I have been asked to participate in Career Day at a local high school next week. I agreed to speak to these students about my career as an educator and possibly promote education as a profession for them to consider. I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to say to potential future educators. What were some of the things that I might have wanted to know before entering the profession? Somehow I feel the responsibility to promote the profession of teaching accurately while still extending the opportunity to those students that might wish to become educators in the future. I want them to know that teaching is challenging, it’s like having a huge stove with many pots to mind at the same time, and it’s constant analysis, modification and reflection. At the same time it is important that I clearly convey the passion that I have for education and the rewards of being an educator.
So I think I might structure this conversation around the myths and truths about education, some of which are listed below:
Myth: Teachers have summers off. Most teachers actually work more hours during the school year than a traditional 12-month employee. It is also very common for teachers to have second jobs during the school year or during the summer.
Truth: Teachers are committed to students and their learning. Teachers truly want their students to succeed and spend a great deal of time making sure that it happens. Teachers that do not have this commitment leave the profession shortly after entering the field.
Myth: Elementary school teachers just have fun and make crafts with students everyday. Early childhood education is critical for the development of students. Strong early childhood educators pave the way for successful educational careers for students.
Truth: Today teachers focus the bulk of their time on their classrooms and their students, in the future teachers will need to balance the needs of their classrooms with the needs of the profession. Anyone entering the field of education will need to have the skills of a classroom teacher along with the ability to advocate for the profession.
Those are just a few of the ideas that I’m tossing around. I’m sure that by next week I will have a clearer picture and will be more focused on the message. I know that some of the students are excited to hear about teaching; I just hope that I can inspire some of them to join the profession.