Teachers are the salt of the earth. They are the people who shape the future of the world by developing young minds with a thirst for learning. Careers in teaching can also provide exciting opportunities to study abroad in some of the best international schools in China, the rest of Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Butteaching is no easy undertaking. It’s imperative you think carefully about if becoming a teacher is the right choice for you. Here are five things to think about before starting a career in teaching.
#1 Am I prepared for a very hands-on career?
Teaching is not the same as an office job. It involves putting a lot of your time and energy (both physical and mental) into your work. Students look to you to be their rolemodel, and you can’t simply decide to take it easy one day because you’re tired. Students can have a sense of “ownership” over their teachers – you’re always there for them and always willing to sacrifice your time for them. If you ever see a student out and about in the community, it’s often funny to see their reaction – it’s as if they don’t think you exist outside of school where your sole purpose is to serve their needs. You constantly have to be “on” as a teacher – ready to help students, be their source of inspiration, and there to provide discipline, even when you don’t feel like it. Are you the kind of person that can do this all day, five days a week?
#2 Am I willing to give up some of my free time?
Teachers have a lot on their plates. They need to plan their lessons and grade assignments and homework among a whole host of other tasks. This is on top of doing the actual teaching. Plus, you’ll find that a lot of the time not spent teaching gets taken up by other things like helping students, meeting parents, and more. This can leave little time to get your planning done during school hours. Most teachers find they need to do at least some work during their own time. You may also need to stay after school some days to help with after-school clubs. It’s not all doom and gloom though, remember that you will get long, paid holidays which should give you enough time to recharge.
#3 Am I tough enough to be a teacher?
As many teachers can attest, when you reveal your profession to people, you’re often met with an odd mix of pity and respect. They’ll say something like, “I couldn’t do your job!” That’s because everyone remembers their school days and how “audacious” children can be (that’s putting it kindly). The bare truth is that kids are not always well-behaved. They like to push boundaries, and it’s a teacher’s job to keep them in line. No teacher enjoys having a stern talking-to with children, but sometimes it’s needed – do you have what it takes?
#4 Can I handle the pressure?
As a teacher, your responsibility doesn’t only extend to the students you teach but also to the parents. A parent’s desire to see their kids succeed can result in teachers feeling the pressure. You can also get caught in a tough spot when you need to explain to parents how their child might not be the golden angel they think they are when at school.
Further, parents want their children to do well at school, and the best source of information about how their kids are doing is through the teacher. Expect frequent communication from parents, especially those of younger children. Although parents mean well, it’s not uncommon for them to get a little overzealous with their level of communication with teachers. Just ask a teacher if they have any “interesting” stories about encounters with parents, and you’ll get the picture. It’s recommended to set “office hours” with your parents and discourage them from contacting you outside of these times. That is, if you don’t want to receive a question about a student’s assignment at 9:30 in the evening.
#5 Is it worth it?
With all this said and done, you might be debating whether teaching is for you. One thing you should know is that teaching is most definitely one of the most rewarding jobs in the world. You won’t find many other careers that offer this level of fulfillment. As long as you think you are prepared for the points mentioned above, then getting into teaching could be the best move you’ve ever made.