Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Is Teaching the Right Career for You?

Those who can't do, teach! We have all heard this phrase before, but it couldn't be further from the truth. Teaching is more than just a profession; it is a way of life. The job requires you to take on a variety of roles, throughout a single day. The skills required are varied, but the challenge in itself can be extremely rewarding. It is not a job that would suit everyone. In fact, many teachers leave the profession within the first 3-5 years.

Teaching, whether at a Primary or Secondary level, can be a very rewarding job. No day will ever be the same. It is essential for a teacher to take on a number of different roles during their working day; using teaching expertise, working as a facilitator or as mentor, to name just a few. Every pupil is different. But each pupil has the potential for success. As a teacher you could help them to reach their goals. The joy of the job comes when pupils figure out the missing piece of the puzzle that makes everything else fit into place. Having those moments in a classroom certainly beats sitting behind a desk in an office.

So many of us have memories of our own teachers, whether those memories are good or bad. So many teachers go into the profession because a great teacher inspired them. Or, because they had a bad experience and they want to improve the way their subject is taught to the next generation. It is a challenge to come up with new ways to convey learning to pupils that gets them excited about their own learning.

Although there are restrictions placed on teachers about what they must teach within the curriculum, they are the ones who decide what is going to happen in their classrooms. Teaching offers the chance to be creative and really share a passion for the subject we are teaching. Very few jobs provide an individual with so much room to be creative and autonomous each day.

Teachers will find things to laugh about every day. Sometimes it will be silly jokes that are incorporated into a lesson that might get a laugh from your pupils. Sometimes pupils will come out with the funniest statements without realising what they've said. Being around young people everyday will help you remain knowledgeable about current trends and ideas. It also helps break down barriers.

Perhaps the biggest perk of the job is the amount of holiday teachers get each year. Thirteen weeks in fact. These holidays can be fantastic, particularly the six weeks during the summer. They are also conducive to family life, if you want a family in the future, or already have young children of your own, you can be available for your children after school and during the holidays.

However, be prepared for people's views on your profession. Those not involved in education tend to think that you arrive at 9am and leave at 3pm when the pupils do. And those thirteen weeks holiday are uncalled for. Any teacher will tell you that they work more than six hours a day, often taking work home with them. Marking, planning and report writing take up a great deal of time after the school day ends.

Just as with any job, there is pressure to perform, government targets that must be met for each of your classes and the school as a whole. It can be a very stressful environment, where your teaching methods and results are scrutinised. You cannot help to become emotionally involved in the job, after all, as a teacher you want your pupils to do their best, and your teaching is reflected in their results.

Behaviour management can be a challenge for any teacher. Every class is different, as a result, they will respond differently to you and the subject you teach. There will be that one pupil who will try your patience to the limit. Those considering a career as a Secondary school teacher will have to contend the onset of hormones, and the other problems that come with puberty. It takes patience. Part of the skill of teaching is working out how to engage those pupils in their learning.

There are a number of ways to get into the teaching profession. It is important to look at the right course for you, which will suit your style of working and study. There are schemes that put you into the school environment from day one. Such as School - Centered Initial Teacher Training (SCITT) and the General Teacher Programme (GTP.) Under these programmes you will gain your Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) while training and working in a paid teaching role. Or you could consider a Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE,) focusing on the skills you need to teach, sharing your time between college and your school placements.

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