Teaching is generally regarded as an admirable profession. You have the chance to influence students academically and personally over the course of each school year and your career. However, before going to college for an education degree, it is important to weigh the positives of a teaching career against the drawbacks.
Teachers generally provide a public service. Most directly, they educate students and influence future generations of adults. For many teachers, this is the lure of the profession. Indirectly, the collective efforts of teachers support the growth and development of society and local economies. The ability to use acquired knowledge and teaching talents to help develop young people is also rewarding for some teachers. Serving in a parent-teacher association or as a coach, club adviser or education association member are other ways to benefit the community.
Stability and Balance
Teaching is a very stable career. The educational system is always in place, and each year teachers who retire must be replaced. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics also projected 1.9 billion job openings for teachers between 2014 and 2024. Public school teachers often enjoy strong benefits programs as well, including health insurance and retirement plans. Teacher unions, which are common, help insulate teachers from some of the risks of termination professionals in business and industry face.
Teacher pay is notoriously low compared to similarly-educated peers working in business and industry careers. While pay varies by school district, grade level and the teacher's education, the Bureau of Labor Statistics noted a median annual salary of $54,550 per year for elementary teachers as of 2015. Teachers must hold at least a bachelor's degree, and modest pay raises typically result only from increased education or experience. Teachers also commonly struggle with limited budgets and supply resources in many school districts.
Teachers can't afford the luxury of an off day. During the typical seven- to eight-hour school day, you must communicate effectively and intelligently to students. Your ability to do so not only impacts the educational experience of students, but also the general respect you earn in classroom management. Before, during and after classes, you also have formal and informal meetings and interactions with administrators, other faculty and staff. Even the lighter conversations in the break room require some mental and emotional effort.
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.