People have many different reasons for becoming teachers. Many of those reasons change over the course of a career. However, there is one reason that often remains, or evolves if not a primary reason initially, and that reason is the joy of having purpose.
As a teacher you will be involved in passing on knowledge and skills that are necessary for individuals to become productive, thoughtful and reasonable citizens of society. You will be helping young people develop their abilities to make small and large decisions as voters and active participants of a democracy. Ultimately, the sophistication of our communities is based on the sophistication of each individual student you will be teaching.
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Understanding how the progression of our communities and society at large is intimately connected to what teachers do in their classroom provides the kind of drive and motivation that affects people to the very core of who they are. However, such career satisfaction takes years of contemplation and reflection. For most individuals who initially decide to become teachers, there are many additional reasons for entering the field that are more tangible and the duration between work and gratification is much smaller. The following are some examples of those reasons…
Every student enters the classroom at the beginning of a school year with a certain, unknown amount of potential. The recipe to unlock each student’s potential can vary greatly. Whether a student has been primed at home to explore the topics a teacher lays in front of her or has experienced the common obstacles faced by children growing up in households where parents are living hand to mouth, the guidance and support of a positive teacher can open up new worlds for each student.
Simply seeing a student change their habits from having trouble completing assignments to completing them early, or from not speaking in class to openly sharing her opinions can provide a level of satisfaction to a teacher that is simply unattainable is most any other vocation.
Many careers these days provide limited interaction between employee and clients or customers. Or, if there is significant interaction, it is often with either the same individuals or the same type of individual day after day.
Teachers, on the other hand, have days filled with interactions between hugely diverse populations from other teachers and administrators, to students who bring all the diversity of their communities into the classroom. With such eclectic makeup of classrooms and work environments, teachers have the opportunity to expand their own views on a daily basis.
As the world at large changes with advanced technology and amorphous views toward just about everything under the sun, political agendas, the economy, etc., the way teachers perform their jobs as well the education they must possess to meet expectations changes as well. The teachers knowledge tool bag grows constantly as students expose teachers to changing ideas of what’s “cool”, and in more sophisticated situations, the variety of public opinion toward varying subjects in the community.
On top of this, teachers are required to continually take classes to help them continue to develop as educators. This may appear daunting at first, but over the course of a career, continually learning through professional education and through students is something that keeps the job of teaching fresh and intellectually rewarding.
Once one has become a teacher, after all the schooling and mentoring has been completed and skills attained, teachers have a great amount of autonomy in the classroom. Other than needing to cover skills based on your state’s education requirements, you can deliver your lessons through almost any means you deem worthy.
For example if you feel a certain concept might be digested easier by your students through role play or a unique experience than through a worksheet or studying a text book, many schools will allow their teachers to freestyle as they please. In addition, many schools either have a large library of lesson plans available to choose from or subscribe to a company that hosts a large library of lesson plans. This is very helpful to teachers who are interested in exploring new methods to get across a new idea or concept without having to spend their precious time to build lesson plans themselves.
One positive attribute to autonomy, which is not often spoken of, is the great amount of satisfaction one receives when a lesson is a hit. There isn’t a team of individuals who take credit for your hard work. It’s you and you alone.
Now vacation could be one of the greatest influences of prospective teachers. However, it certainly isn’t the greatest influence of those teachers who make teaching their life’s career. Of course, even to those who teach for all the deeper, more emotionally satisfying reasons, summer vacation is definitely not a bad perk!
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