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Every year, thousands of people decide to pursue a career in education. Some decide to work with elementary-level children, while others work with young adults in higher education. Regardless of the age group you choose to work with, there are a few things to understand before jumping headfirst into this rewarding yet challenging career field. Following are several points to consider before pursuing this line of work.
Carefully Consider Whether Pursuing a Career in Education
Teaching comes with plenty of challenges, no matter what age group you decide to work with. While teaching is one of the most fulfilling careers you could pursue, it takes a considerable amount of work both in and out of the classroom. There are lesson plans to develop, activities to prep for, and meetings with students’ guardians to schedule. You will likely spend long hours grading papers and typing up student progress reports. Teaching is often said to be a labor of love. While teaching is not the most financially lucrative job, it is one of the most rewarding professions to be a part of. You will leave a lasting impact on every single one of your students. Make sure you have the heart and drive to make teaching your chosen career before stepping into the classroom.
Research What Credentials are Necessary for Teaching
Specific credentials are desired before entering a teaching position. For instance, a California Teaching Credential helps aspiring educators find work in the Golden State. Some states require additional certification or training before accepting a teaching position. Research the qualifications your state requires teachers to have, and sign up for whatever additional coursework is necessary before applying for a teaching position.
Choose a Specialty
Some teachers find a specific calling within the educational field and choose to work in speech pathology, music, or special education. While working towards becoming a teacher, consider specializing in a particular field. Specialization will increase your chances of finding a position, especially in districts with a more competitive pool of job candidates. There may even be incentives for candidates who have specific qualifications.
Be Realistic About the First Year
While you may be excited about your first year of teaching, understand that “first-year burnout” is real. Nearly one in five teachers will quit the profession after their first year. Many of them state that they were not prepared for how much work goes into teaching. Between classroom management, implementing academic standards, and dealing with a less than ideal school budget, teachers experience burnout at levels comparable to other high-stress career fields. Ensure that you are fully prepared for the career you are about to embark on and have realistic expectations of what your first year will be like.
Be Careful With Social Media Posts
While you have the right to speak freely on whatever topic you’d like, those social media posts may come back to haunt you. These days, everything you post online might eventually come back to haunt you, especially if you made inflammatory or politically controversial statements on your social media profiles. This could cost you in the form of an official reprimand from the administration. It might even cost you your job. Think twice before you post on social media, and ask yourself whether you would be comfortable with your employer reading what you have written. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re unsure whether you’d be okay with your boss reading what you have to say, don’t post it.
Understand the Importance of Work-Life Balance
While you may be excited to embark on your new career, understand that it’s essential to make sure you take care of yourself and your own needs. Once you step into your classroom, your needs become secondary, while the education and welfare of your students take precedence. While this is exactly as it should be, it’s important to take some time for yourself to recharge every once in a while. Whether it’s a weekend hike or a day at the spa, take time to do the things you love and try to establish a healthy boundary between the workplace and other facets of your life.