10 Rewards of Being a Teacher
Do you want to pursue a career path that will allow you to make a positive impact on others’ lives? Teaching may be the profession for you. Though it is known as a challenging profession, there are many rewards of being a teacher, from long vacation schedules to opportunities for creative and intellectual fulfillment.
To learn more about why teaching is rewarding and how each teacher can approach the complex job in their own way, read our 10 Rewards of Being a Teacher listed below.
1. Making an Impact on Students
The very best thing about being a teacher is making a difference in the lives of young people. Each one of us has had teachers who have helped make us who we are, providing guidance that has helped empower and educate us. By becoming a teacher, you are investing in your students long beyond they are in the classroom, equipping them with skills that will help them make the most of their lives. Knowing that you have created positive change in many, many students’ lives is one of the intrinsic rewards for teachers, and there are few other professions you can have that provide this.
Another way to put this is that teachers never wonder why they do their jobs, as the importance of having good teachers to mentor and educate young minds can’t be doubted. In fact, many teachers explain that they chose to work in the classroom to play exactly that role in students’ lives. Indeed, those who do take on the challenging work of being a teacher do so because they feel called to it. If you seek a job that speaks to a higher purpose, the rewards of being a teacher will always be fulfilling.
2. Learning Skills
One must call upon a huge number of skills in order to effectively manage a classroom and teach a curriculum. Many teachers remark that in order to truly learn what it takes to be a teacher, one must jump into it, as there are few other professions that require an individual to do so many things at once. Achieving mastery of the varied skills teaching requires is one of the most satisfying and unique aspects of becoming a teacher.
Among the skills needed to be a truly effective teacher are the following:
- Interpersonal communication
- Organizational skills, from designing a curriculum plan to grading
3. Work-Life Balance
One of the reasons why teaching is rewarding and challenging at the same time is that it is an intensive, immersive job that requires deep dedication while you’re in the thick of the school year. With time, teachers learn how to structure their work time so that they still have space for life outside of school, and in fact many find they learn strategies to make their work more efficient and less taxing in the long run.
It’s important as a teacher to learn how to make space for your life outside of the classroom. This can mean personal pursuits, social time, traveling, and more. Teachers who make time for themselves are able to jump into the classroom with energy and excitement, serving as excellent role models for their students.
4. Building a Collaborative Environment
When taking control of classrooms, teachers have a unique opportunity to shape the entire atmosphere of their class. Though there are many approaches to teaching and many dimensions of being an educator to consider, all teachers share the common objective of creating an environment where students work together to accomplish shared goals while having individual learning experiences.
Longtime teachers often say that good teaching is an art and not a science – it requires a great deal of adaptation and an understanding of how one’s own personal approach to the classroom affects students. Developing the competence to take on the truly complex challenge of building a collaborative environment is one of the rewards of teaching.
Ways to Make Your Classroom More Collaborative
Teachers don’t simply pull collaborative environments out of thin air. Rather, they draw upon techniques designed to help take responsibility for the multitude of things that can happen within a classroom’s confines.
Some of the best strategies for making your classroom collaborative are listed below:
- Holding “community circle” discussions. If you have the right rapport with your students, opening your classroom up periodically to “community circle” discussions allows them to share what’s on their minds, helping you understand where your students are coming from collectively and individually. This will also bring your students together, helping them understand that they are sharing the classroom with a larger community.
- Group work assignments. Assigning group work in and out of the classroom is a great way to introduce your students to collaboration. Some students take to group work very intuitively, while others need help understanding how to participate. For the former, these assignments are an occasion to thrive, while for the latter, it provides necessary exposure to what it means to work alongside others.
- Classroom decorating activities. Your actual classroom will help set the mood for the experiences you want your students to have. To make the room feel more at home for students, invite them to bring in their artwork to decorate the walls, or build in activity time in the classroom for students to make colorful decorations that will give your classroom a personal and communal touch.
These are just a few of the ways that teachers can foster a collaborative environment in the classroom, bringing out the best in students and helping them appreciate what each member of the class brings to the table.
5. Variety in Your Workday
If you want a job that offers a huge variety of experiences and responsibilities, the work of a teacher may be your calling. A teacher’s responsibilities are always changing, and each day brings its own duties. In fact, this is an exciting and energizing part of the teaching profession, with many educators calling it one of the greatest rewards of teaching children. While teaching does require quick thinking and an arsenal of solutions to a tremendous number of in-classroom challenges, this is what makes the job intellectually and even creatively fulfilling.
