Teachers are more than everyday working professionals; teachers are heroes to students across the world. Being a teacher is such a rewarding, invaluable experience that it often attracts workers from other professions, from business to journalism.
Whether in an elementary school or inside a university classroom, there are certain aspects of teaching that can be expected no matter what the position. Responsibilities vary depending on age group and whether the school is public or a private institution; but all teachers create their curriculum and must have classroom management skills.
If you think you have what it takes to stand in front of a classroom and mold the minds of eager students, here's what you need to know:
1. Follow the curriculum
Teachers have to follow a curriculum set out by the school administrators. Some curricula may be stricter than others, but all ensure that the student reaches certain goals by the end of the experience. Part of the curriculum may be preparing for mandatory state exams, and often the material that you need to present to the students is far from exciting.
2. Plan ahead
Teachers plan their lessons using the curriculum but still need to get creative by using ice breakers and group projects to reinforce the material. Lesson plans need to be detailed, and school administrators will ask for copies of these plans, so it is important to plan ahead. In addition to creating concise lesson plans, teachers have to create back-up plans in case certain technologies aren't available that day or the students struggle with the material at hand.
3. Teach for the students
A strict curriculum and weeks of lesson plans can be intimidating, but good teachers know that they have to think on their feet in order to address every student's needs. Everyone grasps new ideas differently so each lesson needs to help students who are auditory learners and those who are visual learners. Making the material fun and meaningful for the students means they'll retain more -- and that makes you a better teacher.
4. Do your homework
Schools often don't run like businesses and corporations do. Teachers are able to secure their jobs through seniority, and if it is a public school system workers have to follow both administrative and union rules. Do your homework by reading your contract carefully and educate yourself on how the teachers union operates.
Like any other profession, don't be afraid to ask questions and adopt a veteran teacher as your mentor. Teaching means you won't work alongside your colleagues as often as other professions would allow, so it is important to make any time with colleagues valuable.
Teachers will say that the job is harder than it looks, but the chance to help students and make a difference is an experience that you'll never forget.
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