Teaching is a truly noble profession and one that can be extremely rewarding. But numerous people say that being a teacher is not that easy.
What exactly makes teaching such a great profession? Have you ever thought about becoming one? Do you want to help people? Serve others? Make a difference? There are many things to consider.
According to educators, the following are reasons for becoming a teacher.
Classroom Teacher | Founder, Girls Positivity Club
You can teach your students practical skills they can use in any situation
Very few teachers would say that they want to be a teacher because they love teaching fractions (ok, maybe a math teacher).
But to me, the best part of being a teacher is teaching your students practical skills they can use in any situation no matter what age they are, such as mindset, and building relationships that will help them feel a sense of belonging and community in the classroom.
You can impact your students’ mindset
This is the biggest reason I wanted to become a teacher. I never felt like I was taught how to believe in myself or that my mindset would have a massive impact on my confidence and self-esteem.
Being a teacher means not only teaching content but teaching kids that learning is a process where you are supposed to stumble if you are genuinely experiencing growth.
Authentic learning is vital for teachers and school staff to instill in students and teach a student to see that everything you learn isn’t supposed to be easy all the time.
I see so many kids who are afraid to take a risk in trying a new technique or raise their hand if they are not 100% correct for fear of looking dumb to their peers.
I recently asked my students how many of them only raise their hands if they are 100% sure that their answer is correct, and almost every student raised their hand. I see students who are afraid to learn new things because they may not be good at it.
You can teach the students to be their own encouragers
This year, I will continue to amp up teaching the students to be their own encouragers and write encouraging messages at the top of their math tests and cheer for students who have the courage to ask questions or raise their hands even if they are scared.
I believe that everyone deserves at least one standing ovation and will teach the students to acknowledge those big “little” moments of accomplishment.
Teaching a growth mindset means that when learning something new or trying a new strategy, students must be taught how to manage their internal talk.
Modeling “the power of yet,” and changing their internal voice is modeling how to think to flip a switch from the voice that says:
- “I don’t know how to do this,” to “I don’t know how to do this yet, but I’m getting there,”
- or from, “It’s too hard,” to “I can do hard things.”
The truth is, now more than ever, we have to teach kids that learning is a process, and how you view your learning is crucial. We have to teach kids to rewire their thinking from “I’ll never get this” to “I’m learning how to do this.”
Unfortunately, test scores have made many students afraid to go through the growth of learning and embrace it. It needs to be taught not as an extra curriculum but the thinking modeled to students during every lesson.
Everyone involved in a student’s education needs to change from a fixed to a growth mindset so that kids know that everything isn’t supposed to be easy all the time, and that is part of true learning.
It’s uncomfortable and messy sometimes, but everything changes when you stick with a growth mindset. Having an impact on this area of a student’s life was a driving force in my wanting to become a teacher.
You build relationships and community in the classroom they will remember forever
We’ve always known this, but now more than ever, there need to be teachers who want to connect with their students and cultivate connections with each other.
We know the mental support that our students need now more than ever, and students learn more in an environment where they feel valued, seen, and cared for.
Starting and ending the day in a community circle and building connection opportunities throughout the day embedded in partner and group work, as well as whole class conversations, isn’t an add-on or one more thing adding to our curriculum.
It should be included as a natural integration. I plan to continue to learn about my students’ football and soccer games, ask about dance and music performances, learn about video games the kids are playing and reference it in lessons, find out students’ dogs’ names, and on and on.
It’s a lot more relationship-building than anything, and teachers are pros at knowing kids even during the most challenging circumstances.
I became a teacher because I felt very average in school. I didn’t feel special enough to get much relationship-building from my teachers. That seemed to be for the smartest or most popular kids.
So a big driving force for me was to be different as a teacher. To be the kind of teacher who made every kid feel like a favorite and special for simply being themselves.
Being a teacher is about being human with students by sharing parts of your personal life
Teaching is about being human with students by sharing parts of your personal life that will connect with them.
Teaching them to do that among each other is crucial to building an accepting environment and allows students to know each other on a personal level and to learn to encourage and cheer each other on instead of ridiculing each other for their challenges.
Modeling vulnerability as a teacher is the first step in creating that support community. For example, I openly share that my parents divorced when I was very young, that I have 50 chickens, my son is a blackbelt in Tae Kwon Do, and how I had to work hard in school because it wasn’t easy for me.
These little snippets of life help students connect and see that you are human too. Sharing a bit of yourself allows them to share a bit of their life and builds kids’ trust in teachers.
Kids are more motivated to work hard for a teacher who not only takes an interest in them but is relatable, and they are more likely to share and connect in both celebrations in the classroom and challenges.
