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Inside Elementary Teacher Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

 

Biggest Surprises


"Not A Nine-To-Five Job...
Student teaching does NOT prepare you for the full workload an elementary teacher carries. The job doesn't end when the kids board the bus to go home. There are papers to grade, parents to contact, lesson plans to write up, etc. I spend at least two hours every evening working on things for the next day/next week." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Kentucky, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Lincoln Memorial University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2002


"The Underlying Force Driving Public Education...
I was surprised most by the enormous amount of pressure teachers face with standardized testing. The entire year seems to be built around performing on one bubble test. I knew, and believed in accountability, but I was surprised at how extreme the situation was." (Educator; 2014)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Education at Chapman University in California; completed Professional degree in 2006


"Multitasking Is Key...
I was surprised at how teaching is just a small part of the education field. I learned quickly that I am not only a teacher, but I am a counselor, doctor, friend, data analyzer and much more!" (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Spanish Education at University Of NC Wilmington in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Long Work Hours...
Most people are surprised to find out that teachers do much more work than a typical eight hour day. They only have students for 7 to 7 and a half hours, but they arrive early to prepare for the day and stay hours later attending mandatory meetings and preparing for the next day. Also most people would be surprised because they think teachers get paid for the summers that they don't work, but teachers do not get paid in the summer unless they have their school year salary doled out in 26 week pays instead of the 21 pays that comprise a school year." (Elementary Teacher; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Central Michigan University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Teaching Children Is Not What It Used To Be...
Teaching is extremely rewarding when you can actually teach children, but I found that the pressure to teach in a given way, using a set curricula is intense in public schools now. When I began teaching in the 1970s, I could be creative and use methods that worked for my class, for individuals within the class. Now, a teacher has to be so much more structured because of the requirements of needing to get the children to pass tests, pass to the next grade. The joy of teaching for me has evaporated with the inability to be a creative teacher." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)

Career: 27 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Social Science/Teacher Education at San Diego State University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 1972


"More Than Just Teaching...
Most people are surprised how much work must be done outside typical hours and isn't paid. Many people think teaching is mostly about the kids, when in reality dealing with adults is more than a majority of the job - parents, administrators, co-workers, etc." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Education at Western Governors University in Texas; completed Master degree in 1997


"Teaching Well, But Never Well Enough...
I am surprised by the lack of support of the parents when it comes to the actual hard work of the students. I am surprised that no matter how hard I work and try to help my students that my administration still tells me that what I do is not enough. I am surprised that the parents are not held responsible for the behavior and lack of work of their children. I can go on and on." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at State University Of New York At Potsdam in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2003


"Summers To Myself...
Most people would be surprised at how stressful it can be dealing with parents these days. Most people would be surprised to know that being a teacher is great because you get many holidays off and a long summer vacation." (Elementary Education Teacher; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Teaching at George Mason University in Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 1980


"Not An Attitude Of Gratitude...
People would be surprised how much teachers are taken for granted. Many students and their parents don't have an attitude of gratitude for teachers." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Education at University Of Cincinnati in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2004


"Teaching Is Not Just About The Children...
It is very surprising how much of teaching is not focused on the children. The paperwork required, especially with the new evaluation system takes up a great deal of time that should be used to better lesson plans and find new ways to reach the children being taught." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 15 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Education at University Of West Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 1996


"How Common Core Practices Are Ruining Our Children...
I have been the most surprised this past year by the implementation of the "Common Core" way of teaching. I have been surprised by how readily it has been accepted by my fellow educators and how horrible it is proving to be for the students." (3rd Grade Teacher; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Syracuse University in New York; completed Master degree in 2001


"Teaching Opportunities Limited To Outsiders...
I was surprised at how hard it was to get a teaching job in small school districts if you were not from the area." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)

Career: 24 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Eastern Michigan University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 1987


"Every School Is Different...
I was surprised to learn how different education and teaching are in different schools." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Iowa, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at MidAmerica Nazarene University in Kansas; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Addicted To Teaching...
After 25 years in the classroom, I am most surprised by the fact that I am nowhere near ready to leave the classroom. I find the longer I teach, the more I love teaching." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 26 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at University Of Louisiana At Monroe in Texas; completed Master degree in 1988


"Review Current Best Practice...
I was surprised that my degree has not prepared me for actual classroom teaching I would recommend taking more endorsement classes and paying attention to new resources, like studies, that come out to assist your knowledge." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Northern Illinois University in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2011


"The Amount Of Paperwork Required...
I was surprised how quickly special education forms changed and the amount of paperwork required for the job. I was surprised at the amount of time it took to complete the paperwork on each student." (Special Education Teacher; 2014)

