What are the best and worst parts of being a middle/high school teacher in the US?
I'm a high school sophomore who has been considering teaching since I was in elementary school. However, I've started to wonder if that's truly the best career path for me. What are the best and worst parts of teaching middle and high schoolers?
If any retired/currently working teachers answer this question, could you share what subject you teach and what led you to teaching that subject?
Jeff recommends the following next steps:
Laurie Pritchard, Ed. S., M.A.T.
Although I did not teach middle school or high school, I taught grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 6 and I taught reading, writing, math, science, and social studies. I do not regret my career choice at all. I absolutely loved the students and the families that I worked with. The joy that I felt seeing my students grown and learn was priceless. I loved getting up and going to school every day. That said, it was also the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The job is intellectually, physically, and emotionally challenging, so be prepared for that.
Before you make the decision to teach, definitely explore the career as Jeff mentioned in his response. Be absolutely sure this is what you want to do. When you are a teacher, it is a lifestyle. The job can be all-consuming and often crosses the boundaries into you personal life. You will think about your students all the time, worry about them, try to figure out what more you can do to help them, and you'll find yourself planning lessons in the car, in the grocery store, in your sleep! It is so important that we have people who are all in when teaching our children, the job is that important!
Best to you as you start figuring out if this is the career for you!
Maeve’s Answer, CareerVillage.org Team
I was not a middle school or high school teacher, but I am a former elementary school teacher. I can say without a doubt the best part of my job was interacting with students. My students made me laugh so much and they made a lot of the really hard work worth it. I also miss the parents I worked with! There is no better feeling than working together with a family to help a student succeed. Sometimes I felt exhausted or inadequate while I was teaching, I experienced a lot of self-doubt and worry that I wasn't doing enough for my students. But every once in a while, I would receive a message of gratitude from a student's parent and it really put into perspective why I worked so hard.
I hinted at the hard parts of teaching above: worry and self-doubt. It is SO hard not to let work consume your life when you become very emotionally invested in the success of your students. Additionally, it is hard to see your students making progress every day because it happens in such small increments. It is not until you get to zoom out at the end of the year to see where your students started and where they ended up that you can take a breath and realized you really did help.
As the other professionals stated above, teaching is a lifestyle. You have to be prepared for it to consume a lot of mental and emotional space in your life. But ultimately, if you are passionate about helping students succeed, it will be totally worth it.