If you think that you possess qualities such as determination, knowledge, creativity, multitasking and more, then congratulations you hold the qualities of a teacher. This essay will provide you with plenty of information, for anyone looking to start a career in education. You will find what teaching really is, what a teacher does, how to become a teacher and even where this job will take you. Being a high school teacher is a very demanding career however, it is also very rewarding.
There is so much to learn from the history and background of teaching. According to The New American Webster Dictionary (1972) a teacher is defined as "one who teaches, esp. in a school" (p. 407). They also define teach as followed, "1. Impart Knowledge or practical skill to; educate; instruct. 2. impart knowledge of given lesson" (p. 407). Teaching has been around for many centuries. There were even teachers back during ancient Greece. In the Book of Knowledge (2008) they stated, "In ancient Greece, young men gathered around philosophers whose ideas inspired them, and they would learn of there ways" (p. 38). Teachers were not always viewed as being important. Back during the colonial period teaching was viewed as a temporary position. They were not expected to know much, and were chosen for the job by what they believed in. Before the American Revolution teachers did not take an oath to what state they work in but to the crown of England, that was soon changed. Schools were not well equipped and students wouldn't attend often. "The turnover rate for teachers were exceedingly high, and that contributed to keeping the status of teachers low" (Edelfelt & Reiman, 2004, p. 5). During the 19th century public schools were formed. Although teacher's salaries and status was still low the founder's of the country felt as thought people needed to be able to make good decisions therefore school was important. Belief in the importance of schools increased in the 1800's. In 1823 the first normal schools were created. Normal schools were schools that would show the
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teachers how to apply different methods and the "norms" (Edelfelt & Reiman, 2004, p. 6) of teaching. The normal schools soon turned into teaching colleges, with teaching programs of 2-3 years. In the Book of Knowledge (2008) they stated, "Advances in science and technology made it necessary to provide a higher level of education for more kids" (p. 38). By the 1970s higher education became an expectation, and teachers were than seen as high importance. Teaching has come a long way over time. It is a very challenging, inspiring and rewarding career. Someone would choose this career when they are deeply passionate about the subject, want to learn more, and want to share your knowledge of the subject. This is why I would want to be a teacher.
There is many things necessary to do in preparation for becoming a teacher. Teachers are required to have a bachelor's degree, supervised practice teaching and to complete a teachers program. The U.S. Department of Labor stated, "All 50 states require public school teachers to be licensed" (2009). This test will test you on your basic skills such as reading and writing, it also tests you on the subject of whom you wish to peruse in teaching, and some states require a certain amount of hours. To get your teachers license "some must take philosophy of education, psychology of learning and teaching methods. Secondary teachers must take classes in the subject they plan on teaching and a program of study in teacher preparation" (U.S. Department of Labor, 2009). "Various nations have therefore established teacher certification to control the quality of teachers. Different certifications thus exist in order to assess candidate's different types of knowledge for mathematics teaching" (Hsieh, 2011). Teachers must have the ability to communicate, inspire, trust and confidence, motivate and understand students' educational and emotional needs. They must have skills such as; speaking, active listening, coordination, critical thinking, judgment and decision making, reading comprehension, social perceptiveness, time management. They must be able to respond and recognize individual and cultural differences. Teachers should be organized, dependable, patient, and creatively. When you wish to become a
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math teacher, you have to be able to focus on three aspects of mathematics teaching "the way lessons are organized, the nature of content implemented in lessons, and instructional practices. Many studies have shown that teacher quality is the most important school related factor in influencing students' achievement" (Hsieh, 2011).
The working conditions of a teacher can be different from state to state. Being a high school teacher requires normal hours of about 7:55am-2:45 pm with an average of 50 hours a week, doing preparation at home and at work. They are off for national holidays like Christmas, and Hanukkah. And they also get summer vacations, winter and spring breaks, and testing days off. The starting salary for a teacher in NYC would be $45,530, and if you start off with a master's its $51,425. Your salary increases as you gain more masters. "That is why most teachers go back to school during teaching" (Ingersoll, 2011). They can carry about 12-15 semester hours in colleges, and 6-12 semester hours in universities. "Most teachers take classes at night or on the weekend to gain another master's degree and raise their salary" (Edelfelt & Reiman, 2004, p. 171). When you become a teacher you are covered by multiple insurance such as; hospitalization, medical/surgical, major medical, dental care, vision care, prescription drugs, group life, and professional liability. There are many roles a teacher must take on. Such as; individual professional, teacher of student, member of faculty, member of the staff, liaison with parents, colleague of other professional educators, member of a teacher organization, and member of the teaching profession. Teachers must plan their lessons and present them in a way that interest students and help them to understand what is being taught. "You may still be trying to organize your classroom, learn the names of your students, establish basic rules and teach classroom procedures - but meaningful instruction has to go on" (Millman, 2010). They must measure, or evaluate, their students' progress by testing or homework. In the Book of Knowledge encyclopedia they stated,
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"A teacher's plan begins with a broad view of the material, than it is
broken down into units for each marking period. Than once more into lessons, each lesson should help students move to the over all goal of the year" (2008 p. 37).
Teaching can be looked at as an art. The more you perform the more your student will be intrigued by what you are trying to teach them.
There are many advantages and disadvantages to becoming a teacher. "Teachers could get stressed from unmotivated or disrespectful children, violence, large classes, heavy work load, and some teachers get stressed at the fact that they don't have much control over what they are required to teach" (U.S. Department of Labor, 2009). Teachers may find it hard when students do not listen or cooperate, or having to deal with students of different levels in one class. Therefore having to find a method that fit for every student. Sometimes teachers may feel although there is not enough time to prepare, not enough time to get everything done that was expected, you don't always have the support of the parents, and the rules of the school aren't always enforced, making it hard for a teacher to do their job. But although there are some major stresses that come with teaching this is a good side. People become teachers because they love their subject and they get to teach, share, and inspire students to love that subject just as much as they do. If you become a teacher you don't have to stop here, there is potential to become something of higher status, leaving your teaching stresses behind. Sometimes even though they love teaching, teachers like to go up on the job latter. The highest position you can have is superintendent. A superintendent has various tasks and duties such as; "planning, development, operation, evaluation, guidance and psychological service, personnel, library media, plant maintenance, business affairs, food service, transportation, communications, community relations and state and federal programs" (Edelfelt & Reiman, 2004, p. 44). To become a
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superintendent you must start as a teacher, than you can make your way to principle or assistant superintendent, which leads you to become a superintendent. A superintendent can make about
$163,737 a year for a school with 25,000 students or more. For a school with about 300-2,500 students a superintendent can make about $96,999 a year. But with all the stress a teacher has to deal with most don't make it to superintendent.
"Even today there is a shortage of teachers in science and mathematics. Many people who could have become a math of science teacher choose another job because it pays more. Half of the new teachers leave their initial position by the 5th year for many different reasons" (Edelfelt & Reiman, 2004, p. 39).
That is why we are hoping the future out look of teaching shows an increase of teacher employment. The Occupational Outlook Handbook predicts a 13% increase from the employment of teachers in 2008 to the projected employment in 2018.
Being a high school teacher is very demanding however, it is a rewarding career. I believe that I am very suited for this career. I posses all the skills necessary and I will work hard to get where I need to be to be successful in this career. To attain my goal I have to work hard and stay focused in college making sure I take every class and test I need to become a teacher.
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