- I lost my job and couldn't get any other
- It's easy to teach
- I like summers off
- Kids don't intimidate me
- I can't stand the competition in my business job
- I want to influence people. Parents respect teachers and are open to influence. Kids expect it.
In truth, many graduates from teacher credential programs end up quitting. The ones who stay are those that arrive there as a second career. That's because:
- after surviving a cut-throat high-powered, highly-paid business job, experiencing the rush of a child's mind lighting up is the greater reward
- two months off every summer well-rejuvenates the spiritual engines and reminds us there's more to life than money, prestige, and expensive suits
- there is a lot of satisfaction in having a classroom of students look to you for answers.
- new friends and acquaintances always react favorably to your job as a teacher. That wasn't true when you were [fill in the blank--assume some Big Business job]
- you don't teach for a retirement package. In fact, many private schools have none. Still, they have hundreds of job applicants for each position.
If you are now convinced that teaching is your destiny, consider this unique challenge. If you aren't in a public school, you're likely to get a one-year contract, which means every year you worry that you won't get hired back to the underpaid under-benefited job that expects you to work until the kids have asked their last after-school question. It's hard to buy a house--or a car-- based on a one-year financial plan. I've been in my current position twelve years and every one of those, I've worried the bosses would let me go. Between admin shuffles and policy changes and darn bad luck, I've never had a year I could relax. That's stressful.
So why don't I leave, find something with more security, better pay and benefits? I have an MBA and oodles of experience. I interview well—I even get calls from head hunters.
Because I love it. I couldn't leave if I wanted to.
If you're interested in teaching, here's the best advice I can give you: Go for the right reasons. Understand the pros and cons and accept them. Don't expect a miracle and you'll do just fine.