Pursuing A Career In Teaching Education Essay

Mark Twain once said “work and play are words used to describe the same thing under different circumstances” (n.d.). When choosing a career, it is important that it does not feel like work all the time. Becoming a teacher requires preparation such as education, summer jobs, skills and having references available for later use. The work a teacher deals with can be physically and emotionally stressful, differ in salary and working conditions and also with the type of people they work with. The potential of a teacher depends on the career path they choose, and the amount of training and schooling they are willing to obtain to go further into their career. There may be disadvantages to being a teacher, but at the same time there are many advantages. Pursuing a career in teaching will be challenging yet rewarding.

Teachers have been around since the dawn of time and have always had the same purpose, to educate. A teacher is defined by Merriam-Websters Dictionary as “one that teaches; especially one whose occupation is to teach” (2004, p. 1016). Teaching is defined as “to cause to know or understand; to assist in learning how to do something; show how” (Merriam-Webster, 2004, p. 1016). The evolution of teachers started way back in the beginning of time. “Teachers started to come about when language was invented through apprenticeship, imitation, and ritual. Teachers became more prominent when the invention of writing came about, because they did not have to teach orally anymore and started to teach children how to read” (The World Book Encyclopedia, 2010, p. 97). There has always been someone who has influenced teaching in one way or another. In Ancient Greece, three famous teachers were Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. Their teaching methods had the biggest impact on Western education (The World Book Encyclopedia, 2010, p. 98). Still today there are people who influence teaching and different methods of teaching. The profession of teaching in constantly evolving with incorporation of the advanced technology. Computers have become a large part of classroom studies and teachers find themselves having to incorporate them into their lessons. Smartboards have also risen into a top teaching tool for teachers. To be able to use these SmartBoards, teachers must participate in certification classes. As a teacher, the main purpose of their job is to be able to guide a student towards a successful future. Teachers have to be capable of working with students and trying to get them to understand new information with becoming frustrated. They have to be responsible and excellent role models. I chose teaching as my possible career path because I believe I possess these necessary qualifications in order to become a successful teacher.

There are skills and education required to become a teacher, along with summer jobs and references that can be helpful. The education required for a teacher can take at least eight years to achieve. First they must obtain an undergraduate degree and then continue to obtain a bachelor’s degree. Some teachers choose to go further into their education and receive a master’s or doctoral degree. Pursuing the higher degrees requires more schooling while also maintaining a job as a teacher. Master’s and doctoral degrees are not necessary to become public school teachers.

Traditionally to become a public school teacher, a complete bachelor’s degree from a teacher education program and license are required. Depending on the grade you want to teach, certain courses are required to take in college. If becoming a high school teacher, usually major in their field of study. (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11)

If a person wants to pursue a career in teaching they must attain a teaching license. To attain a teaching license there are requirements. “To obtain a license, you need a bachelor’s degree, a completed approved teacher training program, a certain number of subject and education credits, and supervised practice teaching” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). A person must also possess certain skills to even consider becoming a teacher. These skills help to develop the type of teacher they are going to be, whether they are communicative or authoritative.

Teachers must have the ability to communicate, inspire trust and confidence, and motivate students, as well as understand the students’ education and emotional needs … recognize and respond to individual and cultural differences in students and employ different teaching methods … should be organized, dependable, patient and creative … also must be able to work cooperatively and communicate effectively with other teachers, support staff, parents and members of the community. (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010- 11)

When a person is a teacher, they need to be able to communicate with their students in a way that they can understand, they also need to be able to be someone that a student can trust and depend on. If a teacher is disorganized, their classes will also become disorganized and no learning will take place effectively. A teacher must also be able to change their lesson plans depending on the type of children they are teaching because not every student is the same. Some students may be willing to learn, while others may find it difficult to concentrate on anything going on. There are summer jobs that can help in the field of teaching. A camp counselor is one summer job that can be helping if wanting to pursue a career in teaching. Camp counselors constantly deal with all different types of children and can definitely help in learning how to be patient with students and children. Working as a summer camp counselor also puts oneself in a position where there are counselors working together, which teachers also do. Other summer jobs that may be helpful in a teaching career are babysitters, coaches, and umpires (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). Each of these jobs requires working with children persistently, and learning to communicate with them in a creative way. References help to secure a job position at a school, good references may make the difference between deciding between two candidates. “Good references could be former employers, coworkers, or teachers or anyone else who can describe your abilities and job-related traits” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). References, skills, summer jobs, and education are all necessary to prepare for a career in teaching.

