Become a teaching is an admirable and compassionate career path to travel down. For some, it’s something that they want to do their entire lives. For others, its something they stumble upon while working with kids. And for a select few, it can even be a second career after years doing something else. No matter what made you decide that you want to be a teacher, there are hardly any other jobs in the world that are as valuable to the future of the planet. Many times, you often see your students for more time than they see their parents, which makes you a valuable asset into their developmental process. As a teacher, you have the potential to lead a student down a path of excellence or greatness, or make them feel as if they are just another fish in the sea.
If you are considering a position in teaching, here are some things to consider before you start down the career path.
Depending on the level that you want to teach will certainly depend on the requirements that you must get. For K-12 positions, a bachelor’s degree is going to be necessary. Now where this gets tricky is based on the subject that you would like to teach. For example, a degree in English probably won’t make you the best math teacher, and vice versa. However, if you have a degree in English, you’d probably make a stellar English teacher, and the same can be said for math, science and other subjects.
Some people believe that they must have a degree in education to be a teacher. While this can be the case for some positions, it is not necessarily true for everyone. Instead, if you have a degree in a major that is applicable to a subject in school, than you can get other certifications and licenses that will allow you to teach. One exam that teachers will be required to take is the PRAXIS exam, and chances are your state or district will have individual requirements as well.
If you want to teach at the university level, you will likely need a doctorate, Masters or PhD. Often times, those who want to teach at the university level can get a position student teaching while they work towards their post-grad degree, which makes the transition into a full time easier (as well as a bit more financially friendly).
If you are interested in being a teacher, than consider the level you would like to work with, and then figure out the requirements for that specific level.
What A Job In Teaching Looks Like
Now before you go out and start changing your educational path to be a teacher, you should probably decide if a teacher’s day-to-day life is right for you. Again, all levels are different, but this is a general outline.
For elementary school teachers, you are going to be working with the same students for majority of the day. This means that you must lesson-plan for the entire day for your students, in a variety of subjects. But don’t worry, when students go to additional subjects like gym or music, is the perfect time for you to plan your lessons.
As for middle and high school teachers, they can expect to deal with the same students, much less frequently. Teachers in middle school and high school often teach specific subjects and the students they have will change throughout the day. And like elementary school teachers, middle and high school teachers will also get class periods off which can be used to prep and plan. However at the middle and high school levels, you also have to account for students who may want to come to your room and have additional help with the assigned homework.
If you are looking to only work a few classes a week, and spend the rest of your time doing research for your personal projects and grading a handful of papers, a college professor is the perfect teaching job for you. While not everyone works well with older college-aged students, it certainly offers its own benefits with great hours and a modest course-load. Imagine your schedule back in college, but this time instead of doing the papers, you’re the one assigning them.
Deciding what level you would work best with will give you a better idea of what your daily schedule looks like. But if you manage your time well, you can expect to have plenty of time during the day to plan your classes for your students, while still getting out at the same time as they do in the early afternoon with the rest of your day ahead of you.
Best Places To Work and Expected Salaries
It’s long been said that teachers don’t get paid enough for the impact that they have on children and the future of this world. This is as true of a statement that there is and this can be one of the leading reasons that people don’t go into education careers. However, if you are willing to take risks and use your time right, you can make a living from being a teacher, and still get the emotional reward of knowing that you are impacting lives in ways that few others can.
The first thing you’ll want to ask yourself when looking at jobs is what’s more important, location or salary? If you are simply looking to make a paycheck of $30,000-$40,000, you can teach in places where education is in high demand. However, this often happens in school districts where teacher turnover rate is high, either because of a poor administration or less than stellar effort given by the students. While some teachers may look at this as a less than desirable position, others look at this to define who they really are. Teaching is about making an impact and difference in children’s lives; and there are few better places to do so than in trouble school districts and poverty stricken neighborhoods.
Teaching positions at more desirable schools are harder to come by and pay much less. A first year teacher can request $25,000-$30,000, depending on their experience. While this will go up with time and experience, you’ll certainly never get rich as an educator. That is, unless you factor in the amount of free time that you’ll have outside of work. Many people fail to realize that being a teacher means you get a load of break time, as well as calling it a day around 3 or 4 in the afternoon. This leaves teachers with plenty of time to take up a second job. Even if the second job is something you do more because you enjoy it. While teaching is something you do because it pays the bills, the combination of the two paychecks can go a long way and make the lack of income from being a teacher, be less of a financial burden.
Professor’s salaries can also vary quite a bit. When you first start out, you wont make much more than $40,000 a year. However, with time and experience, this can go up much more quickly than at primary schools. Furthermore, professors should factor in books, research, and more that they will do on the side, and the income they will make from those ventures.
Something To Consider
No matter where you live in the world, its somewhat expected of you to get a job right after you have completed school (whether it be high school or college). However, for some people, they aren’t at a point where they know exactly what they want to do with their lives. If teaching is something you are on the fence about and you come from an English speaking country, consider teaching abroad in countries where English is in high demand. Not only are these jobs relatively easy to come by, some even pay very good salaries and often provide accommodations and even a flight to your new country of work. The best part of this decision is that while many people get funneled into their 9-5 jobs, you get the chance to explore a different country and see a different educational system and what works and doesn’t work.
Not only can you use this time abroad to make money and explore, but you can also use it to see if teaching is a career you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life. And well, if it ends up not being what you like, than you can go back home and decide what to do from there. But these two options are the only possibilities. Instead, you may fall in love with the place you teach and decide to move there permanently.
There is a lot to consider before deciding to be a teacher. For some, it’s vacation time and getting off in the early afternoon everyday. For others, it’s getting paid to do something you enjoy. And for others, it’s having a long lasting impact on children and their views on the world. Consider the information in this content to help you make a decision. And don’t forget, if you’re not ready to commit to your own country, you’re plane is waiting for you.