Question Detail

How do you know teaching is for you?

Jul 13, 2015 1:50pm

Don't get me wrong, I do want to teach but how do you know your ready? I know I just started college in Education and I'll eventually be able to get my confidence up in time. However, having so much information hit me at one time and for multiple kids seems kind of intimidating to think about. My thing is I am book smart, so knowing the subject matter isn't the issue. But, if I know the subject and don't know how to teach it, wouldn't that be a waste of time and education on both the kids and myself? And sometimes I wonder if I should have chosen traditional school than on line. .. Your thoughts would be appreciated, thank you.

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    • Jul 13, 2015 4:11pm

      If your online school doesn't offer field experiences, I strongly would suggest that you volunteer or substitute teach.

      • Sep 7, 2015 7:51am

        Here's a few things that I want to add to complement what's already been mentioned. They may be silly but please bear with me.
        In the beginning:
        1. When you were young, did you ever find yourself playing school with your friends and you acting as their leader?
        2. Do you like to plan stuff and implement your ideas?
        3. Have you done baby-sitting or tutoring and had someone ever told you that you're good with kids?
        In mid-career:
        4. Do you enjoy appreciating the outcome of the ideas you've implemented?
        5. Do you enjoy learning on your own and through others?
        6. Have you gone through moments of self doubt about your calling in this role?
        7. Are you willing to face the accountability and/or the responsibility of your initiatives (connected to 4)?
        If you've ever experienced or questioned some of these, then you may (or may not) be in the calling. Sorry for the ambiguity.

        • Sep 7, 2015 1:26pm

          The answers given here are all excellent and hopefully won't further overwhelm you. The only other idea I'd like to add is to be careful about isolating yourself with your online learning. Our profession can be a lonely one filled with self-doubt and worry. Sue's right in that it does take a lifetime and then some to master. What keeps a teacher going is the excitement, enthusiasm, and support of other educators around him/her - those just learning and the veterans. Surround yourself with these people as often as possible and if you find yourself sharing in the excitement, you'll have your answer. By the way, I'm a Patsy, too, and know that Patsy's make great teachers! ?

          • Jul 18, 2015 3:05pm

            I agree with Teri. School of education can only teach you so much. The real learning happens during student teaching and your first year as a teacher. To be honest, the learning never stops because the students that you serve every year change. They even change from period to period if you teach secondary! I have to say that the instructional methods I use in my classroom now are all from the experiences I have had being on the classroom and also learning through collaboration with my colleagues. Good luck!

            • Jul 19, 2015 9:45pm

              I know this is a very abstract and probably over-used statement but "you just know." I have learned just in the past few weeks through talking to teachers from across the country that there really are two types of teachers. There are teachers who enter teaching in order to teach content. They have a passion for a subject and can't think of anything they would love more than to share that passion with others. Secondly, there are teachers who enter teaching to teach children and the subject matter is just a vehicle through which to do so. It is my conclusion that the best teachers are those who enter the profession as a combination of both. Honestly, my college years were only a stepping stone to get me to this point. My student teaching experience was mild compared to the actualities of the job. I don't think anything could have truly prepared me to teach. Even through substituting and my college field experiences, l learned to teach 'those' students and they are vastly different from the ones I have now. Teaching is something you learn along the way. It's not a job where you unpack everything you have when you start; you collect things and pack as you go along. It is overwhelming but stick in there and don't give up! I promise you, the day you step into your own classroom for the first time and begin to prepare for your first students it will all be worth it!

              • Jul 31, 2015 3:53am

                Hi, Ms. Patsy. I am an online Masters in Teaching student as well, and I too have asked many of the same questions you are asking. It's true that there are sometimes situations that we realize we are not where we intended to be, or we thought it would be different. I would encourage you, however, to first make a decision about the rationale behind your uncertainty in teaching. Are you your feelings based in fear? Fear of rejection, being taken advantage of, loss of stability, criticism, or failure? If these ideas are causing you to question your career, I would encourage you to reevaluate whether or not that fear is a basis for leaving education. There is obviously a reason that you have arrived to the point in your life that you have. Choosing to be a teacher was likely a decision that you considered for some time before doing, as well as your school choice. I might suggest exercising more patience with yourself and follow Teri's suggestion to substitute teach. Instead of leaving a potentially amazing and rewarding career for you, giving yourself a chance to learn and build up confidence may be an alternative. I wouldn't stress too much about traditional versus online schooling, because the reality is that even "traditional" schooling usually has a heavy emphasis in online curricula, and "online" schooling requires some real personal interactions. Good luck!

                • Sep 7, 2015 8:24am

                  I also want to add, to what extent are you willing to evolve in your thinking and practise in order to meet the need of your students?

                  • Sep 11, 2015 12:35pm

                    I originally had intentions of becoming a professor of college literature. After getting my BA (double major in English Lit/Creative Writing and Comparative Lit), I thought I would try to get a little teaching experience in the hopes that would help me land an assistantship when I went to grad school for my MFA in Writing. However, the only position I could get was working as a teaching assistant in a school that served a residential institution for emotionally challenged adolescents, and it was there--working with a marvelous mentor teacher who had worked in this school for 32 years--that I discovered I loved teaching KIDS more than I loved teaching just the subject matter itself. It is a travesty that many undergraduate programs do not offer pre-service teachers significant exposure to working hands-on with kids until the final year of their degree via classroom visits and/or student teaching placements. This should be done much earlier on because it would help people in your situation make a more informed decision about his or her career. My advice: find a job as a teaching assistant, become a school intern, or volunteer for an organization in which you can actually work with an age range of students you think might be for you. If you work with an inspiring mentor while doing this, all the better! Where you've done your learning about the profession (on line or brick and mortar) will not matter so long as you get a chance to actually see if you enjoy putting that learning on the ground to create strong and inspiring teacher-student relationships.