I’ve had students reach out to me years later to thank me for teaching them about believing in themselves and that they matter and were cared for in my class.
These are the reasons anyone becomes a teacher because you want to know that you have given a student that moment in time where they felt you truly cared about them and showed them how to do the same for themselves and others.
First-grade Teacher | Completed BA in Interdisciplinary Studies and MA in Curriculum and Instruction, WGU
You can make an impact in your students’ lives
Think back to your time in school and remember a teacher you liked, someone who made such an impact in your life that you remember them still as an adult.
I can still remember that teacher in my life — my fourth-grade teacher, Mrs. Dorth.
Some things I remember from her class include:
- the multitude of class pets
- the most insanely stocked treasure chest
- the exciting projects my parents still have in storage at home
However, I don’t remember any specific lessons or what she taught us. Instead, I remember how she made me feel that I could do and become anything.
You can become an integral part of a child’s life
For this reason, I became a teacher. As a teacher, we become an integral part of a child’s life. We often spend more quality time with them than their parents do. We teach them how to read, write, and calculate equations.
Arguably more important, we teach them how to be kind, caring, and empathetic citizens. We empower students to grow and become the adults we want to work with in the future.
We teach them to work collaboratively and to accept defeat without becoming defeated.
Being an educator comes with great responsibility
You feel connected and obligated to every child who comes into your classroom. You want them to succeed and are invested in their success, often more than they are capable of at the moment.
Within this level of commitment comes priceless rewards. You see children grow right before your eyes.
You observe the little victories that students often take for granted, like finally understanding how to do long division or reading a book they have always wanted to without difficulty. That, in itself, is the reward for our countless work hours.
I became a teacher because I am, admittedly, a bit type-A. I throw myself wholeheartedly into every job I have had, even when working and going to school full time to become a teacher later in life.
Teaching is a career where your love for others and your desire for them to learn and grow are actual assets.
You will still learn new things
If you love to learn new things — teaching is for you. You must be open and willing to constantly grow and try to become a better version of yourself. You must be willing to see minor daily setbacks as a chance to learn and be better while at the same time cherishing the small growths each day.
Teachers help shape and mold the future of our country
As educators, we constantly emphasize to our students the importance of a growth mindset, so who are we if we are not mirroring it ourselves? We must lead by example because we help shape and mold the future of our country.
I will never take this job for granted because to be even a tiny part of that process is a privilege I cherish.
Kevin Lane, MSc, BSc, PGCE
Biology High School Teacher and Tutor, Lane Biology Tutor
The personal satisfaction of helping children
If you ask teachers what they love most about their job, the most common answers will be the satisfaction of helping children, the long holidays, and how the time flies by in a day.
The appreciation that you will receive from your students
The rewarding moments can be specific events like Results Day or Leavers’ Graduation Ceremony. But students are also not shy about telling their favorite teachers how much they like their lessons which can provide constant satisfaction and motivation.
World Teachers’ Day is a great day for teachers if the school encourages their students to write cards to their favorite teachers telling them how wonderful they are and why they like their lessons.
Students will remember fond memories with you
I have two personal reasons why I love being a teacher. I, like everyone else, always remember my teachers and particularly fond memories of my favorite ones.
I enjoy thinking about my old students who, I hope, now and again, and maybe just a few, may have a fond memory of me.
This brings a smile to my face. I will never see them again or know if this is true, but I am sure that sometimes a student of mine thinks their Biology teacher Mr. Lane made a difference to them.
You share the same long holidays with your children
My other personal reason is I have two young children of my own. I have the same long holidays they do, and we can spend all day together. In the summer we can spend eight weeks together. This is a priceless benefit for any parent.
Related: The Benefits of Being a Teacher
You don’t have to think about who will take care of your children
Parents who are not teachers have to consider how their children are cared for during the holidays. If possible, grandparents are called up to look after the kids, which can be hard on them as they are not their energetic, youthful selves anymore.
If grandparent help is not an option, then alternatives like daily child care and summer schools are expensive. Parents often take turns taking their holiday, so the whole family is not on holiday at the same time.
Your children won’t have to be bored if you bring them to your job
Or a more desperate situation is to bring their kids into their job and have to deal with the bored out of their minds while trying to keep them occupied and doing their job.
There are many great reasons to become a teacher. The personal satisfaction of making a difference and spending the holidays with my own children is definitely mine.
Adjunct Professor of Communication, University of Tampa
Teachers introduce students to the field that is their passion
From day one, my sole purpose in the classroom was to introduce young, aspiring communication professionals to the field that had been/still is my passion — public relations.
