Many teachers will tell you that despite the stress, testing, and paperwork, teaching is still the best job in the world. Those who don’t teach often joke that it is because teachers get three months off in the summer. However, those that do teach know that the reasons behind this statement are so much deeper.
Observing that “Ah-ha” Moment
For many teachers, getting to observe the moment a child grasps a new concept is absolutely breathtaking. Most teachers understand there is a constructive struggle that comes with learning new material. For some students, they grasp the idea and move forward with application of that skill. For others, it takes longer to be able to understand how to tackle a skill. However, when that struggling student first discovers the way to solve a problem or complete a science experiment and their eyes brighten and their smile widens, the teacher shines within. It is that “Ah-ha” moment that makes the struggle of the learner fade away and the teacher shares in the pride of knowing a new skill has been mastered.
Every Day is Something New
Because children are so inquisitive and learn at different rates, there is no way to predict what each day will bring. Some days students come in eager to learn, and other days they come in needing to share about a recent trip, new pet, or last night’s ballgame. Many teachers love this uncertainty and enjoy the challenge of never knowing what the day may bring.
Every Year is Different
In a similar way, every year can be different for a teacher. That is why teachers get a new plan-book every year. Some classes as a whole may have been exposed to more experiences and may grasp skills quickly. Some may have had a disruptive previous year and need more counseling and support before learning can begin. Sometimes a teacher may choose to loop with a group of students and change grade levels with that group. Some may choose to teach a different subject or content area. No matter what, teachers have the opportunity to change each year and often they enjoy this flexibility and diversity of their job.
Positively Impact Young People
Many teachers realize and love the fact that they have the chance to positively impact student’s lives. For some students, school can be the best seven hours of the day. It is a place to feel safe, receive a warm meal, and know that someone cares. In addition, teachers can be a sounding board for students with personal issues. They can offer advice or find community support for a family problem. Teachers are able to help students understand that mistakes are for learning and shape their goals for the future.
Thinking Outside of the Box
For many adults, their ideas are fully developed, and it is hard to see another side of an issue. Teachers get the opportunity to see how students often bring different perspectives to a situation. They may find a new way of solving a problem or be able to help a friend in a way that the teacher had not considered. When teachers open their classroom for discussions on topics, the teacher often is the one who learns a new approach.
Watching Children Grow
Whether it is watching a student grow physically, emotionally, or academically, there is a sense of accomplishment on the part of the teacher. Watching a child grow from a baby-faced child to full-bodied youth in the course of a year is something most parents get to do only once per child, but teachers can see this transformation every year. Likewise, seeing a fledgling reader develop into a child who reads fluently with comprehension of the story can be just as exciting. Teachers get the opportunity to view these changes with a classroom full of students every year and continue to see them grow as they move grades throughout the school.
Because teaching is not a stagnant career, there are always opportunities to grow professionally. Curriculum may change or new strategies may make learning easier. Teachers get the chance to be a part of this change and see how it affects student progress. In addition, teachers also get the chance to learn new jobs and advance in their field if it suits their interest. Some teachers may develop a love of helping students read and decide to become a reading coach. Some may love to see English Language Learners blossom in both the language and the content standards, then they may become certified in that area. Others may realize their love for leading and work to advance to the level of an administrator. Education is a career with many opportunities for professional growth and development.
Children Say the Funniest Things
Many careers are mundane work in stuffy offices with opinionated grownups talking about boring topics. Teaching is far from this setting. Students can come out with some of the funniest sayings, jokes, and thoughts that makes teaching a true joy. When a student spouts their rendition of something mom has said over dinner or summarizes a story in a matter-of-fact way, it can provide the chuckle a teacher needs to make it through the day. This is one of the best reasons teachers love their jobs, because they love their students and their perspective.
Building Lasting Relationships
Whether it is for a semester or for an entire school year, teachers have the opportunity to build relationships with their students. When a teacher becomes an active listener and provides support for students in all aspects of their lives, students will remember this. Years later, when shopping at the store and a grown child calls you by name and stops to catch you up on their progress, it is spectacular. Likewise, when a teacher gets the chance to teach the child of a former student or work alongside a former student who is now in the teaching profession, it can be exhilarating to know that you were a part of that successful story.
When all of these wonderful reasons are combined, it is easy to see why teaching is the best job in the world.