Help: Should I Become A Teacher?

Denise comments:

I am in a teaching program, half way through and I just completed my first to “teaching” classes.  Now I have this hugh feeling I’ve made a BIG mistake and that teaching isn’t what I thought it was or that I’m not cut out for it. Not to mention the outlook for finding a job looks bleak. Seems like the writing is on the wall…  Problem is I have been a stay at home mom for 13 years and don’t know what else I could do?  I really do not want to finish the program because I feel I am wasting my time, my money and my heart isn’t in it anymore.  I have always wanted to help people and I thought teching would be perfect for that need and for my family, but I am really doubting it now.  Any advice?

I wrote her back and asked her for some more details and got permission to poll the readers for some suggestions. Her response:

I am having a lot of anxiety about my decision to become a teacher, because honestly I just can’t see myself doing it.  I volunteer in my child’s classroom and I see everything the teacher has to do and I don’t think it is what I want.  I have friends that have also stated that they don’t seem as a teacher, they don’t see me doing it.  I think I thought that since I am a mom of three I could do it, but it feels like I’m sticking a square into a round hole. I also think I might of started the program for the wrong reasons, like summer vacation with my kids etc. Can you tell me anything about different teaching positions such as ESL or reading teaching?  I think I might like working with a smaller group of students.  I would appreciate any information and/or advice so I would like it it if you could post it.  I am very confused about what I should do. Thank you for responding.

So I’m once again turning to my loyal readers to do what you do best. Help her figure out what she should do.

About Joel Wagner 522 Articles
Joel Wagner (@sywtt) began teaching band in 2002. Though he had a lot of information, his classes were out of control. He found himself tired, frustrated, disrespected by students, lonely, and on the brink of quitting. He had had enough. He resigned from his school district right before spring break of his second year and made it his personal mission to learn to be a great teacher. So You Want To Teach? is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

10 Comments on Help: Should I Become A Teacher?

  1. My advice would be to not make any hasty decisions. Perhaps the training you get through this program will be able to be applied in some setting other than a public school classroom. I would expect about 5 responses in the next day or two that will give you differing views. Feel free to check them out and also respond to some.

  2. Hi,
    I really am sorry to hear that but I suggest you make a list od pros and cons of becoming a teacher. Then when you're done, try to decide.
    Maybe it's a stressing period or something has happened you could do little about?

  3. I would recommend you to stick with it to a point. This is one of the best jobs in the world! (certainly for a mom with kids) I am only in my first year teaching, but still have those days when I feel like I picked the wrong profession. Somewhat that, I believe, is our own perceptions of ourselves. I have people that tell me, "If I had you as a teacher, I would have loved history." But there are days I still feel like I am a horrible teacher. It comes with the stress of the job. So don't think those feelings you have are because you can't do it.

    Yes, there is stuff that I don't like that comes with my job, but don't we get that with everything? I am sure, even being a stay at home mom there are things you don't like. You just have to focus on the positives and outweigh the good with the bad.

    On the job front, I know the feeling. I thought I would be waiting tables due to the economy and how it is hurting education. I was lucky and landed a job. The good thing is, if you complete the program, we will always need teachers. So once the economy turns around, they will be hiring. I loved teaching so much, that I was ready to do just about anything while I was still looking to land a teaching job.

    Concerning me is the fact you say your heart is not with it. I would send a warning of caution if you feel your heart is not there. this is a job in which you must be passionate about your profession because you deal with 100+ kids' future every year. Therefore, you are only hurting your students if you don't really want to be there.

    It's a tough decision, but I hope that the comments you'll receive will help you in some way! :)

  4. I believe anyone who first considers becoming a teacher because of the hours/summer vacation should NOT become a teacher.

    It's that simple.

    If you love helping others, if you are interested in all kids- not just your own, not just the 'easy' ones, knowledge, hard work, and long days THEN you can CONSIDER becoming a teacher.

    Those who think teaching will be easy, and those snow days and summers will be fantastic, should really take a hard second look at their choice.

  5. As harsh as this sounds, get out now.

    If your heart is not in it, if you started because of the vacations, if you can't see yourself working a 60 hour work week and putting your heart and soul into other people's children, if you feel you are wasting time and money, get out now.