Career: 27 years of experience
School: Studied Education at Silver Lake College in Wisconsin; completed Bachelor degree in 1982


"Furthering Your Education...
I am surprised by how much training goes into my career post graduation. Teachers need to continue their education in order to maintain their teaching certificate and this is something that is not readily known to someone pursuing education unless they know someone in the field." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Michigan, female
School: Studied Education at Saginaw Valley State University in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Intense Competition For Teaching Jobs...
I was most surprised how hard it was to find a job in education in the state of Washington. There were hundreds of applicants for every teaching job being posted, and even getting interviews was hard, much less being chosen for the position." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in Washington, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Whitworth University in Washington; completed Bachelor degree in 2001


"Men Are Emerging In The Education Field...
I was surprised by the amount of male teachers in my field. I am a man and I was told that that would be rare in elementary education, but I have found a lot of men in my nascent career. It's a pleasant surprise." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Massachusetts, male
School: Studied Elementary Education at University Of New Hampshire in New Hampshire; completed Master degree in 2012


"Finding Work...
I was surprised that finding a job was easier than I thought. It helped to begin working shortly after college." (Elementary Teacher; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied English at Ithaca in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Education: Not Always About Kids...
Most people would be surprised at how little education has to do with teaching kids and how much more it has to do with politics. It would also be surprising for most people to find that most problems have little to do with children and mostly to do with adults." (Music Educator; 2014)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Music Education at Five Towns College in New York; completed Doctorate degree in 2012


"Teaching Is A Big Responsibility...
The amount of responsibility surprised me the most about my career. It is not easy to motivate children to learn because American culture values having fun over an education." (Elementary Teacher; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Indiana University in Indiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2004


"Low Salary For Hours Worked...
I was surprised at the amount of time I spend outside of school hours for my job. Many people think teachers have it easy because we only work 185 days a year. If you break up our pay over the actual hours we are spending doing job related activities, we get paid much, much less than many other professional careers." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in New Hampshire, female
School: Studied M.Ed Elementary Education W/General Special Education Certification at Southern New Hampshire University in New Hampshire in 2006


"The Non-Teaching Moments...
Most people are surprised at the amount of planning time, paper work, meetings, and non-teaching activities that actually go into this job. In addition, it is amazing how many decisions about what a teacher has to do are being made by people that are not educators that really have no idea what goes on in a classroom." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 13 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Millikin University in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2000


"Students Are The Best Part Of Teaching...
I am surprised most by the students themselves. They are funny and interesting. I like to see them light up when they finally understand something." (Music Teacher; 2014)

Career: , currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Music Education at Western Carolina University in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Teach What They Tell You...
You do not get to create your own lessons you are told what to teach. There are not many high paying jobs or even jobs." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 14 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Education at Buffalo State College in New York; completed Master degree in 2002


"Long Hours And Frequent Changes...
I was surprised with how much work it would be. I work 50-60 hours a week and work about 40 hours a week in the summers to help support my income. Every teacher I know works about the same. I was surprised with how frequently district mandates change and metrics change. It seems as if the higher ups are a little clueless and implement policies before working the kinks out (i.e. making students take adaptive tests on computers, but not making sure every school has computers and wifi first.)" (Art Teacher; 2014)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Art Education at School Of The Art Institute Of Chicago in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Class Information...
I was surprised at how much easy the transition from high school was. I was surprised at how helpful the professors were." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Clarion University Of Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"Paperwork A Significant Part Of Teaching...
I was surprised with all of the paperwork required for teaching. You are not really prepared for that in college. It has changed greatly during the years I have taught." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Intermediate Education With Concentrations In Science & Language Arts at Gardner-Webb University in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 1980


"It's More Difficult Finding Work Than One May Think...
What surprised me about my profession was the difficulty getting a full time job. I had to substitute for 2 years before I got a full time position." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied Education at Bluefield State in West Virginia; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Teacher Retainment...
I am surprised how difficult it is to retain good teachers. Education is becoming more and more political, which seems to be driving out a lot of solid educators." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Westminster College in Utah; completed Master degree in 2008


"Lots Of Work At Home...
What has surprised me most is the amount of work teachers put in after hours. Many people assume that teachers have great hours: 8-3:30, but in reality, they often put in two or three more hours of work at home each night." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at West Chester University in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2010


