- You really enjoy people.
Some people might think that those of us who really “love kids” ought to become teachers, but that’s like deciding to have a baby because you think babies are cute — there’s just so much more to it than that once you really get into things.
If you are the kind of person who really enjoys interacting with people in general, if you love connecting on sincere and meaningful levels with others, sharing your ideas, listening while others share theirs, then you might want to consider teaching. This job isn’t about numbers, products, profits, and so on. This job is about people and about helping them learn to become the best, most inspired, most confident and secure, most fearless and accepting, versions of themselves they can be. If that sounds like fun to you, consider a future in teaching.
- You’re a learner.
Teaching and learning are intrinsically tied. And, the best teachers are also excellent learners. Some people just seem to hold the development and deepening of ideas and intellectual growth in higher esteem than most do — these people can become great teachers. It’s not just that “we learn as much from the kids as they learn from us.” That’s all a lot of fun, too. But, we also learn from our colleagues, from our own research, and from the act of bettering our understanding and crafting it, shaping it, contextualizing it, until we know enough about a subject that we’re ready to teach it to someone else. You understand concepts on deeper levels when you teach them, and the process of getting there can be a lot of fun too, if you really love to learn.
- You want to help.
Teachers make a tremendous difference in the world. Good teachers are the kinds of people who seem to walk around with a message, or like they have something to share. They’re generous, interested, concerned, and eager to make a difference. They know that the best way to help others is actually to help them help themselves. Teachers don’t just teach subjects, they teach people. Sure, they help students learn to calculate the square root of 81, but they also help them learn to navigate the world and their lives a little easier. When you work as a teacher, you have no doubt that you’re making a huge impact on the world, and that’s a pretty amazing feeling.
- You love it.
In some ways, our lives choose us, not the other way around — especially when we listen to our gut instincts. When we’re engaged in doing something we truly love, we can feel it. We sense that we are tapping into something that suits us. There’s an idea that the things we enjoyed doing when we were around 10 years old tend to hold true through adulthood, and a lot of teachers remember playing school when they were kids.
No matter when the passion started, if you’re a teacher at heart, you’ll feel it when you step in front of classroom full of students. A part of you might sense that this is something you could enjoy doing for a long time, or you might just feel like you really enjoy every minute. Whatever the case may be, if you’re lucky enough to find something that you really love to do, and if that something is as intellectually stimulating, rewarding, and fun as teaching students — listen to your instincts. If you truly love to teach, than you should definitely consider making it a career. You’ll receive so much in return.
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