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To teach or not to teach?

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Posted: Thursday, March 3, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:22 am, Thu Mar 3, 2011.

My name is Jonathan Davis and I am a ninth grade student at Tokay High School. I got average grades in elementary school and middle school, but I am taking school much more seriously now that I am in high school. I am trying very hard to finish the year with a 3.0 grade-point average.

All of the teachers I have this year are really nice and they care about the students. The only bad part of the school is so many of my classes are crowded. Some of my classes have as many as 40 students in them.

After reading an article in the Lodi News-Sentinel about LUSD’s approval of 177 layoffs, I am really concerned what our classroom sizes will be next year. It looks like a lot of the layoffs are going to be for elementary school teachers, but the school district also approved several high school teacher layoffs as well. If Tokay’s classes are crowded now, having fewer teachers will only make them worse.

Until this year I never really thought much about what I wanted to do for a job when I get older. Both of my parents have jobs they really like and my dad said I should try to get a degree in something that I enjoy. I love basketball and golf, but I don’t have a chance of doing either one professionally.

After going on a school trip last year to Washington, D.C., it got me very interested in history. In fact, since that time I have been giving a lot of thought to getting a degree in history and becoming a high school history teacher.

After graduating from high school it will take me at least another four years to graduate from college, then several more months of study to become a certified teacher. It would be great to be a teacher at Tokay in the Lodi Unified School District, but it seems crazy to spend all that time and money for a teaching degree and then worry every year if I would even have a job.

Jonathan Davis


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Welcome to the discussion.


  • Charles Nelson posted at 9:28 pm on Sun, Mar 6, 2011.

    Charles Nelson Posts: 259

    What I would suggest, Mr. Davis, would be an inquiry into the possibility of becoming a teacher in a private school. The students you'd have in a non-public school would most likely come from families who would be more involved in their child's educational future. Your students would come from backgrounds more like the Kennedy's, the Clinton's,the Obama's, or other elite families of those who wouldn't dare send their kids into the public school system. There are plenty of Lodi kids who attend St. Marys. They also have a much higher ratio of college bound scholars than those you'd teach in public schools. And, as long as the public school system continues to deteriorate, your employment would be assured.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 8:13 pm on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    I would like to congratulate the Tokay teacher who has headed-up this student writing project. What an excellent introduction to biographical/expository writing.

    A consideration that Mr. Davis may find more flexible as far as a career in teaching might be to take the Liberal Studies program such as that offered, for example, by CSU Stanislaus. This would put you on track to get a Multiple Subject Credential with a concentration in History and an additional Subject Matter Authorization in History that would allow you to teach in any grade from K-9. State standards are getting more stringent due to NCLB, so any course of instruction leading to a Teaching Credential requires more work than in previous decades. Good luck to you, Mr. Davis. I hope you will be able to follow your dreams and have a successful career!

    And what an amazing about-face Mr. Kinderman has made with regard to this letter writer compared with his bullying treatment of Ms.Miller in yesterday's submission.

    It is obvious, judging from this and other comments, that Mr. Kinderman has a bias toward his own gender.

  • Julie Edsell posted at 11:20 am on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Julie Edsell Posts: 36

    Jonathan, I hate to see kids discouraged with wanting to teach. My daughter has always wanted to be a teacher and is going to graduate from Sac State in May and will pursue her teaching career. Teachers will always be needed. I would think that if you love history then you would be an awesome history teacher. Teachers have tried to discourage my daughter from teaching but it is what she wants to do. Good luck to you in whatever you decide to do

  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 11:05 am on Thu, Mar 3, 2011.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2370

    Mr. Davis' well-crafted letter reveals an equally well-educated young man. I am quite impressed.

    As for whether or not he should pursue a career in teaching, although based upon his letter I can imagine him excelling in the classroom, he should realize that teaching is more of a "calling" than anything else. I find it increasingly amazing how so many teachers while knowing full well the challenges of such a vocation and the amount of income they'll receive end up becoming so disillusioned with their choices that they become mediocre or poor instructors.

    My only advice for Mr. Davis here would be to do everything he can to ensure that teaching is what he truly wants to do.


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