There’s much to say about what teachers do but there should be just as much attention to why teachers do it in the first place. Many teachers say it’s about the influence they have on students and the role they play in society. Of course, the experience isn’t the same for every teacher but they all have great reasons as to why they do it. If you want to become a teacher and see for yourself what this career entails, we’ve put together the best reasons why.
1) You’re needed more than you think
In 2021, public school enrollment is expected to climb to 53,113,300, a 7.3% increase from 2010. A 2010 survey found that 88% of American adults reported having a teacher who had “a significant, positive impact” on their life. More students in the future just means more people you’re able to impact. More students need those teachers that will motivate them to do well not just in school but outside of it too.
On average a teacher affects 3,000 children over the course of their career. That’s 3,000 lives, 3,000 smiling faces, 3,000 minds. In school kids learn so much more than math or reading. In the process of taking in facts and figures necessary to move on to the next grade, and eventually to go on and get a job or change the world, as we know it, they learn to trust both you and their classmates. They learn hard lessons and life processes. As a teacher who spends the most time with these 3,000 students, you are needed so much more than you know.
2) Every day is a different story
For a teacher, no two days are the same. One day a class of 20 students could have all their homework done, on time, and no one passes a single note to their friend. While the very next day a new student could be introduced and a fire-drill makes half the Kindergarten class cry.
Just as every student is different and their lives change and grow each day, a teacher’s job requires constantly adapting to the kids in their class. And at the end of a stressful day, there are smiling faces, random hugs and learning successes celebrated!
We know that day 1 is nothing like the day before winter break, and the last day of school is nothing like testing day. Teaching is for those who enjoy change and progress.
3) Teachers are trusted and respected
Several polls from Gallup found that teachers are rated high in trustworthiness, only behind nurses and pharmacists. It’s good to know that what you do daily is trusted and supported by so many people.
It’s been said that “teaching creates all other professions”. From 1977 to 2009, the percent of people who consider the teaching profession to be “prestigious” has gone up from 29% to 51%. Teachers will always be a necessary job in a functioning society, regardless of economic status.
4) You’re supported
As a teacher, you’ll never be alone. Aside from being around students, you’re surrounded by other teachers that make up your “teacher tribe”. With your fellow teachers, you can compare ideas and what’s been successful in the classroom. You can meet to discuss lesson planning, discipline plans, classroom arrangements, etc. Administration and staff are there to guide you. Some classrooms may even be lucky enough to have parent volunteers who are eager to help.
Find a mentor teacher. This person can be someone who’s been teaching for years and you can form a professional relationship and learn so much. Before you know it, you’ll be a mentor to someone else.
5) You’ll find your creativity
As a teacher, you’re required to keep students engaged in the learning process and this calls for your own creativity. As mentioned before, no student is the same so you must come up with creative ways to make sure every student is learning and isn’t left behind.
Resources like Pinterest, your professional mentor, bloggers, Principals and grade leaders are available to help you expand upon ideas and create new ones. Teachers are encouraged to reach out to kids in today’s world. We’ve seen some recent creativity with teachers who rap their history lessons, come up with personalized high-fives for some of their students, or even performances that go viral! Talk to the students. What do they like? What engages them? Add in some creativity and watch them learn.
6) It’s not “just a job”
I would not be able to sit here and write this blog, nor you to read it, if not for a teacher. Teaching is a cornerstone for society. For some students school is a necessary daily activity. For others it is where they feel accepted, or loved. For some it is where they get their only full meal of the day.
Teachers do not check out when they leave for the day. They don’t leave their work, at work. It’s a social and fulfilling occupation that encompasses compassion as much as structure. The smiles and hugs last long after teachers leave the building.
7) Teaching is universal
As a teacher, you have the luxury of being in a profession that is in high demand. This means numerous doors are opened to you not just across the nation but around the world.
There will always be students and that means there will always need to be teachers there to teach them. No matter where you find yourself, coast to coast, you can teach. While the terminology may be different in different countries, the ability to connect with students, of any age, on a level to help them learn a skill that will enhance their lives is global.
8) You’re remembered
Students go home and tell their parents about their day and a big part of their day is their teacher. Once open houses or parent meetings come around, the parent will feel like they already know you from all the times their child mentioned you and this will make it easier for you to connect and build that relationship.
Next thing you know, you’ll have students telling you how you used to teach their older sibling. This will be one of the many ways you can see just how big of a role you played for that student and their family.
9) Your classroom
Your classroom is a shared space for you and the students to call their second home. Everyone can take comfort in the familiarity of such a safe space with structure and support.
Teachers are encouraged to build a space where learning is fostered and imagination can flourish. Make it your own and add a bit of you around the room. Teachers have incorporated things that resonate with both their own interests and their students': Pez dispenser collections, Charlie Brown or Star Wars themes, alma mater colors or sports themed rooms are examples of ways you can customize your classroom into a memorable experience for everyone.
10) You impact the future
As Nelson Mandela said, “The youth of today are the leaders of tomorrow.” As a teacher, you have the privilege and responsibility to shape the minds of students.
What you teach them in the classroom is what they will offer to society in the future. At the end of the day you get to be more than just a teacher, you get to be the reason why so many young individuals can go out and change the world.
The opinions expressed in Career Corner are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.