Let’s start with the wise words of Dan Rather,
“The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth.”
In ancient times, only the wealthy and privileged had access to education, and they made it profusely indirect for the mass so that the power had remained within for as long as they could ask for.
But with the changes in time, education is now considered as one of the basic needs and teachers are responsible for educating us. That’s why teaching is conceivably the most critical profession, and teachers are the most influential professionals in shaping up the cognitive development of the future citizens of our society.
But Is Teaching The Right Career For You?
The beginning of summer prompts people of several walks of life to contemplate their next career move. You can be a high-flying lawyer billing every possible billable second but losing sanity in the process.
You may be a college student preparing to change exhaustive yet unsatisfying majors. Or you are a high school student with exceptional morals, getting tired of experiencing the society getting decayed bit by bit and want to leave your mark by teaching future change-makers.
Whoever you are in your respective social context is the time to do something if you are disgruntled with your contemporaneous circumstances. And after much deliberation and research about maximizing job search productivity, you might have concluded that teaching would be the move you need to make to whisk away all your sufferings.
But before making the final move towards your supposed dream job, let me help you with a bit of thought-provoking frame of reference. A California based non-profit organization New Teacher Center, found out that the number of new teachers who leave the job within the next five years is between 40-50%.
The percentage is rather high, and you have to admit. If you don’t want to be in that range, do some research and ponder the following fundamental queries with care:
1. Do you see yourself spending time with the kids all day? What can be the reason for that? Is there any specific age limit that you prefer over others?
The answer to the first question has to be an emphatic ‘yes.’ Many adults love being around with the kids or teenagers, but even for them, classroom management is ultimately a different scenario altogether. Again, for you, the first answer might be a ‘yes.’ Still, if you don’t have a reasonable interpretation of your feelings or any worthwhile experience working with kids or minors, there might be a cultural shock waiting for you to get hit. My suggestion for you would be, in this case, is to volunteer to tutor and see how it goes. And based on that experience, take the decision and make your move.
2. Are you tough enough mentally to follow your passion, come what may?
It would be best if you were honest with yourself here because, in our mind, we are all healthy, no matter how hard the situation tries to sink us in. But the reality really differs. As a teacher, you need to be rock solid, the one who can be counted on always. You must have possessed this quality to get respect from your students. Otherwise, you are going to hate it until you leave it.
3. Are you an academic?
If you are going to spend a considerable long period doing the same thing over, you better be an academic and love what you teach.
4. Is low pay, prolonged hours of monotony, or virtually no recognition whatsoever worth all the tedious hacks the job brings forth?
Think carefully because the commitment to the job is way higher than most other typical day-to-day tasks. And the money you are going to get will never be enough to enjoy the sophisticated things in life. Also, you have to forget about getting recognized for the toiling effort for society, especially from those who benefit most.
5. Are you ok with being regimented? What about being stuck with a strict schedule? Does the organization feel cumbersome to you?
The questions themselves can shed light on your reasoning for becoming a teacher. So think vehemently. But before making the final decision, have a look at the few perks you can have if you choose to become one:
3 Perks of Being A Teacher
1. Stable Earnings with Better Benefits
Teaching is not a ‘get-rich-quick’ profession but as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics, teachers who teach in public schools receive 11 percent more than the average professionals. The profession also caters to opportunities for progress and payment gets raised over time.
Additional benefits like health insurance, contributory pension plans, etc are not always included in every other remuneration packages for other professionals. But if you are a teacher, you wouldn’t have to worry about them. In most cases, teachers enjoy full payment of their premiums by the school districts.
Also the health, dental and vision welfares provide full protection as well. Then there are the unique perquisites like sick days, tuition reimbursement, etc which are enjoyed only by the teachers. So, you start teaching with a modestly satisfactory ballpark figure but end up earning more in actuality – not many professions can give that pleasure to you.
2. Get Paid for What You Love
It is a well-known fact that teaching lets the academic in you flourish. Aristotle once said, “Those who know, do – those who understand, teach”. No other profession will administer you to pursue let alone encourage you to achieve excellence in your favorite topic.
And in the classroom, you are explaining ideas about which you are an expert and have a profound fondness for. It means you are doing something you love – and getting paid for it.
3. The Best Job Security with Some Serious Vacation Time
Teaching provides the best job security compared to any other modern professions. The economic meltdown or depression or in the cases of natural disasters – downsizing never affects teachers. After the somewhat rigorous process of becoming a teacher, you will never have to worry about job placements.
Now let’s have a look at teaching from a different perspective – have you ever thought about the serious vacation teaching will let enjoy? Summer, spring break or winter holidays – you are entitled to enjoy every single of them.
