Teaching is one of those professions that people look up to. When someone says they’re a teacher, the usual response they get is an admirable wow. Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish whether they are genuinely impressed by your job, or they kind of pity you a little bit because they remember how they treated their teachers in school. Teaching has some negative connotations, but don’t all jobs? Yes, okay, students can misbehave, talk back at you and be generally aggravating, but what about all the students that are keen and eager to learn? While being aware of the hurdles and challenges you may face as a teacher is completely necessary, they do not outweigh the achievements, growth and positive impacts that are the heart and soul of education. From the nitty gritty to cloud nine, here is everything you need to know about pursuing and succeeding in a teaching career.
Time is Your Friend
As with everything, it takes time. It takes time to study, it takes time to qualify, it takes time to feel comfortable in the classroom. Time and hard work. But if you are willing and eager to put in the effort, the outcomes will be worth it. The first element to tackle is studying. Balancing this alongside work, social life, home life, health and all the other in between bits can be challenging. Completing your Doctorate of Education online allows you to have the freedom to continue to live your life how you want while still working towards your professional goals. For your information, here you may check french teacher careers.
There are many other aspects of a teaching career that are time consuming. Planning lessons and coming up with engaging yet effective tasks can be difficult when you are not used to it and take you longer than you wish, but the more practice you get, the quicker you become. Climbing up that career ladder in education can also be a long slog, but with the right knowledge and drive, it is totally achievable. And you know all that time kids get off school? Weekends, summer, Christmas? Yes, you get all that time off too. Sounds like a dream, right?
Work Hard, Play Hard
Once you’ve qualified and you’ve landed yourself that perfect position in the school of your dreams, you will still have to be putting in that time and effort to plan lessons, create activities, check homework, mark books, set exams, etc., etc. Teachers have an endless pile of work to do. It’s hard, and it’s tiring. But once you get into the flow of all things work and you know how much time you need for preparation and admin, a teacher’s work life balance can be something other professionals only dream of. Evenings free? Oh yes. Want to make plans for the weekend? Go ahead. Got time to visit family over Christmas? Always.
Term time can be tough, with long hours and a demanding workload, but those long summer breaks make it all the worthwhile. Depending on the school you’re in, you can get up to 11 weeks paid summer vacation. Think of all the places you could go, friends you could see and food you can eat in that time. Yes, you must work hard, but boy can you play harder.
Make a Difference
For students, school is their life. They spend five days a week, more than 26 weeks every year, for up to 14 years in school. That is a long time. And that puts you, as a teacher, in a position of great influence. Nothing quite prepares you for the emotions you feel when you begin to realize and notice how your students are progressing, growing and learning. Not just academically, but also as people. There are immense feelings of pride towards your students’ achievements, but you can’t forget to also be proud of yourself for helping them to reach such accomplishments. As a teacher, you have the capacity and the environment to make a huge difference in young people’s lives, inspiring them, guiding them and helping them find themselves.
Shape the Future
At such a young age, there are so many possibilities and opportunities that are just waiting around the corner. Life throws us all a curveball or two, and you never know what some of your students will go on to achieve after they leave school and as they get older. It is literally a teacher’s job to spark interests and ignite passions. You could be teaching one of the most influential political leaders to ever grace the country, and you have absolutely no idea.
Potential whirls around a school like a tornado. Maybe something one student learnt in your classroom leads them to solving the climate crisis twenty years down the line. We’ve had mobile phones, we’ve got social media platforms – maybe one of your students it set to develop that next ground-breaking and sought-after technological advancement? The opportunities are endless. While you may not be personally discovering the solution to world hunger, you are helping shape the future by providing the next generation a platform to explore their strengths, interests and capabilities that have the potential to make a real difference in the world.
Pass on Passion
Have you ever noticed how parents try to get their children to take part in all the things that they loved when they were younger? Dad played football, so his son must obviously start going to football practice from the age of three. Mom loves horses, so her daughter is taken to the stables every morning too. Parents want to inspire their kids, and they want them to love the same things that they do. But it doesn’t always turn out as they wish. Everyone has their “thing” – the one activity, sport or hobby that they love and are good at. As a teacher, you literally have an endless number of students to pass on your passions to. So, not all of them are going to be interested or excited, but you have a much higher chance of finding someone that is than most parents do with their own children.
