Teaching is truly a noble profession. It is also a very time consuming one, requiring a commitment on your part. Teaching can be very demanding but can also be extremely rewarding. Here are five things you should consider before taking up teaching as your chosen career.
1. Time Commitment
In order to be an effective teacher
, you need to realize that the time you are at work - those 7 1/2 to 8 hours - really must be spent with the kids. This means that creating lesson plans
and grading assignments will probably take place on "your own time." In order to continue to grow and advance, teachers also need to create time for professional development
. Further, to truly relate to your students you will probably be involved in their activities - attending sporting activities and school plays, sponsoring a club or a class, or going on trips with your students for various reasons.
People often make a big deal about teacher pay. It is true that teachers do not make as much money as many other professionals, especially over time. However, each state and district can vary widely on teacher pay. Further, when you look at how much you are being paid, make sure to think of it in terms of the number of months worked. For example, if you are starting out with a $25,000 salary but you are off for 8 weeks in the summer, then you should take this into account. Many teachers will teach summer school or get summer jobs to help increase their yearly salary.
3. Respect or Lack ThereofTeaching is an odd profession, both revered and pitied at the same time. You will probably find that when you tell others you are a teacher they will in fact offer you their condolences. They might even say they couldn't do your job. However, don't be surprised if they then go on to tell you a horror story about their own teachers or their child's education. It is an odd situation and you should face it with your eyes wide open.
4. Community Expectations
Everyone has an opinion of what a teacher should be doing. As a teacher you will have a lot of people pulling you in different directions. The modern teacher wears many hats. They act as educator, coach, activity sponsor, nurse, career advisor, parent, friend, and innovator. Realize that in any one class, you will have students of varying levels and abilities and you will be judged on how well you can reach each student by individualizing their education. This is the challenge of education but at the same time can make it a truly rewarding experience.
5. Emotional Commitment
Teaching is not a desk job. It requires you to "put yourself out there" and be on each day. Great teachers emotionally commit to their subject matter and their students. Realize that students seem to feel a sense of "ownership" over their teachers. They assume that you are their for them. They assume that your life revolves around them. It is not uncommon for a student to be surprised to see you behaving normally in everyday society. Further, depending on the size of the town where you will be teaching, you need to understand that you will be running into your students pretty much everywhere you go. Thus, expect somewhat of a lack of anonymity in the community.