Who is a Teacher and How to Become a Teacher: Career Review

teacher with her students in the classroom

Teaching is a very noble profession, but it requires a great deal of patience and empathy. Although some people feel the attraction to become a teacher from a very tender age, others transition somewhere in the middle of their career. Wherever you belong, the beauty of this career is you get to choose which age bracket or institution you intend to serve.

Although many would rather choose to train younger adults in colleges or universities. This requires a great deal of dedication. Some others prefer the path to adult education, especially those with little patience for excess drama. Teaching is a versatile profession.

Teachers have the luxury of working remotely with students from different paths of the world or simply working part-time with either a private or public firm. The teaching job is very flexible and goes perfectly for a solo job. But, to explore these benefits, you should know the very basic “How to become a teacher” In this article, we explain who a teacher is and what it takes to become a teacher.

Who is a teacher?

A teacher is someone who helps others acquire knowledge, competence, or virtue. They are facilitators of learning who guide and support students in their educational journey. Teachers are found in various settings, from traditional classrooms to online platforms, and their roles may differ depending on the context.

Types of Teachers 

Based on experience and model of learning, there are ‌two classes of teachers. Formal and informal teachers. 

Formal teachers are those who have undergone specific training and qualifications to teach in a particular setting, such as schools, colleges, or universities. They have a deep understanding of their subject and possess the skills to deliver lessons and assess student learning efficiently.

However, anyone who shares knowledge and skills with others even without attending any institution, can be considered an informal teacher. This includes parents, mentors, coaches, tutors, friends, and older siblings. While they may not have formal qualifications, their guidance and experience are invaluable in shaping lives around them.

What does a Teacher do?

A teacher is someone who imparts knowledge, facilitates learning, and guides students in their intellectual, social, and emotional development. Teachers make the process of learning easy and enjoyable by ensuring a conducive learning environment and a curriculum that matches students’ needs at the moment. 

They nurture the interest of students through engaging lesson plans and are responsible for documenting the progress of every student under their watch and care.

Typically, a teacher does the following regardless of the level they handle:

  1. Create engaging educational plans and materials that align with the standard curriculum 
  2. Assemble necessary documents for different phases
  3. Manage students to ensure complete participation and optimize the learning experience for students. 
  4. Treat every student is deep care and tender attention to needs.
  5. Organize key educational programs.
  6. Provide personalized support and guidance to students who may need extra help or enrichment opportunities
  7. Communicate regularly with students, parents, and colleagues to share information about student progress, upcoming assignments or events, and any concerns or issues that may arise. 
  8. Teachers often serve as mentors and advisors, offering guidance and support to students on academic, social, and personal matters. 
  9. Teachers document students’ learning progress and grades through texts and different assessment forms.

Relevant: 10 Highest Paying Alternative Careers for Teachers in the UK

Requirements to become a teacher

If you are aspiring to join the teaching profession, here are some things you must note. 

Education

The educational requirements to become a teacher can vary depending on several factors, like the grade level you wish to teach, the state, and the type of institution:

1. The Grade Level

  • Early childhood education: Teachers for this grade of teaching require at least a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education or a related field. However, some states may require additional coursework or certification.
  • Elementary education: ‌This ‌requires a bachelor’s degree in elementary education or a related field.
  • Secondary education: Typically requires a bachelor’s degree in the subject area you want to teach (e.g., math, science, history) and a secondary education teaching credential. However, the specific requirements depend on the state you are located in.
  • University Education: To teach at the university, you need at least a master’s degree in a related field. However, in some instances, a Ph.D. in your teaching area may be required if needed.

2. The state where you want to teach:

Each state has its specific requirements for teacher licensure. You can find detailed information about your state’s requirements on the website of your state’s Department of Education. However. some states may require teachers to have a master’s degree within a certain timeframe of earning their initial license.

3. The type of school you want to teach at

Certification 

After completing your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to obtain teacher certification or license to qualify for teaching positions in public schools.

Certification requirements vary by state and may include passing standardized exams, completing a teacher preparation program, and fulfilling classroom observation or student teaching requirements.

Moreover, please note that these certifications are not required to teach, but help employers see that you have a certain level of expertise in a particular area.

