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Interested in teaching, pros & cons?

I'm currently taking a course where I'm able to experience teaching hands-on. Throughout the week I lesson plan and seek new things that I would like to do with the kids I teach on Friday's. I honestly just would like to know the pros & cons of teaching. Which grade is the best to start with? Does it get easier overtime?

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LeAnn’s Answer

I started out many years ago as a teacher and loved it. I switched to an IT role because of financial issues, but have thought about returning to the field. You need to be able to think out of the box and be creative, because not everyone learns the same way or at the same pace. Seeing the understanding light up in your student's face is extremely rewarding.

LeAnn recommends the following next steps:

Student teaching and volunteering with kids is a good way to get a feel for what the work will be
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Shane’s Answer

In my opinion younger children are a better place to start because you will impact how they feel about school and learning for the rest of their lives.
Aspects will get easier over time based on gaining experience like all things do, but every child is different and so are their parents/family/gaurdians. The family aspect can be the most challenging aspect of teaching as you have potentially change ingrained thoughts and ideas or worse the idea that a better life is not possible.
The compensation for a teaching position is not the good. The reward for teaching has to be something different than money. Sadly the financial reward does not match the impact you will have on the lives of your students.
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Mack’s Answer

Hey Lexi,

Shane says the reward of teaching is something other than money, which is correct. However, you can increase your salary by obtaining advanced degrees, qualifying as a National Board Certified Teacher, coaching a team for an additional stipend, etc. Health insurance is good while teaching and after retirement.

Teaching children is a challenge, but the rewards include seeing eyes light up when a problem is understood, hearing from students after graduation who are putting their education to work, and seeing students meet their goals. You can make your work as varied as you want from teaching only one subject to teaching several subjects to coaching athletic teams or mentoring clubs like Beta Club or Robotics Club to learning new skills through summer workshops. But in any case, you do tend to establish a "groove" over a few years which increases your confidence and reduces your stress. Nevertheless, teaching is not for the faint at heart. . . .

Teachers have relatively long Christmas Break, Spring Break, and Summer Vacation. The workday often conforms to the timetable for a teacher's child or children which helps with family schedules. But it's not unusual for a teacher to bring papers to grade or lesson-planning home.

My favorite subjects were science, math, and engineering so I found High School to be a good fit. In fact, I taught at Rock Hill High School from 2000 to 2011 and enjoyed most (!!) of my classes.
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Toriand’s Answer

Actually started out in phlebotomy and lab technician. I eventually moved up in that position and was offered a teaching role. I've been instructing ever since. However, I currently train adults. But I do have a cousin that teaches pre-k through 6 grade. She does like the little ones because they're so full of energy and they get through the day but as a teacher I will say You must be good with time management and she has deadlines to meet. So if my management is not your strong suit start setting those goals for yourself start small again volunteer is always a good thing to do as well. Even at your local church you can volunteer to teach Sunday school and that will give you some idea sometimes you can find some volunteer options at your local daycares and YMCA's.

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Madeleine’s Answer

Hi Lexi! I've worked at elementary, middle, and high schools as a community partner, and from what I've discussed with teachers and my own experiences, I think grade preferences/difficulty are pretty individual and can definitely change over time. As mentioned in some other answers, little kids have a lot of energy and can easily be physically draining, but working with older kids can also be draining, though typically more emotionally. The kinds of connections you make with students is also very different depending on their age/grade, and the way students interact with each other varies a lot, so classroom management has its different challenges (younger kids tend to need more physical activities vs older students needing more discussion opportunities).
If you're considering teaching but don't want to totally commit yet, I would encourage you to continue volunteering in schools or in other contexts where you can teach. There are also plenty of fellowships and service programs you can also do to test it out for a year and get familiar with the school context. I did City Year for two years (an AmeriCorps program: https://www.cityyear.org/ ) right after college and would be happy to share more about that experience if you're interested!
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Megan’s Answer

Hi Lexi! Being an educator is an amazing career that allows you to have direct impact on the lives of your students.

For the first 2-3 years, teaching can be very overwhelming as you are learning classroom management, the curriculum, and navigating parents. However, overtime teaching gets easier as you gain more knowledge and confidence. Of course, everyday has a new set of challenges, but you can always collaborate with your team to problem solve. The pros of teaching include your impact on the community, each day is different, and getting to use your creativity and problem solving to teach children in unique ways. The cons of teaching, from my point of view, is the amount of paperwork, working outside of school hours, and navigating the politics between school and parents.

Best of luck in you future endeavors.
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