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How does teaching differ from your expectations of what it was going to be like?

I am a senior in high school who just recently realized my ambition for teaching (I aspire to be a secondary history teacher).

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Subject: Career question for you

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EZINNA EDGE’s Answer

Hello Grace,
Transitioning into a career in teaching can be a rewarding but also challenging experience, and it's not uncommon for your expectations to differ from the reality. Here are some ways in which teaching might differ from your initial expectations:
a) Teaching can be demanding in terms of time and workload. You may find yourself spending a significant amount of time outside of regular school hours planning lessons, grading assignments, and meeting with students or parents. It can be more time-consuming than you initially expected.
b) Students come from diverse backgrounds and have varying learning styles, abilities, and needs. Adapting your teaching methods to meet these diverse needs can be more complex than you might have imagined.
c) Teaching can be emotionally rewarding but also emotionally taxing. You may find yourself deeply invested in your students' well-being and academic progress, which can sometimes lead to feelings of stress or frustration.
d) Building positive relationships with students can be incredibly rewarding, but it may also require a lot of patience, empathy, and understanding.
e) In addition to teaching, you may have administrative responsibilities, such as attending meetings, participating in professional development, and completing paperwork.
It is important to note that while teaching can present challenges, it also offers many rewards. The opportunity to make a positive impact on students' lives, share your passion for history, and see your students grow and learn can be incredibly fulfilling. Grace, as you pursue your ambition to become a secondary history teacher, it's a good idea to seek advice and guidance from experienced educators, engage in student teaching or internships to gain hands-on experience, and continue to educate yourself about the field of education. This will help you better prepare for the realities of teaching and make a successful transition into your new career.
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Cung’s Answer

Teaching is a truly rewarding career path, especially for those who have a passion for working with children and imparting their knowledge and wisdom. It's important to remember that while the pay scale for teachers has seen some improvements, it might still be a bit lower compared to the demands of the job. However, there are numerous perks that come with this noble profession.

You get to enjoy a summer break, a relatively flexible yet structured schedule, a robust retirement package, and various benefits provided by your local city or county. The subject you choose to teach can also align with your personal interests, making the job even more fulfilling.

Students, for the most part, are respectful and well-behaved, appreciating the efforts of their teachers. Yes, you may occasionally encounter challenging situations with parents, but these are part and parcel of the job.

In conclusion, teaching is a fantastic career choice. Every city, every state across our nation is in dire need of dedicated, high-quality teachers to shape our children into responsible and successful citizens. So, if you have a love for learning and a desire to make a difference, teaching could be the perfect career for you.
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Melody’s Answer

Greetings Grace,

I transitioned to education after working for some years in the private sector in various jobs. I had no hard or fast expectations about what teaching would be like for me. My hope or goal was to use my skills, talents, or giftings with my experience to encounter and offer a full support beam to students who may be struggling, confused, downright done, or discouraged in our educational system. To this end, I feel I have met and flourished. However, I do see our educational systems needing much restructuring to really meet the students and our country's workforce needs. After about 18 years in education, I can say that I still enjoy many aspects of my teaching career. I have made adjustments as my life requires, but still believe I was chosen correctly for my career. The ability to make adjustments in educational careers is a plus. The years outside of education helped hone my communication and discussion skills for dealing with parents as well as fellow colleagues. I realize that as our society has many shifts and turns so will educational demands and the press to have teachers prepared and ready to meet those challenges. The results or "great moments" can be a mixed bag, but I would still have an educational career in some capacity.
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Nicole’s Answer

Dear Grace,

Embracing the teaching profession was a decision that I am profoundly thankful for, a calling that I am glad I followed. Having been raised by educators, I had a glimpse into the inner workings of the profession. However, without that exposure, I believe I would have been taken aback by the amount of time dedicated beyond the school hours. This time is spent on tasks such as preparing lessons, grading, attending various meetings, and more. Teaching isn't confined to the typical school hours; it demands a significant amount of time, thought, and attention beyond what most people perceive as a normal working day.

What surprised me was the deep connections I formed with my students, the constant concern for their welfare beyond school hours, and the mentorship role that naturally comes with the territory. It's a fulfilling profession, but it can also be all-consuming if you don't set clear boundaries. Most teaching colleges necessitate some practical experience before student teaching, providing an excellent opportunity to reassess your commitment to this career path.

After a rewarding 25-year journey in education, I transitioned to the private sector, primarily to achieve a better work-life balance, which became increasingly challenging during my last 12 years as a Principal. However, I harbor no regrets about my years in education. It's comforting to know that should circumstances change, I have a fallback option in a field that is always in need of dedicated professionals and people who care and are passionate about learning and sharing their learning; like yourself.
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Karissa’s Answer

I taught middle and high school Social Studies for 10 years. I thought I would share my love of history, geography and government with students. It turned out my job was to help young adults transition into adulthood. In lower income schools I was also there to be a stable force in their lives. I'm an introvert and it was difficult. You have no privacy in your work. Your lesson plans are watched by Principals and lessons/behavior watched by sudents.

Karissa recommends the following next steps:

Volunter one week in a Social Studies classroom. Visit every period and see a M-F.
Say you want to be a Social Studies teacher. If you can only teach history you will not get hired.
Dont give up even if you have to Substitute for a few years after college.
Plan on getting a Masters in Education.
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