Let’s face it, we keep hearing about so many teachers leaving the profession for one reason or another. It makes complete sense for those that are already in education to be having these same considerations. It also makes sense for student-teachers and college students to question if this is a solid career path.
Hard Truth Mode Activated: The truth is that not everyone was made to teach. You have to know yourself, know your passions, and decide how you should be serving others.
We are going to take a look at reasons why someone feels called to teach along with reasons someone might want to rethink this profession. If you can journal and see what comes up for you while you are reading this blog, that would be awesome.
Here are three key ideas that will let you know that you were made to teach.
You were made with the heart of a teacher. Your heart has a love of students that anyone who isn’t a teacher will probably not understand. You know you were put on this Earth to make a difference and teaching is the path you were meant to follow.
You know that you can reach children with your ideas and teaching methods. Your excitement for learning will be echoed by your students which will foster an atmosphere of growth. You know in your heart that this is your calling and you’ve accepted the task.
You will be such a strong and positive influence on students that they will love to come to school. You are going to create a safe place that your students will crave and know your love for them. Wow! Your students will talk about you for years to come.
Yes, planning and buying for your classroom is so much FUN! It’s exciting! It’s just like furnishing a home because you want everything to flow and for your guests (students) to be comfortable. This is their home away from home.
However, you also know that you are living on a teacher’s budget. As fun as it is to have a Cricut or a personal laminator or the newest MacBook Pro you don’t need these things to be successful. Your skills and knowledge of teaching little ones can easily be done with chart paper and markers.
Pinterest classrooms are so trendy, but you recognize that all of the “stuff” and decor is not what makes for a great teacher. You know the importance of classroom management and classroom organization to create a flow within your classroom. Your students appreciate the simplicity of the classroom experience you provide.
If there is one key aspect in being a strong educator, it is the teacher’s willingness to collaborate. You recognize that you can’t go through the school year alone. You are going to need the help of other teachers just as much as they are going to want to hear your ideas and successes in the classroom. Share everything with your colleagues. Be open to their ideas and perspectives especially if it is coming from a veteran teacher…they know what they’re talking about!
Be sure to also collaborate with your administration and resource teachers. There are going to be students in your room that will need extra support which means you are going to have to document and share your findings. Listen to the advice and next steps being offered even if they sound tedious. Your intervention specialists are there to support you just as much as they are there to support the student. Work together and be willing to follow suggestions.
Finally, be sure to collaborate with families. Build a rapport so that both the student and parents know that you are looking out for the best interest of the student’s needs. Once you have this rapport, then talk with families about strategies that can be done at home and possibly provide tracking logs to collect data. Yes, this will mean phone calls, emails, and probably conferences, but you know it is worth going the extra mile for this learner. We’re teachers, it’s what we do.
Now, let’s flip to the other side of the equation and look at reasons why someone might need to reconsider becoming a teacher. Remember, this is for you to touch base with yourself so be honest.
One of the biggest perks of becoming a teacher is the schedule. June, July, and August are months of freedom to do as you please and simply relax. Your hours are typically 8:00am-3:00pm so you have plenty of time to be home with your family in the evenings. You have two weeks off in December and another week off in the spring, along with one holiday a month. This-is-AMAZING! Right?
Here’s the truth about a teacher’s life in the summer, we spend a chunk of that time earning PD hours and crafting our skills. We often have to tutor or work a second job to earn an extra income because the salary is simply not enough to live comfortably. Teachers have to go back to school earlier and earlier in August which really cuts down on another month of freedom.
As for working from 8:00am-3:00pm, yes there will be days where this is possible. The reality is that most days will be spent emailing or calling parents, documenting your day, and searching for lessons online while you’re at home. You will have to be available for conferences, IEP meetings, and scheduled faculty meetings. Yikes!
There are also plenty of extra duties that teachers fulfill beyond classroom instruction such as moderating a club, car duty, or the dreaded lunch duty. These tasks eat up your time and often become quite annoying.
Let’s be honest, in your first couple of years of teaching you will more than likely have to put in more time than seasoned teachers. However, this does not mean that after five years of teaching that you simply produce the same lessons and projects year after year. This may not lead to burnout, but it sure will lead to boredom.
If you want to succeed as an educator, then you will always have to be learning and evaluating what and how you are teaching. Can you teach the same standards? Yes. Should you continuously use the same methods? No.
Each year (especially in the summer) you will want to have a professional goal that will make you a stronger teacher. This means that you will forever be changing how you teach to meet the needs of your students. Decide how you can make a unit more student-centered or engaging for your learners. This is a crucial element in what makes a great teacher compared to a mediocre teacher.
If you are planning to get into education thinking that you will be able to live a luxurious life off of a teacher’s salary, then you probably want to reconsider teaching. Countless teachers have side jobs or spend their summers working to supplement their income. That three-month “vacation” is all about making more money.
When you consider the hours a teacher puts in day in and day out, then you certainly won’t want to figure out the hourly wage of a teacher. As nice as the schedule is, for the most part teachers are not compensated for those days off. You more than likely won’t see too many educators living in mansions and driving Teslas (at least until the education system is revamped and teachers are paid a fair wage.)
Finally, if you are someone who struggles with saving then you definitely need to be wary of pursuing a career in education. Depending on your district, you may only receive your salary over ten months which means you will need to save for spending in June and July. You really have to create a budget and stick to it which can be tough for a lot of people, but especially teachers (#targetdollarspot!). So again, just keep this in mind as you make considerations for the life of an early childhood educator.
Did You Know…
Did you know that Lesson Plan Toolbox is the easiest way for K-3 educators to earn PD hours? That’s right! With our yearly membership, you can acquire up to 60 HOURS a year all at your convenience!
If you want to play a video during a planning period while you grade or organize, go for it!
If you want to listen to the replay of a Mastermind Zoom while you drive to work, do it!
Cleaning the house? Then, pop on the monthly call/video and earn your hours.
However you want to do it, it’s totally up to you!
The premise is similar to listening to podcasts, but here you will get credit for your time. AND THERE ARE SO MANY OTHER TIME SAVING PERKS!
This community is all about serving you and saving you time and energy.
If you’re ready to join the journey, then what are you waiting for?
This May Be Helpful…
If you enjoyed reading this post, then be sure to read this one too about landing your dream teaching job. So many great tips about the interview process to get you moving in the right direction.
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The mission of Lesson Plan Toolbox:
Our mission at Lesson Plan Toolbox is to save K-3 teachers time and energy while providing resources and knowledge of 21st-century learning.
Until next week…