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What made you decide to become a teacher?Recently, I have been asked "what I want to be...

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kurlykarman | Student, Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted January 16, 2011 at 10:59 PM via web

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What made you decide to become a teacher?

Recently, I have been asked "what I want to be when I grow up."  I am leaning towards some kind of teaching career. I am just curious as to why different people have decided on this career. I would love to hear your opinions or your least favorite and favorite parts of your job!

Thanks.

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 2) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 16, 2011 at 11:42 PM (Answer #2)

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This question will probably be moved to the discussion group for teachers; certainly, it will serve you better there.

For many teachers, the reason that they have entered the profession lies in their own experiences in school.  Usually, they have been inspired by one teacher, especially.  This is a teacher who loved his/her profession, and who also touched the individual and in such a way that the student wished to emulate his/her instructor.  Added to this inspiration, the individual who has felt called to teach, has a certain heart within him/herself that makes the person feel there is something worthwhile which he/her can give to others.  Perhaps, it is this yearning to give to others that inspires people the most to become teachers.

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 17, 2011 at 6:43 AM (Answer #3)

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For me, it was because it was something I was good at and knew I would enjoy.  I have the ability to understand a lot of material and explain it to others, and I have always enjoyed interacting with young people.

I started out to be a college professor, but I found out that what I really enjoyed was being in a classroom interacting with students.  In the US, at least, college professors have to write articles for scholarly journals and/or books.  I found that I did not enjoy that but that I did enjoy trying to help young people understand subjects that I enjoyed.

That is why I switched over and became a high school teacher after I got my doctorate.  One of the joys of being a teacher is getting to interact with young people.  If you are lucky, you get to become part of the lives of some pretty special people and that is a privilege that teachers enjoy much more than people in most other walks of life.

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akannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted January 17, 2011 at 7:06 AM (Answer #4)

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I think that the most defining element for me which attracted me to teaching was the idea of being able to find some type of bridge between theory and practice.  In my academic studies, I was fascinated with the ideas and intellectual history that confronted me.  Yet, I never quite found an area or domain where I was able to translate this theory into practice.  I think that teaching was where the idea of "praxis" was met.  The fusion between theory and practice is the classroom.  Even from the earliest moments in my career, I understood this and grasped it.  In the end, I think that this is something to which I still cling. That being said, I do believe that high stakes standardized assessment and standards based educational reform are taking a toll on what is done in schools and in the classroom.  Adding to this the belief are that teachers are "open targets" in terms of receiving criticism from parents, board members, and administration.  Yet, with both of these realities, I think that the need to ensure that theory and practice meet is becoming more absolute for me.  To be able to justify what I do from a philosophical and intellectually historical point of view is vitally important in a setting where greater questioning and scrutiny is brought to what I do and how it is done.

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larrygates | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 17, 2011 at 3:35 PM (Answer #5)

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I entered the teaching profession only after spending twenty years practicing law. Believe it or not, most lawyers have an inner desire to be school teachers. There is something alluring about working with the younger generation; to see learning take place before your eyes, to watch them mature and grow into responsible adults; which is much more fun than cleaning up messes other people made, and hoping to get paid for it. I have now taught for thirteen years, and have never looked back. Changing professions was the best decision I have ever made. My favorite parts of the job, as I said, are watching young people grow into fruition. The worst part, which fortunately has only happened a few times is when I lose a child. It is like losing your own.  The poem referenced below says it better than I ever could.

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megan-bright | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted January 18, 2011 at 5:47 PM (Answer #6)

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I entered the field because I have a passion and gift for not only teaching students content area knowledge, but for inspiring them, and guiding them into becoming productive citizens who have a love for learning.

I am also very patient and love the excitement of being able to incorporate all types of sources (books, music, art, movies, articles) and bring different experiences into the classroom.

Unfortunately, the "least favorite" parts of the job are extremely overwhelming: High-stakes testing pressure, arbitrary and subjective evaluations, harsh politics, major demoralization from the government and administration, a lack of true professional voice, scripted curriculum and more.

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besure77 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted January 19, 2011 at 6:57 PM (Answer #7)

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I decided to become a teacher because I love knowledge. I love to learn and it gives me great joy to share this passion with others. Not everyone always appreciates it but inspiring even one child is a great feeling and worth every second.

