Curriculum

20 Things You Should Know Before You Become a Teacher

There are many high and low points that come along with teaching, just like every other profession. But there are probably a lot of questions that you may have before you begin your first teaching job.

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Some are quite serious, some are a bit tongue in cheek, but they are all a personal reflection of their experiences as a teacher.

Take a look at these 20 things that other teachers have shared about their experiences:

1. Don’t worry about making a few mistakes as you start out, it really is the best way to learn! Mistakes can also provide a great opportunity to provide a learning experience for your students.

2. Think of your to-do list as a work in progress, and really, you can’t expect it to ever be completed. Teaching isn’t like a lot of other jobs, it’s an ongoing process of separate tasks that are loosely tied together.

3. Your idea of what is and what is not fashionable will change completely. Shoes will be chosen for comfort rather than style. Don’t be surprised by how quickly this happens! Shop for comfort and resilience as your clothes (and you) will see a lot each and every day!

4. Teaching is truly a lifestyle rather than a job! You may have signed up for a career, but expect to get a whole lot more.

5. Each child will find a place in your heart and some students will forge lifetime connections with you.

6. Don’t forget to prioritize your mental health along with all of the other responsibilities that you will have as a teacher. This is a job that can be incredibly overwhelming, and if you don’t take care of yourself you can burn out before you know it.

7. You may not hear Thank you very often, which means that when you do it’s extra special! Teaching is one of the few careers where the work is truly its own reward.

8. Bond with your fellow faculty members. A strong support network will help you get through those days when nothing is going right.

9. Know your limits. There are times when the best thing that you can do for yourself, and your students, is take your foot off the gas a little. If you are physically and emotionally drained there is not much that you can do for anyone else. Make sure that you are getting the rest and downtime that you need.

10. Know that even without perfection you can still make a positive and lasting impression on each and every one of your students.

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11. Even if your year doesn’t get off to a stellar start there will be time for you to turn things around. And even when nothing seems to get better, know that the academic year doesn’t last forever, and you will be able to try again with the next one.

12. Every teacher is different and it follows that they will each have different styles of teaching. Don’t be afraid to bring some of your personality into the classroom as that can be a great way to forge a deeper connection with your students.

13. The memories of your past students will stay with you, and you may be surprised at how proud you feel when you hear about their accomplishments long after they have left your classroom. Yes, there will also be worry and sadness, so make sure to embrace the happy memories.

14. Be prepared for a difficult time the first few years, you will slowly but surely find your footing as you gain experience and learn the ropes. Having teacher friends is a definite asset, as is knowing your limits and listening to your body and soul.

15. Similar to parenthood, everyone has a lot of ideas on how to teach. Learn to take their comments with a grain of salt and never allow someone else to make you question your instincts.

16. Buy some inspirational pillows or wall hangings that remind you why you teach. Refer back to them on those tough days when you question your decision to become a teacher. Never let a bad day get you down to the point where you want to quit. In those moments it’s important to turn to your circle of friends to seek comfort and advice.

17. Teaching young adults may be one of the more challenging age groups, but it could also be the group that helps you feel young the longest!

18. Be prepared to lose a lot of supplies in mysterious ways. You’ll be amazed at how you can put down a stapler and turn around a few minutes later to find it gone! Learn how to sharpen your peripheral vision and work on the development of that teacher favorite – eyes on the back of your head.

19. Unfortunately, you may find yourself in a position where you are spending a lot of your own money. This can be worrisome, stressful, and a lot to deal with. Work with the other teachers at your school as well as the PTA to come up with some creative solutions for any budget shortfalls that there may be. Don’t try to go it alone!

20. Teaching will probably be one of the most challenging and rewarding jobs that you will ever do. The highs will be amazingly high and the lows will be heartbreaking. Remember that a lot of others have come before you, and take comfort in knowing that you’re not in this alone!