If you’re considering the teaching profession, it’s a rewarding career path and an important one since you’ll be shaping the next generation. However, you must consider every aspect before taking the plunge and the first step.
Are you committed to being a teacher? Are you passionate about not only making it into the classroom but helping children to learn once you’re there? With a standard office job, you can go home and forget about work until the morning. As a teacher, you may need to take planning or marking home. Since most of the day is focusing on engaging children, there’s no time to plan and mark until the students have gone home.
Often, people dream of being a teacher because they imagine leaving work at 3pm, getting lots of holidays, and having an easy lifestyle. In reality, the children leave the classroom and you’ll still have a to-do list as long as your arm. Whether in early or later education, teaching needs commitment. Like any job, you’ll contend with meetings, targets from bosses, and lots of paperwork – and this is without even considering extra-curricular activities.
Your Ability to Cope with Stress
In a recent report into the teaching profession, up to 50% of all new teachers leave their job within the first five years. As a new teacher in Australia, you’re likely to get a role in a challenging school, and this is why retention in teachers has always been a problem in the industry.
In a similar report, it was claimed that one in five education graduates aren’t registered in the industry. Therefore, this shows the level of stress in the niche and that teaching isn’t for everybody. If you struggle to cope with stress, you may need to seriously question whether the teaching path is right for you.
Your Personal Skills
How do you handle social situations? Remember, teaching isn’t just a case of delivering lessons. You’ll be in constant communication with parents to inform them of their child’s progress, any problems, and more. At times, you could lose hours of potential working time just speaking with concerned parents. If you don’t have patience and personal skills, this might be an area of the profession that you just don’t enjoy.
Depending on your skills and desires, you can choose very different roles in the teaching profession. Do you want to deal with preschool children? Would you prefer to work with university students as a lecturer? Often, people use the term ‘teacher’ loosely when there’s actually a big difference between primary education and university education. You don’t need JCU’s bachelor of education to teach first graders, however, if you plan on teaching at the college level, you will need the appropriate credentials. Alternatively, you might decide to work in special educational needs. Research the different teaching roles and decide the right path for you.
You Salary Demands
If you’re moving from a different industry, you might be accustomed to a larger salary than the one on offer as a teacher. When considering the job, consider the cost of your current lifestyle and whether a teaching role would support this. In Australia, the Department of Education lays out the standard starting salaries so take a look at this resource. For example, the average salary for a 2.1 level teacher is just over $72,000. Meanwhile, the top tier of 3.2 classroom teacher earns just under $119,000.
You should also think about the following:
- Progression and the whole career path
- Whether you have the authority and can gain the respect of students
- The community in which you live
- Whether you’re ready for the emotional commitment