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lmetcalf | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 19, 2011 at 7:17 PM (Answer #8)

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I guess I knew I wanted to be a teacher when I set up my very elaborate classroom in the basement of my childhood home and made the neighbor children come in for the story time.  It is interesting to note that I grew up to be an English teacher (just like then!).  I truly came to teaching because I love reading and writing.  I had thoughts that I should do something like journalism, but in my heart of hearts, I always knew I would end up in the classroom.  I know that I made the right choice when I wake up in the morning and look forward to sharing my delight with a novel, a play, a poem or a short story. I don't even hate grading all the papers!

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted January 19, 2011 at 11:42 PM (Answer #9)

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I guess I knew when I used white chalk to pretend to teach by writing on my pale yellow latex-painted wall in my bedroom, which did NOT go over well with my mom (writing on walls, etc.).

Dad changed careers and went into teaching, but I, at the time, refused to do it when I graduated high school because my dad did. (The value of the job would probably have been wasted on me at that point anyway.) After attending college off and on, and working at several different kinds of positions—even to the point that I was making good money with a decent vacation package and benefits—I decided I wanted to be my own boss. (And in some ways, this is still true if you love what you do...who needs to check on you when you're already pushing yourself as hard as you can...crazy, I know...)

With my degree finally in hand, I was fortunate to get a job at the time. I had graduated from that district—and people there still knew me; and, my mentoring teacher was the absolute best instructor and advocate.

After my first day (I remember asking myself what I would find to talk about for 45-minutes....ha!), I was hooked, and quickly found that I liked what I did, especially the creativity of it, and the interaction with the kids.

When choosing my major, I did NOT think about the huge amounts of paperwork that come with teaching English: I loved history equally well, but English also allows us to talk about what we think and feel, rather than having to give an exact response. There is some of that, but interpretation of literature, poetry, etc., is great. Kids teach ME stuff on a regular basis.

Working with some parents can be difficult if those parents believe everything their child says or are unable to set out guidelines for their children. I tell my students I am a scorekeeper, and I go over things repeatedly till they are ready to beat me with a stick in hopes that everyone will get it. I want my kids to do well. It's hard when you really try and a parent blames you for something that you have not done or that is not in your control. It's hard not to take it personally for me because I care so much, and doing a good job I DO take personally...but this response is my problem to fix.

The kids make me LAUGH a lot. I teach ninth grade and love it more than any grade I have ever taught. I find that kids not only need to be taught English, but be given a place to voice how they feel about Shakespeare or...ghosts maybe (and they often go hand in hand). With some kids, we end up agreeing to disagree. Being consistent in following through with consequences with rules is tough, especially when the student in question in one of your best. The kids change you in great ways, and teach you things, and the saddest thing is that I only see them 180 days before they move on (though sometimes we all need a break from each other). But it's neat to see them come back as teachers, or getting married, having kids, etc. It is not a job for me. It is a passion. Some days are "diamonds, some days are stones." But what a ride!

And 45 minutes is rarely enough time in the classroom!

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lrwilliams | College Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted January 20, 2011 at 2:34 PM (Answer #10)

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The reason I became a teacher was to try to make a lasting impression on my students. I was fortunate to have great teachers while in school and their impact on me was life lasting. My goal was to make as great an impact and impression on my students as they did upon me.

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trophyhunter1 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted January 21, 2011 at 2:19 PM (Answer #11)

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From the time I was little and bossed around the neighborhood kids and made them play "school" while I was the teacher, I guess I knew I wanted to be a teacher. Also, every summer job revolved around being a camp counselor with the oldest, toughest teenage kids. I guess that is why I became a high school teacher and college adjunct professor.

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speamerfam | College Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

Posted January 22, 2011 at 9:39 AM (Answer #12)

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I entered the teaching profession only after spending twenty years practicing law. Believe it or not, most lawyers have an inner desire to be school teachers. There is something alluring about working with the younger generation; to see learning take place before your eyes, to watch them mature and grow into responsible adults; which is much more fun than cleaning up messes other people made, and hoping to get paid for it. I have now taught for thirteen years, and have never looked back. Changing professions was the best decision I have ever made. My favorite parts of the job, as I said, are watching young people grow into fruition. The worst part, which fortunately has only happened a few times is when I lose a child. It is like losing your own.  The poem referenced below says it better than I ever could.

Larry, my guess is there are many of us out there.  I practiced law for 25 years before I made the change to teaching, and it is the best decision I have ever made.  As I look back, I now see that even as an attorney, I was always trying to teach people, my clients, my opponents, and the court.  And I became tired of being in an adversarial situation, day in and day out.  I wanted to do something where everyone was on the same side.  And in a classroom, I find that to be the case.  Law is a zero-sum game, whereas in teaching, I feel that everyone wins.