Throughout my PR career, I have benefited tremendously from the support and guidance of others, navigating both the positive and the negative aspects of the profession.
Teachers challenge students to develop their own solutions to the problem
In the classroom, I present students with real-life situations, often challenging them to develop their own solutions to the problem/opportunity.
I tell them clearly, “This is what I did.” Then I explain the results of the particular event. Writing assignments tend to be “Here’s the situation. What would you do? Explain.”
I don’t force public relations down an individual’s throat. I present the positives and the negatives and leave the decision up to them. I want our future professionals to be following their passion.
Those who choose to pursue the profession, more often than not, wind up succeeding beyond their — and my wildest dreams! And I’m bubbling over with pride each and every time!
Director of Integrated Learning, Herzing College
Whenever someone asks, “Why teaching?” – I hold fast to these three main reasons:
Teaching is an authentic vocation
Teaching is not just instruction; it’s a direct contribution to experience, where I can share information and stories. These stories are not found in research but are the true core that directly supports meaningful student learning.
Storytelling provides a vehicle for concepts. I readily share successes and failures. Students today must understand that depth of knowledge also encompasses real-life experiences.
You can learn alongside your students
I have always loved reading and writing — while I am not a public speaker, teaching for two decades made me a well-seasoned communicator with an excellent ability to articulate her point of view.
Teaching is a continuous journey where we learn alongside our students. Every year experience is acquired, and another tool is added to our arsenal that builds our abilities.
While I still am often nervous in large groups, I now have more confidence with every lecture and session I engage in.
You will know how to empathize with your students
I understand learning and how people think. I know how to present material in a way that will be received well because I have been in the trenches with my students in the battle to get good grades.
The most memorable educators showcase responsiveness and take the time to learn from a student’s perspective. I take pride in knowing that students appreciate my ability to convey learning objectives but also see the upside down of education.
Empathy produces a student demographic who will, in turn, reciprocate high levels of emotional intelligence in their places of work.
So, when asked, “Why teaching?” I can provide these three pillars of motivation or be true to my brand; anyone is welcome to a seat in my class and learn for themselves.
Former High School Classroom Teacher, The Moxie Teacher
The opportunity to build trusting relationships
When you see these fantastic kids day after day, you get an opportunity to build trusting relationships and a glimpse into their lives. It’s always so fun to see them come back to visit over the years and watch them grow.
Every day is a new day
If you are someone who can’t seem to sit still behind a desk all day, then teaching is a good fit for you! Each day brings new situations, and you are always on the go! Teaching is perfect for those who can adapt easily and go with the flow.
You will meet like-minded coworkers
You thought about teaching because you love kids! Your coworkers share that same passion! Most teachers would consider themselves social people with welcoming personalities.
You see them day in and day out and have an excellent opportunity to form not only a community; but a family.
You become an active part of the community
Teaching is a career in which, if you teach near where you live, you become embedded into the culture of the community.
Whether you coach a sport or just go out to the local store, you are sure to cross paths with current and former students. You get to know not only the students but also their families.
You are a vital piece to children’s social wellbeing
Your students will come from all different walks and backgrounds. As their teacher, you have a unique opportunity to make an impression on that child and let them know they are essential, seen, and heard.
Not every child gets that assurance at home, so you are a vital piece to their social wellbeing and development.
Special Education Teacher for Preschool Children | Tutor, GoStudent
You can build connections with families and students
I typically spend the beginning and the end of the lesson simply talking with the student about what is going on in their lives, what they did the past weekend, asking questions about their clubs/extracurriculars, and just learning more about them.
This is a great way to build connections with the students and helps you find new ways to integrate their interests into lessons because if a student is genuinely interested in the subject, they will be more engaged in the lesson.
I am working with one student who loves Minecraft, and I will typically incorporate a mini Minecraft activity into the middle of our lesson to break up the session. It is a great way to give his brain a break and build our relationship over something he is interested in!
You can network with other professionals
The majority of our company’s tutors do some work outside of tutoring. Personally, I work as a preschool special education teacher. Our company provides tutors with resources and mentorship programs to talk with other people in similar subjects.
I have found many excellent new resources from other tutors, which will make me an even better teacher this upcoming school year.
It is so much fun to find resources that will be used with your students while also thinking of ways to apply those resources in other settings.
You can grow your interpersonal skills
Teaching is all about communication. There is a focus on communicating with the student and the family about their child’s progress and other important updates.
Virtually, this can be trickier than in person since intonation and messages can have a different impact than intended. I have found that teaching has pushed me to communicate with others more intentionally.
