17 answers

Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher

I really want honest opinions. I am in school and I volunteer much of my time at my daughters school. I am in school to one day be a teacher. It's a passion that I have and LONG for. It really excites me. The idea of one day having my own class and those adorable little faces walking through the door. However, I see some of the teachers I help out, really stressed. I wonder if it's the kids, or the parents. I don't know. So if your a teacher, please give me your thoughts. I think my biggest challenge will be actually getting the parents on board. Sometimes people do not cooperate as you think they will. So again, please, honest opinions.

1 mom found this helpful

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So What Happened?™

So since I didn't specify sooner, I am currently in a Degree Completion Program for my B.A and then just after will be going into a Certificate program at the same school. I truly understand what everyone is saying. It seems most of you have or see the same cons. I think my biggest challenge will be the parents. I've seen the teachers that I work with, when they have brought to a parents attention, some of the concerns with their child, the parent will ask the teacher, what can she do to fix that problem. It's beyond me because I have two daughters, 7 and 8 and a son who is 3. My daughters are not perfect however they are well aware that we need to respect ourselves and each other. Especially folks that are older than us. It's in our blood to respect others so when I see some of the things that go on....yes it does scare me and makes me think twice. The time that the teacher spoke to the parent was again in regards to her son. Her son told the teacher to shutup and then the parent asks the teacher what can she do to fix the problem. I don't understand people but I figure...hey you can't win them all right. I think...No I know, that I will be great at it. I would like to teach 1st or 2nd grade. Preferably 1st grade. I would like to get them little so I can shape them into good little 2nd graders. I know the pay is not the best but I know I will really be good at it. It's something I've always wanted to do and have decided finally to go back to school. I 4 classes into school already. I am 33 years old. Just for FYI...I am 33 years old. Thanks to everyone who has commented. I truly appreciate it!

Featured Answers

I won't repeat what others have already said, but I have been teaching high school for 18 years and love it. It is incredibly difficult, but it also makes me very happy. I tell my students all the time to find a career that they are passionate about. You seem to have a passion for teaching. As long as you also have good time management and are organized, you'll be fine. :)

6 moms found this helpful

From what I am seeing in schools, I think teaching is one of the hardest jobs there is. ApproxQueenJane, TF, and Mamazita kind of nailed it.

I too suggest you try subbing before you plunge in.

However, with Common Core coming in, there will be less testing, so that's a plus. But the huge class sizes and lack of discipline among the kids are the two things that make the job the hardest, imo.

2 moms found this helpful

More Answers

Can you apply as an aide, or assistant, first?
I also thought I wanted to teach. I spent one year subbing and then three years working 20 hours a week as an aide.
I was exhausted after four hours a day.
Teachers really do have an insanely hard job, simply because there really are NO breaks.
Sure, school holidays, and summer, which was awesome of course. But you spend the rest of the year being "on" from like 7:30 to 4:30, at least, plus taking work home. Lunches and other breaks are usually spent responding to emails and calls. Even going to the bathroom is a challenge.
The parents were the worst. I mean, most of them were great, but there were always a few who just questioned you, hounded you, told you the work was too hard, or not hard enough, insisted somehow their child wasn't getting x, y, z, and there was really no way to make them happy.
And of course there were some who didn't seem to care at all.
And the kids? the "adorable" little faces? Yes, most of them are, and I thought I loved ALL children, until I worked with them. Some of them are just plain annoying and awful but there's nothing you can do but smile and fake it!
Sorry, not trying to talk you out of it (LOL) just giving you my honest feelings/experience.
It takes a very special person: lots of energy, diplomacy, discipline, sense of calm, and of course, a supportive spouse. During the school year you will have longer days which means your children will have longer days (in day care or after school care.) There are meetings and trainings to attend. Many teachers found it hard to continue once their own kids were in school. It's hard to be both a parent and a teacher, which I guess is why you see mostly younger and older women doing it.
Try subbing first, get your feet wet before leaping in.
ETA: I didn't even mention the administration, district, and parents club, three separate agencies that you are also expected to please and perform for, even though what they want often conflicts with the needs and wants of each other AND the students and parents (that's what I meant by diplomacy!)

11 moms found this helpful

I've been a substitute for 13 years. I LOVE the children and being a teacher.

However, at the end of my day, I am drained. I do not sub more than 2 days in a row because I know I'm not at my best more than 2 days in a row. I'm fine with a day or 2 between jobs.

