Is elementary school teaching your ideal career? How do you know?
Well… becoming a teacher is a calling first, and a process second. Just consider the job description:
The ideal candidate will enjoy managing the behavior of 20 to 30 young children from a wide variety of social and economic backgrounds for six hours a day while being responsible for teaching the following subjects to mastery:
That will eliminate a very large percentage of adults – and most of the rest will run for the hills after reading the next part:
In addition to academic instruction and behavior management, this position requires the ability to help children daily with:
- Learning disabilities
- Social skills
- Making friends
- Boy/girl relationships
- Any issues they bring from home
Hello? Anyone left in the line to sign up? Oh, good – you’re still here! And that’s how you know that you want to be a teacher: this list doesn’t scare you, it makes you want to get started.
People are called to teaching because it has a job description unlike any other career. I can tell already that you’ve been “called.” And what’s more, you want to be the teacher whose name kids remember for the rest of their lives – the kind of classroom teacher that our children deserve.
Video tips: finding your teacher style
Changing the world one child at a time
I truly believe that the world is changed one child at a time. Not only are kids’ individual lives affected by what we do every day, but additionally, these kids then go out and make their mark on the world based on what they learn in school. Is there any other profession that has that kind of impact?
I don't think so!
However, this realization that our students’ futures depend on what we teach them in school comes with a very profound responsibility: children cannot lose a single year of learning, or they may be set back for their entire lives.
This means that even brand-new teachers have to hit the ground running; taking a year or two to figure out how to effectively teach math, reading, and writing may mean that several dozen children don't make adequate yearly progress and therefore struggle in future grades.
Of course, some kids can bounce back from a year of poor instruction – after all, many of us can recall a few inefficient teachers in our pasts, and we turned out okay. But there are plenty of kids who are not intellectually or socioeconomically well-prepared to endure even a single year of inadequate instruction, and these are the kids who need the full benefits of education the most.
Which is why…
We need you!
There is a critical need for teachers who truly love their work and want to teach children, build them up, and set them on a path to success. As far as I’m concerned, the future is lost without people like you. That’s not to say that everyone feels that way!
Teachers often get criticized in our society. But that proves my point, I think: the public is not getting overly excited about hairstylists or plumbers. But when peoples’ kids are involved, they care deeply.
That’s all kind of big picture, though, and hard to wrap our minds around. More importantly, you’ll find when you enter your classroom that individual students need you to teach and nurture them for the good of their personal self-esteem and development.
Sometimes all of those voices out there harping on “how to improve our schools” can start to blur together and lose their urgency. I mean, how are we supposed to accomplish a huge task like improving the education system? It’s too big to grasp.
But when you consider that little girl tugging on your sleeve and asking again if you can explain counting by threes… now that’s a responsibility we can understand.
So when I say that “we” need you, I’m really speaking on behalf of your students. If you take care of them, all the rest of it falls in line.
The recipe for success
Make no mistake: There are awesome teachers, great teachers, good teachers, not-so-good teachers, and awful teachers. You experienced all types during your years in school, didn’t you? I know I did!
When I decided to get my teaching degree, I determined that I wanted to be one of the great ones. And maybe, if I tried hard enough, I might even be considered “awesome” by at least a few students. I know you have the same goal.
Here’s the thing: I learned over the years that being “good” and even “great” often just takes time and dedication. But “awesome”… that takes a little special sauce. This website is about mixing up that sauce right from the beginning.
Be warned: It’s not an easy recipe! There are a lot of ingredients. But the difference between great food and amazing food has always taken inspired cooking.
Not everyone is naturally that kind of cook, but when you know the exact ingredients to add and the precise steps to take, suddenly you have a huge advantage and a shot at serving something amazing – or nearly amazing, at least – on your first try.
I’m going to share one secret with you right now, one ingredient in this recipe that will form the basis for the rest of your successful teaching career. It’s the number-one, critical thing you need to know because it will give you confidence for all that follows. Here it is:
It’s true. And it makes everything you are about to learn a lot easier to implement than you may think.