    Yes, there are many things you can do with a teaching degree that don't involve a large class. Yes, there will always be jobs for teachers. Yes, there are ways to push yourself through the tough parts. Yes, your doubts may be temporary. But consider your own children. How would you feel about sending them off to a teacher who feels as you do about their career?

    I love what I do. I've taught young children for 27 years. I have NEVER worked a 40 hour work week nor had summers off because my work comes home with me, and my summers and weekends are spent in classes, pre-planning, and consumed with concern over my students.. And I wouldn't trade a single moment of it for a bigger paycheck or the opportunity to do something else.

    I LOVE what I do, and because of that I believe my students are as lucky to have me as their teacher as I am to have the privilege of learning and growing with them.

    Teaching is not a job. It is a commitment to be in relationship with, and to have the opportunity to shape the lives of others.

    If you aren't filled with burning passion to experience that joy, get out now.

  6. Teaching and managing all the responsibilities of a classroom is a learned skill. I have never known a novice teacher that taught like a veteran. So, it is normal to feel like you are not a teacher yet because you aren't. If you want to quit because you doubt you will be good enough keep trying.

    HOWEVER, if you want to quit because you are realizing it might be harder than you thought, you should know something: however difficult you think it is right now, it is probably much harder. You will have summers, but if you think the job will give lots of time with family you're probably in for a big shock. For at least nine months out of the year and sometimes part of summer too, being a teacher will zap time and energy. Being a teacher is a full time job and the early years of learning to be a teacher are a full time job and a half. (To be clear, when I say early years of being a teacher I mean the first years of teaching after college.)

    Whatever you decide, good luck=).

  7. Thanks for the advice. I didn't mean to make it sound like I thought teaching was easy, that it wouldn't be difficult, or that I was going into it for the breaks. I understand it will be extremely difficult. I didn't start the program because of the vacations, I just thought teaching would be give me more of the same schedule as my kids, than other careers I was thinking of, like social work. I also meant wasting my time and money because I won't be able to get a job. A friend of mine has been a teacher for nine years and just found out she won't be teaching next year. The class sizes for the teachers who get to keep their jobs is going to be 45 students. This makes me feel more uncertain about what to do. The only thing I am sure of is that I want to help people. I'm sorry if I offended anyone, I think what I was trying to say came out the wrong way.

  8. You might try substitute teaching or working as a classroom aide to "get your feet wet"- it's not the same, but it will let you see what the teachers are doing more closely. Before you make an absolute decision. I've had days when I wondered what in the world I was thinking, especially my 1st year, but I love my job 99% of the time.
    You also might think about other positions- I LOVE being a school librarian, or teaching some other specialty area that' needed in your location-art, music, ESL. I've been a regular classroom teacher, and while I wouldn't say being the librarian is easier, it's a different types of stress. I teach each class in the school once a week. Or maybe a school counselor?

  9. Dear Denise,
    I think now is it clear what you are saying. I don't know where you're studying but I truly understand your situation. I am experiencing the same doubts you have. Why studying so hard to be out of work as you will be finished? I think the education system is subject to substancial changes in Italy too and many teachers will lose their job. I mean it is necessary to face the truth and to find a solution as soon as possibile. I really feel the same way. What about social work? What kind of job were you thinking of?

  10. Denise, you have not offended anyone. Those of us who got the teaching bug late in life all had the same feelings you are having. In some way, your experiences at home will serve you in the classroom just as my 13 years in restaurants serve me. Essentially, everything that happens between now the time you get your first teaching job will be useful to you and your students.

    If you are nervous about your first job, it is because you care. I have students who just figure this big wonderful world is going to hand them the keys to a wonderful life. It is incumbent upon us to bring our real-world experiences to the classroom, establish relationships, and then trust ourselves and our colleagues to make this world a better place.

    Teaching is the frontline for doing all that.

    Does your teaching program have advisers? Perhaps you can go vent a little with them and and explore the various opportunities outside your current certification path?

    I would also be interested in what professional readings you have done so far for your certification. If you haven't read Harry Wong, among others, please make time to do so.

    Best Wishes.

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