“Being a teacher would be best. You basically get to hang out with kids and impart your wisdom onto them, right? Plus, summers off! Teachers have it made.”
This is something only a non-teacher would say. Because everyone was once a student, it’s easy to think you know what the job entails—some combination of recess duty, pop quizzes, and inspirational moments like the end of Freedom Writers.
If you’re considering this honorable profession as a career, or are in the process of becoming a teacher, you’re probably weighing the benefits and imagining what it would be like. It’s easy to see some of the tangible benefits, and even the sentimental reasons to become a teacher.
As a former teacher, I can attest to some of the cushy benefits, but I also know the realities. Though life on the other side of the desk doesn’t always feel like the end of an inspirational movie, it is a deeply rewarding career. Here are three benefits of being a teacher that you might not have considered yet.
1. Teachers Get to Be Innovative
Right now, the field of teaching is undergoing some major shifts. Because of increased knowledge through brain research, along with major technological advances, educators are rethinking what the learning process can and should look like.
While this presents new challenges, I see a lot of schools empowering their teachers to think outside the box like never before. Initiatives like Project Based Learning or integrating technology into the classroom in meaningful ways provides unlimited creative opportunities for teachers.
2. Teachers Get to Spark a Connection
For me, some of the biggest benefits of being a teacher were the lightbulb moments—finding the right way to convey an idea and watching a kid light up as it suddenly clicked.
And these connections are multifaceted. Connecting a reluctant reader to the type of book they can’t put down. Connecting an abstract idea in a textbook to a real-world context that ignites curiosity. Connecting behaviors of students acting out to the deeper needs that the child is lacking.
But these connections can’t be translated into a fix-all formula. What worked today may not work tomorrow. The “aha moment” is different for every child. Because the dynamics in the classroom are an ever-shifting landscape, there’s never a dull moment.
3. Teachers Get the Constant Opportunity for Growth
If you’re going into teaching because you like the sound of your own voice and you’re envisioning a room full of eagerly attentive pupils taking in your every word, you may want to reconsider your career choice. Because this isn’t the reality for today’s teachers.
A more accurate job description for the role would be a professional facilitator of the learning process. Using research-based practices and guided by data, effective educators adapt learning moments for each student. Teaching is a craft, and like any craftsman, it requires constant reflection and growth.
As a side note, the tangible benefits or teaching are worth noting as well. While teachers’ salaries have a reputation for being low, the average annual salary for a teacher with a bachelor’s degree is $60,377. When it comes to health insurance and other benefits, teachers get treated quite well!
As someone who’s had years of experience, I can attest to the deep and lasting impacts teaching had on me personally and professionally. More than ever, we need teachers who see this opportunity to be connectors and people committed to the craft.