9 Reasons why teaching is a great career

Hi teacher friends. Today my goal is arguing that teaching is a great profession.

Its not uncommon these days, when a college student considers a career in teaching, that parents, friends, others want to dissuade them. The adults frown and shake their heads. Teachers “don’t get paid enough” and that’s just the beginning. This information is according to many people who’ve never set foot in a classroom since they graduated high school.  

Okay, you people who think teaching is a bad career: what gives?  Maybe during your school days there were some issues? Maybe you’re mad at some teacher long ago who’s no longer with us? I promise you, teaching isn’t the career it was when we went to school.  We are, I dare to say, better people, and teaching today is different.

This whole anti-teaching drumbeat was probably started by the press, just one more group of American people who don’t really understand education anyway. I’m telling you that from my point of view, from inside the school building,  *this* is a great career, perhaps the best one. And I encourage young people, any who are interested, to consider if it might be a fit for them.

Why? Well, let me tell you …

  1. End of the day you know you made a difference. There is a ziggurat (earth tower) in the central gardens in Houston, Texas, and at the top are the words: “If you think of a year, plant a seed. If you think of a decade, plant a tree. If you think of a century, EDUCATE THE PEOPLE”. I just finished a really good business inspirational book, The Energy Bus. In this book, the protagonist has to remind himself that his work is important. Teachers never even have to go there. Working with children is critical! They are the future. The fact that our society does not revere teachers and our work is a serious flaw in the American character. But that’s on the people who believe this, not on me. These kids are important, all of them, and not just to themselves, to their friends and their families, but to this country. The life of the children is the future of our world. And teachers invest in and tend those lives. We create an axle around which lives revolve, made of procedures and curriculum and understandings and social learning  
  2. Teamwork with friends: I’ve often found it hard to get along (they used to say I do not play well with others?) but teaching is different. For the most part, your colleagues are supportive, understanding and collaborative, anxious to share what they know and perhaps when things get rough, they will give you a shoulder to cry on. Overall, I’ve found more good people in teaching than anywhere else. After all, why would a bad person be in this field?
  3. The truth is, the pay is a little low, and it would be great to see an across the board pay raise of about $25,000 a year for all teachers and they should give a bump to the support staff too. This would immediately stop the teacher shortage and increase the profession’s prestige. But actually, the pay isn’t bad when you consider certain factors.
    • A. job security. You work on an annual contract and if your contract isn’t renewed, you can get another job in most cases.
    • B. Retirement. The teacher’s retirement is like a second set of paychecks that come when you’re no longer working.   
    • C. Summers plus holiday weeks off. This is huge if you have family, friends, travel, animals …
  4. School leadership respects and treasures good teaching. Your leadership cares about you and you are valuable to them.  When I started out, I was in despair about all the things admin made me do, but I also noticed that my mentor teacher got to do whatever.  “Leave Mrs. T. alone, she knows what she’s doing” was their attitude. Admin barely walked through her room. Everyone respected her, from the youngest kid to the leadership.
  5. Creativity. When you teach you, respond creatively every day. Your unique class has unique situations that only you can solve! And you are the one who feels good when you progress against those struggles. It’s true, sometimes problems seem overwhelming. But with creative responses to whatever comes up, the teacher feels like a pioneer or a jungle explorer, a mountain climber – a person who faces the tough situations and gets through!
  6. Freedom The truth is the level of supervision you have in a regular school means you are on your own to create your own destiny. You are the instructional leader, on your journey, with your kids and their progress and their learning and happiness is created by you. What a great feeling.             
  7. Love. Children, and people in general, respond with love to those who love them. So if you love people (and if you don’t, well …  check with your analyst about that) a classroom is a great place to exercise your love of people! And it’s a great place to receive love in return. I know of no place where emotions are more freely shared than in a classroom where the class is doing the heart work of learning every day.  
  8. No choice about being a lifetime learner … Teaching puts you in the place where learning happens and watching it happen is thrilling. There’s probably no greater feeling than seeing the satisfaction on a child’s face when they complete a task you taught them to do. Watching that gives you a feeling like setting souls free of bondage. You will carry the memory of that student’s gratitude forever.
  9. Legacy. In the modern world, we wonder why we are here. But when you’re a teacher, you have one good reason just by going to work. You put in your seven and a half hours, and you know that you have served the lives and needs of many. You are a person who, in many cases, will live in the child’s mind when they are an adult. Your ideas and hopefully your respect for the students and your regard for their future will glow in them as long as they’re here. They learn from you that they are worthy of respect and love, and that’s a great legacy to leave behind.  

So there you have it. 9 reasons why teaching is a great career. If you can receive it, hold up your hands! I think you’ll have to agree it’s true, if you’ve been in the building a while.

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