You can also get designated time away from the classroom to further your own qualification. No other profession will let you have such a serious vacation to enjoy with your family and friends.
How to Use Online Education to Become A Teacher?
Since you still are reading, I gather you have made up your mind about becoming a teacher. Many still prefer a traditional qualification over an online certification. But in many cases, online education beats a traditional one.
In that case, let’s find out if online education can help you become a teacher.
1. Online Bachelor’s Degree in Education
A bachelor’s degree in education is the primary qualification that is required to become a teacher. In addition to a Bachelor’s degree in education, all US States need the aspiring teachers to have appropriate accreditation and the state approval for applying a Teaching Certificate or License.
Obtaining the Degree and the License is the plain sailing path to be qualified to teach in K-12 public schools. You can acquire the necessary qualification online through the universities accredited by the Distance Education Accrediting Commission – the agency responsible for accrediting distance education programs of study and institutions in the US.
Some institutes included in the list above may be based on on-campus teaching, but they serve the vast majority of their students online.
You should keep in mind that ‘Bachelor in Education’ is an umbrella term that includes Bachelor Degrees in the following three disciplines:
- Elementary Education.
- Secondary Education.
- Special Education.
Besides, Career & Technical Education and Middle Grades Education are also popular among students who want to be future teachers.
The prerequisites for an on-campus and an online bachelor’s degree in education are the same – a high school diploma and an admission test. The online or on-campus – both the versions of the degree need around four years to complete.
You need to remember that after studying most of the course work online, you have to complete an in-person semester of student teaching before you can achieve the qualification for the teaching license. So it can be argued that an online bachelor’s degree in education is technically not 100% online.
As I have mentioned earlier, after completing the Bachelor’s degree obtained online or on-campus, the prospective teachers need to pass the Praxis Test. The tests are programmed to test future teachers’ knowledge and skills essential for managing typical classroom settings. The Tests are inclusive of the following segments:
- Praxis Core Academic Skills for Educators (Core): measure academic skills in reading, writing, and mathematics.
- Praxis Subject Assessments: measure subject-specific content knowledge with general and subject-specific teaching skills.
- Praxis Content Knowledge for Teaching Assessments (CKT): measure subject-specific content knowledge and specialized content knowledge used in elementary school teaching.
It should be noted here that the regulations for teaching license differ from state to state.
And you also have to keep the licensure up-to-date by continuing education credits and license-renewal exams.
2. Online Advanced Degree In Teaching
There are several options for a Master’s Degree in education, which won’t necessitate any in-person element. These qualifications scheme specifically for those who hitherto have the teaching license after receiving the Bachelor’s Degree.
These advanced options typically need two years to complete, and the most popular options include:
- MA In Teaching.
- MS In Education.
Here, it is noteworthy that a few online masters’ programs are available for rendering teaching certification for the interested ones who graduated in an unrelated discipline or for working professionals who wished for transiting into teaching.
While completing the advanced degrees, the participants can avail of the dissertation writing help from professional service providers.
Besides, if you want, you can get doctoral degrees in education if you are looking forward to:
- Engaging yourselves into research or education policy.
- Teaching at the college/university level.
- A career in an administrative or leadership role.
3. Alternative Teacher Certification Program
The Alternative Teaching Certification Program lets substitute teaching assistants who have completed graduation and are helping their professors, contemplating a career change, or students who have completed graduates in disciplines other than education pass across the teaching. It is a plausible fast track for becoming teachers for those who initially had no plan to become one.
Alternative teaching programs conduct a distance learning curriculum (with on-campus certification as well), which requires intensive coursework completion usually stipulated to be finished in six months. The core curriculum addresses pedagogical concepts, classroom management, assessing student progress, programming, and following through effective lesson plans with the necessary guidance to develop a professional framework.
These certification programs are typically administered by colleges and universities, but for graduates from other disciplines, the program is carried on by school districts and non-profit organizations.
After the completion of the modules, the aspirant teachers have to go through a mandatory clinical placement which comprises live teaching under supervision. This field experience can be achieved in as little as three months but can be varied according to the respective state’s legislation or lengths of the program.
The successful finishing of the coursework with practical exposure to the live teaching experience will empower you to apply for a teaching license from the Department of Education of your chosen state. And upon receiving the license, you become a certified, fully-licensed professional eligible for your dream job.
The US Government allows for financial aid for people who are in need and enroll themselves in a selected alternative certification program, which is an exceptional encouragement for people who are passionate about teaching. Still, financial constraints prohibit them from pursuing it.
You now know every conceivable pathway to land your dream job, which I gather, would be more than a job for you. Before leaving, let me share my assimilation after nearly twenty years of being active in direct teaching – it is profoundly tricky yet insanely gratifying in equal measure.
So, Good luck to you.