Image from http://justteachers.co.uk/
"Hard work and rewarding" is the usual response to the question "what is it like being a teacher?" and the response says it all. Being a teacher is like being on a rollercoaster–there are highs and there are definitely lows.
To be a teacher you have to have confidence: you are an actor and you have to stick to your guns. Let us start with teachers that only teach one subject–secondary teachers perhaps–these teachers must have passion for their subject if they are to truly be great teachers. We all had a great teacher in secondary school and these were the ones that cared most about their subject. For instance, I had a really great maths teacher; he was really passionate about maths and always liked to link everyday things to maths (he always found something interesting about the date!). Primary school teachers (those who teach under 11s) have a harder job as they have install passion into all subjects. To be a great primary school teacher you have to bring enthusiasm out in the children.
Most of teaching is hard work–you work long hours planning lessons, carrying out assessments, and trying to differentiate the work to suit the various abilities in your class. The holidays are what many people go into teaching for but half of these will be spent planning, and so the time you do get off is well deserved! The rewards for all the hard work are worth it: many teachers experience break-through moments–when you have been struggling to get through to one or two problem children for months and all of a sudden something you say reaches them. These moments may be few however–the rest of the year you may be struggling to be heard over a class of 29 children all vying for attention and not listening to a word you say. You will get ill more than you would in any other job–germs in schools spread like wildfire and at least one day a week you will come home with a headache. Your methods will be scrutinised constantly by parents, the children, other staff, government, and various oversight bodies. You will, however, always have a funny story about 'what one child said,' work will never be dull, and if you get it right you will be remembered for doing something worthwhile.
For more information about becoming a teacher in the UK, visit the National Careers Service.
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