To be certain this was what I wanted to do, I decided to try teaching on a small scale, a night class at a local school.  I was enthralled with this experience, went back to school to get a master's in education, and have been teaching ever since.  All I regret is that it took me so long to get here, but I bring so much more to the classroom from all those years as an attorney, so I think it's worked out pretty well. 

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rumpelstiltskin01 | Elementary School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted January 30, 2011 at 9:46 AM (Answer #13)

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I entered the teaching profession only after spending twenty years practicing law. Believe it or not, most lawyers have an inner desire to be school teachers. There is something alluring about working with the younger generation; to see learning take place before your eyes, to watch them mature and grow into responsible adults; which is much more fun than cleaning up messes other people made, and hoping to get paid for it. I have now taught for thirteen years, and have never looked back. Changing professions was the best decision I have ever made. My favorite parts of the job, as I said, are watching young people grow into fruition. The worst part, which fortunately has only happened a few times is when I lose a child. It is like losing your own.  The poem referenced below says it better than I ever could.

Larry your response is so relevant.  I have worked in Corporate American for many years, but decided to switch careers and become a school teacher. Teaching and empowering children has always been a part of me and my husband's ministry for many years. My husband is in the Navy so the both of us have been blessed to touch the lives of so many children across the world through coaching and mentoring through organizations such as the Police Athletic League (PAL) and other well known organizations. It is such a true and majestic blessing to help a child for the greater good...

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stolperia | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 1, 2011 at 2:17 PM (Answer #14)

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As a youngster, I loved "teaching" my dolls and spent hours cutting out pictures to create elaborate bulletin board scenes for each season of the year on the bulletin board above the desk in my bedroom.  As a high schooler, I had the opportunity to participate in the "counselor-in-training" program at the residential camp I had attended in earlier years and grew as a person and as a leader.  As a college education major, I worked in the summer as a counselor at that same camp and discovered I had the patience, energy and enthusiasm to live and deal with lower elementary-aged girls 24/7!

I think all these formative experiences contributed to and confirmed my developing decision that education was the area of endeavor where I was meant to be.  I love the challenge of engaging young minds and watching the light bulb come on when a new idea or procedure "clicks" for them.  The process of locating resources and developing classroom activities feeds my creative instincts and deepens my understanding of the material.  The opportunity to support and shape the next generation is real and precious, even in this day of shifting priorities and increasing pressures that have very little to do with caring and creating.

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litteacher8 | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted February 2, 2011 at 9:50 PM (Answer #15)

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I became a teacher because I was disappointed in the education I received.  From a fairly young age, around eleven or twelve, I knew that there was a better way.  By high school I was researching alternatives in education, and in college I studied education in earnest.  I found that teaching is a complex world, and I was hungry to be a change-maker.  After a few years of teaching, I became pessimistic and burnt out.  I faced a severe cognitive dissonance, being forced to do what I felt was wrong.  It almost drove me out of teaching.  After switching schools several times, I eventually found my niche.  I realized that there are as many different types of schools as there are different types of teachers.  The key is to find a good fit.  No matter where I am, as long as I am teaching I know I am making a difference.  I am still a change-maker, but not on a large scale.

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rskardal | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted February 3, 2011 at 12:04 PM (Answer #16)

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I can support what larrygates says about lawyers and teaching, though I was never a lawyer. Still, I've now met two lawyers that have become teachers in my short career. They say that it is very rewarding (not financially) to be a teacher, and that sense of fulfillment has certainly been my experience. I love going to work. If you are trying to decide whether or not to become a teacher, my advice is to think about why you're doing it. I've heard that teachers that love working with kids are effective. When I started, I thought I was teaching because I enjoyed my subject. I do, but it's working with the students that makes teaching worth your time and effort.

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hornballcoach33 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 3, 2011 at 4:45 PM (Answer #17)

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What made you decide to become a teacher?

Recently, I have been asked "what I want to be when I grow up."  I am leaning towards some kind of teaching career. I am just curious as to why different people have decided on this career. I would love to hear your opinions or your least favorite and favorite parts of your job!

Thanks.

I think the reasons I decided to become a teacher were that I had some really great teachers in school who had great impacts on my life, and I wanted to be able to do the same one day. 

I'm not sure there are any one set answer to the question, but probably a little different for each teacher. I think finding where you belong is vital to enjoying teaching. I struggled with practice teaching but was lucky to find a place in college prep levels that I really enjoy and feel I have more of an impact. 