"Extraneous Paperwork...
I was surprised at the mountain of paperwork I am required to complete that has nothing to do with teaching students. Most of this paperwork is associated with government programs developed by non-educators who have no idea what really works in a classroom." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Elementary Education With An Emphasis On Gifted And Talented at Christian Brothers University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"The Many Different People You Will Meet...
I was surprised at the amount of work that is needed, as well as the immaturity of some educators. I was also surprised at how helpful some peers are, and to not be afraid to ask for help." (Primary School Teacher; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Language Arts Education at San Diego State University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012


"Lack Of Societal Support For Education...
I am surprised at how little public and governmental support there is for education in general. Education cannot make a profit, since we don't sell anything, so it's surprising to me that anyone thinks it should be subject to the same market forces as businesses. Maybe we should sell the children when they graduate! Just kidding. But you'd think parents would be more inclined to support the educational system that keeps their children for 7 hours a day or more and prepares them for their future--career, relationships, social skills, etc. As an example, a few years ago, a proposal on the ballot to keep a one-half percentage on the county sales tax was soundly defeated. This was not an INCREASE in sales tax, it was just to keep an already-voted-on sales tax of one half percent above the state requirement. This past year we did get a small millage increase barely passed in the county. But again, it's small, and it barely passed." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 18 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Education at The College Of St. Rose in New York; completed Master degree in 1994


"Mommy...
I teach younger kids and am surprised by how many of them occasionally call me "mommy" by accident. I am very surprised and amazed how much than can learn in one year's time. They really do learn a lot about social skills as well." (School Teacher; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied History at University Of Georgia in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 1996


"Parents' Unreasonable Expectations...
I was surprised at how much parents expect from teachers. They expect us to take care of most of their child's needs. I was surprised at the lack of support that teachers receive when it comes to discipline. We are expected to deal with behavioral issues, along with educational needs at the same time." (Elementary School Teacher; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Indiana, female
School: Studied Child Development And Psychology at Colby-Sawyer College in New Hampshire; completed Bachelor degree in 1999


"Demands On A Teacher's Time And Wallet...
I was surprised at how much time and money a teacher personally puts into her classroom and planning. With budget cuts and students who receive no support from home, teachers are constantly tutoring after hours, buying supplies for their own classrooms, and often helping to provide an emotional as well as educational foundation for the students." (Elementary School Teacher; 2013)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Child Development B.S./Teaching Credential at California University Fullerton in California; completed Bachelor degree in 1997


"More Bureaucratic...
I was surprised by the shear amount of paperwork that I have to fill out on a daily basis. This is paperwork unrelated to grading etc. this is for internal district use. This is due to there being a much higher level of bureaucracy than I expected." (Elementary School Teacher; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Education ESL at Texas A&M in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2008


"I was surprised that a degree in Philosophy would go so far in having an ongoing beneficial ability to interact with people across many social divides. I achieved a high level of poise and confidence in my communication skills that I believe have influenced much of my success in life." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, female
School: Studied Philosophy at University Of California, Riverside in California; completed Master degree in 1988


"I was surprised that in the teaching profession is many professions bundled together. In addition to being responsible for students' education, teachers also must be babysitters, referees, therapists, and protectors." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, female
School: Studied Education at Barnard College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"I was surprised to see how quickly the attitudes, behavior, and grades of the "kids on the fence" went down when teachers were no longer able to paddle their students. I was surprised when the principal's salaries were significantly raised, that a lot of times instead of doing the right thing for the situation, they would cater to the student and their parents in order to keep favor with the community. Something is definitely wrong when you rightfully reprimand a child for misbehaving and they ask to go to the office so they can "tell on" the teacher." (School Teacher; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Georgia, female
School: Studied Education at Georgia Southern University in Georgia; completed Bachelor degree in 1973


"I was surprised with how much there was to the job beyond teaching. I spend so much of my time in meetings, planning, talking with parents and doing paperwork. Being a teacher involves a lot more than just teaching the lessons to the students each day." (1st Grade Teacher; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Psychology at McDaniel College in Maryland; completed Bachelor degree in 1999


"Regulations Restrict Classroom Freedom...
Although I had plenty of experience in the classroom and even with student teaching, I was quite surprised at how running my own classroom did not come with as many freedoms as I had expected. There are many rules and regulations in curriculum that make it so that almost anyone could be a teacher because you are merely a robot being told what to do. I was also surprised by how political the education board is, which isn't something you can really experience in a classroom setting while getting your degree." (Elementary School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Iowa, female
School: Studied Education at University Of Minnesota in Minnesota; completed Bachelor degree in 2009