I will use emojis, gifs, and other graphics to display emotions when messaging students and their families.
Certified Math & Special Education Teacher, Wandering Through Maine
There are still so many reasons to become a teacher, even though most of what we hear is negative. The vast majority of teachers are very, very committed to their student’s academic achievement and social well-being.
You can build strong relationships with your students
You can build incredibly strong relationships with your students, which in turn motivates them to achieve, which is amazing to see. You really can change lives just by doing your job.
When students go off to high school but continue to visit your classroom after school just to talk to you, it can come as a surprise.
Sometimes it’s the kids you would never expect who come back to see you, and it reminds you that you never really know what type of impact you are having on your students.
Sometimes, it’s the parents you build relationships with
When a parent thanks you for making sure their child, who is going through a difficult time, is cared for at school, or thanks you because they still can’t believe their child is graduating given all the trouble they had before you came into the picture as a support and advocate.
You’ll witness what your students will achieve
Sort of watching your own children graduate, there is nothing like watching them graduate. I always get a little teary-eyed watching my students walk around in their robes and tassels and seeing them so happy and proud. It’s a fantastic feeling.
They thank you because they would have never achieved those if it wasn’t because of you
There are also those extraordinary moments, like when a student who worked hard to learn how to read comes to you in tears at the end of the year, thanking you because she can now read what her friends post on Facebook.
Or when a student emails you and thanks you because they would have never graduated if it wasn’t because of you. Those moments stay with you forever and make all the not-so-great parts of teaching fade into the background.
There’s an excellent schedule for work/life balance
There is a lot of stress related to being a teacher and a lot more work than people realize. Not only is there a major personal commitment to helping your students, but there are so many requirements related to paperwork and testing that it’s easy to get burnt out.
Thankfully, teachers have exceptional schedules that help us keep some work/life balance. We also get all the holidays that students get.
While we are often working on lesson planning or professional development during our time off, we are not physically in our classrooms, so for the most part, we are working by choice.
Even when we choose to teach summer school, there is still time off before and after the school session. I can’t think of any other job that offers such an excellent schedule for work/life balance.
Having spent over 15 years in the classroom, I can’t imagine a better job overall.
Teachers have a burning desire to motivate their students
Superb teachers have a burning desire to motivate their students, and if you have this drive, you will feel very rewarded by going into the teaching profession.
The students’ positive reactions can thrill you, and the camaraderie of the other teachers at your school can give you a home away from home feeling.
I was a Chicago policeman for 37 years and an adjunct professor at three Chicago colleges, so I understand the need to educate people. I found that the more educated a person becomes, the less they are apt to get in trouble — and believe me, I’ve seen more trouble than the man on the moon.
Being a teacher can enhance your own life
Watching my students grow and learn enhanced my own life, and I learned to respect and feel good about myself more each passing day.
I say, “How you teach depends on different methods, according to the learning capability of your student’s abilities, but it’s fun seeing the outcome of your skill.”
You patiently help students to achieve their goal
Why become a teacher? What could be better than having a student come up to you and say, “Thank you for your patience with me and for renewing my faith in obtaining a college degree.”
Speaker | Author, “White Girl Within” | Tenured Professor
Teachers are intermediaries that collaborate with their students
A good teacher is an intermediary that collaborates with their students to link their schematic foundations with enriched and clarified content that is later “scaffolded” atop their inherent baseline of knowledge and comprehension.
In essence, I am an intermediary that attempts to usher in a flash of insight leading to a type of liberation in which consciousness can break internalized stalemates and the like.
And yet, the need to transmute consciousness into concrete actions of impact must also occur — perhaps in a way that John Dewey similarly describes.
“Not only does an educator show awareness of shaping the direction of an experience, but he or she must also recognize what surroundings are conducive to having experiences that lead to growth.
This includes utilizing both physical and social surroundings, so they contribute to providing worthwhile experiences.”
Teachers negotiate the liminal spaces between students’ native understanding
Ultimately my aim as a teacher is to skillfully negotiate the liminal spaces between my students’ native understanding and their potential for refined, elegant, and enriched new models of knowledge and understanding.
I want them to think well. I want them to function well. And I believe that the total of these events will translate into meaningful learning experiences for them.
Teaching is about functioning as a supreme intermediary quantity
Indeed good teaching is about functioning as a supreme intermediary quantity that assists students with balancing their existing knowledge with their acquisitions of new knowledge and frameworks.
