I think we can all remember that one favourite school teacher who has left a positive mark on us. It might have been their encouraging and patient characteristics that helped us to figure out our abilities and passions, or another who helped us harness our curiosity to see things in a different way and shape our view on the world, or simply the one who seemed to understand our fears and doubts and worked with us to help overcome them.
Teachers are priceless – the support the give and sacrifices they make for us are all a seriously big deal.
Their role in communities, educating the youth as mentors and role models, helps create our future leaders.
When it comes to teaching from an industry and career perspective, there will always be a need for teachers – even with the amount of technology and search engines we now have at our fingertips. Nothing will ever compare interacting with a REAL person who cares enough to read your body language, try to understand your mental capacity and ensure you’re given the opportunity and environment you need as a child to reach your full potential.
According to Job Outlook, specific industry growth for early childhood, primary and tertiary teaching is on a strong incline over the next 5 years.
Whether you’re looking to change your career in pursuit of a new challenge, or have aspirations of influencing the next generation, you’re not alone in wanting to make a change.
If you’ve been exploring the idea of pursuing a career in teaching, you should keep reading – because we’ve heard from a few teachers (including two local, passionate Murraylands and Riverland teachers) who have helped us pull together a ‘Top 10 Reasons to become a teacher’. We think it might help to just get you over the line and enrolled in that dream education course – so read on:
- You never stop learning
There’s nothing better than learning from someone who is passionate about a certain topic. Teachers are lifelong learners who have the opportunity to spend time researching and sharing information on the topics they love. As the shift in technology develops and new studies appear, you’ll be able to integrate innovative methods and ideas to your lesson plan to liven up the classroom and support different learning styles.
Local Murraylands primary school teacher Brooke Newell has learned more than she could’ve imagined since she began teaching.
“Being a teacher has taught me that it’s important to reflect on life, to celebrate little milestones and successes as they create a path to big achievements. Teaching has also taught me to be present and persistent for the students in the classroom, but also for the people in my life. I have learnt the importance of caring for my own wellbeing and taking time out for myself to be the best person/teacher I can be.”
- No two days are the same
As with any job, there are aspects of routine in a usual school day, however that doesn’t mean you can expect each day to play out the same. Being surrounded by a new set of curious minds and various characters each school year will keep you on your toes as you work through different learning opportunities. You can guarantee that even teaching the exact same lesson plan will play out differently each time.
Young Riverland high school teacher Daniel Pierce has expressed just how unpredictable his job can be at times. With a joke, he describes the likelihood (or lack thereof) for one of his lesson plans to actually work out as he expected:
“When the wind is blowing in the right direction, the right constellation is overhead, and that single Japanese butterfly flaps its wings at exactly the right time so that one of my lesson plans comes together exactly as I had envisioned it.”
- You’re on a family-friendly work schedule
If you have children (or plan to in the future), your work schedule will most-often, align with the school schedule allowing you to be able to spend more quality time with family, even if you have to bring prep work or marking home. Oh, and you can’t forget about the perks of school holidays and paid time off. We all love to get in that work-life balance where we can (except we won’t sugar coat the fact that report-writing time is a bit crazy). You will also build up your comedy routine, with some brilliant anecdotes from a day at work, including the comical insights from Shannon Wong-Nizic for Mumtastic (read her full post here).
“07.50: Silently high-five myself when I reach the photocopiers and it appears I have beaten the crowds. FOR THE LOVE OF CANTEEN LUNCHES – WHO LEAVES THIS ROOM WITHOUT SORTING OUT THEIR PAPER JAMS?!” – Shannon Wong-Nizic.
- See the difference you make
One of the greatest feelings is seeing your students succeed and the satisfaction of knowing you’ve made a difference. All good teachers know the journey from keeping their student motivated throughout their struggles, to seeing their face light up when they understand and apply a new concept for the first time. Brooke shares:
“The most rewarding aspect is sharing the learning achievements with your students, families and colleagues. As a teacher the feeling of pride within your students is motivating and rewarding.”
- You could work anywhere
There are no limits with where you can teach. The high degree of mobility and transferable skills that come with the role means you can venture from regional towns, cities, interstate and even overseas. Those who enjoy keeping a flexible lifestyle can choose to be a substitute teacher and reap the benefits of working part-time in different schools and keeping time to fit in family life, hobbies and other commitments.
“You will learn more than you taught and come away with more than you brought,” – Julia Zaremba.
Every wondered what teaching in another country could offer you? Read about Julia’s experience teaching abroad in Italy, the life lessons she gained and advice for anyone wanting to get a taste of the teaching lifestyle overseas, here.
