Maybe you’re considering beginning a career in education. Maybe you’ve been teaching for years and are feeling a little burnt out. Maybe you’re not sure if you want to keep teaching.
I’ve been in your shoes before.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics, in the fall of 2018, there are 3.2 million teachers in the United States. Pay is certainly not a contributing factor for many teachers when they chose a career in education, especially here in Hawaii where we’re ranked the lowest paying state in the nation when adjusted for cost of living (Wallet Hub Study).
So why do people choose to become teachers? There must be some pretty good reasons if there are millions of teachers out there.
I would like to share with you 5 key reasons why I love being a teacher.
1. Sharing information – The joy of teaching someone something new
When I learn new or exciting information, my first instinct is to find out more about it. My second instinct is to share that information with other people.
However, it’s one thing to share information. It’s a totally different thing for the person you’re talking to get it and appreciate it as much as you.
This is why teaching young children is so much fun. First graders have so many brand new experiences that lay before them. Just being able to read simple books is such an amazing feat for them. This is probably why reading is my favorite subject to teach.
Last week, I introduced how to borrow books from our classroom library. We’ve been reading the Magic Tree House series as a class.
They were so stoked to be able to borrow books from that series, among others, to take home. This was true even though many of them can’t actually read the chapter books themselves.
One student commented, “It’s so exciting to be able to take books home!”
As adults, we forget about the simple joys in life. As a teacher, I get to witness so many eye-opening moments as I share new information and experiences with my students.
2. Watching students grow throughout the year – Fresh start every year
Teaching is probably the only job I know of where each year you hit the reset button and have start fresh with a new bunch of students.
This allows you to change things that perhaps you didn’t like in your teaching or classroom. It also gives your students the opportunity to make a new impression on a new teacher and set of classmates.
In my 7 years of teaching, I have had more than 150 students walk through my doors.
I often hear stories about my incoming students before I even meet them (whether as a corporate group or individually).
At the start of each year, I try to allow each student to start off with a clean slate. I try to build my impression of them through my personal interactions with them.
My favorite and perhaps most bittersweet time of the school year is April and May. By this point of the year, my class is finally where I want them to be in regards to classroom routines and expectations.
They are also a lot more confident and independent.
This is when I really love teaching. It’s also when I start to realize how much I’ll miss them when they’re gone.
However, I must continue to prepare them for second grade.
One of my favorite ways to do this is to have them look back on their work from the beginning of the year.
I love to point out what they used to struggle with compared to what they are able to do now.
I remind them to second grade will be filled with difficult things. However, if they continue to work hard, as they did this year, they’ll be just fine.
3. Always having the opportunity to refine your craft – Finding new ways to grow
In addition to watching your students grow throughout the year, I love that as a teacher, I am constantly learning new things that will help me be a better teacher.
Pinterest is one of my most loved ways of learning new strategies or games or techniques. (Follow me on pinterest!)
It’s such a great place to see what other people are trying in their classrooms and for getting inspiration for different projects. Most of the time, I tweak what I see to best fit my students.
My summer months are usually spent looking through pins or on Teachers Pay Teachers seeking out new things to try with my new class.
This year, I had a whole slew of projects and ideas I wanted to try.
One of my projects was to create 6 bucket seats for my small group table. They turned out wonderfully! Later, I’ll write a post on how to create them step-by-step.
4. Making a difference – All children need a place where they feel safe and loved
I realized last year that my ultimate goal as a teacher is not to get students to behave well in my class. Neither is it for them to meet the first grade standards by the time they leave me.
The ultimate goal is much greater than that.
It’s to play a role in helping my students become functioning, productive members of society who is able to maintain healthy relationships, have good work ethic, and can think for themselves.
When you think about it, your job as a teacher is pouring your heart and soul into the lives of kids who will lead us in the future.
Another thing I need to always keep in mind is that all students need a place where they feel safe and loved. Many students have safe and happy homes.
However, there are also many students who don’t.
I strive to make sure my students know exactly what to expect from me. Having clear routines, expectations, and rewards/consequences helps my students to know how I will respond in different situations.
Knowing that I will welcome them with a smile each morning and give them a hug on their way out the door is reassuring and needed for many of my kids.
One of my most difficult students expects a hug each day before he leaves. Even if we’ve been butting heads all day, he’ll make sure I give him a hug.
It takes a while to build trust with your students. Some faster or slower than others.
But taking the time to show to build that trusting relationship is totally worth it.
5. Stable income with job security
This may not be the most fluffy or heart-warming reason to become a teacher, but is certainly is a practical one that allows me to love teaching.
As a public school teacher in the state of Hawaii, I know that my paychecks will be consistent. I also know, due to our major teacher shortage, it’s quite certain that I will have a job next year.
As a wife and mom with monthly bills and student loans to pay off, it’s important to know that my income won’t fluctuate wildly from month to month.
I know many people who have tried to pursue a career in something they love but that doesn’t provide job security or a steady income.
It truly is a blessing to have a job I love that helps to meet my family’s financial needs (notice, I didn’t say “wants”, but that’s another post for another day).
So those are my top 5 reasons why I love being a teacher. Are there any that you would add to the list? I’d love to hear from you! Just click on the “comments” button at the top of the post 🙂
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog!
Words to Live By
And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. Colossians 3:1