Certified in Elementary Education, Special Education, and ESOL, Fishyrobb
You can take your kids to work with you every day
My children attended the same school where I taught from kindergarten through fifth grade. This had a lot of great benefits. I didn’t have to drop them off somewhere else before work.
When it was time to go home at the end of the day, they were ready to go. I had easy access to their classroom teachers for conferences or any issues that came up. I could easily attend any special school events without taking off work.
You don’t have to get stuck in the same thing year after year
You can change grade levels, schools, and even the type of students you teach. I have taught six different grades. I have taught GED ed, separate class ESE, and special education support.
When I needed a break from a regular classroom position, I requested a spot in intervention for the following year. Because you basically start fresh every school year, you can easily make a change when it feels right.
You won’t have to fight for a job in teaching
There’s no worry about technology taking over this job role or something bigger and better coming along. There will always be children, and they will always need to learn.
Also, teacher shortages are the norm these days, which means there is a wide variety of positions available at any given time. You won’t have to fight for a job in teaching. For long-term job security, teaching can’t be beaten.
Adjunct Instructor | Teaching Online, Data Driven U
Teaching has an impact and action
After a decade as a freelancer and marketing agency exec, I dedicated the second arc of my career to teaching. Why? Because I wasn’t doing anything to make an impact in my first career.
I was unfulfilled. If my clients sold a few more widgets? Great, but where’s the impact in that? What’s the legacy of being stuck in meetings all day?
So I left my marketing agency role cold turkey and went to teaching full time. It’s the most impactful decision I’ve ever made.
Teaching in the classroom is rewarding
Teaching in the classroom is rewarding, especially when you see a lightbulb go off in your students’ heads.
When something previously difficult becomes a strength, when you create an alumni network of professionals with great careers, you realize the impact of teaching. There’s no other profession that comes close.
Dedicating my life to teaching has been the best decision I have ever made, even though it was far from certain it would be successful financially or professionally.
Founder, Outdoor Family HQ
People are more important than money to you
You will work harder than you ever have, and you will not be fully compensated — monetarily speaking. You must value the fact that you are investing in the future of others more than a paycheck because the joy of serving others will be your primary compensation.
If it’s just a paycheck for you, you will burn out in less than a few years.
Your passion for teaching children is relentless
Teaching is not an 8-to-5. Be prepared to work 10 to 11-hour days to meet the requirements of the state, district, and your principal.
Even if you are uber-organized and a master time manager, you will take work home evenings and weekends, and you will have parents trying to contact you well into evening hours.
Your passion, not the paycheck, for teaching young minds must be the fuel that drives you, and the sense of a job-well-done must be what gets you up the next day, the next, and the next.
You’ll take an accolade, but you don’t need it
Occasionally, you will hear a thank you. Occasionally, you will receive gratitude. Occasionally.
But not near enough to put wind in your sails. More often than not, you will be criticized, your judgment questioned, your performance heavily scrutinized (primarily by parents), and your slightest blunders will be magnified by entitled parents and over-stressed supervisors.
But, this is the job. It is a noble one, and because you have resolutions of steel and know what you do is critical, you push on. Even if no one understands the miracles you have worked and the good you have done.
You can love others unconditionally
Before you teach a mind, you must first capture the heart. A classroom of 25 young minds will be your undoing if they do not feel loved, respected, and safe in your care. Your ability to love your students will be tested moment-by-moment.
- Be disrespected, lied about, and misjudged.
- Be pushed to your limits and beyond.
- Feel stress and anger like you’ve never known.
But love must win the day. You must love your students whether you feel they deserve it or not.
You can lift your colleagues, even when you’re on your knees
You will witness colleagues who, at the start of the year, were all smiles and sunshine succumb to emotional break-downs and panic attacks multiple times throughout the year.
You will have to cover for teachers who, at the last minute, could not bring themselves to come to work and could not secure a substitute.
You will be a shoulder to cry on, a hand to hold, a shelter for someone else who needs to draw on your last threads of strength to keep them going.
And you must be willing to hear their complaints and sobs without gossiping about them to others or judging them. You may need them for the same relief later on.
You can see the best in people
As a teacher, you will see the best and worst sides of our society.
- Have a view into the lives of a thousand families (or more).
- Be in admiration of some and disgusted (even horrified) by others.
- Report some to the authorities and others you will seek to emulate in your own life.
- Work with other teachers who will become your heroes and best friends. Others will try to wear you down with their negativity and lack of professionalism.
Regardless, there is a light inside every child, parent, co-worker, and boss. You must look through the faults and the shortcomings and find that light in every person you meet. You must do this so that your faith in people remains strong.
Your faith in people will keep you standing when all else fails.
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