I’ve worked with students from pre-k to adult and each job I’ve had has had its own focus. With adults I teach job readiness skills and it makes an immediate and meaningful impact in their lives. With young children it’s rewarding to see them master new skills, both social and academic, and gain confidence in their ability to learn. It’s also rewarding when you see students later in life and they recognize the contributions you made.
I will add that to achieve great rewards you have to anticipate making great investment. Teaching, when done well, takes a lot of thought and energy. It can be intellectually and emotionally rigorous (thank goodness for summer and winter breaks!). You find yourself thinking about the needs of your students day and night. There are also a lot of challenges and outside noise (policies, difficult people, lack of resources), but when your focus is on your students, their learning and their wellbeing, you’ll find it to be one of the most rewarding careers imaginable.
Laura recommends the following next steps:
- Talk to and interview teachers
- Find an extraordinary teacher and shadow/observe them in their practice
- Ask your own teachers questions about why they do things the way they do
- Look for teachers worthy of emulation, emulate them
- Start thinking about your own teaching philosophy