Some of the most common national teaching certifications include:

The specific requirements for earning a national teaching certification vary depending on the organization, but they include some combination of coursework, experience, and passing an exam.

How to Become a Teacher 

To become proficient in the teaching profession, you need more than passion and head knowledge. It takes both basic education, a set of skills, and hands-on experience. Here is a simple guide for you:

Teacher in the classroom discussing with a pupil
A teacher in the classroom

Step 1: Choose your Goals and Specialization

Before pursuing a career in teaching, take time to reflect on your interests, strengths, and career aspirations. Consider the grade level and subject area you are most passionate about teaching. Explore different teaching specializations, such as elementary education, secondary education, special education, or subject-specific disciplines like mathematics, science, or language arts. 

Step 2: Earn a Bachelor’s Degree

Most teaching positions require a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in education or a related field. Pursue a degree program that aligns with your chosen teaching specialization. 

Step 3: Obtain Teacher Certification or Licensure

After completing your bachelor’s degree, you’ll need to obtain teacher certification or licensure to qualify for teaching positions in public schools. Certification requirements vary by state. Ensure you research to know which is applicable in your country or state.

Step 4: Gain Teaching Experience

Building practical teaching experience is the best way to hone your instructional skills and prepare for a successful teaching career. Therefore, you have to seek opportunities to work as a substitute teacher, classroom assistant, or tutor to gain exposure to different student populations and classroom environments.

Also, you can consider volunteering or participating in teaching internships to gain additional experience and expand your professional network within the education community.

Step 5: Prepare for the Job Search and Interview

Once you’ve met the necessary qualifications and gained relevant experience, create a CV and cover letter that highlight your qualifications, experience, and passion for teaching. Also, tailor your application materials to each job opportunity and follow application instructions carefully. 

Step: Get a Master’s Degree

Once you are a certified teacher and possibly secured your first teaching job, the next is to improve your earning capacity in the teaching profession by pursuing a master’s degree.

More so, in some states, you need to possess your master’s degree before you can be certified as a senior teacher 

Skill Requirements for Teachers 

It’s easy to talk about love for the job when the discussion of skills is raised, but in reality,  to succeed in this career, you need more than an attraction from teaching. You need some key skills to take in what comes with a teaching career. Below are some of the core skills teachers should possess: 

  • Communication Skills: To excel as a teacher, you need excellent communication skills because your job involves daily communication with students at various levels. You need to be proficient both in written and verbal communication. Hence, you need to ensure comprehend your process and flow easily when learning. 
  • Creativity: Impacting knowledge comes with a dash of creativity. So, teachers need to create an enjoyable and engaging environment for students by creating means for ways learning fun.
  • Patience: Patience is a virtue and as a teacher, you need more of this to understand different students and their processes. For instance, you may encounter students with slow learning comprehension or those who are very violent. Our ability to handle these circumstances as a professional lies also in our intuitive ability to be patient. 
  • Adaptability: Every classroom is unique, and teachers must be able to adapt their teaching strategies and lesson plans to meet the diverse needs of their students. This includes accommodating different learning styles, abilities, and cultural backgrounds.
  • Organizational Skills: Managing classroom activities, assignments, and assessments requires strong organizational skills. Teachers must be able to plan effectively, set priorities, and maintain accurate records to ensure smooth operations and student progress.
  • Critical Thinking: Teachers need to be critical thinkers who can analyze educational materials, assess student understanding, and make informed decisions about instructional strategies and curriculum development.
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Average Salary for a Teacher

The average salary of a teacher varies depending on several factors, the level of institution, the region, the state, the qualification and certification of the teacher, and the type of institution (Public or Private). However, according to the Indeed salary page, The average annual salary of a teacher in the US is $26,193 per year. However, this figure is always subject to change.

Conclusion 

Becoming a teacher is a fulfilling journey that requires more than empathy and a love for the job. You need dedication, perseverance, and a genuine passion for education. But the beauty of this profession is the diverse opportunities and flexibilities it offers. If love transferring knowledge and the prospect of teaching makes you excited, with the steps listed above, you can pursue a career in teaching.

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