Volunteer in a Classroom to Evaluate the Career
Before committing to entering the field of education, carefully examine your personal characteristics and future goals to make sure teaching will be a rewarding career for you. For some teachers, the opportunity to help students far outweighs any of the possible disadvantages. However, many teachers find the obstacles faced by teachers overwhelming and cause enough to exit the profession.
Overall, practicing teachers report strong job satisfaction. As of 2014, 76% of teachers would recommend the career according to a survey from MetLife, Inc. Only 45% of teachers said the same thing in 1984.
Spend some time in classrooms as a volunteer and talk to various educators about your career choices. A teacher’s perspective of the classroom is extremely different that the view you had in a student’s desk. You may envision yourself standing in front of the class with all students’ hands in the air and their attention focused directly on you, enthralled by your passionate teaching. If this does happen while you are a teacher, it will likely be a magical moment and not a run of the mill experience. Also, the field of education is rapidly changing. Current educators face increased expectations and responsibilities than teachers of the past.
Depending upon your personality, what could be a disadvantage of teaching for some might not be a problem at all for you. For example, if patience is one of your greatest virtues, you will be able to calmly remind the rambunctious group of boys in your room to use their indoor voices. However, for the teacher across the hall such behavior may be irritating and stressful.
There are some key personal characteristics that lead to satisfied teachers. Foremost, prospective teachers should be completely dedicated to helping students. Creativity, determination, and strong communication skills are essential. Effective educators must have a strong work ethic. They must be willing to face and overcome obstacles that are present within the educational system. Good teachers are also caring, sympathetic, and patient. They set high expectations for their students and develop endless ways to help students reach their goals. A sense of humor is an added bonus.
Also, remember that an education degree does not limit you to teaching in the k-12 realm. There are many places to find teaching jobs at home – and abroad. If you ever desire a change, there are other ways to utilize your degree. Some teachers decide to pursue teaching at the higher education level. Community colleges, GED programs, and libraries often need experienced educators. Experienced educators are needed to run community programs, write educational materials, tutor, and provide child care. Those with education degrees can often cross over into business management positions due to their strong management skills. Teachers at the secondary level my find opportunities in their area of expertise.