Teachers are part of the fabric of our society. Most children attend a public or private school where teachers provide them with an education to carry into college and throughout life. If you are considering a career as a teacher, you should research the pros and cons of becoming a teacher before making that decision.
Pro -- Sense of Accomplishment
Teachers often say that the biggest reinforcement they feel for becoming a teacher is the sense of accomplishment they get when they know they've made a difference. One teacher, Lynn Gaston, who teaches fourth grade in Fort Worth, said, "The moment a child figures out a new concept and learns how to apply that concept is satisfying. When you see the light bulb go off and the smile of understanding, you know you've done your job well."
Con -- Low Wages
"Teaching is a calling," asserts Gaston, "otherwise, you might give it up altogether." The low pay, she says, does not correspond well with the actual amount of work you will do as a teacher. Instead of earning what you are worth, you earn what the school district decides to pay you, and if you live in a poor school district, you might start out earning very little in contrast to your credentials. Gaston says, "Not many other professions that require you to have specialized training pay as low as a teacher's salary." In some states, like North Dakota, the starting pay for teachers is as low as $24,872 per year.
Con -- Becoming a Public Figure
Teachers are held to a high standard. Too high, some say. Rod Preston, an English teacher in Dallas, states that once you've become a teacher, you're expected to be one 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where you are. Whether you are dining out, or shopping at the mall, you are and always will be a teacher, and expected to conduct yourself appropriately. If you are a teacher, you might experience a higher level of scrutiny and harsher consequences for for inappropriate behavior than you would if you worked in another profession.
Con -- Parents
Tracy Stevens, a former special education teacher from Mansfield, Texas, said one of her biggest complaints about the job was the lack of parental cooperation or participation. Nothing is more frustrating to a teacher than a parent who refuses to help his child improve his performance in school. If you choose a profession as a teacher, you will experience parents who will blame you for their child's poor grades, parents who attempt to bully you into changing grades, or parents who have little time to spend helping their kids with schoolwork. On the other end of the spectrum are the helicopter parents: those parents who get involved in every aspect of their child's education.
Pro -- Long Vacations
One of the biggest benefits of teaching is the three-month vacation you will get between school years. You are paid for a full year, although you might work only nine months. Some districts allow you to receive a paycheck every month of the year or choose to take a higher monthly pay for only nine months and not receive a paycheck during the summer. Most teachers choose the first option because of the convenience and lack of funds during the summer if they don't plan finances properly.
- Top Colleges: The Pros and Cons of Becoming an Elementary Teacher
- Teacher Portal: Teacher Salaries by State
- Tracy Stevens, Former Special Education Teacher; Mansfield, Texas
- Rod Preston, English Teacher; Dallas, Texas
- Lynn Gaston, Elementary Teacher; Fort Worth, Texas
- Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images