A couple of years ago, I had a conversation with one of my friends who wanted to become a teacher. When I asked her why she wanted to become a teacher, all she said was that it was an easy path to take when going to college. Her plan was to get a bachelor’s degree in English, and then apply to the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). While I was in high school, I managed to build good relationships with my teachers, and I observed how students acted in the classroom and the things that we could get away with thanks to the easing of school policies and because of this I never thought of teaching high school.
After I graduated from high school, I volunteered at a middle school that was nearby my house through a program called Learning Leaders. It was then that I thought to myself, how are these students supposed to learn when they don’t want to learn, and the NYCDOE limits the authority of the teachers in the classroom? I volunteered there until I began college. Thanks to this experience, I knew that I would not like to pursue teaching K-12 as a career.
I have seen my fair share of acquaintances and classmates who want to pursue a career teaching because to them it sounds like something easy to do, yet they are mistaken. Teaching is a career that is undervalued and extremely underpaid for the amount of work that teachers have to put in and out of the classroom. The teaching may end when the bell rings, but the work remains until the last paper or homework is graded. Furthermore, with the overcrowding of school, it is now often the case in which one teacher may teach three, four or five classes a day with 30-35 students in each. I suggest that anyone who wants to become a teacher, first find a program that would allow them to experience the life in front of the blackboard so they can whether this profession is a fit or not.
As a mathematics major, the first question I am asked after the look of fear and disgust disappears is “so are you planning on teaching?” and my answer is always “Hell NO!”…unless it is at the college level. With that said, I have a lot of respect and admiration for the teachers that I had during my years in high school. It would be a mistake for anyone to enter a career because it sounds “easy” to do. If you are someone who is actively pursuing a career in teaching, you must do extensive research and think about your reasons to go into this particular field.