We have all had wonderful teachers throughout our lives. For this reason, we have chosen to enter the education profession and make a difference in the lives of hundreds of children. Many people not in education may question why we have chosen this career path considering all of the negative aspects they hear in the news. Having said that, we must also point out the positives in the teaching profession. All teachers, current or future, should look at the pros and cons to teaching and see how they can improve the profession or themselves. It will also help people decide if they want to enter the profession.
Positive Aspects of Teaching
Camaraderie with Other Teachers
Teaching is a career that offers a huge support system built right into your daily routines. Whether your school is broken into teams of teachers or if you get to meet regularly with other teachers in your prep periods, teaching gives you the opportunity to always have others to lean on for support and to share failures and successes. This type of camaraderie will help you learn new techniques and strategies to use in your classes.
There is nothing more magical than when you see a student have an “aha moment” Watching your students succeed and grasp new concepts is the best feeling in the world. These moments may come when you are least expecting it. Sometimes, we may have a challenging student in our class due to a behavior or attendance problem, for example. However, we must never give up on our students because even the most difficult students may have an “aha moment.” That students and you will be forever bonded over that experience and is one of the most rewarding aspects of teaching.
Sharing Your Passion
Teachers are passionate about the subject matter they teach, otherwise they would never be in the profession. Teaching gives you the opportunity to share that passion and knowledge with others. You get to go into work every day and talk about or discuss topics that you love and know so much about. There are not many professions that can say this. Your students will realize how passionate you are about the subject and may become excited about it too. Students feed off of the energy that their teacher brings into class every day. So, being passionate about the subject will make them want to learn more about it.
Opportunity to Further Your Knowledge
An excellent benefit of teaching is the need to always stay up-to-date on the best practices and strategies that can benefit our students. Teaching is a profession where we are constantly learning new things. It may not be new content, but we are learning new ways to best reach our students. Our teaching licenses require professional development and districts provide these opportunities to teachers.
Negative Aspects of Teaching
Lack of Support from Administrators and School Board Directors
There are many times when those in power make decisions without consulting with the teaching staff. Administrators and school directors may feel that certain programming needs to be implemented in schools without actually talking to the teachers who will be presenting it. This could cause confusion and frustration for teachers. Sometimes, teachers may feel that their opinions do not matter when they are not part of the discussion.
Not Enough Support for Students
There are school years when a teacher may find herself with a class of 30 students with a variety of needs. There may be 10 students with an IEP and 4 students whose first language is not English. This can be very overwhelming especially if the teacher does not receive additional support in the classroom. As teachers, all we want to do is to reach all of the children sitting in our classrooms. However, this may seem impossible when the needs of so many students are so high and there is no additional support given.
There are many who say that when you choose to teach, you are not doing it for the money, you are doing it for the children. This is an extremely unfortunate part of the profession. There are many school districts whose pay for teachers is so low that teachers have to get a second job. No matter what, we all work because we need an income for our own families. Therefore, it is disappointing when teachers are not compensated fairly and thought of as greedy when asking for higher salaries in new contracts.
Failing to Help Difficult Students
No matter how hard we try, there may always be a student whom we cannot help. We can try everything and still not be able to break through to a reluctant student. This can be devastating to a teacher. We care about our students so much and want to see them succeed, so when we cannot help them, it can cause us to lose sleep over the situation.
No matter what profession a person enters, there are pros and cons to the job. It is important to know about both sides so you are not overwhelmed when confronted with anything negative. Teaching is the same. A person needs to be aware of the negatives but should never feel overwhelmed by them. They should never prevent a passionate person from entering the field. The positive aspects are so wonderful that they outweigh the negatives for many teachers.