By Teachers, For Teachers
Choosing the teaching profession is a choice many people make that is usually fueled by their passion to work with children, or out of their love for a specific subject. The hours and the pay in the teaching profession aren’t too bad, and the idea of having the summers off will make a lot of heads turn. However, there is a lot more than just an admirable paycheck and having the summers off to entice someone into the teaching profession. Actually, there is a laundry list of elements to think about and consider before you decide if a teaching job is the right career choice for you.
To help you get a better idea of the pros and cons of teaching, we have asked several teachers to weigh in. Here is what they had to say.
Many teachers embarked on their journey to become a teacher because they were passionate: Passionate about working with children and molding the future of tomorrow, or passionate about a specific subject that they feel in love with when they were in school. Whatever the case may be, these teachers were passionate and wanted to share that passion with others.
After you have landed your teaching job and have been there for a few years, you will be up for tenure. Tenure is when you have job security and cannot get fired without evidence that you are incompetent or have behaved unprofessionally. This is a huge positive for teachers because they feel their job is safe and secure. Not many other career choices (if any) will you give that opportunity.
There is nothing better than having the ability to be a leader and be in control. Many teachers love the fact that once their door closes behind them, they are the master of their domain. They have the ability to create a safe and fun space for children to thrive, and have fun while they learn. While you still have the principal to face, you still are in charge of your own students and how you teach them. Your classroom is essentially your own kingdom.
As a teacher, there is always something that needs to be done, whether it’s creating a new lesson or grading papers. You will never be bored again. Teachers say that between prepping for classes, grading, coming up with new activities, lessons, quizzes, and assessments, there is never a dull moment in choosing this career.
While this may sound like a cliché thing to say, it’s also the truth. Having spring and winter break, along with the summers off is something that every teacher looks forward to. Being a teacher is hard work, and with all of these positives, there are also a few negatives (which we will get to). This time off that teachers have isn’t just for the students, it’s mainly for the teachers. While teaching students all day long, five days a week, is a rewarding experience, it can also be tough. These breaks allow teachers to regroup and destress so they can continue to be an effective teacher, as well as create productive citizens and the future leaders of tomorrow.
If you were to ask a teacher what one of the main negatives to their job would be, many of them would answer the politics. It’s hard to get past the workplace politics, the chatter in the lunchroom and throughout the corridors. The decisions that administration makes that they think are right for your students, but you know in your heart are not. These things can be difficult to overlook, so many teachers just choose to never leave their classrooms so they won’t have to deal with it all.
As a teacher you get a limited amount of sick days, because for most teachers you only have to be in the classroom for around 180-190 days of the school year. This means that a lot of the time you have go to school when you are under the weather or not having a good day. You are still the leader and the one in charge. So for many teachers, the ability to always have to always have to be “On” is a major negative.
A lot of people choose the teaching profession because they think that all they have to do is teach for about seven hours a day, five days a week, and their job is done. What they don’t know, and usually don’t figure out until once they start student teaching, is how many hours they actually spend prepping for the week. Teachers are up late at night grading papers and scouring the Internet for new ideas, and they spend their weekends doing the same. You’ll also have to attend school dances, parent-teacher conferences, and extracurricular activities that they have to attend too.
Another negative that many teachers expressed was the amount of parents that did not care about their child’s education. Depending upon where the school is in the community, there are many teachers that find an undesirable amount of parents that have no regard for their child’s education. This makes it quite difficult for the teacher to do their job effectively.
You have all heard of it that dreaded teacher burnout where teachers feel like they are just done with their career because they feel so tired and stressed out. This is the number one negative that many teachers have with their job.
Teaching is like planting your vegetables in your garden. It takes a lot of time and it’s a lot of hard work. You have to water it every single day in order to see any results. But, day after day, you continue to water it, and eventually you will see the results.
What are your pros and cons of the teaching profession? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below, we would love to hear your thoughts.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds master's of science in education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Skyward. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @Empoweringk6ed, on Facebook at Empowering K6 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.