Advice

So You Think You can Teach?

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You think you want to become an educator. You’ve thought to yourself, “Hey I was good at English in high school, why not?” Having every major holiday off and a three month long summer break seems like a pretty good gig if all you gotta do all year is babysit, right??

What you may not have considered however is just how much really goes into not only becoming a teacher but actually being a great one.

There are five criteria the University of Cincinnati uses to deem you fit to teach. Those five criteria are:

1. Cognitive and Intellectual Reasoning Ability

2. Communication Skills

3. Behavioral and Social Skills

4. Physical Capability

5. Motor Coordination and Sensory Skills

While these criteria are obviously important, I mean if you don’t fit them you can’t work anyway, I gotta tell ya I think there’s a lot more to teachin’ than that!

Here’s what I think it really takes:

To be a great teacher you must be compassionate. You must be able to hold kids accountable and teach them how to be adults while also keeping in mind they are still KIDS. You’ve got to see beyond the misbehavior and the attitude to see the hurt and pain in a student. You’ve got to listen to the ones you don’t agree with and let the ones you do fight their own battles sometimes.

To be a great teacher you must make sacrifices. You must sacrifice a big paycheck your first couple of years. Must sacrifice your nights to grade papers. Must sacrifice your time to plan lessons and meet with students and email parents back all while preparing for an evaluation by the principal.

You must be kind. You must be kind to the kids who do not understand. You must be kind to the kids who at times seem to understand too much and undermine you. You must be kind to those who think differently than you. You must be kind to those kids who are troublemakers because they’re there to learn everyday whether or not they or you like it.

You must love working with kids. Though the subject matter is important, the kids are the most important part of the job. You may be the smartest mathematical mind in the town but if you do not enjoy working with kids you will not be happy with your job and your students will not be happy to learn from you.

Though you must be compassionate towards those hard-to-deal with adults they will appreciate your understanding, even if they don’t explicitly tell you. Yet you must make sacrifices and be kind to succeed in this career the payoff of truly bettering a student and helping them grow as a person is more than payment enough.

You must like working with kids to succeed, period. Though these new criteria may seem even more daunting than what UC requires of you to teach, they are what will really help you decide if you should become an education major. They will make you a great teacher. If you think you’re up to the task, you should definitely give education a try!

About Evan Warner

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