mentoring, talking, meetings, planning, student/staff/parent interaction would leave me too drained to enjoy my own family.

The things that draw me to the job are the idealistic aspects of it - changing students lives, inspiring the future, helping disadvantaged students build better futures for themselves, nurturing kindness and empathy in the next generation. The creativity - decorating a classroom, creating motivational spaces for students, etc.The little light bulb moments.I value the little things in life enormously and place great importance on finding a working career that "makes a difference" or has "purpose".

I know any teacher will roll their eyes at this comment, but the drastic difference in wage compared to my current salary would change our financial lives enormously.  

So what are your thoughts? Any teachers out there with personalities like mine that are thriving? Struggling? Any advice from spouses/ children/ friends of teachers?

Another avenue I have been pondering over the last few years is Graphic Design - something I was. greatly interested in when completing VCE but was discouraged from pursuing due to well meaning teachers/ parents encouraging me to pursue a more financially lucrative career.

I would love to have my own little online business designing stationary and printables from home.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks so much for your time!
Edited by Squisheee, 12 June 2019 - 01:51 PM.
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EsmeLennox's Photo EsmeLennox 12 Jun 2019

I am quite introverted and sound quite similar to you. I've been teaching 20+ years. Sometimes it can be draining, and early childhood where parents are especially demanding and always 'just wanting a chat' or 'I've got a quick question' would probably be more so.

Have you thought about using your interest in Graphic Design for teaching?

I wonder if secondary school might be a better fit for you? Do you hold an undergraduate degree of any kind?
You still have the demands, but timetables mean that communications with parents/other staff etc can be more managed, and parents don't tend to hang around at the classroom door at the beginning/end of the day.

I find staff interaction in schools can be as much or as little as you like, really. However, collegiate support is really powerful and beneficial.
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smilinggirl's Photo smilinggirl 12 Jun 2019

You sound just like me and I have recently commenced my new career in being a kinder assistant and I love it. I volunteered two days a week whilst studying to see how I would go and it didn't change my mind.

Some days are really full on and I aporeciate the quiet drive home and some days I feel like I have had too many children hanging off me but it all balances out.

I find reading to the children interesting as they tend to all want to sit in my lap, lean against me etc so if I am not feeling up to that then I don't offer to read. But everything else is good and just hearing them talk about me to their parents, or say my name or want my help is very satisfying.
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Crazyone26989's Photo Crazyone26989 12 Jun 2019

I am a teacher but a total extrovert so can’t help with that. However, a close friend is in graphic design and gets paid waaaaay less than I do so if that is a concern then maybe look into the expected salary for a graphic designer.
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Cimbom's Photo Cimbom 12 Jun 2019

It depends how much money you want to make. Unless you’re really lucky or have amazing connections, graphic design doesn’t pay well at all. Websites like elance and fiverr have lots of designers on there working for a couple of dollars per job - lots of the competition is now from people in developing countries who are prepared to do the work for far less. There’s also websites like Canva who have free or very low cost customisable templates. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go for it if it’s your dream but it’s a hard slog
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seemingly's Photo seemingly 12 Jun 2019

A half-way teaching idea is to try your hand at being a teacher aide. You get all those moments of helping kids and seeing the "aha" moments, but without the need to converse with parents. The pay is less though, of course.

If you're handy making visually appealing curriculum resources, you could try TeachersPayTeachers as a hobby.
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onetrick's Photo onetrick 12 Jun 2019

We also have art assistants at our school? They clean up materials, order supplies, put up displays and generally assist in classrooms (I'm sure they do more, but this is from a non art teacher looking on!). Again, ES pay so not as high as teachers but literally no parent interaction, no reports and could do a small etsy shop type business on the side as your hours would be 9-3ish?
Librarians at school also make heaps of pretty displays :)
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onetrick's Photo onetrick 12 Jun 2019

Sorry, but agree that you sound a lot like me and I'm a secondary teacher :) I was also tossing up between graphic design when I was in high school.
I love it, and I have a role at school so less face to face teaching (I do careers counseling so lots of one on one work with students), but an art teacher could be ideal for you if you wanted to combine 2 passions?
I'd always encourage anyone who genuinely wants to teach to pursue it. The world needs more good quality teachers :)
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Dianalynch's Photo Dianalynch 12 Jun 2019

I know lots of teachers who are introverts, they love teaching (and are very good at it!) and generally need a lot of time to themselves towards the end of term / during holidays.
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Expelliarmus's Photo Expelliarmus 12 Jun 2019

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I am after open, honest, realistic advice about whether a Primary/ Kindergarten career is a good fit for an introverted, shy, self-deprecating, idealistic perfectionist with low self esteem and anxiety issues?
It would only work if you wanted to work on the shy, self-deprecating and idealistic perfectionist tendencies.

Also, the staff making the prettiest/most creative classroom displays are the unmarried/childless ones. Those of us with a family have more rudimentary offerings.

Nothing about your personality etc you've liste should stop you but it does not sound like the primary gig would be an easy one for you. But do it and see what happens. Prac teaching can help you decide perhaps.
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José's Photo José 12 Jun 2019

i would think the low self esteem and anxiety you mentioned would make it hard.
you only need to hang about on EB to see teachers criticized for all sorts of things. and many parents first reaction is to go in with all guns blazing
i do think a kinder teacher needs to be able to put themselves out there a little bit too. you need to teach every thing so be willing to sing and dance etc.
ive also heard it said that a teacher needs to be able to act.
the day of a kinder teacher is long...you cant even go to the bathroom just whenever you want.
however as youve identified it can also be very rewarding.
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Meepy's Photo Meepy 12 Jun 2019

You need to have the skin of a rhino and not take things personally as you are the venting board for students, parents and staff. I teach secondary as I don't want to deal with snot, vomit, wee or poo - you will catch multiple illnesses at the beginning of your career.  You must like people constantly touching you, which younger kids tend to do. Some days you won't get to eat, will find it difficult to squeeze in time to go to the toilet or have a cuppa. Reporting takes ages and there is a lot of work done at home - this happens for teachers of all ages. However you will probably adore the kids and it can be so rewarding when they succeed or just understand concepts.
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