Teaching is a noble profession. A good teacher can change the life of many students. Just like any other job, a teacher’s job too is filled with ups and downs. Sometimes, the work is great, your fellow teachers are supportive and helpful and your students are a teacher’s delight. Other times, it is the exact opposite.
A clear picture is beginning to form right? There is no job that is without stress or agony (whether it is self-inflicted or otherwise is another matter entirely). Before you decide to become a teacher, here are a few inescapable truths you need to know.
Teaching is stressful
Before you become a teacher, know this fact. While teaching is fulfilling too however it is not going to be sunshine and daisies all the time. Mentally fortify yourself for stressful situations before you plunge headfirst into the job.
Gains are unequal to effort that has been put in
You are always going to give your job 110% but sometimes, the gain that you might receive, be it monetary or mental might be negligible or even in the negative. Usually, when one is new to the job, we tend to expect triple fold results and are dispirited when that does not happen. Do not lose hope or be disheartened by that. Positive results take some time to appear. Remember, you cannot manufacture miracles in a day.
Tension among colleagues
Just because you are in the same profession, this does not mean that you are going to get along with everybody or that everybody is going to like you. Teaching ideologies differ from teacher to teacher. Even the most winning of personalities are going to have detractors. Remember to always be polite, honest and firm.
Students have a tendency to drive you to despair
Not all the time. But sometimes yes, they might make you want to take a dive off the nearest cliff. In this case, take notes from older and more experienced teachers. There is no magic word that is going to have your students fall in line. However, the combination of firm discipline and succinct threats might just do the trick. You might have to cycle through a number of techniques before you find one that fits. Just know that if you give into your students, they are never going to fall in line.
Teaching can easily lead to burnout
Throwing yourself into work and thinking you can do everything without thinking of your health or your body’s limitations can only lead to one thing, burnout. You might be able to work long hours without consequences for maybe the first two to three years of your teaching career, but this bad habit will quickly come back to stab you in the back in the form of burnout – which is the inability to perform to the best of your abilities any more because your capacity to do work has literally fizzled out. From the start, make a clear demarcation between work and home. Leave work at home, learn to say no to work you cannot do, and most importantly, maintain hobbies and interests.
It’s hard to live up to one’s own expectations
You might have expectations for yourself and sometimes, you are not always going to be able to meet them. Remember that all goals do not need to be lofty. They need to be doable or achievable. So instead of saying, “I am going to make my entire class get 100%”, you can say, ” I am going to make sure everybody increases their grades by 5% at least.” Is it not easier to achieve the second goal, rather than agonizing over if the first one is even possible?
It’s not that we are incapable, we all need to vent at times
If you feel like you are going to explode with pent-up frustration, do not attribute it to not being able to handle your job. Everyone has felt the same way one time or the other, even your Principal and other colleagues who seem to have it all together. Instead, vent to someone close to you or even into a journal or a word file. Once you are done venting, you can give some thought to how you would like to handle things better.
Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! And if you have any teaching truths, please do share them with us.