I'm one of those teachers that make NYC Educator unhappy because I tell my students to consider any career but one in education. Don't get me wrong, I chose the path that was right for me but that was a lifetime ago when teachers were allowed to teach. I taught all levels of math, from remedial arithmetic through calculus. I taught gifted students and students with IQ's below 50. I taught them skills they needed for life and I helped them learn to think I taught them to believe in themselves and I taught them there was nothing wrong with failing, as long as they gave it their best. I taught them not to give up, but, after failing, to take the course again. I didn't have to teach algebra to students who had no desire or ability to go to college.
Teaching in the 21at century has nothing in common with the teaching I did in the dark ages. We hand the kids a calculator and throw arithmetic to the wind. The kids come to college and cannot manipulate simple fractions or signed numbers, skills they need to move on. They can't solve a word problem. They can't do any more than memorize and regurgitate. The beauty of mathematics is lost as they struggle to perform operations they should have mastered in elementary or junior high school. And, this emphasis on passing everyone has taught the kids how easy it is to pass without doing any work. A boy told me he passed math in high school because his teacher added trivia questions to every exam. They are used to test corrections and credit recovery and everything else that will give a credit for the least amount of work possible. It's not only math teachers who have problems either. A guy told me recently his law school students couldn't write a decent paper.
I loved teaching. I loved making my subject come alive and watching the faces of students as they learned math was something they could succeed in. Teaching is no longer like this. In addition, there is the constant threat of U ratings and ATR status. There is the constant complaint of how teachers are responsible for all the ills of education. There is constant stress from students, parents, administrators, media and politicians. I loved teaching but if I had to start over again today, I would choose a different career. I'm happy my children are not teachers.