Working in the education field can be very fulfilling, and you may even be contemplating the idea right now. This is a great time to do so, as it has recently been announced that the government is intending to raise the salary of teachers to boost interest in the field.
However, while the world is in great need of educators to form the leaders of tomorrow, not everyone is cut out for the job. You may have the best of intentions, but you have to make sure that you have the fundamental skills and aptitudes needed to succeed. Let’s take a look at whether you have what it takes to start a career in education.
If you’re not a good communicator, you will struggle as a teacher no matter what. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t work in the education field. Some people decide to go for an advanced degree and find work where they don’t have to interact with students as heavily. You can find tons of jobs with an online master’s degree in education. You could work as a curriculum developer, for instance.
Others may want to work in research and help develop better ways to teach. These are all jobs where you’ll be able to pursue your passion for education even if you feel you don’t have the people’s skills needed to teach classes.
But, if your goal is to be a teacher, you’ll need to be able to connect with your students. The best teachers are also able to make things relatable to students and get them interested in subjects they wouldn’t otherwise.
Students will also remember teachers who knew how to convey their message in an interesting way and the way you communicate could mean the difference between succeeding or failing. So, this is something you will definitely need to have or work on.
If you feel like you need to polish your skills, there are many things that you could do. You could take on a telephone job, for instance. This could be anything from calling alumni for donations or volunteering for a student organisation. This will allow you to build confidence and work on verbal communication.
Or, you could join a debating society. Improv is also a very good way to get used to speaking in front of a group. Communication is a skill virtually anyone can improve, so don’t let it stop you from pursuing your dream.
Being a good communicator is not solely about speaking, but listening as well. You will need to be able to pick up cues from your students and see if they truly understand a topic.
A teacher that is good at listening and observing will be able to see if a student is feeling insecure and give them the tools to build their confidence. Teachers who are good listeners are also better at understanding their students and coming up with better ways to reach them.
Patience is another essential trait that you’ll need to have as a teacher. No matter where you teach, you will eventually have one or a few troublemakers.
You will need to be able to be patient and not lose your cool in difficult situations. Also, you may have students that progress at a slower pace than others. It will be your job to make sure that none are left behind and that everyone has a chance to grasp a subject before you move on.
And, in the case you notice that some still aren’t getting it, you will need to be able to guide them towards the proper resources.
Many people don’t see teaching as a creative job, but you will definitely need to be creative if you want to be a good teacher. You’ll have to find ways to adapt your classes to your students and creative ways to pique their interest. Creative teachers are also the ones that stand out and can get the most out of their students.
Even though you will be working within a curriculum, things change very fast in education. We have all just learned how important it is to be able to pivot to an online format. Teachers who can adapt to and embrace change will always have a leg up on the competition.
Classrooms today look very different than they did 20 years ago and we can only expect things to keep evolving. Teachers of tomorrow will need to be well versed with technology. We could even see a day when VR and AR are commonplace in classrooms. You may also have to adapt your teaching style based on your audience.
Different generations will have different traits and needs, and you can’t approach teaching with an antiquated view. This is why you will also need to always have your finger on the pulse and constantly look at research so you can be prepared for change or be ahead of the curve.
You also have to be empathetic to be a good teacher. You can’t be overly sensitive and you can’t forget a whole class for that single student who’s struggling. But you also have to show compassion when one simply does not have the same abilities as others. You will need to accept that some are better learners than others and some may never be able to master certain subjects.
You also have to pay attention to what may be happening to them in their personal lives. A child lashing out, closing up, or not being able to concentrate might be a sign of something deeper and if you don’t actually care about your students, you might not be able to pick up on the signs. Being empathetic will not only allow you to build a better bond with your students but deeply impact the way they learn.
These are just some of the traits that you’ll need if you want to have a successful career in education. Know that many of those can be worked on, so don’t let any gap discourage you from entering the field.