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How do I know if I will be a good teacher?

I am trying to decided between teaching and nursing and have no idea how to choose! #teacher #nurse

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Kim’s Answer

True Story: A client came to me looking for a new career. He was currently employed, as a HS math teacher, and had been, for a full three months. He had gone straight from HS to college and then on to get his Masters as a HS math teacher. Now, after three months on his first assignment, he wanted out. He did not like the fact that the kids were not interested in learning. He also taught an accelerated class, but, in his words, they did not need him.


Why am I telling you this? Because every job has a piece of it that makes it less desirable, but, you never see it from the outside looking in. I recommend you sit down and have an honest talk with yourself. What is it that you like about nursing? Picture yourself doing it. Are you in a large hospital, a doctor's office, or where? What age range are your patients? Are they sick ? Injured? Then do the same thing with teaching. Teaching adults is interesting. not necessarily college, but perhaps being a corporate trainer, or, working for companies that help people to transition to new jobs when they have layoffs, or doing GED classes. Healthcare also encompasses radiology positions, laboratory, etc.


I imagine you will pursue some aspect of healthcare or teaching, or, some combination of the two. I strongly recommend you try your hand at both. Volunteer in a hospital. Try to shadow somebody. Teach a Sunday school class, become a camp counselor.


You don't have to decide anything right away. Keep your options open!

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Benjamin’s Answer

I worked for 20 years in a hospital and I have been married to a teacher for 10, and I can tell you both jobs have a high rate of people leaving the profession in the first couple of years. I believe a lot of that is due to the fact that both jobs are emotionally and mentally taxing, as well as requiring hours on your feet. However, both careers are incredibly rewarding for those who endure.


My best advice is to look for shadow / mentor-ship programs that will allow you to get to know people in the actual profession and perhaps even shadow them at work. Hopefully your guidance department can point you in the right direction.

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David’s Answer

Teaching and nursing both have the same core element - a desire to help others be better. With that said, they have a lot of differences too. For me, I couldn't be a nurse because I don't do that well around things like blood and injuries, and my biology scores weren't quite as good as I would have liked. However, I'm great at certain subjects and had experience working with young people in a training role, and so teaching made perfect sense to me. I taught for 3 years in England before moving to the USA, and now I teach (train) adults in a business role. The education piece is still there for me, so that's a plus.

David recommends the following next steps:

Have a think about the two roles you would do - teacher (K-12? College?) or nurse.
Do some research into what these roles entail. Are you up for it? PTA meetings? Homework? Helping injured patients? Cleaning up after them?
Once you have an idea of which sounds preferable, this might help you decide which you should go for!
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Rachel’s Answer

<span style="background-color: transparent;"> I am an English teacher, we work with other teachers of all different subjects. We have 5 teaching blocks or periods per day, 1 prep period, and 1 lunch period. Depending on the grade level the work environment shifts. But generally we are teaching different cohorts of students each period of the day, typically teaching the same lessons depending on grade and level, and or prepping and grading work. I love working as a teacher. </span>

It's helpful to take higher-level classes in Sociology, Psychology, and Human Development. Definitely take at least two or more 2000+ level courses in these subjects. You will learn about society and how it functions in a way that may be harmful to our student and how to combat social constructions and become more aware of them. This will make you a better teacher in the long run and having and understanding of sociology as a whole will make you a better person, help you understand your students and connect with them. Studying psychology and human development will help you learn about the way people learn (and therefore you will learn how to best teach your students). Depending on the phase of life adolescents and children are in, they learn differently, and their brain works differently as well. It is essential to have an understanding of this prior to becoming an educator. It will also help you to connect with students, parents, and families. Human Development and Family Studies will also allow you to become more culturally aware of students and families that come from different backgrounds; this will allow you to unlearn implicit biases and recognize them in yourself and others (and therefore, grow from them). Overall, these three fields of study are absolutely essential when pursuing teaching. Taking the time to take 2 or more classes in each of these subjects will help you become the best teacher you can possibly be. Other than these, the more obvious answer is take as many classes as possible in the subject-area you want to teach AND take education courses.

To be a good teacher, essentially, treat them like human beings. Your students are people too and communicating effectively with them, essentially means communicating with them. Be genuine, compassionate, caring, and show them you care about them as a person and beyond the classroom. Your students need to know that you have a genuine compassion for their feelings and that you care about what they have to say. This starts with building relationships with your students, allowing them to get to know you, and showing a genuine interest in getting to know them.


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