Let Your Imagination Run Free
Keeping students engaged can be one of the most challenging aspects of a career in teaching. You must plan lessons that are going to get them excited and enthusiastic, no matter what the subject. Some teachers have to make dirt fun, literally. Those creative juices need to be flowing all day every day during term time. No one wants to be sat at a desk for hours on end, since that’s boring for everyone involved, students and teachers. The most memorable and influential teachers are the ones that take learning out of the box and kick it out of the classroom window. You have the freedom to create tasks and activities for your students that are different, fun and sometimes a little bit out there. It’s this kind of learning that inspires the students, and they retain so much more of the information than they would do in a conventional classroom lesson. Granted, not every single lesson is going to be an extravagant performance, but a career in teaching gives you the opportunity to challenge your creativity and add some excitement to learning. Watching a class enjoying a lesson: priceless.
Conflict and Resolution
Negative experiences are haunting. And for this reason, people tend to avoid conflict as much as possible. Unfortunately, conflict comes in all shapes and sizes in a teaching career, from arguments between students, to bad behavior in the classroom and disagreements with management. All conflict is different, with different people, different solutions and different outcomes, but the more you have to deal with it, the easier it becomes.
At the beginning, confronting and addressing any behavioral issues within a classroom is daunting, to say the least. But as you gain experience and confidence, get to understand your students and how they respond to certain things, management becomes easier, and you become more and more effective at resolving any issues you encounter. Such communication is covered in a Doctorate of Education, but putting these into practice can be a completely different ball game. Being able to calmly and successfully resolve conflicts is a skill that is not only useful within the classroom, but can be a personal development that has a positive effect in many areas of your life.
You’ve been through the same training, you teach the same students, you experience the same hardships and behavioral problems – all of which make you bond with your fellow teachers. You are in this together, for the good and the bad. Having a team of likeminded people, eager and willing to go the extra mile to make sure the students are enjoying and benefitting from their learning experiences gives you a sense of belonging and community. These people are here to help you out and support you, as you are to them. You can share ideas, disciplines and stories (kids say and do funny things, you might as well get a laugh about it!). These people are not just your colleagues, but a career in teaching sets you up with friends for life. Gossip, grow, learn and develop your teaching skills together as an educational community.
As is the nature of a career, teaching offers you the chance to progress up the hierarchy. By showing strong leadership skills, conflict resolution capabilities and innovative methods, as covered in a Doctorate of Education, you can work your way up from teacher to department coordinator, vice-principal and eventually, principal. While this progression will take dedication, hard work and lots of personal development, it is possible.
The higher you get professionally, the more your responsibilities and focuses alter. Many principals have limited teaching time, so if this is what you enjoy, maybe this role would not be for you. But if you have developed those management skills and have the initiative to be able to motivate and progress your staff and students whilst maintaining structure, then moving up the hierarchy is perfect for you.
No Two Days Are the Same
Variation is the spice of life, and it is guaranteed you will be experiencing completely different situations within the school every single day, be that with the students or within the faculty. Students are unpredictable; they could be on top of the world or down in the dumps, they could behave like absolute angels, or be the devil reincarnated. You never know what you are going to get, and that just adds to the excitement. You will be teaching different things to different students, maybe even in different classrooms. Each and every day will bring fresh ideas, viewpoints, conflicts, laughs and knowledge. A teaching career is many things, but one thing it definitely isn’t is boring.
Students get a lot from their education; they find out who they are and what they want to do with their lives, which is why being a teacher is arguably one of the most rewarding professions to be in. Nothing beats that feeling you get when a class is visibly enjoying your lesson, one of your struggling students excels in their finals or you get to see them graduate and move onto the next part of their lives. You watch students grow, learn and develop. You build relationships with individuals, you offer guidance and advice, you open their minds to possibilities and present them with opportunities. These are human beings, and you are positively impacting their lives and progress. You become invested in their academic and personal development, being proud and honored to be a part of their journey. Even the word rewarding doesn’t seem to quite cover it.
Usually, teachers answer what is the worst part of your job and what is the best part of your job in the same way: the students. There will always be days when they aren’t cooperating or listening, and you just want to scream and pack it all in. But the times when you’re all having a laugh in the classroom, they ace their most recent exam, or they surprise you with how much content they have actually remembered, make it all worthwhile. A career in teaching is tough, but with the right knowledge, drive and support, it can be the most rewarding and satisfying profession to be in.