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Apr 12

Advice to Young People: Become a Teacher

This post is in contrast to a recent post by Randy Turner, who tells young people not to  become teachers.

I spent 15 years in public education before moving out of the school system and into the private sector.  I enjoyed my time as a teacher and found it exciting, frustrating, rewarding, and tiresome.  I had great days and made great connections with young people, some who I still communicate with today.  For me, after 15 years, it was time for a change.  Will I ever go back?  Who knows, I’m not ruling anything out at this point.

While I don’t disagree with much of what Randy shares in the article, those of us who taught when things were much better certainly can compare today’s job to the job we had 10 to 15 years ago.  It’s very different.  While the job has changed for seasoned educators, those entering the field these days can’t make those comparisons.  They don’t know what’s it was like when there was less pressure on standardized testing and less teacher bashing.  Those entering the profession now should know what they are getting into and what today’s teachers face.  If they don’t, they’ll be in for a rude awakening.  If they are aware, and if they still want to be a teacher, I say, go for it.

When you’re a teacher, you’ll experience some of the greatest joy you’ll ever have when you see a smile on your student’s face.  When you help a young person learn and grow and see that light bulb go on.  You’ll be frustrated, for sure, but the joy will easily outweigh the frustration.

When you’re a teacher, you’ll have access to some of the greatest tools and resources available.  These resources and tools weren’t around ten years ago.  Use technology to build a PLN and use your network to help you become a better teacher.  Use technology to expand the walls of your classroom and do things teachers couldn’t do 10 years ago.

When you’re a teacher, you’ll have to defend your job and your career.  You probably won’t get rich either.  In most cases, the people giving you the hardest time about teaching wouldn’t trade places with you in a second.  They don’t want your job.  They know how hard it is.  You should be proud that you’re willing to take on the challenge.

My mentor teacher’s daughter is considering going into education when she starts college next year.  When I first heard this, my original thought, much like Randy’s, was to tell her she’s nuts.  But the more I think about, we need young teachers who want to be in our classrooms and work with our children.  We need these teachers who are eager, who want to learn, and want to succeed.  We shouldn’t tell them to stay away, we should encourage them to be brave and simply go for it.  We should tell them, Be A Teacher.

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2 comments
MsDittmar
MsDittmar

You're right, Chad.  I don't know what it's like to live in an Education world without state standards or No Child Left Behind.  I listen to those who have more experience than me, and it's easy to get caught up in their frustration.  However, I wouldn't steer people away from being a teacher.  Change is happening.  If you find a district with a philosophy you agree with, life isn't so bad. 

chadlehman
chadlehman moderator

 @MsDittmar Emily, you're right - the frustration from others can be overwhelming.  It's best not to try to let that impact you.

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  1. […] reform.  There’s the post saying that young people shouldn’t become teachers.  Andthen there are the responses to that.  So, in keeping with the trend I’d like to add my voice to all of this and say that if […]