The teachers are under a lot if pressure from the district, the school, the parents, etc. They work very hard to meet goals and manage all of the children in a positive way.

A lot of my sub jobs are toward the end if the semester and end of year when the teachers are drained emotionally and need a break.

I love teaching but it is not something I could do full time.

If possible, can you sub or be an assistant for some time? You will get a good feel for the profession and if you truly like it. It's a great way to get a feel for the profession.

Best wishes!

10 moms found this helpful

My Mom taught 6th grade in public school for 30 years.
She would never recommend that ANYONE go into teaching.
For the most part the kids don't want to learn, the parents want them to have fun and don't care about them learning and the administration has you jumping through impossible hoops.
My Mom once received a letter from an angry parent who said that their daughter was too stressed out from trying to learn about fractions and insisted that my Mom stop teaching them to her immediately.
Um - it's part of the curriculum - there's no not teaching it just because a parent wants it stopped.
Her room often had no heat and the ceiling leaked - which was a good trick because her room was on the 2nd floor below the 3rd floor.
She was on her feet most of the day and rarely had a chance to use the bathroom.
This is a problem especially if you want to start a family of your own one day, and get pregnant.
A friend of hers who taught 8th grade had a student commit suicide by blowing his brains out in her classroom - he died right in front of her as she held his hand - there was no helping him - the back half of his head was splattered across the wall.
Another time a special ed student (he was about 17 but was at a 6th grade level mentally - he was part of an inclusion program) got upset because another kid quickly switched the room light switch off and on a few times - the 17 yr old grabs the kid by the throat and is choking him while yelling 'You shouldn't do that!' (the kid is turning blue) and it took 3 male teachers to hold him and pry him off the other kid.
Are there some great students? - Sure! but they are few and far between.
Some parents will work with you instead of against you but not nearly enough will.
The pay is low - you are always looking for a 2nd job on the weekends or during the summer to make ends meet unless you are married to someone who earns double what you do.
Budgets are always being cut - they are forever telling you to do more with less (and less and less, etc).
Over the years my Mom found various creatures in her desk placed there by student - mice, lizards, a snake one time - they were kind of disappointed because my Mom loves critters and never gave them the satisfaction of a yell of surprise.
It's a tough job and it burns up your enthusiasm really fast.
If you still love your job after doing it for 5 years then you are doing better than most.

10 moms found this helpful

I'm not a Teacher but work at an elementary school, public, and have 2 types of jobs there. One is as a Staff and also as a Sub.

Working at a school and being a Teacher, is like a customer service job, except that you are handling/teaching OTHER people's kids.
And as a Teacher, you also must teach according to the school's curriculum/standards/rules/policies and also go through safety trainings and employee requirements and also CPR trainings etc. and so there are MANY aspects to being a Teacher.
And also of course, dealing with the parents.
And no matter what job you have, NO one fully cooperates, with you, be it children or adults or parents. Or co-workers.
Yes, Teaching is stressful.
But if you love it, then that is good.
Getting parents on board, is not your only job.
It is getting the children/students, on board. Also.
And depending on the age grade and age of the kids, there are different approaches to all of it.
And also, dealing with any developmental issues or problems and knowing each of your students. And even if you are the perfect Teacher, no classroom or student or parent, will be perfect and totally understanding or cooperative.
And then, meeting all employee requirements and requirements as a Teacher, is another ball of wax.
And I know some Teachers, that have gotten bladder issues & infections repeatedly, because, its not like they can just leave class and go to the bathroom any ol time and leave their class/kids unattended.

And it is not a job you can just leave and go home.
Even at home, you are constantly, prepping, and doing paperwork. And buying things with your own money. And salary is not great. Even with a Master's degree.
And everywhere you go on your own personal time... a kid or family from school will see you, even if you don't see them, and they know what you are doing/when/how/what you are buying, etc.
Everyday, kids will tell me "I SAW YOU!" and I did not see them.

You see some of the Teachers you help, be really stressed. It is NOT only from the parents OR the kids. It is both.
I know a Teacher, who had a classroom that was a classroom from hell. Why? Though she is a seasoned Teacher with experience... the kids... and the parents of the students, were literally.... hell. Nit picky, coddled their kids, didn't like anything their kids were required to do as a student. didn't like the other classmates, complained to the Teacher and expected the Teacher to correct their horrible kid and give them back a kid that was perfect. But the parents, didn't feel they had to do, anything.
And the school, can only go so far, in reprimanding a child. They are not miracle workers. But the outside world, expects that.