"What I Wasn't Taught In College...
I learned that much of what was taught to me to prepare for a career as an elementary school teacher did not help me in my first few years of teaching. For example, one of the most important aspects of my job is communicating with parents. Through my "on-the-job" experience, I learned that how you say something can be more important than what you say. I wish that was taught to me when obtaining my Master's degree!" (Elementary School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 11 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Elementary Education at Pace University in New York; completed Master degree in 2002


"More Difficult Than Expected...
I was surprised at how hard teaching can be. No school can prepare you for the amount of paperwork that must be done each day and each week to ensure the success of your class and your school." (Elementary School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Mississippi, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Delta State University in Mississippi; completed Master degree in 1990


"Teaching Much Different Now...
I was and am consistently surprised by how different education is from when I attended elementary school. The ways teacher interact and are allowed or required to interact with students is so much different. The roles parents play in their children's education is much different now as well. In short, the demands placed on teachers are considerably greater, while the demands on parents are less and teachers are so much more limited in how they discipline or work with students." (Elementary Music Teacher; 2012)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in Wisconsin, female
School: Studied Instrumental Music Education at University Of Wisconsin Milwaukee in Wisconsin; completed Master degree in 2004


"First Two Weeks Are Key...
I was surprised at how much being organized helped in this career. By copying and clearly organizing units the first year, it freed up time to be more creative and improve each year after. I was surprised at how important the first two weeks were in setting the tone for the class behavior-wise for the rest of the year." (Elementary School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at University Of South Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Impact On A Child's Life...
I was surprised at how much value and a role I play in each child's life. As a teacher you prepare to teach but you don't realize until you see your progress first hand." (Elementary School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Psychology at San Jose State University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2005


"Advancement Uncorrelated With Performance...
I was surprised how little importance one's actual ability to teach has in the rewards you reap in a career doing just that. I routinely see people who can't teach their way out of a paper bag getting raises and promotions I don't just on the basis of having advanced degrees (I just have a bachelor's). It's one of the few areas where that meaningless piece of paper isn't all that meaningless, but in this case, sadly, that's often for the worse." (ESL Instructor; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Arizona, male
School: Studied Psychology at Florida International University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2000


"I was surprised that I could get certified through alternative methods to become a teacher, because I was not an education major in college." (Teacher; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, female
School: Studied Psychology at Franklin & Marshall College in Pennsylvania; completed Certificate degree in 2012


"I was surprised to find out how difficult it is to work with other teachers and faculty." (Teacher; 2012)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in California, female
School: Studied Humanities at Westminster Kingsway in California; completed Associate degree in 2002


"I was surprised to find that being a teacher requires good interpersonal skills. As a teacher, I need to be able to gain the trust of the class to do my job effectively. That's something they don't teach you in college." (Teacher; 2012)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, male
School: Studied Psychology at Oregon State; completed Master degree in 2007


"It's rewarding to feel happy at my job and come home still satisfied. I didn't believe it would be this rewarding, but it is every single day." (Teacher; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Early Childhood Education at Beck in Illinois; completed Certificate degree in 2011


"The thing that surprised me most, was how much I like it. I am amazed every day that I am for having so much fun, and being so rewarded." (Teacher; 2012)

Career: 27 years of experience, currently based in Oregon, female
School: Studied Education at Oregon State University in Oregon; completed Bachelor degree in 1984


"Through my years of teaching I found it surprising that I had to give more and more parental tips. Many of the parents needed a lot of help with organization, discipline, reward and punishment skills. I started with one thin file on these ideas and ended up with a whole drawer full. I ended up taking two classes on parenting and I have no children of my own!" (Elementary School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Illinois, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at Illinois State University in Illinois; completed Bachelor degree in 1973


"What surprised me about a career in teaching is that one has to have very good public speaking skills to be able to talk to the children in front of the class and also it takes a lot of patience to work with young children. Each child is an individual and learns in a different way and I as a teacher have to adjust my teaching style to cater to the child to learn in his or her own way." (School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Computer Science at Queens College-CUNY in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2002


"What surprised me most was how important classroom management would be. Without good management skills, the job becomes nearly impossible." (Elementary School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 16 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied Education at Chapman University in California; completed Master degree in 2000

Best & Worst Things About This Career


Teacher: "The best part of my career is seeing children grow and develop. When they come into Kindergarten they are so small and lack a lot of motor skills. I get to see them gain a lot of these skills over the years. The worse part of my job is when I find out that a child is being abused. It is especially hard when there is nothing you can do to help the child get out of the situation except by being a great listener." (2011)


Full Time Math Tutor In An Elementary School: "Best - working with these young children who are anxious to learn and happy Worst - there are more students that need help than I can manage so I am extremely busy and want to do so much more for these students than I can fit in my schedule." (2011)


