What is the hardest/most rewarding part about being a teacher?
I've been considering becoming a teacher (most likely for elementary schoolers) because I enjoy working with children, so I would like to know more about what it's like. #education #teacher #teaching #elementary-education
I have not been a teacher in the K through 12 age group, however, from my friends, I understand that teaching has challenges that go across all age groups. My greatest challenge in teaching a group of any size is the fact that all people begin in a different spot. Through life experiences and knowledge, your students will always have gaps and different gaps. The greatest challenge is finding a way to teach in the middle of the knowledge of your students. So you have to avoid teaching just to the most knowledgeable in the room or the least knowledgeable. While people want training to be fun, you need to recognize that learning comes through work, which is sometimes not fun. In my case, I think of Math, but it is a variety of subjects depending on a person. So what do you do? The gift of being a school teacher is that you teach the same basic groups of people over a long period of time. You will grow and adjust to the people that you teach the way that you do with the people in your personal life. A second layer here is figuring out what the gaps are. For student 1, it's Math. For Student 2, it may be the ability to write. For Student 3, it may be knowledge of the English language. For Student 4, there might be problems at home that make it difficult to concentrate. And you may end up in a class with 30.
These are challenges that can be overcome. As you grow and become confident in your knowledge and experience, you will easily manage larger and larger groups. You just need to know that the challenge is there. The loudest student in your classroom is not necessarily representative of your entire class. You need to constantly be checking in to make sure that you are reaching all of the students. Sometimes that comes in the form of seeing trends in their grades. It also comes from listening to how the students ask questions or when they become frustrated or distracted.
I am glad that you are considering teaching. It is one of the most rewarding things that I do in my life. When I can help someone learn something that they didn't know before, I have given them a tool that they can apply to their lives or their jobs. I have changed them for the positive even if they never remember me. It's an amazing feeling to help someone through giving them knowledge.
First, you should know a little of my background. In the classroom for forty-eight years, thirty-eight of them at the college/university level, and the last ten with middle school students, whom, for the most part, for them, English was a second language. I don't think it is important what subjects I taught.
I believe that it is the relationship between student and teacher that is important. And you stated that you "enjoy working with children", though I'm not sure what that means.
Let's start with this:I hope that you do not wish for the students to like you as part of the rewards for such an important undertaking. I have known many, many teachers for whom it was very important that their students liked/loved them. I have no idea of what this has to do with the educational development of the student. I would think it is a distraction.
What is important, I believe, is that they respect you. If they respect you, they will thereby willingly take in the educational development you have to offer. In many cases, they, in turn, will wish for you to respect them. And they will find that the only way to attain that goal is to develop as a student. Like/love has nothing to do with this. As a matter of fact, liking this or that student can easily cause classroom problems as it's not possible to like/love all of them. And one can gain respect by the professionalism they display and, of course, their competence in the subject matter.
Another helpful thing I have discovered through the years: Regardless of age, students want stability in the classroom. Rules. Enforced the same on everyone. Predictability. Routine. Same old, same old. With a little variation every once and a while. Something different. New. Then back to same old, same old. Students like a secure classroom atmosphere, even though few will ever admit it.
Another: Never teach to their level. Go ever so slightly higher than what they think their ability is. And most will accomplish it. If not, others may help them (especially once done they get to move on to something different/interesting). Then do it again. And again. And they get used to rising to accept the challenge and maybe grow in their confidence in themselves.
If you think you can do all of the above, go for it.
Especially if you wish to work in elementary education.
The only real negative I can think of at the moment, though I rarely had that problem, would be parents. I really do not have any idea what to do with problem parents.
All the best. Give this career a lot of thought.