Sunday, January 22, 2012

Why would you ever become a teacher?

In today’s media there is a lot of conversation going on about teachers, and their roles, positions, and worth. This hot topic of conversation has spurred from the economic recession that we experienced, and the toll it took on public schools budgets. Every parent is going to argue that they want the best possible education for their children, the problem being that they aren’t necessarily willing to pay for that top dollar education. It’s the classic champagne tastes on a beer budget. This leads me into my first point about the pros and cons of becoming a teacher, and that is the salary. A lot of the public feels that teachers are way overpaid and rarely work, because of all the holidays and breaks. This is more than evident when reading any of the stories about education. While some of the comments will drive you crazy, they are always good for a laugh, because they are so out of touch and off base.

These comments are generally made by individuals who have no idea what a teachers job involves, what schooling is required to become a teacher, and the amount of out of school hours teachers put in. When all of these factors are taken into account and then compared with jobs in the private sector, one could easily argue that teachers are drastically underpaid and surely underappreciated. One thing we can say is thank goodness that there are still intelligent and passionate people who continue to enter teaching, knowing well in full that they could easily double their annual salary by choosing another career path with similar educational demands. This is why we know that most teachers are in the classroom because they want to be there. Why else would you take such a massive pay cut, put in all of the extra planning hours, and put up with the angry unappreciative parents? Because you care about the kids, plain and simple.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are other perks that come along with the job. You do have paid holiday breaks, and in most cases, summers off (unless you choose to teach summer school). For those with children, like myself, this is a major draw because I know that for the most part I will be off work and at home when my kids are. This is different from a lot of jobs, because rarely will you get a break in the middle of winter and just get to spend time at home with your kids while they are growing up. You also are given a chance to be creative and try new things, as long as you continue to work towards the national and state standards.

These being only a few of the numerous reasons to be or not to be a teacher, I have already weighed these factors in my own life. After much internal debate, I gave up jobs that would pay me a significantly higher salary, requiring much less schooling, and little to no off hours work. While to some this may sound like a silly decision, but I chose to pursue a profession that I know I am going to be happy with everyday. While I may not drive a BMW to work every day, and jet set around the world, I do know that I will make a difference in many lives, and will be remembered not by my salary, but instead by my impact.

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