Aspie Career Tip #1: Avoid teaching jobs

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bombergal
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08 Feb 2009, 1:58 am

I did a term position as an itinerant music teacher last year in four schools and I battled with management all year as it was really overwhelming, but I also achieved a lot too. I wrestled every day whether or not I should tell my co-workers of my condition, then I decided not to. There were two students who had Asperger's out of about 300 so maybe my experiences could have helped them. My term contract was not renewed for this year and I think it's mainly because of my poor class management skills.

I am now a substitute teacher and it's good because I can go to a classroom always on a trial basis and decide whether or not I'll return to that school (and believe me, there's been a few schools that are gong shows at best). My management skills are improving now but I do have to work on eye contact as it just isn't there.



ruennsheng
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14 Feb 2009, 12:04 am

It's alright --- as long as you teach, people listen :) I'm a student so I know... :P



Aspinator
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18 Feb 2009, 7:16 pm

I am an Aspie and I used to teach in public schools (secondary). I lasted 5 years before I realized it was not the job for me. I loved the teaching aspect but the majority of my time was taken up dealing with disciplinary matters. If I were to do it again, I'd not stop until I got a Masters or a Phd. That way I would have had more options than teaching in public schools.



ARandomPerson
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21 Feb 2009, 8:33 am

trilli wrote:
I'm a teacher and I just figured out I have Asperger's.
I graduated from teacher's college with stellar grades two years ago.
After spending all this time managing classrooms, my body and brain are absolutely broken.
I'm good at my job and I know I'm well-respected, but that's not the problem...
I wore away much of my teeth and stomach lining before my doctor and I realized I wasn't handling the stress well.
I thought the job was just like this for everyone.
When I developed a panic disorder this fall, I knew I was different.
I did a lot of research over the holidays though... I know I have Asperger's. It makes my whole life make sense. All my problems at work make sense.
I love being at work - I love the kids, the neat way their brains work, the cool ideas they come up with, the fun things we get to do together... But I'm so disorganized. And I absolutely can't ask for help, which is a disaster when you're a new teacher planning lessons, but especially a disaster when there are real problems.
For the most part, kids don't demand much of a person's social abilities. Their expectations are lower because they still haven't learned the intricacies of NT human interaction. I've always been an instant superstar with kids, and I think that's why I chose the career.
But even with the 6-year olds, I'm finding that there are still little social things going on that I don't pick up on and other teachers definitely do... not a big deal, except that the little things quickly turn into big things when you put 20 kids in a room together and if I don't pick up on problems when they're little, I have to deal with them when they're big.
Also when you're the teacher you have to talk to the parents. They are pretty demanding. You have to have charts and papers and things to show them how their kids are progressing. You have to seem like you know what you're doing so they can trust you with the most precious things they have.
And then there are the kids who don't have parents who worry about that stuff.
Those are the worst, because those are the kids I can't stop thinking about when I get home.
And it's not even really the challenges I face that stress me out - it's the sheer exhaustion I feel at the end of each day after being intensely sociable for 6 straight hours. I'm a complete hermit. I'm alienating friends and family even moreso than usual.
It's just too much for me.
I need a new career.
I made that decision before I figured out I have Asperger's.
But currently this is the most lucrative thing I can do, and I still have student loans to pay.
Also, I've committed to stay until the teacher I'm replacing can come back.
And leaving the kids right now like this would absolutely break my heart.
It's only a matter of time.
The problem is that I'm still working under the pretense that I'm an eager young teacher looking for a permanent contract so I can settle in here. And they think I'm actually handling the stress of the job particularly well under the circumstances, but that's only because I never show things like that on the outside when the rest of them are whining.
I really think I need to have a frank and honest chat with my principal. Not only is she in the best position to help me, but she's also my best reference at this point and if I'm going to get another job outside of teaching, I'm going to need her to say good things about me.
The lucky thing about my position is that everyone I work with has gone through LOTS of training on ASD and disabilities in general, so I know they'll be understanding...
I'm not looking for accommodations, I guess I'm just looking for understanding. And maybe she'll have some ideas to make it a bit easier. She's been in the game a while.
But seriously, can I go around telling people I have Asperger's when I don't have an official diagnosis? I mean, we're working on it, but these things take time. We accommodate students who don't have official diagnoses, but the rules are always different for adults.
I just feel like I need the people at work to understand this about me now that I've finally figured it out.


I would not avoid ANYTHING just because i have AS, i will in fact approach it head on, it's funny because the program i am going in is communication studies with a minor in sociology. irony?



matrixlover
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26 Feb 2009, 9:23 pm

I entered into the field because no one thought I could become employed as a person with "just" an English degree. Possible. But then my philosophy professor begged me in my final semester of classes to switch degrees to Philosophy with an emphasis in Logic because I was a natural. She told me about all of the lucrative careers out there in the field of Logic (analyzing advertising, political speeches, etc.). Gee, I'm wonderful with Logic, who would have thought LOL? I found a job as an educational consultant but it's still too much interaction at times. If I could work from home and minimize it even more I would be so much happier.