A career as a teacher ranges in salary, hours worked, the people you work with, and working conditions, but always has the same amount of vacation time, even though it may be broken down differently. A teacher has to deal with working conditions wherever they teach. The conditions may be satisfactory, or may not be, but either way they have to be able to do perform to their best abilities.

As a teacher, you are constantly surrounded by students, willing and nonwilling to learn. It can be frustrating and rewarding. There are large classes, heavy workloads and old buildings with no technology, it can be stressful. A public school teacher has no control over what they can teach. They are held accountable for poor state test grades. Isolationism can result from being around kids all the time. (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11)

Working conditions cannot determine how a teacher teaches, they need to teach the way they would in ideal working conditions, surrounded by ideal students and ideal classes. When students are doing poorly in their classes, it is always perceived as the teacher’s fault. They are constantly being blamed and having to face criticism even when they are performing their job the exact way they should be. The average work week consists of forty hours, with some more due to extracurricular activities (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). Teachers decide to pick up more hours during the work week by chaperoning dances, leading clubs and volunteering at school funded events, in order to receive a higher pay check. “The average salary ranges from $47,000 to $51,800 according to the numbers of May 2008” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). The salary of a teacher is no where close to where it should be, with all of the different responsibilities they are held accountable for, so that is why they choose to participate in extracurricular activities. Vacation time for a teacher remains the same for each one. The only aspect of vacation time that differs is when the vacation takes place. “Depending on how the school year is, a teacher works ten months with a two month vacation during the summer. If it is a year round school, teachers work eight weeks, on vacation for a week, and have a five week midwinter break” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). Teachers also have vacation time during the holiday breaks that students are off from school, such as Winter break and Spring break. Having a career in teaching comes with physical and emotional stress. Reese interviewed Sewell, a teacher at a college, and states:

Sewell has to prepare, teach, grade, and counsel all by herself. She has seventeen classes she is responsible for teaching … Sewell finds that preparing for a class requires an enormous amount of time. ‘It takes a lot of preparation just to go in there and teach for an hour. Sewell notes. Her students aren’t the only ones who get stressed. ‘Some days are so trying because there is so much to balance,’ Sewell adds. (2003)

Teachers regularly have to teach, grade, prepare and counsel for their students, which adds a great deal of physical stress, with all the paperwork that comes along with it. The emotional stress can pertain to counseling because the students problems come out into the open and a teacher has to be there to listen, and depending on what the students are telling them, it can create internal conflicts for the teacher, adding on more emotional stress. Emotional stress can also come from the students not participating in class, or not paying attention and doing poorly on the exams, and may make the teacher feel as if they are not doing their job the correct way. There are various kinds of people that a teacher works with. Baccio is a teacher in a juvenile detention center and according to Redman “Baccio works with inmates ranging from ten to eighteen years old who may have mental illnesses and may be unmotivated. She teaches them to read, even though they should know how to” (2008). Teachers usually come across students who are unwilling to learn and tend to do nothing in their classrooms. Teachers have to be able to persuade these students to try and learn, but that does not always happen. There are of course students who are always willing to learn and teachers look forward to guiding and enlightening them. Teachers work with students, but also have coworkers. “As a teacher you work with many other teachers as well as supervisors and have to be able to work with parents and the community” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). When teachers work together, they are usually brainstorming ideas about how to improve on lessons, which books to read, how to keep students engaged in conversations and all around try to be creative. Teachers are usually evaluated by a supervisor sitting in on a lesson every once in a while (Reese, 2003). The evaluations help a supervisor to see if a teacher is really doing his or her job. The different factors that are incorporated with the career of teaching may lead some to rethink this option.