Classroom Responsibilities of a Teacher
Teachers have a huge number of responsibilities that come up throughout the year. Many of the most critical responsibilities take place in the classroom during class time itself, as teachers are doing the direct work of educating students and facilitating class discussions. Beyond classroom time, there are many significant responsibilities teachers have outside of the classroom, from engaging in school wide discussions of student needs to keeping one’s curriculum up to date.
For detailed lists of teacher responsibilities in and out of the classroom, read on.
Teacher Responsibilities In the Classroom
Some of the day to day classroom responsibilities of teachers include the following:
- Preparing lessons that build on the curriculum and address different student needs
- Facilitating student discussions to encourage a diversity of perspectives in the classroom
- Meeting individually with students to help them with academic or personal concerns
- Managing student projects and encouraging collaboration
- Helping students navigate interpersonal conflict to promote a positive classroom environment
- Evaluating student work to help them gain mastery of a given subject
Teachers who work with students at multiple grade levels or teach multiple courses may even find that their different classes have highly different needs, calling for different approaches at the same time. Being able to juggle this variety of needs is another one of the most impressive and engaging elements of the teaching profession.
Teacher Responsibilities Outside of the Classroom
For all of the in-classroom responsibilities of teachers listed above, there are even more experiences awaiting teachers outside of the classroom. These include:
- Organizing student groups and clubs
- Meeting with other teachers to plan for shared objectives and compare notes on students in need of support
- Holding parent-teacher conferences
- Developing overall curriculum development skills
As you can see, the work of a teacher can be many different things, but it is never boring. This is yet another reason why teaching is rewarding. If you think you have what it takes to juggle the ever-shifting responsibilities of being a teacher, then you should absolutely rise to the challenge, as you will find it to be one of the most fulfilling and complex jobs you can have.
6. School Schedules
Any teacher will tell you that one of the biggest rewards of being a teacher is the semester schedule. Just like their students, teachers get long summer breaks, allowing them time to rest and recharge between school years. Many teachers use this time to travel, pursue personal projects, or indulge in relaxing activities that very few other professionals have time to enjoy. If you are contemplating becoming a teacher but are worried that the demanding work will take too much out of you, remember that you will also receive a uniquely large amount of downtime to make up for it.
7. Job Security
If you’re looking for an occupation that offers great job security, teaching may be the profession for you. There will always be a need for more teachers, with many job opportunities likely available in whatever city you reside.
As far as job outlook, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a predicted 5% increase in high school teacher jobs by 2031, which is in line with national averages for other professions. The same statistic is true for kindergarten and elementary school teachers and middle school teachers.
8. Creative Inspiration
Those who have classroom experience are aware that each group of students has its own particular group of needs, requiring unique approaches. Teachers also frequently find themselves in situations in which they must think on their feet while guiding a whole classroom of students. In both of these cases, teachers are called upon to use their creativity to be the best leader possible, and cultivating that ability is one of the most rewarding aspects of life as a teacher.
In discussing the creativity of teachers, it’s important to note that this extends far beyond simply artistic creativity (though there are teachers who find opportunities to make great use of their talents). There are all sorts of types of creativity teachers must draw from to manage their classrooms, from designing complex courses that engage students in a variety of ways to coming up with on-the-spot activities when a classroom needs them.
9. Igniting the Spark of Children’s Education
Everyone remembers the teachers who inspired them and opened their minds to new ideas and ways of learning. As a teacher, you get to play a huge role in helping students unlock their potential and become excited to pursue their education further. This is one of the greatest rewards of being a teacher, and is entirely unique to the occupation.
Every student has their own way of approaching the material, which means that good teachers must draw from a wide variety of strategies to suit different students’ needs. Most working in the profession would agree that any teacher is bound to speak to some students more than others, but building up a larger reserve of classroom techniques and approaches will help you reach more students.
10. Creating your Own Work Environment
There aren’t many jobs where you get a large room of your own to manage as your work space, but teachers typically have their own classrooms whose environments they get to shape, not only for their students but for themselves. This is a perhaps unexpected reason why teaching is rewarding, though it is certain to impact your teaching experience greatly.
It may take some experience on the job to figure out exactly what classroom design will suit your needs as a teacher, but the more time you spend, the more you will learn about how key decisions like desk layouts, tech stations, libraries, and more will affect your students’ experience as well as your own.
More Resources for Prospective Teachers
Now that you know some of the biggest reasons why teaching is rewarding, you might feel ready for the next step. For more information about the various teaching degrees available, visit our overview of education degrees here.
You may also be interested in learning more about the different types of teaching careers available, from the needs of different grade levels to specialized support roles. To learn more, visit our guide to teaching careers here.
If you are concerned about how to make a Master’s in Education program work financially, take a look at our guide explaining how to get the greatest return on investment from an education degree here.