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Question for academics

  1. May 25, 2008 #1


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    Is it true that working as an academic, there is no ugly pressure as there is from working in a private organisation.
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  3. May 25, 2008 #2
  4. May 25, 2008 #3
    I think it doesn't matter where you work; there will always be ugly pressure. But I think it's little less on high school teachers (To me, it's the best job if you don't want much pressure)
  5. May 26, 2008 #4


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    Different types of pressure. There are still deadlines to be met, etc..
  6. May 26, 2008 #5

    Vanadium 50

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    There's pressure everywhere.

    I'm not sure I agree that there is less on high school teacher. Think about conferences with the parents of an underperforming student, particularly if the parents don't believe their little angel could possibly have any role in this.
  7. May 26, 2008 #6
    I agree with Vanadium. I would say that High School teachers are under some of the greatest pressure of all. They have to go out and sell education to buyers that do not necessarily value the product. Teachers have to convince kids that it is worth their while to take the knowledge they are given and go as far as they can with it. They do this in the face of low pay, budget cuts, and the nagging question from students, "When are we going to use this in real life?" Now that's pressure.
  8. May 26, 2008 #7
    Um no. High school teachers are under constant pressure from parents and the school board. Their job is political, they have to do their job while appeasing parents and that can be a difficult juggling act. On top of that they have to teach several classes each day and their only planning period time is after school.

    I understand that college professors are also under tremendous pressure to achieve tenure, to publish, to build their research groups and mentor everyone in them, to teach courses, to do outreach, to do administrative committee work etc etc

    The point is that teachers are underpayed, overworked and stressed out in general. The specifics on how they are overworked and stressed out is different from high school to college, but nevertheless both are under immense pressure.

    I'm glad that I have a teaching job that doesn't cleanly fall into either category! I respect either class of instructor because they have a really tough job.
  9. May 26, 2008 #8
    I was thinking about other kind of pressure which engineers face (as cristo said ...)
    I thought most of high school students are matured enough not to bring their parents to school or have their parents worrying about their performance lol

    High school teachers don't have to make critical decisions, need to prove that the school wants them or have a fear about losing their jobs ...
  10. May 26, 2008 #9
    Politics, politics, politics. Ugh.

    It does seem a bit more laid back than working for a business, though.
  11. May 26, 2008 #10
    Agreed, I mean look at our atmosphere.
  12. May 26, 2008 #11
    If only! There is a huge gap between high school students and college students. You can expect that type of independence and maturity at the college level, but not at the high school level.

    I don't know what you mean by critical decisions... and it sounds odd because high school teachers have a tremendous impact on students and their future lives. How well they motivate and teach influence students future career paths, decisions that they make regarding grades may fail a student out, or deny them scholarships, or even have an impact on college acceptances. You make it sound as if high school teachers are isolated, in some kind of ivory tower!! hahaha No those are for the full professors at research universities only.

    I agree on the pains of job insecurity though. But anyway I don't think that you really appreciate how difficult and stressful a job fit can be for a high school teacher. We haven't even touched on behavior management! Do you worry about students intimidating you? Shouting at you? Cursing at you? Shoving you? Many high school teachers walk into a war zone every day. The college professor deals with a few polite, respectful students that have the courage to actually go to their office hours. It is a very, very different environment.
  13. May 26, 2008 #12
    Double agree, and just look at scuba divers, there's as much pressure there in 10m as the entire atmosphere.
  14. May 26, 2008 #13
    When I speak to doctoral students (that are not physicists) they slack of a lot, but when speaking to physicists or physical chemists, they work all the time. Work, work and more work.

    To other people in academia, You notice all the time which professors that are slacking off, and which professors are really sharp/hard working.

    It's more accepted to be a slacker in academia in sweden at least. In industry it isn't accepted at all, the only way you can actually slack off and let others do their thing is if you are supernice and everybody loves to have you around. But then again, it will show if you are a slacker that doesn't take things seriously.

    I think there are variying degrees of this in the rest of the world, but that it's fairly applicable.
  15. May 26, 2008 #14


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    there is a lot of pressure in academia. but less than in medical school.
  16. May 27, 2008 #15
    And of course, I actually think that doctoral students in maths have it the hardest, those positions are very FEW and it is really sink or swim in that department.

    Most of my math professors have been really sharp and hard working.
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