A friend of mine recently posted on Facebook that he was looking for a life change. He wanted a new start in a new place with a new career. He just threw it out there for people to tell him what they thought about his future plans.
Of course, there were some funny and non-serious comments, but there was also a wide variety of serious suggestions. From stand-up comic to running a small business, the ideas were very wide and diverse. My question to him was, “Why not teach?”
To be honest, I think he would be excellent at teaching. He always had a great sense of humor and is a very smart and accomplished professional in another field. His profession is full of technical know-how and creativity, all of which make for a great teacher.
Considering the Profession
The simple question of “Why not teach?” is one that I wish more people would ask themselves. There are some negative answers to this question. “The stress is high and the pay is bad.” “Kids are great, but parents are the real issue.” “It just keeps getting worse and worse each year.” We hear some of these comments from time to time from teachers—there is truth to some of them, but all professions have their downside, and education is really no different.
But think about the upside! Think about what makes our profession really like nothing else out there:
- Forming and molding the future of our democracy: If that doesn’t get your red-blooded American juices flowing, I don’t know what would! Teachers make the American dream a reality for kids who need a pathway to a better life. Millions of Americans would not be where they are today without caring teachers. Who wouldn’t want that job?
- Summer break: It sounds a little cliché, but it really is part of what makes the profession great. The grind of the school year can be tough—having a classroom of kids is like having a classroom of your own kids. Their ups and downs become your ups and downs, which is a lot of fun, but also needs separation at the end of each school year. Summer also allows for freedom, creativity, and family time.
- The kids: You shouldn’t become a teacher if you don’t like kids, but kids get a bad rap overall. Kids are so impressionable—great teachers can get great things out of kids. And when kids are motivated and working hard, they really are a blast.
- The content: In most jobs, you don’t get paid to tell others about your favorite things. In teaching, you do! When I taught literature, I would joke that I was getting paid to read classic novels—how cool is that?! Of course, that isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but for those of us who love specific content like this, it’s a dream come true.
- You never know what each day will bring: This is not for all personality types, but I loved this part of teaching. While planning is important, great teaching requires flexibility. Things happen in the lives of kids that alter the course of their day—for both good and bad—in a matter of minutes. The challenge of keeping up with that is indeed tiring, but also highly fulfilling.
- The workplace: School is such a great place to be. Secretaries are nice and paras are smiley. There are often treat days and special events to make the seasons fun. Which leads us to one of the best factors of all…
- You can still be a kid: The old adage is that teachers act like their students. There is some truth to that, but the reason for this is that teachers love being fun and staying youthful. Working with kids and connecting with them by being silly, honest, playful, and vulnerable is an amazing experience.
So, why not teach? It’s very easy to find a route to the classroom if you are interested. Secondary teachers who have a background in math and science are in high demand. With a few classes and a commitment to complete a program, a district will often hire a teacher who isn’t certified.
Teaching is the best profession in the world. Challenging, meaningful, full of humor, and full of youth—there are so many great reasons to join the ranks of the world of education.
What do you love most about teaching? Let us know in the comments below! And to connect with fellow educators, consider joining MimioConnect™, our interactive teaching community.