Teacher: "I would say that the best part of my job is just being able to teach something new and enjoyable to students who want to learn. It is always exciting when you have a class that wants to learn and pays attention with every subject. The hardest part of my job is keeping up with all of the correcting, running off of papers and grading students. Correcting work is like doing laundry...it is never done!" (2010)


Teacher: "Most of the time, teaching is so rewarding. For example, I have a student who in the first nine weeks of class, had five N's on her report card for behavior. Now, at the end of the second nine weeks, she has zero! But as rewarding as this job can be, it can sometimes be frustrating too. For example, maybe you have a concern about a student, and the parents are not on board with you, insisting that there there isn't a problem. And I had another student who hadn't received as much help as he required, and I had to stand by and watch as his grades plummeted, and because our psychologists and counselors were overworked, he just got pushed to the side, and nothing was done to help him until the end of the year." (2010)


Teacher: "As I said above, the best part is the thrill of hearing a child say, "Oh, I get it!" The worst part is trying to please everyone all the time. You have to deal with demanding and unrealistic parents, entitled children, and unrealistic expectations from the school's administration. As at any job, the people you work with can make it or break it for you. With teaching, the more positive and optimistic I can be, the more I enjoy my work. Some teachers tend to be complainers. That is an easy road to take, and I try hard to turn off of it as soon as I find myself on it. The more upbeat I am, the more fun it is for me and for my students." (2010)


Teacher: "The best part of my day is seeing students who are excited and engaged in a classroom lesson or activity. I love to see students apply a skill we've worked hard to master. Hearing all of the stories and connections students make to topics we study is rewarding and puts a smile to my face. Daily correcting and record keeping can be time consuming but valuable in learning the strengths and weaknesses of individual students." (2010)


Teacher: "One of the best things about teaching is that it is never boring or stagnant. Even after teaching second grade for almost 10 years, each September feels new. One reason is that children are all different. Their academic abilities vary, personalities change and combinations of students can alter group dynamics. Depending on the group, the physical layout of the classroom can also be different. Another thing that makes things different is that the there are often new units to teach in social studies and science. The materials for math and reading have changed several times and with the changes come new ideas and new planning. There are some frustrating parts of this job. Teachers are being asked to be responsible for more and more tasks. You may also feel like a secretary, nurse, psychologist, or parent." (2010)


Elementary School Teacher: "The best part of teaching grade one is watching the children change before my eyes. Nothing can quite compare with a six year old's excitement when he realizes he can actually read. The worst part is trying to meet every individual's needs. Children come in at many different levels. Their social, emotional and academic skills vary widely. To meet those needs is a daunting task." (2010)


Retired Public School Teacher: "Being a teacher is a highly rewarding career. You are a witness to every child's growth over a year. It is a challenge to explore the various ways to allow each child to develop to his potential. Teaching can be overwhelming sometimes. It's a job that you take home with you at night and during the weekends and summers. At night teachers are correcting students' work, assessing and evaluating, checking students' progress in the curriculum, writing reports and newsletters and creating activities for the next day, week, month. It is a never-ending responsibility." (2010)


Elementary School Teacher: "The best part of the job is that I am able to have an impact on the lives of students every day. I am involved in their development and get to help them on the road to becoming teenagers. There are times when a student has an "aha!" moment, and those times are the best. The worst part about the job is that there is almost never enough time to get everything you want to get done, done. We are always trying to find ways to stretch an hour into two, and would always be happy if there was more time for us to get our work done. That is a welcome challenge." (2010)


Teacher: "The best part of my job is the students. I also love to read, so spending my day sharing this love is a great treat. The most difficult part of the job is being able to meet regularly with classroom teachers to discuss students individually. Also, there are times when the classroom teachers change the skills being covered but neglect to let me know, so we are working out of sync." (2010)


Band Director: "I enjoy the enthusiasm of first year band students. Band is an elective so the students who get involved have done so by choice and are normally fully-motivated. Progress at the beginning is very dramatic, from the first squeaks and squawks to the first song, first performance, etc. The most challenging part of the job can be persuading the parents of the importance and value of music education. Communicating with parents is often a challenge." (2010)


Teacher: "I LOVE working with the students in small groups. I firmly believe small group instruction is best for all students. I feel like I can make the greatest impact by working in small groups with the kids. They enjoy the personalized attention they receive from me. The worst part of the job is that I am often pulled in so many directions. I have the desire to help out in so many different ways. However, there is just not enough time to get it all done. That is frustrating to me, because I want to help everyone!" (2010)


