The truth of the matter is that teaching isn’t a job for everyone. In fact, you should think long and hard about your reasons for becoming a teacher to determine if it’s the right profession for you. This is because teaching involves a great deal of intellectual, emotional, and even physical labor. It's a hard job, plain and simple.
That said, there are MANY amazing reasons to become a teacher (beyond just having summers off, by the way!). Here are our top 10 reasons to become a teacher...
#1 To Work with Kids (or Teens)
Do you generally enjoy interacting with children? Many people love being around kids because of their awe and curiosity about the world. It can be fascinating and rewarding to observe and help young people learn and process new ideas and skills.
The same goes for adolescents and teens. While they often get a reputation for being sassy and moody (which can be true!) they can also be a whole lot of fun too! Their minds are developing rapidly which makes for compelling and meaningful engagement.
But make sure to do some deep reflection about how much you genuinely enjoy being around people the age you'd like to teach. You may LOVE kids, but do you love interacting with them all day, every day? It take a great deal of patience and compassion to connect with young people and to handle behavioral issues. If this type of work comes naturally to you, then the rewards greatly outweigh the challenges!
#2 To Enjoy Variety in Your Work
It’s been said that variety is the spice of life and trust us, no two days of teaching are the same. If you'd struggle in a job that requires you to repeat the same actions every day, teaching is a great option for you.
As a teacher, you determine what your days looks like as you create lesson plans that work for your group of students. This means you can change things up regularly to keep things interesting. You also teach a new group of students every year. This requires you to think on your toes and adapt to new personalities, learning styles, and obstacles.
#3 To Share One’s Love of the Subject
One of the best perks of being a teacher is getting to talk about a subject your passionate about, all day, every day!
Do you love reading and writing? Then teaching English or Language arts would probably be deeply rewarding for you. Likewise, if love keeping up with the newest scientific advancements, teaching science could create a deeply joyful professional experience.
Of course, not all of your students will be as thrilled about the subject matter as you are. But there's no greater joy than watching a reluctant student become gradually intrigued by what you're teaching. Finding new ways to show others just how awesome a topic can be is fun way to keep things fresh.
#4 To Have Fun
Speaking of fun, teaching is fun! Teaching a group of wildly differently personalities may sound challenging (and it is), but it also keeps things lively and interesting.
Also, there are so many different, fun learning tools and methods out there that students enjoy. Teaching doesn't just have to rely on lecturing and leading discussions. Showing movies, doing creative projects, putting on mock-trails, going on filed trips, and bringing in guest speakers are just a few ways to share information with your students. Teaching allows for a great deal of experimentation, and if you're up for it, this is a really fun part of the job.
#5 To Make a Difference
Many people who choose to become teachers do so because they had teachers who impacted their own lives and now wish to pay if forward by shaping the lives of others.
A teacher has the power to impact their students not just by imparting knowledge and sharing their passions, but by showing up as a role model and a compassionate support system.
Maya Angelou famously said, "I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel." Helping students feel seen, heard, cared for, and supported is an invaluable gift that they will take with them into adulthood. Your belief in and advocacy for them has the power to bolster their self confidence, self worth, drive, and purpose in life.
#6 To Fight for Social Justice and Equality
Teachers are uniquely positioned to use their platforms to help create a more just and egalitarian world, in part because education itself is a form of empowerment.
Beyond that, teachers have the ability to teach a diverse curriculum, celebrating and uplifting the voices of minorities. They also have the opportunity to teach and model critical values like inclusivity, empathy, open-mindedness, and deep listening, off of which help create better citizens of humanity.
There are some subjects that lend themselves easily to incorporating a social justice imperative. For example, many history teachers are now teaching a revised and updated version of the Christopher Columbus narrative that correctly accounts for the genocide of Indigenous peoples.
Likewise, literature and English teachers can assign readings from diverse writers that represent a range of lived experiences. Representation matters, and a diverse curriculum helps empower students of all races and backgrounds, which is a critical step in creating a more equitable society.
#7 To Be a Lifelong Learner
You probably already realize this if you're considering entering the teaching profession, but being a teacher means constantly learning and evolving, which we think makes for a fun and exciting career!
First of all, you'll have to stay up-to-date on the subject you're teaching as the world evolves and new knowledge becomes available. Beyond that, teaching requires that you stay well-versed in what's going on the world at any given time. Also, because you'll work with many diverse students with many learning styles, you'll consistently learn new was to think about the world and to solve problems creatively.
If you're someone who would love to actively continue learning and growing, then teaching just may be for you!
#8 To Enjoy Both Independence and Collaboration
In large part, you'll have a great deal of freedom as a teacher. Meaning, supervisors like your principal and superintendent won't actually be in the classroom with you most of the time. For all intents and purposes, you'll be "in charge" of your classroom, including what you teach and how you teach it (within the curriculum and school guidelines, of course). In other words, being a teacher means being a leader. To some people this may sound a little, well, overwhelming! To others, self motivation and leadership come naturally. If you're one of them, teaching might be right for you.
At the same time, teaching is also highly collaborative. Not only will you work with many, many students a day (easily as many as 100, depending on where and what you teach), you'll also interact frequently with your colleagues, your students' parents or guardians, and so on. Education involves the exchange of ideas so you'll want to make sure you're up for collaborating and communicating with others all day, every day.
#9 To Join a Global Community
The amazing thing about living in the digital age is that we can now easily connect to others around the world. This means that we can share resources and attend virtual conferences with other educators in other countries and explore educational topics and methods being used worldwide.
Additionally, many teachers opt to teach overseas at some point in their career. Because teaching is such a transferable, in-demand skill around the world, you'll definitely have opportunities to teach abroad if this interests you.
#10 To Be at the Forefront of a Changing World
There are many pressing issues today (environmentalism, civil rights, technological advancements, global health threats) that necessitate our collective energy and problem-solving. Teachers are in a unique position to help students learn about the rapidly changing world and to help them prepare for fully for living in it.
A changing world also means that the workforce in the United States is changing dramatically, with many new careers and fields on the horizon. You as a teacher get to help shape students' future goals and aspirations, which is exciting!
These are just some of our favorite reasons for becoming a teacher. What has inspired YOU to consider teaching? Share your thoughts in the comments below!