5 Perks That Make Teaching Worth It
Teachers are famously underpaid, if you take into consideration the importance of what they do and the amount of education it takes to prepare them for their careers. But if you think teaching is a thankless job without any advantages, think again.
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1. Playtime Redux
How many jobs allow you to relive your favorite childhood activities? In a world filled with adult stress, allowing yourself to indulge in making paper dolls is almost unheard of. So, whether it’s building a spaceship out of Legos or creating art with crayons, feathers, and glue, teachers have the perfect cover for reconnecting with their inner child. The transcendental peace that comes from sharing quiet conversation with children as you color together is priceless. You may even find yourself wanting to color at home alone simply because it offers more healing than professional therapy. Even teachers of older students get to make volcanoes and rediscover favorite books like The Cricket in Times Square or Sounder.
2. Eyes of a Child
Children view the world with an innocence and curiosity mostly lost on adults. Teachers are reminded almost daily not to forget the simple things in life or to take anything for granted. Every time a child points to the sky and squeals over a cloud that looks like a cat or marvels at the way a carrot crunches, it forces you to appreciate the most intrinsic part of humanity. Children also unknowingly teach adults some of the most important lessons in life. Teachers are kept grounded by young people unearthing profound truths with simple questions and unfiltered observations, the kind of thinking lost to jaded adults. Who can forget the scene from the novel To Kill A Mockingbird when the little girl, Scout, renders an angry mob of grown men speechless and a little embarrassed at themselves with the innocence of her questions?
3. Vacations Booked
If you’re someone who has difficulty making time for vacation, then the predetermined vacation schedule of a teacher is definitely a bonus. There’s no question you’re going to have time with your family on all major holidays, a week during spring, and then there are those summer months. That said, much of the summer break is not actually free for teachers to lie on the beach or catch up on Netflix. There are lessons to be planned, trainings to attend, and materials to be prepared. However, there aren’t many other careers in which you get to take that much time to plan and organize yourself for the job. As Tiffany Chow writes for Roadtrip Nation, “it’s still a benefit (and necessity) of the profession that teachers dedicate their summers to self-improvement so they can better serve their students and become stronger pillars of knowledge.”
4. Never Bored
Teachers don’t sit at a computer by themselves all day long. In fact, teachers do very little sitting throughout the day. While being “on” all day and constantly moving around can be exhausting, it also means you’re not sitting and watching the clock tick. It feels great to be touching your toes in a game of Simon Says, showing your students how to do the downward dog yoga pose, and enjoying the sunshine as you move around watching them play outside. Kids need movement and exercise as much as adults. It’s just another bonus of teaching that you get to move around right alongside them. The fact that you’re always circulating also means the chance for more personal interaction.
Paul Barnwell of Education Week writes, “Some days, due to testing or being flat-out tired, I’ll spend a good chunk of my time in my $20 faux-leather chair, procured from a local Goodwill store. But most of the time, I’m buzzing around room 137 and Fern Creek’s hallways, creating opportunities for more small wins.”
5. Sharing the Love
This is the perk above all else. Nothing equals the feeling you get from a child that needs your love and the simple way they love you back unconditionally. When they’re crying or in need of an adult’s reassurance, you get to be the one who makes them feel safe and loved, answering any questions you had about the meaning and purpose of your life’s work. The love is also reciprocated right back at you with every hug, every hand-made card carefully adorned with your name, and their earnest desire to please you. Being a teacher means you are humbled every day by the resilience of children who face unimaginable challenges and their ability to love fiercely in spite of it all.
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