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Do I Really Want To Teach?

I795833_caring_teacher.jpg found this article that I wrote back in November but never got around to posting on the blog.

Do I really want to teach?
In my first two years of teaching, not a week went by when I didn’t ask myself that very question. Many people face it every day. Without question, the most popular search terms that brings visitors to my blog are “quit teaching” and “do I want to teach?” I wonder how many Google searches are done each day on the subject. I wonder how many young teachers decide each day that this will be their last semester to teach. It’s tragic, really.

At the same time, the greater tragedy is the number of people who decide before they even begin — or while they are in college — that teaching is just too much to handle. Despite loving children and having a thirst for knowledge, they go by the wayside and don’t learn what they ought to.

How do I know if I really want to get into the education business anyway?
Let’s look at some ways to tell if teaching is really your thing:

  1. You love the thought of making the world a better place
  2. You look 10 years in the future and realize you would be sad if you never even once tried teaching
  3. Few things satisfy you as much as observing growth in other people
  4. You value learning
  5. You value sharing knowledge and transferring that information to others
  6. Teaching is something you do even when you aren’t thinking about it
  7. You have (or are willing to develop) an uncanny level of patience
  8. You dislike yelling at or belittling children
  9. You don’t mind occasionally doing some seemingly unreasonable things for administrators
  10. You want to make a huge impact in the lives of individuals

After reading through this list, if you determine that at least 5 of the qualities apply to you and that at least 7 of the qualities could apply to you with little effort, then I encourage you to jump into the pool. Finish the education courses. Student teach. Teach a few years. Ask tons of questions. Get the kinks worked out of the system. After that, then decide if you really want to do it.

Joel Wagner
Joel Wagner (<strong><a href="">@sywtt</a></strong>) 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. <strong><a href="">So You Want To Teach?</a></strong> is the ongoing story of that quest for educational excellence.

6 thoughts on “Do I Really Want To Teach?

  1. I love teaching.. the actual act of imparting knowledge and passion for information onto my students.

    I hate testing, I hate the politics of being a teacher, I hate NCLB.. I don’t have any solution that answers all the problems in the system, but if it stays the way it is right now, I don’t think teaching will be my full-time career unfortunately. :(

  2. I had the same questions. My main question wasn’t do I really want to teach, because I knew this already. It was How. How do I teach. Am I ready on How to teach?
    I only knew I was ready after reading Laura Robb’s book Differentiating Reading Instruction.
    Lessons are clear and easy to follow I finally understood what teaching reading to this age group was all about.” Now i can move to the next level with her new book.

  3. Here’s something I came up with when I was asked to put my philosophy of teaching into a single statement:

    When a thing of true beauty enters a person’s life, a permanent impression is left upon the psyche that forever changes the way the world is perceived. The observer then immediately searches for someone with whom they can share the experience. That process is the soul of teaching music.

  4. I taught because I needed the check. I couldn’t go back to my previous job. And I got better because if I didn’t, I would not have survived, and I would have had nowhere to get a check from.

    I stay with it, because, after that miserable start, those awful 2 or 3 years, I actually started to get good at it and like it. I like my subject, I like kids, I like the captive audience.

  5. I’m thinking of not teaching anymore. What else can I do with the degree? I have been teaching for 9 years and loved it untill last year when all of the nonsense that goes on started to get to me. I have my first child now and I’m finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. We have not had a raise in over 3 years and it looks like there is no hope.

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