The parts I enjoy the most are definitely helping a student who is struggling with a concept and then seeing them do well on the test. That is the most rewarding feeling.  Also just the interaction with the students. 

The parts I like least are mostly with coaching and in the classroom. Things like long bus trips and long practices make it tough sometimes. 

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kapokkid | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted February 5, 2011 at 5:36 AM (Answer #18)

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I think I actually became a teacher because of some of the times I'd been asked to teach and really enjoyed it.  I taught Sunday School classes to younger kids and then to older kids, and I always enjoyed how preparing to teach them forced me to learn so much about the topic.

And I worked in a high school for a while as an aide and really enjoyed being around those kids so I figured it would be the perfect combination.

As I've done it now for a few years, the biggest driving force for me is just the fact that it is so hard.  It is incredibly challenging to find ways to help students learn with all the obstacles that are out there in school and everywhere else.

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mitchrich4199 | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted February 5, 2011 at 8:17 AM (Answer #19)

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I figured out that I wanted to be a teacher when I left the Army in 1999. As a college student, I figured out that I loved Psychology and would have gone into that field had I not had a four year requirement to go into the service. I had figured out that I loved to LEARN and in that, I loved to think for myself and interpret things deeply. After my four years in the Army, Psychology was out of the picture, but learning wasn't. My rationale for becoming a teacher was that I could think abstractly and teach my students to think abstractly. Biology and other subjects were too concrete. I loved the idea of thinking and teaching students to think.

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kellyeller | Middle School Teacher | eNoter

Posted February 15, 2011 at 10:47 AM (Answer #20)

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I enjoy knowing I'm making a difference.  I have a friend in the corporate world who is making six figures easily...yet he wishes he could do the same instead of just crunching numbers.  Even if the results of my efforts aren't immediately seen, the reward is great.

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wfen278741 | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 1, 2011 at 9:31 AM (Answer #21)

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What made you decide to become a teacher?

Recently, I have been asked "what I want to be when I grow up."  I am leaning towards some kind of teaching career. I am just curious as to why different people have decided on this career. I would love to hear your opinions or your least favorite and favorite parts of your job!

Thanks.

I decided to become a teacher, because I was inspired and motivated by teachers, who showed me that teaching has the greatest rewards. In addition, I had the utmost respect for my teachers as well as the majority of the students, parents, and the public.

I further desired to be a teacher, feeling that my efforts would influence the lives of our youth in a positive way. I feel that by influencing youths, they will motivate their families to better educated over the generations.

 

 

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teacherashlie | High School Teacher | eNoter

Posted March 14, 2011 at 12:11 PM (Answer #22)

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As cheesy as it may sound, I became a teacher to change the world.  I have no pretensions at changing the world-at-large; I hope to change my students' worlds: their personal and professional lives.  Your world, my students, is the world I want to change, improve, make happier.  I work hard, and nag, and cheerlead, and beg, to make YOUR world a better place, richer in many ways: financially, socially, emotionally.  I hope I have done this for my students over the years.  Though I know it is impossible to help all, if I have changed and improved the lives of even a few of my students (again, here is the cheesy part), I am happy.

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted June 16, 2011 at 3:05 AM (Answer #23)

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I became a teacher because I, like many other teachers, found a teacher that helped me to become excited about education.  I always did well in school, but until I took U.S. History as a junior, I never found myself excite about school. This teacher was excited about his subject, excited about teaching it, and more excited about getting his students excited.  I found myself doing more than would just get me the "A".  I found that I wanted to really understand the material because I wanted to know where his excitement stemmed from.

A few years after high school, I tried to look him up to tell him about the impact he had on my life.  Unfortunately, he had passed away the previous year.  I still struggle with the fact that I was unable to say thank you.

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johnnystrauss77 | College Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted November 8, 2011 at 8:46 PM (Answer #24)

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Well, if you are looking job in teaching profession than I would suggest that do start preparation for Praxis II exam because it will give you a certification label to get a good teaching job in any country and they all recognized it like SAT test. I also prepared for it by taking personnel coaching, if you want to make it by first time than coaching is must and with that online courses which help you to gain new methods and theoretical way in clearing the Praxis II exam. I must say that this exam is tough one and you have to put extra efforts for clearing it up in first attempt. Now I am teaching in New Zealand and doing a good job.

[url=http://www.praxisloopholestube.com/praxisiistudyguide/]Praxis II Study Guide[/url]

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