Teachers Make a World of Difference
So, you want to improve the lives of children? Become a teacher!
As a teacher, you will be able to tap into your inner creativity. You’ll get to work with a diverse group of learners as you help build their confidence and watch them grow. You’ll be part of preparing students for college, careers, and life in general.
In your role as a teacher, you’ll create and implement lesson plans, differentiate instruction to meet the needs of your learners, monitor your students’ progress, assess the effectiveness of your instruction, and communicate your students’ progress with their parents or guardians. Sounds both challenging and rewarding, doesn’t it? If you are considering a career as a teacher, here’s some insight from those who’ve been there.
Top 8 Traits of Teaching
1. There is no manual.
You may be surprised to learn that there is no one manual on how to be a teacher. As an educator, you will pair your coursework and training with your own understanding and insight on how to best teach. Your teaching philosophy will change throughout the course of your career. Be prepared to be flexible, surprised, and sometimes, even wrong. Teaching is not an exact science. Your methods may work one day but not the next. Be open to continually learning, and don't assume your school, district or administration will tell you exactly what to do.
2. Organization is key.
From dealing with endless stacks of papers to managing deadlines and project submissions, teachers have countless responsibilities. Even if you work in a virtual classroom, the "paperwork" still looms. Oh, and don't forget communicating with parents and completing staff meeting tasks. Organization truly can make or break an educator. To be a successful teacher, you’ll need to develop methods to keep yourself on track and accountable. This starts with creating a customized system that works.
3. Educational technology skills are essential.
It is vital for educators to be tech-savvy. As a teacher, you should have basic computer skills including familiarity with database, spreadsheet and presentation programs. You also must be willing to learn and implement educational resources like Google Classroom, ClassDojo and Smart Boards. Most teachers love to learn and to master new tools, so this can actually be quite fun!
4. K-12 educators are team players.
As a teacher, you should expect to attend weekly meetings with your peers. You may even have the option to plan as a team. Although some teachers are used to working independently, it is important for educators to work together. By collaborating, problem solving, and leaning on each other, educators are able to share the heavy lifting. Collaboration with others will make a positive impact and richer experience for the students you serve.
5. Teaching requires compassion.
Students respond best to teachers who show that they care. For children to feel that they belong, they must feel heard and understood. As a teacher, you will want to keep an open mind and reserve judgement as you approach students who are acting out or exhibiting undesired behaviors. It’s important to ask questions that help you can begin to understand their motivation for the behaviors. Showing compassion improves rapport, and over time, will increase your students’ ability to learn from you as their teacher.
6. Responsibilities are part of the job.
As a teacher, you’ll have additional responsibilities. It’s just part of the job. You may be asked to help supervise the lunchroom, dismiss students, coordinate the drop off or pick up line, tutor after hours, chaperone field trips, manage science lab materials, etc. Some duties are mandatory while others are optional. You may even be offered a stipend or additional income to take on supplemental duties.
7. Strong communication skills are required.
On any given day, you may communicate with not only your students, but also other educators, school administrators, parents, guardians, school staff, special education providers, and more. As a teacher, you must be adept at conveying messages effectively and efficiently. Additionally, your school may require you to be available via a classroom website or chat system.
8. Teachers are lifelong learners
As an educator, each day can provide you with an opportunity to learn something new. Each of us has room for growth and improvement, and teachers are no exception. Relabel “mistakes” as “growth opportunities.” Use these experiences to reflect and move forward on your pathway as a lifelong learner.
9. Education requirements vary.
A bachelor's degree is the minimum requirement to be a teacher in the U.S.; however, states vary as to the levels of requirements. Therefore, you may be able to become a teacher with a bachelors’ degree and state certification or you may need a master's degree. The requirements are based on state law, so be sure to research teaching requirements in your area.
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