Pros and Cons of Working as a Teacher was originally published on Firsthand.
Today is World Teachers Day, and so in honor of one of the world’s most honorable and rewarding (but demanding) professions, here’s a look at the best and worst aspects of a career in teaching.
1. Being able to share knowledge of and passion for certain topics is energizing and rewarding. It feels great when students finally understand a challenging concept or idea, or solve a problem they may have been struggling with.
2. Teachers usually receive decent benefits, including a steady paycheck, health insurance, and retirement accounts.
3. Weekends, holidays, and summers off help teachers balance work with other aspects of life. For instance, teachers who have school-aged children are home at the same time as their kids, making it easier to schedule activities and vacations together.
4. Teachers are the managers of their classroom. While they must follow the dictates of the curriculum, they can still be creative in how they educate and set the tone for their students.
5. The teaching field is a social one; many teachers form strong friendships with their fellow educators. They share similar educational backgrounds and interests, and face the same issues and learn from each other.
6. Education is ongoing. Teachers continue to take classes and workshops to enhance their skills, and they also learn something new every day from their students.
1. School budgets are often limited and classrooms can be overcrowded. Dealing with students’ needs on a daily basis is exhausting. The ability to remain calm and controlled in every instance is essential.
2. Limited budgets mean limited resources. Teachers often spend their own money to buy supplies for the classroom, including paper.
3. Teaching is not a 9-to-5 job; most teachers work beyond school hours. They work at night and weekends from home, creating lesson plans, writing classroom notes, and grading papers. They also attend parent-teacher meetings and school functions, as well as professional development classes, educator meetings, and conferences.
4. The administration is often a major source of aggravation. Conflicting directions from school boards and school administrators, coupled with red tape and bureaucracy and ever-changing curriculum rules and regulations, create confusion and headaches for teachers.
5. There is growing pressure on teachers to make sure that all of their students perform according to standards and improve their test scores. Some students will continue to struggle in the classroom, despite the teachers’ best efforts. Regardless, teachers must persist in trying to reach them.
6. Parents can also be challenging to teachers, whether they are overly involved and critical or unsupportive and not involved at all in their child’s education. Parent-teacher meetings are important for clarifying the teacher’s approach in the classroom and addressing the concerns and educational goals that are specific to each student.
This post was adapted from the Vault Career Guide to Education.