- Become an integral part of the community
You’ll realise how valuable your role is to not only educate the youth, but to be another inspiring role model in a young person’s life. Without even noticing, you’ll find yourself encouraging these kids to strive for their potential through discovering a new sport, hobby, talent or career path.
Award-winning Australian maths teacher turned global education ambassador, Eddie Woo has taken the world by storm with his passionate take on educating today’s younger generation about the power and value of maths in everyday living and how it contributes to our understanding of the universe.
3,000 Murraylands and Riverland students gained a positive insight on all things maths while being inspired about the role of teaching during Eddie’s regional tour in September – check out some photos here.
“He has received a raft of accolades, including being a top ten finalist in the Global Teacher Prize, and his most cherished award, being named the 2018 Local Hero in the Australian of the Year Awards.” – ABC Conversations. Have a listen to this recent ABC Radio Podcast, Conversations with Richard Fidler, where Eddie shares his journey of how it all began.
- The power to change the future
We’re not exaggerating – teachers can really change a student’s life – and it’s super rewarding. After being in the classroom for some time, you’ll see how much weight your influence has. You can help develop good habits and behaviours, adopt passions, strengthen their skills and learn how to solve conflicts beyond the classroom. Essentially, you have the power to teach the next generation important life lessons and mould them into thoughtful, positive, proactive community members.
Daniel reflects on one of the most incredible moments in his teaching career, and his life, when he helped change the path of 10 young “lads” during an Operation Flinders trip:
“This year, Bec (the school’s resident social worker) and I accompanied 10 young lads on the Operation Flinders program – a five-day trek through the scrub at Yankaninna station in the Flinders Ranges. I have thousands of great memories from this trip, but the one that stands out to me was at camp on the last night. There was a buzz of excited energy around (which may have had something to do with the boys looking forward to their first shower in a week!). The boys had a great sense of PRIDE in what they had achieved – an emotion this group of lads were not used to experiencing. I’ve never been an emotional bloke, but after the lads had gone to bed, I had time to reflect on the transformation that the trip had brought about in them. Watching these participants transition from struggling kids who were out of their depth in the bush – towards a proud, independent team of young men in such a short space of time was extraordinary, and something that I would never have had the opportunity to do in another occupation!”
Learn more about the Operation Flinders wilderness adventure program here.
- Professional development opportunities
To be the best teacher you can be, professional development is vital. It keeps you up to date with the latest material, changes in the curriculum and ensures you can respond well to challenges and provide effective support. In most cases teaching staff will receive opportunities throughout the year to help develop their expertise, capabilities and professional practice.
Brooke believes good communication, teamwork and patience are part of an essential skillset will help work with children and interact with parents and colleagues. Her advice for anyone who is thinking about enrolling in a teaching course is to find a local school and offer your time volunteering. It’s a great way to get hands on experience in the field, learn how different schools are run and how a classroom operates.
- Help fulfil their potential
Teachers spend a lot of time with their students during their pivotal stages of development – sometimes as much, or more than their parents. This makes them a piece of the puzzle to unlocking their confidence, especially with challenging or gifted students who come in to their classroom. Boosting self-esteem can come from something as simple as encouraging them to engage in activities they didn’t think they could do and watching them feel a sense of accomplishment afterwards. It’s a buzz like no other.
“Seeing struggling students gain confidence in their abilities and start to make real progress – particularly those ‘aha!’ moments when they understand a new concept or solve a problem. It’s also a great feeling when I can see students are intrigued and inspired by what I’m teaching” says Daniel.
- Social work environment
At almost all times, teachers are interacting with students, parents and colleagues, building relationships across all sorts of communication channels. This might include face-to-face, phone, email and letters. If you enjoy putting your communication and interpersonal skills to work, you’ll love this aspect of the role, and you’ll never stop learning – because even when you make mistakes in managing relationships, you can always recover from it, and learn how to deal with it next time – often setting you up to be a better communicator in your personal life as well.
“Working, teaching and sharing challenges with like-minded people is another rewarding aspect of being a teacher,” says Brooke.
This list is really only scratching the surface though. We haven’t even touched on the hilarious moments you’ll have in a junior primary class, the time you can spend in outdoor classrooms, the field trips to cool science and arts shows you get paid to attend, the end-of-year chocolate gifts and the lifelong friendships you form with your colleagues.
At the end of the day, it’s more than just a job. Sure, it pays the bills, but educators gain a lot from a day in the classroom. Both challenges and successes that arise from the role causes major personal growth for both the student and teacher. Their time is spent building a better future for members of the community by transferring over life skills and sharing knowledge that will help them build happy lives in the future.
If you’re considering becoming a teacher, then the time to start your study has never been better, because you can now get qualified through the Murray River Study Hub. Study at your own pace, without travelling to the city – find out more here.