Becoming a Teacher 101

Becoming a Teacher 101

Surprisingly I’ve received a lot of questions from friends and associates who have considered teaching on how to become a teacher! The world of education is a revolving door- it is ever changing and the students are constantly evolving. It definitely takes a certain type of special being to teach the youth! I have compiled a list of the questions I’ve been asked the most for potential educators!

Q. Did you go to school for teaching?

I didn’t go to school for education. I actually have my bachelors in ‘Radio, Television & Film’ from the University of North Texas [Go Mean Green!]. When I considered becoming a teacher, my two options were doing a post baccalaureate program, which would have required me to re-enroll in school and complete another two years before I got my certification, OR completing an ACP program that lasted for 7 months; I obviously chose the later. I live in Texas, so I participated in the Inspire Texas ACP program. Out of the several ACP programs Texas has to offer, I felt that Inspire Texas [Region 4] fit me best as far as time and cost. If you are considering different programs, I would definitely compare all of the ones available in your state/or area, compare not only the cost but the timeline it takes to complete the program.

Q: How long did it take you to complete your program?

My program was split into two parts: the education portion and the internship. The education portion took about 7 months and consisted of about six online classes. If you’ve ever taken online classes, then you know how convenient they are! After the education portion, I did an internship. Each program has different requirements for their internship, but for my program, an internship consists of you applying to a teaching job and getting hired. That’s about it! LOL. You teach on your own [not a student teacher] for two semesters and get recommended for a standard certification at the end of your probationary period/internship. Keep in mind that during the course of your internship, you will have other things like certification tests and professional development hours that need to be completed also!

Q: How many tests did you have to take?

I technically only had to take one test. Before starting my program, I had to take and pass a content test. I teach English, so I took the English 7-12 test. My district however, requires English teachers to take and pass the ESL [English as a Second Language] test within their first year, in addition to the PPR [Principals and Pedagogy] test. I also took my Special Education test and received that endorsement also.

Q: Is teaching hard?

The short answer would be ‘no.’ When I say no it’s not hard I mean “no, I don’t go home everyday mentally exhausted and stressed from my work day.” The biggest hurdle in my opinion with teaching is learning your students. No student learns the same. No class works the same. One learning method for one class will NOT work for the other. One day, your lesson goes well, the next it’s a complete mess. One day your students are actively engaged and working, the next, they act like a bunch of damn fools. IT JUST DEPENDS. Teaching I think is more high pressure than stress or hard work, depending on the subject you teach. I teach English. Not only is English a core subject, it’s also a standardized testing subject so eyes and administration are always on our backs; in that aspect, it’s high pressure. But overall, teaching is how you make it. If you come unprepared, you may struggle. Don’t build relationships with your students? You may have a rocky semester or year. It all depends.

Q: As a young teacher, do the students respect you because I feel they wouldn’t respect me because of my age?

LOL. Respect? What is that? No I’m joking. I think a lot of young potential teachers feel this way, but I also think it depends on the grade you teach. If you’re in your twenties teaching elementary or even middle school, the age gap is so large that students kind of have to respect you. However teaching high school, I’m surrounded by 18 and 19 year old’s who are adults and who feel they don’t have to be respectful. For me, MY students in my classroom respect me. Respect with students is built upon the classroom environment you create at the start of the year. I make it my mission to create a warm and welcoming classroom environment, where they feel comfortable being themselves and can have fun, but also know when it’s time to learn, it is time to learn. I’ve never had issues with students cursing me out or not listening to me because of my age. I think that my age has been an asset because they know I’m not that far removed from them and understand where they’re coming from. So don’t be weary about your age. There are 21 year old teachers at my school who get more respect from the teachers who are 50+!

Q: Is it hard to find a job?

Honestly, I don’t know if I can accurately and fairly answer this question. LOL. The job I have now, I never expected to get. I was literally applying to any and every kind of education job that when I got the email to interview for this job, I thought it was for a completely different position. I had planned my responses specific to the position I thought I was interviewing for, and during the interview they were asking me questions I had never thought about- questions that pertain to teaching and classroom management. Since my mom is a teacher, I used her experiences and stories she would tell me and winged my answers to the best of my ability, and BAM! I got the job! Lol. So me being in the classroom, aside from it being God’s plan, was a total accident. I don’t think finding a job is hard however. There will ALWAYS be a need for teachers. ALWAYS.

Q: Did you always want to be a teacher?

I’ve posted a few times about how education was NEVER in my plans. I’ve been teaching for a year now and it’s still funny to me how even a year and HALF ago, I was saying I’d never teach! But God’s plan is always, ALWAYS bigger than your plan! I never had a desire to teach, but I’m so thankful that God ordered my steps to put me in the place that I’m in now. The impact that I’ve made in some of my students’ lives have been crazy to me. To know that I… being me… have motivated students who said they’d never go to college to pursue higher education, motivated girls who’ve been in abusive relationships to acknowledge and understand their self-worth, inspired kids to try new avenues that peak their interest – to know that I’ve done that in the short amount of time I’ve been given, has honestly been a true blessing and something I wouldn’t trade for the world.

If you have more questions pertaining to education or being a teacher, make sure to comment below!!

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