14 January 2015

So you want to be a teacher?

Te@chThought's prompt for today is:

If a young person told you they wanted to become a teacher, what would you tell him/her?

Honestly, I'd tell them to go for it! I know the climate now with Common Core, APPR and tax caps don't really make it seem appealing anymore.  To some degree, I even think that teachers have lost their perceived importance in society but every job has its pros and cons but I truly believe that the pros outweigh the cons.  It's really funny because my younger son used to say that he wanted to be a science teacher.  Then, one day a few months ago, he says, "I don't want to be a teacher anymore." When asked why, he replied, ¨You (my wife and I) are always working! I don't want to work that much.¨  It's true. We are always working on something related to our career.  However, when he's a bit older, I would tell him (and any current student) that teaching is not the career to go into if you are looking to be listed as one Forbes' millionaires.  It is not the career to go into if you don't want to work long hours.  It is not the profession for you if you want to become famous.

At this point, you might be thinking, wow, then why would I become a teacher.  I get to share my love for my subject material (Italian) everyday with a mostly captive audience. It's true that I will never be among the richest in the world but you cannot put a price on knowing that you have made a difference in so many lives.  Each and every year, many of my students come back and share stories about Italian and their lives in general.  Some even write letters telling you what an impact you've had on them. I have even been invited to college graduations of former students. Knowing that you had such an important role in their lives is worth more than any salary.  It almost makes you feel like you are famous, if even in a smaller world, but famous nonetheless.

There are other benefits of teaching.  If you plan on having a family, teaching does give you an opportunity to spend more time with them.  We do have a good amount of time off, although for me the only time that I really feel like I'm off is during the summer because on all my other vacations, I'm either leading a tour to Europe or catching up on grading or lesson planning. But that's me. This was my choice. I got lucky. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.

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