Saturday, May 3, 2014

Aspiring Teachers: What Should You Know?

For those of us with a passion for learning, the choice to become a teacher seems like an obvious one. But as is becoming more and more apparent in America’s violent political atmosphere, there is a lot more to being a teacher than teaching subjects and affecting people’s lives. Whether we like it or not, there are politics involved, making it important for you to do your research before choosing a career in teaching. Here are some of the things you should consider.

State Education Laws
Different states have different rules for teachers. As recently posted, Wisconson’s school accountability bill is having negative impacts on neighborhood schools. Some schools allow creationism to be taught as science, while others don’t.  It is a good idea to know the political atmosphere of the state you want to teach in. Look at the current education laws, as well as any pending bills. If you will have a problem working according to the laws, you may want to teach in another state or choose another profession that allows you to instruct others. 
State Certification Laws
The rules once you’re a teacher aren’t the only thing that varies state-to-state. The process of becoming a teacher also has a wide range. New York basically requires only a state-specific certification, while Texas’s certification requires prerequisite coursework and additional tests. Likewise, in most states you’ll be required to update your certification and continue your learning and teacher training throughout your career. The specific requirements for continued learning also depend on the state and district you are in.
While you’re deciding on a career, it is important to make sure that the area you want to teach in provides an environment where you can be effective. When teachers become jaded because of politics, the students suffer. Location matters, and knowing the facts before you begin the certification process can greatly reduce your stress in the long run.
Your Skills
Even if you’re very knowledgeable about a particular subject, you might not be cut out for teaching. While teachers don’t fall into a cookie-cutter mold, there are some basic personality traits and skills that successful and satisfied teachers utilize. These include:
  •  Patience
  •  Innovation (being able to explain things in different ways)
  •   Empathy (seeing where people are coming from)
  •   A sense of humor (especially if teaching children)
  •   The ability to accept critique (don’t take everything personally)

These traits are helpful in working with others and encouraging them to learn. Seeing things from the students’ perspective allows teachers to craft their curriculum around learning styles in order to impart knowledge effectively.
Are you a teacher? What do you think that aspiring teachers need to research before pursuing their career?


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