Can a career in education be rewarding?

“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach” is a common saying used to describe teachers. However, this statement could not be further from the truth. Most teachers enter the profession because it is a calling, because they love to teach. Some teachers go the direct route by earning a degree in education and following their passion to educate. Others find themselves teaching in their subject area after graduation not necessarily knowing whether or not they are going to like the job, but finding, after a while, the vocation quite rewarding. Despite the grief they sometimes get from students, teachers work in the profession for many extrinsic and intrinsic reasons.

The extrinsic rewards for teachers are numerous. For one, many opportunities are available for teachers to work, in addition to the job security. Whether one decides to work in the United States or internationally, there is a definite need for good teachers everywhere. The demand for qualified, credentialed teachers is so high around the country that if a person decides to work in any major city the likelihood of them finding a job is very positive. School districts offer competitive salaries to those with credentials in the subjects they teach, some even offering bonuses. Internationally, the Department of Defense (DODs) and other foreign exchange programs are always seeking qualified candidates to work in their schools.

Other benefits to teaching are the possibilities for career mobility. A teacher, after a few years, can earn another credential in educational leadership or counseling and move into administrative positions, such as school counselor, principal, deans, academic advisors, etc. In fact, teachers earning their doctorates from any credentialing program like Maryville doctorate in education online could be finished in almost three years instead of the normal four-year doctoral program. Additionally, those with a doctorate can lecture or research at a college or university. Because teachers essentially become communicators, collaborators, problem-solvers, and organizers, some educators can function in other capacities like:

  • Education consultants who teach for a few years and gain expertise as it relates to lesson and curriculum planning and then serve as advisors.
  • School board members who drive educational policy.
  • Curriculum planners who determine teaching pedagogy.

Teaching, by no means, is a dead-end profession. With effort and motivation, the teachers can move up or laterally in the profession into other satisfying jobs in the educational sector.

One of the best rewards teachers get from their commitment to their students is the friendliest work schedule. Every holiday that students get off, so do their teachers! Because the traditional academic year is 180 days, or ten months, by May/June most schools close until August/September, which allows teachers two to three months to relax and enjoy the summer. Many teachers use this as an opportunity to pursue other interests, so when they do return to work the following fall they are full of the energy and zeal needed to engage students.

The external rewards for teachers, however, do not compare to the intrinsic ones. First, teachers are given great latitude in feeding their own creativity. Because teachers create their own work environment through lesson planning, they determine the tone of the classroom from day one. Through their own attitudes on a particular subject, teachers can impact lives by shaping the outlooks and ideas of their students. For students who need encouragement, teachers inspire, and in some cases, motivate them to excel. Most importantly, teachers are charged with getting their students to think critically about the subject matter before them and how it applies to their own world. Finally, the best reward a teacher receives is appreciation for their efforts in the classroom.

By no means is teaching an easy job. While the workdays are short and the vacations long, teachers spend an inordinate amount of time grading papers and lesson planning, in addition to completing administrative duties. Those thinking about working in teaching but not quite ready to commit, should first get more information on becoming a teacher and learn about the profession. Talk to other teachers to learn about their experiences. Better yet, spend time in an actual classroom to determine whether you have the patience, fortitude or passion to shape impressionable minds. By volunteering in the front office of any public school or becoming a substitute teacher, a person can experience teaching in a number of settings to determine if it is a good fit for them. Anyone considering education as a vocation should volunteer or substitute because teaching requires a commitment that lasts long after the school day has ended.