finish your degree even if it feels hard right now

3 Reasons Why You Should Not Give Up On Teaching

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Are you partway through a degree and having doubts about finishing it? In the midst of a teaching career and not sure if you want to continue? Here are 3 reasons why you shouldn’t completely give up on teaching and some tips on how to make it work for you.

By Samuel Kett

Some people come from a family of teachers, some people have always known they wanted to be a teacher, some people just love kids so much that teaching is an obvious choice, some people are specialist educators and dedicate themselves completely to the profession, and some people have no idea what career they want and think ah what the hell I’ll give teaching a crack. Whatever the reason, we can all fall into a cycle of questioning and indecision about whether teaching is right for us.

I would identify myself as a multipotentialite who got into teaching because I knew it was something that I would be good at and it would also allow me to pursue other areas of interest in my life. If you want to learn more about my story follow this link.

But no matter what your background or reason is, we can all be prone to doubt. Here are 3 reasons why you should embrace the doubt, and rather than leaving teaching altogether, maybe you can design a teaching life that works for you.

Reason 1: Flexible Teaching Options

You may be having doubts about whether you want to finish your degree or stay in teaching, however, your teaching career doesn’t have to be a standard one. You don’t have to do it all the time, you don’t have to be overworked and stressed. There are ways to build a teaching life that works for you, that might mean that teaching is only a small part of your overall career or it could be the main feature.

Substitute teaching

Maybe full-time classroom teaching and all of the extra tasks that go along with it doesn’t work for you. In this case, there are so many reasons why relief teaching could work for your career.  

  1. Not only can you choose when you work, but you also get the best parts of teaching such as having fun with the kids and making a difference in their lives, teaching interesting stuff that you get to choose (most of the time), no planning, no assessment, no reports, no meetings, and you get paid pretty well. 
  2. On the flip side, you can also have the odd rough day; terrible behaviour, planning left by the teacher that’s impossible to follow and the school gets you to do all the duties. The good thing is though, when you leave at 3:00 pm, that’s it, you don’t even have to return to that school or classroom ever again if you don’t want.

Substitute teaching allows you to schedule your life much more easily. You know that you work from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, for example, and that you have no extra responsibilities outside of these times.  You can get home and have a good 6 or 7 hours to yourself to work on other projects or businesses. You can also choose to only work a few days a week if you can budget for that. All the while, there’s a good chance that you left a lasting impact on at least one child today.

Job Share

Job sharing provides a little more structure than substitute teaching and requires a bit more commitment, but it could be the flexible choice that works for you. Often teachers in job share positions work either 2 or 3 days a week and the two teachers communicate regularly and take on different responsibilities. Here are some of the positives for this career option.

  • Your work hours and pay are consistent, so you can plan accordingly,
  • You’ll continue to get paid during school holidays,
  • You can develop relationships with your colleagues,
  • You get 2 or 3 days a week to yourself where you can pursue other interests, business opportunities or even substitute teach for a bit of extra cash and experience.

Reason 2: Travel Opportunities

travel opportunities for teachers

Teachers are needed all around the world. There are so many reasons why international teaching is a great career choice for educators; however, I will focus on the adventure and lifestyle benefits. 

Most (credible) International Teaching Packages Offer the Following:

  • Free return flights to the destination and back to your home country at least once a year for you and your family. 
  • Much better salary than state education (often tax-free)
  • Free high-quality accommodation e.g. Apartment if you are single or 3 bedroom house if you have a family. 
  • Free education for your own children
  • Health and Life insurance

Also, speaking from experience, although the workload is still high, you will get more release time, often 2 release periods a day. So you can get a lot of your work done during school hours, rather than at home or on the weekends. Once again, this means that you can pursue projects and extra-curricular activities in your own time. 

Teaching internationally also means you almost feel like you are on a constant holiday. You can travel within the country you are teaching in, as well as take short drives and flights to neighbouring countries during the school holidays. Your improved financial situation due to higher salaries and not having to pay any rent means you can enjoy a lot of travel without breaking the bank. 

Reason 3: No Experience is Wasted

“Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely”

Auguste Rodin

Completing a teaching degree is a commitment and by living with doubt and indecision we just add negativity to the experience. However, this is a commitment that will provide you with experiences that will forever adjust your perception of reality and give you a new insight into humanity. Being a teacher is like being at the coal face of society everyday.  Even if you decide teaching is not for you, there are many benefits to not only learning how to be a teacher, but also the skills you develop on the job are sought after in many other industries if you choose to pivot in your career.

Learn about learning

Learning about the brain and the psychology of learning is not only quite interesting but also provides you with the knowledge that will help you as a learner with whichever path you take after your degree. Also, name dropping Piaget, Bronfenbrenner, Bruner and Vygotsky is always fun and sounds impressive. 

Become comfortable with being around children

Have genuine interactions with the younger generation
Photo by Gabriele Mango from Pexels

This one is underrated I reckon. I often notice adults who are quite awkward around children that are not their own. As a teacher, interacting with children and knowing how to speak their language becomes second nature. Watch other adults look on with envy as you are able to communicate comfortably and authentically with the younger generation. 

Planning and Structure

Being able to plan a day of learning for a class of 25+ diverse children requires very careful and thoughtful planning based on assessment and knowledge of each child. Learning the skills of planning, organisation, assessment and building a safe and structured learning environment can be applied to anything you set out to achieve. 

Political and Social Influences

Broadening your understanding of the political and social influences on education gives you a clearer perspective on how our society is shaped and how we can make changes for the betterment of everyone. Learning about these macro and micro influences on education gives you an important insight into our world. 

In Short

I understand the doubt and emotion that comes along with being a teacher or studying to become a teacher. It’s one of the world’s most complex yet important professions, however, I truly believe that it does not have to be a 1 size fits all job. It is a profession that can define your entire being, and if so, then that is amazing, we need that in this world. However, it can also be a profession that only makes up a portion of your career, and that is also great, as that allows you to gather experiences from other pursuits that you can bring back to teaching. Teaching gives you the opportunity to have a direct positive impact on people by offering your own uniqueness in supporting students. It can be as flexible as you want it to be, open up international opportunities and provide you with knowledge and skills that can be applied to any number of business and professional pursuits. So, in my opinion, you should finish that degree, and don’t give up on teaching, you’ll never regret it, and the world will be a better place for it. 

Your turn

If you are part way through your degree or considering a degree in teaching I would love to hear your thoughts or take any questions from you. If you are already a teacher and either consider yourself a fully dedicated specialist, a part-time teacher, or someone who would like to restructure their career it would very interesting to get your thoughts too. Lastly, to those of you who feel like you have shaped your career so that it works for you and somewhat breaks the mould, your insights would be hugely valuable. 

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