Should I Become a Teacher?
Choosing teaching is a noble undertaking. But the most passionate and effective teachers do not choose teaching, teaching chooses them. Much like many religious icons felt called to become ministers, preachers, and leaders, many teachers are called to teach. It is a calling that is often felt early on in life. This does not mean that people cannot be taught to teach in a classroom, just that the job may quickly become overwhelming if a passion for it is not held deep inside.
What Makes a Good Teacher?
Teachers are a unique breed of people, at least the great ones are. There are certain characteristics that are found in great teachers. A few are explained here.
Characteristics of a Great Teacher
Great teachers share certain characteristics. These characteristics help teachers transform the classroom into a world full of curiosity and learning. Although there are many characteristics that make a good teacher, these are key in making a great teacher.
One characteristic of any teacher, at any level, is that they should have patience. Patience is necessary when teaching new concepts to struggling students, when waiting for a kindergartener to find the right color, and when dealing with the third teenage break-up of the week. Everything that happens affects the classroom environment, whether it be the weather or what will be served for lunch. All these things and more must be dealt with using patience and understanding.
Passion and Humor
The greatest teachers will also have passion and a strong sense of humor. Great educators will be dedicated to searching for new and innovative ways of making content more interesting for students. This requires passion and dedication to a teacher's subject and his or her students. The greatest teachers find a way to make learning engaging, exciting, and relevant. Humors may just be as important as passion. Some days you must simply laugh at the bottle of glue or paint emptied on the floor. You will learn every childhood joke ever written and hear them each year. Students will expect a laugh from their favorite teacher, and you will of course, oblige. This builds up a student's confidence and helps them to see you as a person.
Organization and Resourcefulness
Possibly the most important qualities are organization and resourcefulness. Teachers are notorious for not having enough time to get to all their lessons. Good teachers have the ability to organize and plan lessons so that they are integrated and cross-curricular. Many teachers also struggle with not having enough school funds for extra classroom supplies and equipment. With that said, good teachers should be able to get crafty with ordinary items. This may mean having to get creative with how supplies are used as well as how lessons are taught (groups as opposed to individual projects). Because teachers must be resourceful in the classroom, it means that they often collect bits and pieces of items over time. It requires a great deal of organization to keep all these items in order. In upper level classrooms, organization is important because of the number of students, assignments, and classes that go through a single classroom each day.
Making a Difference
Teaching is a profession in which a true difference can be made in the lives of others. Doctors may save lives daily, but teachers can change lives with each day spent in the classroom. Many people often spend years in the corporate environment only to become teachers later in life. This is often because educators have the ability to see the difference being made as students learn new concepts that they can use throughout life.
Molding Future Generations
Teachers truly do mold the future generations through teaching both curricular and non-curricular concepts each day. Educators have the power to teach life lessons as part of each day. A good teacher will use that power to mold students into passionate lifelong learners. Often timers, teachers spend more waking hours with a child than that child does with their own parent. With that said, a passionate teacher can mold young citizens for a bright future.
Teaching Life Skills
Since teachers spend so much time with their students, they may be the one teaching organizational, conversational, and social building skills. Through their teaching, an educator can teach students about managing time, solving conflicts, coping with stress, and how to stay focused when needed. Often this is done without a second thought, as it is simply part of a good teacher's pedagogy. Teachers can become lifelong role models by simply doing their jobs with passion.
Learn how to become a teacher.
A Day in a Life of a Teacher
Teaching is a profession in which you must always expect the unexpected. Some days will be good and some will be challenging. You could start the day with perfect attendance and an attentive class but end it with a child getting sick near your desk.
Good Days, Bad Days, Fun Days
There are days that teaching will be the most rewarding job you have ever had. These may be the days when a struggling student finally gets a concept that you have been trying to teach. Other days, you might accidentally get hit by a flying sandwich in the lunch room. The best thing to do it laugh it off. Each day can bring laughs or tears, but ultimately they are entertaining and rewarding.
Days Fly By
Teaching is also one of those professions in which the day flies by because of all the interactions that occur. Each day, your classroom will fill with students who have different personalities, abilities, passions, humor, and strengths. All these differences mesh together for a very fast-paced day. Before you know it, the school year will be over!
No Two Days will Ever be the Same
When it comes to teaching, no two days will ever be the same, even if you hope that they will be. In upper levels, even if the same lesson is taught five times a day, it will never go the same way. Just as no two people are identical, no two classes will ever ask the same questions or react in the same manner. This makes for an interesting and fast paced day and week.
Will I Make Enough Money?
This is a questions that many have considered, regardless of the profession. Teaching is not just about salary for those that enjoy the profession. When analyzing a teacher's salary, one must view it in connection with the benefits and the schedule of the school year associated with their career choice and degree level; those entering the profession with a master's in education see an immediate boost in salary. One must also realize that salaries vary a great deal between states and with experience. Across the nation, the average teacher makes about $57,000 a year (not including benefits). However, some make as little as $32,000 while others bring in almost $80,000 a year. The state, district, years of experience, and education will set the pay scale. For more information, check out our salary widget on our teacher salary guide page.
In addition to the yearly salary, teachers receive tremendous health and retirement benefits. Teachers usually receive inclusive health benefits which include vision and dental. In addition, when a teacher reaches retirement age, they will be able to begin receiving pension. The amount of the pension will vary depending on years of experience and the agreement between the employee and the district. Teachers also often receive a generous amount of sick and personal days a year.
Teachers get nearly 8 weeks off each summer, paid time off in the winter, as well as time off in the spring. In addition to the breaks, teachers receive paid holidays, snow days, as well as other days off associated with a school's schedule. Teachers also tend to get professional development days in which students are not present, making for a quiet work day.
These are things that must be considered when applying for a teaching job.