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Teaching: Is it Worth it?

When I was little, I used to play “school” a lot. I loved making worksheets and giving lessons to anyone who would listen. I always liked the idea of becoming a teacher, but I never really thought about my future career until I was in college. After exploring different classes and options, I finally figured out that teaching is what I want to do. 


Even though teaching is what I want to do, I am scared. I am scared that I will not be able to handle the lack of respect that society tends to have for teachers. I am scared that I will fail and not be able to properly teach the material for whichever grade I will be in. I am scared of behavioral problems, lack of support and bad administration. There are so many horror stories out there of new teachers getting burnt out within the first few years in the profession and having overwhelming stress. It seems like the people who teach the next generation of children shouldn’t have to worry about these things because of how important they are. But society forgets and/or ignores this, and instead shovels out money and respect to people who do nothing to benefit the next generation, or any of us for that matter. Luckily, teachers still wake up every morning, go to the schools and teach your children.


Why, though? Why do people love the profession of teaching so much if they don’t get what they deserve? Why do teachers spend their own money on materials, spend their Saturdays grading assignments and stay up late perfecting lesson plans? Why not just quit? I cannot answer these questions from experience in a true school setting since I am still in college, but from what I have experienced from different classrooms and teachers, helping the students seems to be the main incentive. A good teacher teaches more than maps, planets and multiplication. A good teacher teaches love, forgiveness and kindness. If I manage to help one student overcome a personal problem such as bullying, my job will be worth it all. That seems to be the overall mindset of teachers. Just helping a student ace a test, make a friend, start a club or overcome anxiety is worth every stressful hour of being a teacher. 


Though I am scared, I am also excited. I am excited for having the opportunity to teach a child to love school. I am excited to help a english language learner read their first english book. I am excited to show my class forgiveness and overflowing kindness, because the world needs more of that. I am excited to teach all types of students, but also learn from them in the process. There are many downsides to becoming a teacher, but the upsides are far more beautiful and worthwhile. So, next time you see a teacher (or professor!) take the time to show your appreciation for them. Let them know that you appreciate what they do, because they do a lot. Most of all, let them know if they are doing a good job, because teachers need encouragement just as much as students! 

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Kristen is a senior with a major in Elementary School Education. She loves to read, camp, and hang out with her two dogs and awesome husband.
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