The number of young people choosing teaching as their profession is the lowest it has been in 45 years. And perhaps that isn’t surprising. After all, teacher pay is stagnant, classroom sizes are overwhelming, and the threat of teacher layoffs always seems to be looming. These negative factors are intimidating, and unfortunately, they cause potentially great would-be teachers to overlook the many wonderful aspects of teaching.
Recently, ReadyJob asked teachers what they felt were the most rewarding aspects of teaching. We received many wonderful responses, and they made us want to write more on the topic.
We hope those considering education read this post and are inspired to take on the profession’s challenges while enjoying its many rewards. Read on for a few of the greatest aspects of teaching as told to us by our recent survey respondents.
You get to change the world.
There really is no overstating a teacher’s influence. Whether you’re teaching an elementary school student to read or sparking a high school student’s interest in physics, you are changing the world by influencing how your students impact it. And sure, it won’t always be easy.
There will be late nights grading papers. There will be days you feel like you’ve spent more time disciplining than teaching. But when you hear of a past student making a big difference, Lee Watanabe Crockett of GlobalDigitalCitizen.org notes, all those hard days will feel worth it. Crockett says that teaching is so rewarding because of “the silent fulfillment that comes from the realization you are changing the world by cultivating excellence in a generation of ethical, responsible Global Digital Citizens.”
You get to make learning fun.
Whether you’re teaching students about how dogs have evolved or performing an experiment to demonstrate how rain clouds develop, there are many ways to make learning fun for your students (and you!). When your students are engaged it will make your job 100 percent easier. Yes, there are standards and requirements that today’s teachers must teach to. However, there will be time for you to make learning fun.
In turn, you have an opportunity to help students master new skills and topics, and maybe even shape their career goals. And that’s what Jacqui Murray from AskaTechTeacher.com really loves about the profession. “Showing how much fun it is to learn,” says Murray. “To see students get excited about cerebral topics makes my week.”
You get to help young people improve their self-esteem.
We all remember what it’s like to be a kid. So many things are intimidating when we’re young—from difficult subjects at school to making friends to thinking about the future—that it can be hard to walk around with much confidence. Teachers are in a unique position to help students improve their self-esteem. You might have a student feeling down about struggling to understand a topic, but as Kristin Rivera of OneStopTeacherShop.com notes below, when they do get it, it changes everything.
“Seeing their eyes light up when they FINALLY understand something that may have been giving them trouble,” says Rivera. “Those are the moments. They instantly feel success and get a sudden boost of confidence. It’s a very rewarding experience, to be a teacher.”
You form essential relationships in young people’s lives.
Several of our survey respondents noted how rewarding it is to bond with their students. Here are a couple examples:
“The relationships you form with students is so important. If you do this right, the students will enjoy being with you, you will enjoy being with them, and discipline issues will mostly vanish.”
Dr. Doug Green, DrDougGreen.com
“I have the utmost respect for the craft of education and all that is involved with teaching. The most rewarding aspect of teaching is the relationships I make with the children and how those relationships help me develop an educational program that best fits their needs. When I get it right, their ‘aha’ moments are priceless!”
Lori Smith, TwoTeachersontheEdge.com
Chances are if you’re considering going into teaching, at some point in your past, you were positively influenced by at least one of your former teachers. Think about how essential that relationship was to you in your life, and consider how amazing it would be to have the same impact on the lives of your students.
Teaching is one of the most important professions out there. Without teachers, our young people aren’t the only ones who lose. Our society as a whole loses when passionate, determined people don’t take up the profession. If you’re considering going into education, know what a huge difference you’ll be making.
Erica Francis is passionate about helping young people prepare for careers in a tough job market. She helps develop lesson plans and other educational resources, all geared toward helping the site’s visitors build the skills needed to excel in any workplace.