Elementary School Teacher: "The best part of my job is helping children to become happy, productive, engaged students. They make incredible progress and to be a part of that is very rewarding. Young children are very positive people! They are loving and excited about the most basic experiences. They allow me to continue to see the world "through the eyes of a child." The worst part of the job is that I feel like my job is never over. I work a lot at home; I can never say I am completely caught up with my work. There is always something I need to be working on that I haven't done." (2010)


Teacher: "The best parts of the job are getting to see children make progress and watch the pride that they take in their accomplishments. They love music and generally look forward to coming, and that makes me happy. They enjoy performing. They look forward to concert night. I find most of my colleagues to be supportive and professional, and very interested in the progress of the students. We talk a lot during breaks about kids and how to do things better. The worst parts of the job have to do with politics and paper. I don't like all of the things I must be accountable for on paper. I set goals, write reports, check that I am following plans for children with special needs and fill out endless forms. None of these things makes me a better teacher, but it is all set up so that I can prove that I am competent. While it may be useful for a newer teacher to do some of these things, experienced teachers see these things as silly hoops to jump through so that someone else can fill out his or her report to prove he or she is competent." (2010)


Tutor: "The best part of my job is getting to work with a variety of students. All of my students have great potential and getting to see their faces when they finally grasp a concept that they have been struggling with is such a great feeling. The worst part of my job is that it frequently changes. Students are frequently pulled from my groups because they are doing better on exams or added to my groups because they are struggling. It can be difficult to keep things consistent for my students when the people around them keep changing." (2010)


Teacher: "There are amazing things that come with being a teacher. As a teacher, you have a responsibility to educate the youth of our country. It is very rewarding when students have that "Aha!" moment, when they suddenly understand what you are teaching them. Watching my struggling students experience success is one of the best parts of my job. I enjoy having summers off to spend time with my family and friends. The worst part about teaching is that there are always going to be students you can't reach, and that is frustrating. Also, there are some students who misbehave." (2010)


Teacher: "I love how rewarding my job is. Witnessing the joy and pride on a student's face when she masters the four-times tables or reads a page without missing a single word is so important to me. It makes my job worthwhile and helps me see where I make a difference. There is no worst part! The job is stressful at times, it's true. Modifying curriculum is not easy, and watching a student's frustration mount as he has more and more trouble understanding is discouraging. I also run around all day. But the rewards outweigh the stress by a million to one." (2010)


Teacher: "The best part of the job is working with the children. Every day is unique. You never know what a child will say or how (s)he feels. Therefore, lessons can quickly change and head in new directions depending on the class's perspective. The children are also loving, caring, and naive. Did I mention that you never know what they will say? The worst part of the job is all the paperwork and the overbearing parents. The school day doesn't end when the children leave. There is paper work to complete, papers to correct and preparation for the next day to be made. There are also e-mails to answer, phone calls to make and conferences to schedule to discuss a child's progress with his or her family." (2010)


Elementary School Teacher: "The best part of my job is when I find an activity that excites my students and helps them to learn something new. The worst part of my job is the pressure I feel to make sure all students are learning despite what their home lives may be like." (2010)


Teacher: "The best part of my day is working with children and helping them unlock a new skill. It is so rewarding to see the "light bulb" go on in their heads and the smiles on their faces as they figure something out. Helping children is a great reward. The worst parts of my job are all of the paper work and the meeting we have to attend. These can be exhausting and they take me away from my students. All of the required testing of students takes so much time -- time that could be better spent working with students." (2010)


Teacher: "The most difficult part of my job is the planning. As a self-contained classroom teacher (teacher of all subjects) I have to prep for six subjects each day. A good teacher tries to create meaningful and interactive lesson plans and to do that is very time-consuming. The best part of my job is working with young students. They constantly amaze me with their kindness and compassion. I work hard to make them stronger students but they remind me of the goodness and potential of people. I wouldn't trade this for any other job!" (2010)


Teacher: "The best part of my job is working with and getting to know kids. They make it fun to come to work every day because they get excited about learning new things. I like helping kids understand something academic or social that they are having a hard time with. Kids can also be very funny, or say some funny things. The worst part of my job is all the paperwork. As a teacher, I have to maintain records on grades for reading, writing, math, science, social studies and an elective; behavior; and many more things." (2010)


Teacher: "The best parts of my job are witnessing the progress that my students make throughout the year and watching as their confidence improves. It is rewarding to make a difference in a child's life. The worst part of the job is working with children who have little home support. It is sad to see some children who start out at a disadvantage when compared to students who come from a loving, stable, supportive home." (2010)


