How To Pursue The Perfect Career As A Teacher
Teaching can be one of the most rewarding careers there is. There’s nothing quite like the feeling of teaching a child a concept and watching it light up their face, their brain working overtime to process the new and exciting thing they’ve just been taught. Of course, there are troughs to go with the peaks, but for the most part, you won’t regret deciding to become a teacher.
That said, it’s not always easy to know where to start on this path. Obviously, one does not “become a teacher” overnight; there are plenty of steps along the way. Making sure you take the path that will lead to the best career for you isn’t a cakewalk. Here are some of our tips on how to pursue the perfect career as a teacher.
Decide whether it’s for you
Just because you want to be a teacher doesn’t mean you should be one. Some teachers struggle immensely with the workload, the occasional sense that they’re not being appreciated like they should be, and the long, unpaid overtime hours that can occasionally come with being a teacher. Before you embark on your teaching journey, you should make 100% sure that this is the career path for you. You’ll need patience, a dedication to hard work, and a desire not to see things done by half measures. Teachers don’t create the next Marie Curie by not caring, either, so you’ll need to love what you do.
Make sure you’re well-funded
Teaching can be fairly lucrative, but depending on where you live there are likely to be courses to take, qualifications to obtain and other things you’ll need before you can work in a school. As such, it makes sense to have some serious funding behind you before you embark on this journey – those courses won’t pay for themselves, and although some institutions will pay for your course, this isn’t the case everywhere. Drawing from savings, asking friends and family to subsidise you and chasing personal loans are all excellent ways to fund your initial foray into teaching. Websites like logbookloans.co.uk offer great methods and incentives for taking out personal loans, so pick the most appropriate funding method for you before you start.
Get a degree (or equivalent)
No matter where you are in the world, a bachelor’s degree is absolutely indispensable to becoming a teacher. In the UK, for example, you’ll need to have a degree to teach anywhere, while in the USA public school teachers are also required to possess a bachelor’s degree. With that in mind, if you don’t already have a degree, this is a necessary step to complete if you want to be a teacher. Your subject doesn’t necessarily have to be related to what you want to teach, but it definitely helps. There are some school systems which do mandate certain subjects, so for safe bets, aim for either English (for English teachers) or the STEM fields.
Find out what teaching courses there are in your area
Before you can teach, you’ll need the relevant qualification as well as the bachelor’s degree we’ve mentioned. You won’t be able to teach in schools in the UK, for example, without gaining QTS (qualified teacher status). In the US, the requirements vary state by state, but generally some sort of equivalent is required. You categorically won’t be able to work in the vast majority of publicly-owned schools if you don’t have this teaching qualification, and many privately-owned schools are even more exacting with their standards. Don’t fall foul of not having the correct qualification. Make sure you’re prepared before you decide to look for teaching jobs.
Once you’re qualified, do your research
It’s not worth working in a school that has an atrocious reputation both for its students and for its teachers. Before you set out on your career, try to make sure you’re working for a school that values its staff. In many countries, class sizes are increasing, so teaching is often a stressful and highly demanding proposition. The last thing you want is for the support network of fellow teachers and other staff not to be there to catch you if you’re struggling. Similarly, if a school has a reputation for antisocial behaviour, make sure you know that before you start working there. You may well be the kind of person who can cope with abuse, but if you’re of a nervous disposition then you might want to try somewhere with a more positive reputation. Troubled schools definitely need teachers too, and if that’s you, excellent. If not, know thyself to avoid potential pain further down the road.
First and foremost, you should love what you do as a teacher. If you don’t love it, then your lack of enthusiasm and passion will be reflected in your students. They need you to guide them through the material and show them why they should love it, so make sure you love it too. There will, of course, be moments when you just can’t muster the enthusiasm to love your job. Just make sure you’re grinning through those moments and that they don’t make up the majority of your work.