Having a career in teaching can lead to higher positions on a possible career path. People vary in their opinions about the advantages and disadvantages of teaching. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the advantages of being a teacher are that you have the ability to help someone achieve a goal, you can help to make the right choices about school and life, and you get to see the difference that you make in a child’s life (2010-11). Redman quotes Boccio when she says “People like to be successful, so as [the students] start to get some good grades back, and feel that I’m really watching them carefully … most of them meet that challenge; most of them are actually quite successful” (2008). Reese illustrates that Sewell’s students admire her for what she does and are always willing to help if she has a lot going on. This helps her students learn organizational skills that they will need as teachers (2003). The main advantage of being a teacher is that they are an inspiration to other students and are watching others become successful. Of course there are disadvantages of being a teacher. “Disadvantages of being a teacher are that is a stressful career, can involve unruly and violent behavior, students may be unmotivated and you are held accountable for their failures, there is little control, and can lead isolationism” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11).

One of the challenges of Boccio’s job is continually accommodating new additions to her classroom without making those students feel as if they have missed out or unable to participate right away. It is a stressful environment, and many of the students have mental health issues, both of these elements affect classroom behavior and how Boccio enforces rules. (Redman, 2008)

This is truly a disadvantage for a teacher because no two students are the same. Teachers have to make their lesson plans understandable for every child they teach and make sure the lessons convey the same message across each student. It is difficult enough to try and have one student understand what is going on, but they have to be able to communicate it to twenty to thirty students. The future outlook of a career in teaching was determined by the U.S. Department of Labor,

Job openings will result from the need to replace the large number of teachers who are expected to retire over the 2008-18 period. Jobs should be more available in inner cities and rural areas than suburban districts. The supply of teachers is expected to increase in response to reports of improved job prospects, better pay, more teacher involvement in school policy, and greater public interest in education. The projected employment for 2018 is about a thirteen percent increase in kindergarten, elementary, middle, and secondary school teachers. (2010-11)

There is a good chance that by the time the 2011 high school graduating classes receives their bachelor’s degrees, there will be more opportunities for those looking to pursue a career in teaching. Teachers have the ability to further their careers by furthering their education. Dale Carlson is now the superintendent of the school district of Holmen, Wisconsin. In a magazine article, he talks about how he got to where he is now.

Dale Carlson has just become the superintendent of the school district of Holmen, Wisconsin. He previously worked for thirteen years at Parker High School in Janesville, Wisconsin, serving for nine years as a principal and for four years as an assistant principal. Carlson started his career as a math teacher in Mausten, Wisconsin, and taught for nine years in Houston, Minnesota, and La Crosse, Wisconsin. (Carlson, 2009)

In order to progress his career, he had to attain a higher level of schooling. “To become an assistant principal, principal, administrator, or deal, usually requires a master’s degree” (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). Carlson had to obtain his master’s degree before he could become an assistant principal and start his way up to superintendent. There are many advanced careers from teaching. A teacher can become an assistant principal, principal, administrator, chief academic officer, dean, chairperson and more. Teachers can even become superintendent of their districts (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010-11). The possible outlook for a career in teaching can result in higher positions and responsibilities.

Pursuing a career in teaching is a very demanding but exhilarating career. Teaching demands a lot of time with grading and preparing, but at the same time is exhilarating because it helps students to advance in life. From the research, I feel that I am suited for a career in teaching. To be suited for a career in teaching, a person must be very patient and are always trying to get students or children to do their best. They have to want to help others understand new information and succeed at it. They have to be willing to lend a hand to a coworker or student in need. Teachers must be tolerant of others and have a high threshold of patience. I feel that I am suited for a career as a teacher because I harbor these necessary qualities. To attain my goal, I need to pursue advanced schooling and take classes dealing with different types of people. Although there are disadvantage and a great deal of stress that go along with pursuing a career in teaching, there are many advantages, such as watching a student learn something new and helping students make difficult choices. Teachers are such an important aspect of any community, and will always be, which is why I would love to look as teaching as a possible career choice.

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