By Fiona Mayberry. Fiona loves teaching others, and loves that the internet allows her to reach different people every week. She currently writes about education policies and degree certification processes.
If you’re in high school or college right now, you’re probably putting a lot of thought into what you want to do with your life. It’s possible that the most influential people in your life have been teachers, which might inspire you to become a teacher yourself. Before you commit to that career path though, there are a few things to consider:
Source of Motivation
If you want to become a teacher to change people’s lives, that’s wonderful. Just know that you won’t feel like you’re making an impact every day. If you’re inspired by seeing small improvements in a student’s work, or knowing you made someone’s day better, then you’ll be fine. If, however, you expect to see large results quickly, you might go through long periods of time where you feel frustrated. It’s important to know yourself and have realistic expectations.
Some people are attracted to the teaching profession because they like the idea of working the same schedule every day. 7-3 Monday through Friday seems pretty cushy, and the idea of summer breaks is appealing as well. But teachers often have to take their work home to grade papers and create lesson plans. They also have after-school events such as staff meetings, parent conferences, and continual learning opportunities. You’ll work a lot more than just classroom hours. Also, depending on your financial situation, you might have to teach summer courses or find an additional source of income for vacation times. Keep all this in mind and know that class times are not going to be your only work times.
Do you have what it takes to be a teacher?
Every state has its own requirements for teaching certifications. If you’re planning on moving, make sure you know the requirements for the state you’re considering. Certain areas require different tests and even prerequisite degrees and courses in order to take the certification tests. Classroom experience is also a qualification that varies state-to-state.
Likewise, states all have different laws when it comes to what is taught in the classroom. Look into how much input teachers in your target area have over what they teach. Look at the current proposed bills affecting education so that you know not only the current classroom atmosphere, but what it’s likely to be like in the future.
Once you take all these things into consideration, you will be more prepared to make an informed decision. Will a classroom environment allow you to thrive? Is teaching the way for you to fulfill your life goals? If so, start looking at online teacher communities, and talk with those in the field. The more you see of what teaching is actually like, the more prepared you will be to have a positive impact on student lives.
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