All the Teachers I know, who have young kids themselves... their own children, even if they go to the same school they Teach at, have to go to after school care. Because, a Teacher has work hours. Just like any other office job.
As a Sub Teacher, you have hours too, but not like a regular Teacher nor do you have to do lesson plans, unless you are a long term sub who qualifies, for the job.

I have friends that are full time Teachers. And they have young kids themselves. I do not know, how they do it. Everyday all day they are with kids, managing them. Then they come home, and have their own kids at home to manage. They have no, off time nor different activities, from work and home. And they cannot attend their own child's school related functions, because they are Teaching too, at school or another school. And they can't always just take off of work. And if a Teacher is not there, say on May Day or some "special" school function/occasion... some parents get miffed/irked/mad at the teacher. ie: How come she wasn't here?!!! But, the Teacher has kids too. Maybe her kid was sick. It can't be helped. But the parents of their students, do not always understand.

9 moms found this helpful

In my past life, I was a sixth grade math teacher. I LOVED my job. I was lucky to be following my passion. I plan on going back to the classroom.

Pros - Doing what you love. If teaching is your true calling, despite the stressors and bad days, you'll love your job.

Seeing growth is so fulfilling. Whether it's Johnny mastering a math skill or Suzy learning not to interrupt. You know you had a small part in forever changing someone's life.

The days go by fast. You are always moving. Always doing something. Always some place to be. It makes for a fast paced day, which I enjoyed.

Having control and autonomy in the classroom is a plus. With testing and team teaching, this isn't quite as prevalent as it once was, but generally speaking, teachers can do it "their way" in the classroom. I like that.

And there are more days off than most professional careers!

Cons
Testing, testing and more testing. Standardized tests are the norm. In my opinion, they take away from true learning.

Cost...you spend a lot of your own money in your class.

A lot of assumptions are made about you and your job when you are a teacher. Sorry, but I never got off at 3:30. Leaving at 5 was considered a win. I didn't sit at my desk drinking coffee and showing movies. I didn't have tons of "down time".

It's a job that stays with you. You don't leave it at the office. You'll think about students and kids constantly. You'll bring home papers for grading. You'll remind random kids at Walmart to "Walk! Please!". You won't be able to give you children certain names, because they are tied to some former student. It's not merely a job, it's your life

8 moms found this helpful

I teach high school and I love the students and the subject I teach. I am on my 10th year and used to love going to work every day. This will be my last year. I think the pros are having relationships with students that help them become more knowledgeable and better people, being part of your community, those moments where you see the light bulb come on andspending all day teaching a subject you are passionate about, The cons for me that are forcing me to reevaluate my career are: I spend most of my time on classroom management and it has gotten more difficult over the years with electronic devices, classrooms of 40 students and the grading that comes with that, having to teach to tests, having to be perfectly paced with other teachers, meetings on top of meetings, the difficulty of teaching to so many levels at one time, no raise in 10 years, the stress of trying to keep up with it all. It is hard for me to admit it...but it is just too hard. I want a job that I can leave at work and not have panic attacks on Sunday nights. Granted I am in Arizona and we have been woefully underfunded for a while now, but it is time to move on!

8 moms found this helpful

I won't repeat what others have already said, but I have been teaching high school for 18 years and love it. It is incredibly difficult, but it also makes me very happy. I tell my students all the time to find a career that they are passionate about. You seem to have a passion for teaching. As long as you also have good time management and are organized, you'll be fine. :)

6 moms found this helpful

Teaching isn't for everyone, but for some people it is their calling. My SIL and I talk about this often. I used to teach high school. I was ... not good. I can teach the material, but I did not know how to manage a classroom. Now I teach college. Oh my goodness is this easier for me. It really fits my personality so much better. My SIL, on the other hand, works in a grade school (she's a Speech Pathologist). She LOVES it. She is so good with kids that age. And she's good with the parents. She has some life experiences, so she's really learned how to diplomatically tell parents when they are wrong and need to listen to what she is telling them.

I do agree with the cons that the posters below mentioned. But if this is something you really want to do and would really love, then all those negatives mentioned become part of the job and something you learn to deal with. We all have things about our job we don't love or people we have to work with that we don't really want to work with. But if we love what we do, those are things we can deal with. They will certainly cause us stress from time to time, but whose life doesn't have stress from time to time?

You would have your good days and bad days, just like any other job. But you'll never know until you try!

5 moms found this helpful

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