Should You be a Teacher? What’s Your Motivation?

For a lot of people, teaching is more than a job, it’s a calling. Like any profession though, it’s important to think about what your motivation is for wanting to make that your living. Most people are aware that if they want to make the big bucks, teaching might not be the best career path.

But there are a lot of misconceptions about teaching, and those wanting to pursue it as a career need to be aware of the realities. So here are some of the common reasons people want to be teachers, and whether they are realistic expectations.

To Change People’s Lives and Build the Future

There is no doubt that teachers can have a direct impact on people’s lives. You are inputting knowledge straight into children’s brains. However, sometimes, you will see people in hard situations that you can do nothing about. There will be times when you won’t be able to see any actionable ways you are making a difference or affecting the future. You will have to set out specific goals for yourself, and recognize the little signs of success.

To be a Lifelong learner

Teaching is one of the best ways to learn. Everyone looks at things in different ways, and trying to get someone to understand a new concept can cause you to see things in new ways. You can make connections you’d never thought of. You also learn limitless information about people and how they function.
As far as curriculum goes though, there will be some repetition, especially if you teach the same subject or grade level for many years. It will be up to you to keep the content exciting even though you’ve taught it backwards and forwards a thousand times.

To work with kids

Kids are extremely insightful. After all, they say the darnedest things. You will be amazed at how much they are capable of understanding, and how wise they can be. They’re also notoriously entertaining. Depending on the age level you teach, you might be met by endless energy and random statements of facts that seem to have no context. No doubt about it, kids can be fun.

But they are also energy draining. Keeping up with them takes a lot of work, and if you’re tired, what seemed cute before can become wearisome. Ask yourself if you prefer to be with kids in small doses or if you can really handle them day in and day out.

Summers Off/ Bank Hour Schedule

On face value, teacher hours seem nice: 7-3, summer vacations, no weekends. But school hours are not the hours you’ll be working. Grading papers often has to be done after school or on weekends, and there will be faculty meetings and other events you are required to attend. Creating lesson plans is done outside of school hours as well. And if you want to supplement your teacher salary, you might want to teach summer classes, limiting even more the time you have off. Don’t choose teaching because of the hours, you will be severely disappointed.

Spread the Passion of Learning

When you’re passionate about something, you want to share it. Knowledge is wonderful this way, because that is what teachers do; they share knowledge. Just remember, not everyone will be passionate about the same things you are. As a teacher, you will meet resistance. There will be times that you question your function. You will also have to teach some things you’re not as passionate about. So if you’re easily frustrated, you should seriously consider whether your passion for learning can stand up to constant challenges.

This list is not meant to discourage anyone from becoming a teacher. It is a wonderful career and for the right people, can help build a fulfilling life. If you’re considering teaching, make sure you find some reliable resources for aspiring teachers to get you on the right path and set your expectations accordingly.

This is a guest post by Fiona Mayberry.

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