Elementary Art Teacher: "Without doubt, the best part of my job is the time I spend with students. To them, everything is new and exciting and their excitement is contagious. Sometimes, when I've done a lesson a million times and think I've seen it all, a child will present an absolutely new twist as a solution to a problem. The worst part, without doubt, is the time constraints -- only being able to see the classes once every fourteen days. This is way too long a gap for small children to have any recollection about the project they may have been working on. They may not even remember me at first!" (2010)


Teacher: "There are certainly advantages and disadvantages to every job and mine is no exception. For one, I work with a great staff which is a big perk. Working with people who are your friends is very important. My colleagues are a great support both professionally and personally. Another challenge is the amount of paperwork. There is a lot of correcting and data recording which I have to do and it consumes many hours of my time. In addition, there is just not enough time during the day. There is always another student to help and a parent to call. But I suppose this is true of most jobs." (2010)


Substitute Teacher/Stay At Home Parent: "The best parts of the job are being able to work with children. Being able to see them learn and listening to their thoughts is always interesting. You get a good idea what people their age are thinking about when you spend time with them. I also enjoy the flexibility of being with different classes and groups of children that substituting allows. The worst part of the job is having to be ready at a moment's notice, and deciding what to teach if the teacher did not leave directions as to what to do that day." (2010)


Substitute Teacher: "The best part of my job is that I get to meet so many different students. Also, I have the chance to experience how different teachers manage their classrooms. I have learned many teaching strategies from the many different teachers I have worked for." (2010)


Elementary Education Teacher- Grade 2: "The worst part of the job is actually having to sort through all the paper work for assessments. There are so many new ways to keep track of students' progress but our school system has not kept up with current technology. It is also very difficult to teach large groups of children with significant learning disabilities or emotional needs. There are many students in our classrooms with Individual Education Plans but we do not have adequate support in our classrooms to make sure these students are receiving the help they need. Also planning is difficult when you have limited resources and you have to teach and develop the curriculum at the same time. Each day is about 12 hours and I also work throughout the year and summer to improve the program and to prep for it." (2010)


Teacher: "I love the teaching part of my job. I love to work with students. It is especially rewarding when I have been working with a struggling student and the student suddenly gets it! The rewards in this job are definitely not monetary but the worst parts of the job are the paperwork and all the additional responsibilities. I love my job but would love it even more if I could just teach! This job would also be better if I was paid more." (2010)


Teacher: "The best part of the job is that you are constantly running around and helping students, that the day goes by so fast. It is also amazing to watch the progress of students from the beginning of the year to the end. The worst part of the job is the amount of work it takes to be a good teacher. You are always researching different activities and ways of doing things. There are also so many assessments nowadays that there is always something to take home and correct on your own time, without pay." (2010)


Elementary Class Teacher: "The best part of teaching is feeling that you helped children succeed when they were having trouble and feeling bad about themselves. Another great part of teaching is getting to know your students. I develop a special relationship with each one of my students. I enjoy being a mentor and a positive role model. The worst part of my job is the stress level. You become so involved with each student it can get very frustrating when you have tried everything you can think of and nothing works. The great thing about teaching is the support you get from your school. There are an endless number of resources that you can use to surmount any obstacle." (2010)


Teacher: "The best part of teaching is that every day is something new! There is NEVER a dull moment. If you do get a particularly challenging group, you get a fresh start each school year. The worst part of the job is occasionally feeling that there's not enough you can do to help a child who comes from a dysfunctional home. You really have to instill in them at a young age that they are responsible for their actions and only they can make certain changes." (2010)


Academic Interventionist: "The best part of my job is when a student trusts you and looks forward to meeting with you daily and finally catches on to what you are trying to teach. The worst part is when the student is struggling, trying to understand, and he or she still cannot get it. When teachers are busy or their classrooms are so large they don't have time to give you the proper paperwork to help the student, that's also bad." (2009)


Reading Teacher: "The best part of my job is working with children and seeing them succeed. I love to see them laugh especially when I have said or done something silly. The worst part is not having enough time or resources to do a better job." (2009)

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Elementary Teacher

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"Being Adaptable Will Help Making Teaching Less Of A Stress...
If you want to be a successful teacher, you have to be able to adapt to changes." (Teacher; 2014)


"Organization Of Paperwork...
Organization is a key element in teaching children with disabilities." (Special Education Teacher; 2014)


"Ask For Help...
Do not be afraid to ask for help from veteran teachers. They have been in your shoes but may not think to volunteer information." (Teacher; 2014)


