I always dreamt of becoming a teacher. I went into college for a degree in English and graduated with one alongside a minor in Queer studies and education; after that, I did my Master in education and have been a teacher for over 5 years. I can tell you that it is one of the best jobs in the world, though the salary doesn’t reflect the work you do. Considering you are educating the future of tomorrow, teachers are usually seen as lesser than and their salary is a reflection of that. A football player gets more in a month than a teacher does in a year; do you find that acceptable? So, without further ado, these are the things I wish someone had told me before I started teaching.
This is something that deters most people from doing this job, and I can tell you the first year with a teacher’s salary is hard. I’m talking from experience here. I had to find a side hustle to cover all my expenses and buy school material for my kids because the schools don’t provide that. If you want to buy material for your class, it usually comes out of your own pocket. Teaching tends to be on the lower end of the spectrum when it comes to pay in America and your salary will vary on your experience and state you are teaching in. If you are a first-timer and are new to the whole teaching gig, be sure to secure yourself a summer job at a summer school because you will need it.
Though the school district tends to offer some materials to school, most of the time, you’ll find out that you are paying for material for your kids from your own pocket and may spend up to $1000 annually on school supplies. Statics also shows that the first year of teaching tends to be the worst for most teacher, and most teachers or about 17% of new teacher quit during the first year on the job. It will take you some time to figure things out, and it will be trial and error during your first couple of months, but once you get into the groove of it all, then it’s smooth sailing after that.
Remember the saying, treat others how you want to be treated; this is especially the case if you are working in high school, teenagers can be really mean, but if you show them respect and understand that this is a hard time for them, they will also treat you with respect. And remember, as a teacher, you won’t always get the respect you deserve; I mean you at your salary, but you have to remain calm-headed all the time. Create a friendly environment where the students can come to you whenever they have problems because you’ve been an adolescent once too, and you know the struggle bus that is school, so a helping teacher is most that welcome. Just be aware that even though this is a two-way street regarding respect, the student will take time to accommodate to that but will eventually come to the point.
If you want to be called Mr/Miss/Mrs. X. that’s your prerogative, but I tell my kids to call me by my first name because it creates a bond and shows them that they are at the same level as you. This doesn’t create unbreakable hierarchies, and it also makes me more comfortable because I’m not good with terms like mister or miss because they are too rigid and fix you in a binary. This makes the student trust you more and can come to you whenever they have some academic or personal issue. I believe as teachers we are never off the clock and that we should do our best to help our children grow up and mature. Also, if someone asks for an extension on an assignment, give it to them; it won’t cost you anything.
Remember why you went into teaching in the first place, help your student to the best of your abilities, this is the best you can ask from any teacher, in my opinion. Sound off in the comments section below and tell us who your favorite teacher is and why?