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What are the perks to being a language teacher? Art teacher? Social studies teacher?

I know I want to be a high school teacher,but I am just trying to figure out what to specialize in. I love art, but I also love french, and history and sociology are super interesting.
#art #teaching #language-teaching #teach-history #secondary-education


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Ellen’s Answer

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Hi Mackenzie


I'm a retired art teacher, and I'll answer from my experience of teaching art in a public middle school in a large district. I loved it. The general benefits of teaching in public schools are many.....you get a steady paycheck and health benefits; many school districts also have pension plans (which you actually fund, but nice to have when you retire.). The beginning pay is low, but it increases over time; most school systems give you a cost of living raise every year and a step increase every year (but this can change....there were two years when we did not get a raise; this can happen). Just for your information you can go on line and see what teachers in your local public school system make per year, and how the pay increases and what the benefits are. Some school districts will also reimburse you if you take education or, in my case, art classes.


You will have your summers free, which for an art teacher is wonderful to have a good chunk of time to work on personal artwork and to take art courses. You also have the school vacations off. In many school systems, you will be given a certain number of sick days for you and for your family (children parents spouses), and these will often roll over to the next year if you do not use them all up. This is helpful if you have to take time off for a medical procedure...I had shoulder surgery and I was out for 2 weeks, but I had enough sick days at that point to cover it.


But, the biggest benefit for me was being able to share my enthusiasm, knowledge and skills with my students on a daily basis. I found that my own art skills evolved and improved too over the years, as I took classes and investigated new art techniques and approaches to teach to my students. I used to say I had the best job in the world, because I could start out the period with 30 blank sheets of paper and some jars of paint, and by the end of the period I would have 30 masterpieces.


As for choosing which subject to teach, think about which subject you tend to gravitate more towards in your free time....if you have nothing else to do, do you like to read, watch the news, or make artworks? I loved teaching art, but it might not be the best for you. When you teach art, you don't spend a lot of time at your desk; you'll be very active going around the room seeing how the students are doing; you'll be busy getting art supplies ready for your classes during your planning; you'll also be putting up a lot of student artwork in the hallways and in cases for display; you'll be keeping track of art supplies and hauling them around the art room (20 lb. bags of clay come to mind), and so on. So, besides your creativity and art skills, you'll need to be organized and have stamina.


You might contact your local high school and talk to the principal; tell him or her that you are considering a career in education but aren't sure of the subject matter, and you were wondering if you could shadow some teachers for a day at the school. This is what I did when I was trying to decide to go into art education, I shadowed a teacher for a day, and it cemented my decision, and I never looked back.


Best Wishes!




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Meridyth’s Answer

Hi Mackenzie,

The teaching professional is definitely a noble choice. We are need of good teachers to steer our students in the right direction. I had some very good teachers in high school who influenced me to become a teacher as well. Teaching on the secondary level (middle school and high school) has benefits and challenges to consider. For the first few years, the students are close in age to you. This can make discipline and classroom management a little harder to manage. However, the rewards can be endless. Touching lives and making them better is priceless. In terms of the subject to teach, that is all a matter of what interests you and in which you have enthusiasm. When you are in college, you get fully emerged into the world of the field you choose to become an expert. I have a degree in Secondary Education-Social Studies. This allowed me to study all areas of the social sciences such as US History, World History, Sociology, Psychology, Economics, Anthropology and so on. While considering this, remember there are many different subtopics and areas within the main areas that you can study. I have a love of US History, specially Women's History. Looking into the past to see how it shapes the present is fascinating to me, especially where women have shown their influence. When I was teaching, I was so excited to share my knowledge with my students while trying to increase their enthusiasm for US History. I also had the opportunity to teach both Psychology and Sociology electives which was very rewarding. So, I pose a question for you to think about. Between French, Art and Social Studies, which of the subjects are you the most enthusiastic about that you can see yourself becoming an expert and sharing your knowledge? #teaching #secondary-education #teacher

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Marlene’s Answer

Social Studies teachers have the advantage of being able to cover history, which lends itself to field trips. Field trips are an engaging and interactive way to make history come to life for students.

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