SHOULD I BECOME A TEACHER?
Have you been thinking of majoring in education for your undergraduate degree?
Teaching is a noble profession, of course. Shaping the minds of future generations comes in as the number one reason why teaching is important. But it can also be quite challenging. That’s why It’s important to really understand your motives and know why “I want to be a teacher.”
So … why teach? Why do you want to be a teacher? Why become a teacher?
Is the future too important to leave to chance? Is it a love for children? Do you simply want to see them succeed? Or is it a love of learning, one so compelling you’re driven to share it? Is this your mission field? Were you called to teach?
Whatever ultimate reason you land on, know this: Good teachers are always needed. You are needed.
GOOD TEACHERS ARE ALWAYS NEEDED
Teacher shortages: It’s almost cyclical. From pandemics to great recessions, every other year seems to bring about a new shortage of educators. And some key subject areas—such as Special Education, Math, Science, and Technology—are always understaffed.
In addition to being cyclical, it’s comprehensive. Education careers outside the classroom are also very much in demand, too. Many states go through episodes of shortages in non-teaching roles including:
- School Counselor
- School Librarian
- School Administrator
- School Psychologist
- School Speech-Language Pathologist
The good news? America will always need great educators. “Regardless of temporary economic conditions, hiring practices, budget cuts, or any other factors that impact the education system, the need for teachers is timeless and universal,” notes Teach.com. If you feel called to teach, you can be sure that this is one career path that will always provide you with a purpose.
WHAT QUALITIES DO I NEED TO BECOME A TEACHER?
Here’s a quick checklist of five key attributes possessed by the most effective educators.
Without a deep and abiding passion for the teaching profession, the challenges and stressors can become too much. The greatest educators are dedicated to searching for engaging and innovative ways to make content more interesting for their students. A teacher’s love of a subject can encourage students to become more interested and involved. Teachers who are passionate about their subject matter and who have deep wells of knowledge to draw on can inspire students to learn more, dig deeper, and think harder. This creates a dynamic, enriching learning environment.
An abundance of patience is clearly necessary when teaching new concepts to young or struggling students. But even teens find it to be one of the key attributes of an effective teacher. Pearson surveyed students ages 15-19 across the U.S. about what they thought made a great teacher. “Personality characteristics related to being a compassionate person and having a sensitivity to student differences, particularly with learners, was the second most frequently reported quality.” Research clearly shows that teacher dispositions are strongly related to student learning and development.
Top-notch time-management and organizational skills are mandatory for educators. Great teachers:
- Spend time outside of the classroom preparing and designing lessons
- Have the ability to organize and plan lessons so that they are integrated and cross-curricular
- Structure their days, lessons, and units in a way that fosters maximal understanding and interest
- Are constantly learning more themselves about their subject matter and how to teach more effectively
- Are available outside of class
- Grade papers quickly with targeted, personal feedback to help students understand
Many teachers lack sufficient funds for classroom supplies and equipment. This requires creativity with how supplies are used and obtained. Forbes quotes a survey that found: “In 2018, teachers spent an average of $652 of their own money on classroom supplies. This was up 39 percent from 2017 and was the highest amount since the survey started in 2013.” But that doesn’t have to be the case. Perhaps that means seeking out retailers that offer steep teacher discounts or emailing parents an Amazon wish list filled with needed classroom supplies. Oftentimes teachers can get a lot of outside support, but you might have to ask for it.
Teachers need the appropriate level of assertiveness inside the classroom to deal with disruptive outbreaks of all kinds. They also need to be advocates for their students in dealing with parents and administrators. Another necessity is that teachers also need to be comfortable advocating for themselves. Perhaps that means asking parents to become more involved in the classroom or for field trip volunteers. Maybe it means asking administrators for continuing education, professional development, or team-building opportunities. In the end, if it’s important to your teaching career, it’s important to the students that will reap the benefits you receive.
Teaching is a passion that bubbles up from within your core. In fact, some people say it’s a calling. If you have a fire and want to mold students for a successful and bright future, consider University of the Cumberlands. Our rich tradition of educating educators and inspiring excellence in the classroom dates back to 1888. If you would like to find out what UC can do for you, let one of our admissions counselors provide you with more information.