5 Ways You Know Teaching Is The Right Career For You
Two fifths of teachers quit within the first 5 years of teaching. This statistic isn’t meant to scare you but it probably will if you were thinking of becoming a teacher. Knowing what you’re letting yourself in for will hopefully keep you from being a part of that horrible statistic.
1) Patience is key
If patience isn’t your thing, either work on it or run. When it comes to teaching, having an endless supply of patience is absolutely crucial. The words ‘I’m not going to repeat the instructions again’ are a lie. You would’ve told your class what to do and written it on the board, but you’ll still be hearing ‘what do we do?’ ringing in your ears. Patience is even more important when you’re teaching a multi-level class. You might explain something once to one student and need to explain it three times to another. Being patient with them is crucial so they don’t feel guilty for slower progress. Also, all students will learn in different ways. Students that are
Patience is even more important when you’re teaching a multi-level class. You might explain something once to one student and need to explain it three times to another. Being patient with them is crucial so they don’t feel guilty for slower progress. Also, all students will learn in different ways. Students that are auditory, visual and tactile learners can all exist in the same class. So being patient and mindful of this will help your class to work at a similar pace.
2) Time management
If time management isn’t something you are good at, then teaching isn’t for you. Being absolutely committed to your job isn’t effective time management. Teaching is hard work but you need a life outside of the classroom to be the best you can be. You need energy and enthusiasm in teaching and you can’t fake this. You will be a better teacher if you give yourself breaks when you need them.
Keeping a diary or a to-do list will help to ensure you have a sufficient work-life balance. Being up until 3 am in the morning marking books will only make your classroom teaching suffer. Using a diary to plan out each week will give you direction and structure. Then you can easily view your workload and the timespan you have to complete it. You can also use it to schedule days of relaxation and time to socialise.
3) Work Load
One of the main reasons teachers throw in the towel is because of the workload. The workload can often be between 49-65 hours a week. This is because of the planning involved. Teaching is far from a 9-5 job. Every sheet you give out, every practical activity, every group discussion, all has to be planned. The job doesn’t end when the class goes home.
You need to create work that appeals and is interesting for every student so they will remember it. This doesn’t mean creating 3 different sheets for each lesson, but being creative with the sheets you do produce. It requires a lot of thinking and so the workload can seem like a lot at times. Being good with time management will help the workload seem less intimidating.
4) Teaching is far from a ‘fall back’ career
If you are reading this because you’ve realised your original career route wasn’t going to work – don’t. Teaching may seem like an easy option if you already have a degree because it’s only one more year of study; but it’s not. Passion is absolutely key when it comes to teaching. Don’t study to be a teacher if you’re not a fan of children. Being a teacher is for those who want to inspire a future generation.
Being well prepared and yet flexible on demand isn’t something that comes easy. It might only be an extra year of study, but it’s a tough year and you’ll constantly learn on the job. No amount of study prepares you for kids that misbehave, the various emotions or the high-stress level. Teaching is a full on, hard graft career. It shouldn’t be anyone’s backup plan.
5) Behavioural management will challenge you
If you have never been an authoritative figure in a classroom before, you may think controlling a class would be easy. It’s not. As a teacher you have to be able to control your own reactions. If you’re quick-tempered then you need to work on it. Your reaction to bad behaviour will decide whether it escalates or stops. Being able to stay calm in front of troublesome behaviour requires you to detach yourself from it. If a 16-year-old tells you you’re a rubbish teacher, it’ll feel personal. But the key to dealing with it is learning not to take it personally. This is a hard thing to do and teachers are only human. But being able to detach yourself will make you a stronger person and a better teacher.
Yes, teaching is hard. But if you have the right kind of attitude and personality, it can be highly rewarding. Knowing what you’re letting yourself in for is so important. So now you do, go and make the right choice for you!
Martine (@MartineFykin) is a psychology graduate and an aspiring teacher from Anglia Ruskin University. Living in Essex she has a passion for writing, fitness and travelling the world. Check out her LinkedIn here.
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