Teaching can often be a romanticized career. After all, you see the movies where the teachers have a significant impact on their students, changing their lives and leading them on to greater success. You get to explore a topic you love and share that love with students who are eager to learn and hungry for knowledge. Not to mention there’s that sweet benefit of having the entire summer to bask in the sun.
However, it’s not always sunshine and sweet students with an apple. As you are beginning your teaching career or if you are enrolled in one of the online teaching degrees, there are several things that you need to know before beginning. Here are five things to expect from a teaching career.
1. The Work is Hard, but It is Incredibly Rewarding
One possibly rough hit to the teaching dream is the difficulty of the work. Not only are you creating the lesson plans, which are structured to promote student learning, hit course objectives, address different learning styles, using active engagement strategies and testing student knowledge all within the space of a 50 minute class period.
But you are also teaching 4-6 classes each day with 20+ students in each class. And you have to be able to remember how those students are doing, their learning styles, etc. Not to mention all the professional development and the huge stack of papers to grade. It can often add up to more than 40 hours per week. According to EdTech Magazine, many teachers work around 12-16 hour days. A huge key for teachers who are also parents is to be organized and proactive to save time.
However, being a teacher is incredibly rewarding, especially if you love the subject. There’s nothing better than explaining a math problem or diving into a piece of literature and starting to see your student’s eyes light up. You do have the ability to change lives, to help students fall in love with learning and with knowledge.
2. You Have to Be Creative
Students have a quick way of telling if a lesson is pulled from the internet or if you haven’t done your research. You need to get creative with your lessons by using different active engagement strategies that appeal to the different learning styles.
However, this requirement of creativity can be one of the best parts of the job. Not only do you get to exercise your creative thinking skills yourself, but you also get to help your students learn how to think critically and creatively. Often the more creative your lesson plan, the more engaged your students will be. It will be more fun for both you and the students with the added benefit of them retaining the information better.
3. Having More Degrees Makes You More Money
The majority of pay scales for teachers are often related to your degrees and/or your credits earned. If you want to work towards promotions, you may need to look at enrolling in another degree program. By adding certifications or online teaching degrees, you can potentially jump up a pay grade.
Some states will even help you pay for additional certifications. Not only will a teaching degree help you stay up to date on the latest advances in pedagogy but it will also benefit your checkbook!
4. A Lot of Teaching is Actually Classroom Management
Classroom management is described as the routines and procedures that help the classroom function smoothly. If your students are distracted or disrespectful, it can get in the way of the lesson and material.
Having effective classroom management will help create an improved learning environment that will promote emotional and social growth alongside academic learning. It will also decrease the amount of time you have to spend correcting negative behaviors.
5. Learning to Communicate Effectively is a Lesson You Have to Learn
Teacher training often doesn’t focus on the way you communicate. However, communication strategies can be your biggest allies. And not just in the classroom. Usually, you will be speaking with upset parents, students who are in “a mood,” and even administrators who need to be on your side.
Though teaching can be difficult, like any job, it can be one of the most rewarding careers for those who love spreading knowledge. If you can handle young students and the thought of putting creative effort into your lesson plans sounds like the career for you, the first step is getting your teacher certification.