"Teachers' Strong Self-Esteem...
Realize when you become a teacher that you will be judged by your students, their parents, coworkers, and superiors. It is a fulfilling career as long as you have a strong sense of self to put up with criticism." (Teacher; 2014)


"Documentation Is Very Important...
Make sure you document everything such as interactions with parents and issues with students. That way you have a paper trail if something goes wrong." (Music Teacher; 2014)


"Teachers Learn New Things Too...
If you want to become a successful teacher, never stop learning and trying out new things. The children in your class are not all the same and have different ways of learning that is relevant to them." (Teacher; 2014)


"Stay Curious...
A good teacher should be a lifelong learner. I think it is important for the students to understand that learning never stops, and that curiosity is a powerful motivator." (Teacher; 2014)


"Professional Development...
If you want to be a teacher, be prepared to advance your education. Wait until you are employed full-time before you go back for your Masters degree, so you have experience to back your education. Be prepared to spend nights and weekends working on your Masters classes." (Teacher; 2014)


"Imagine The Bored Kid...
Imagine education as it feels to the bored, disgruntled kid and try to work from there." (Teacher; 2014)


"Be Passionate About The Work...
Know what you are getting into and make sure you have a real passion for education and teaching. Simply knowing your subject material will not be enough to motivate you to jump through the hoops you often have to jump through as a public school teacher." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)


"Be Flexible...
I would tell future teachers to put your time in, many school districts will not hire you without some experience. Also, be willing to take any job you are offered, you can always move around once you are hired." (Teacher; 2014)


"Get A Lot Of Experience...
If you want to be a successful teacher you should spend as much time in the classroom as possible before you get hired for you first teaching position. Learning educational theory in a classroom has little correlation to the skills required to teach effectively in real life." (Teacher; 2014)


"Getting A Job As A Teacher...
If you want to be a teacher, get all the experience you can in teaching situations, from summer camps to tutoring. Even do it for free if you have to. The field is extremely competitive, and although you can live comfortably on a teacher's salary in some places, respect for the profession is often hard to come by." (Music Educator; 2014)


"When In Doubt, Sub First...
If you think you may be interested in teaching - at ANY grade level - you may want to try working as a substitute teacher first. You'll be able to experience different grade levels, and learn which ones you're most comfortable with. Subbing will also help you determine whether or not teaching is the career for you." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)


"Teaching Rewards You Within...
If you want to be a successful teacher, you should surround yourself with lots of kids to test your patience. If you want to become a teacher, you should know the pay isn't the best but the reward is endless." (Elementary Education Teacher; 2014)


"Collaborate...
Learn to collaborate with other teachers and learn from them. You do no need to re-invent the wheel, a lot of work has already been done. Learn to align your curriculum with the core subjects so students have a fluid understanding of concepts in a variety of environments. Have a good sense of humor because kids are funny and it will help relieve stress." (Art Teacher; 2014)


"Try The Classroom Environment Out--Be A Volunteer...
If you want to become a teacher and are not sure if it is your passion (as it should be), volunteer at a school or get a job as a teaching assistant so you can see the day to day struggles and rewards of a teacher." (Elementary Teacher; 2014)


"Do What They Say...
If you want to be successful get certified in more than one subject. Be prepared to conform." (Teacher; 2014)


"Ask For Help...
Teaching is most rewarding when you are focused on your students and work in a cooperative environment, don't be afraid to ask for help!" (Primary School Teacher; 2014)


"Teaching, A Job For Those Who Do Not Seek Happiness In Their Life...
If you want to be a great teacher, be prepared to have no life and never feel like you are doing a good job." (Teacher; 2014)


"Challenge Yourself...
If you want to be successful, you have to work hard and never give up. Continue to challenge yourself so that you are continuously challenging the students." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)


"Take Time For Yourself...
Make sure you take time for yourself as an educator. It is easy to spend long hours at the school and burnout will happen quickly if you don't make yourself think about something else." (Teacher; 2014)


"Flexibility Is The Name Of The Game...
If you want to be successful as a teacher you must be flexible, positive, and open to change. This is a field that is constantly changing, sometimes for the positive and sometimes negative. You have to figure out how to make it work in your classroom." (Teacher; 2014)


"Life-Long Learning...
If you want to be successful in education, you need to be committed to life-long learning. You will need to embrace training for your position, be ready to change positions and grade levels as needed, and take credits just to keep your teaching certificate." (Teacher; 2014)


"What You Should Know Before Entering The Teaching Profession...
If you want to become a teacher, you should understand all of the job requirements including the swing in the past decade towards high stakes standardized testing. You will be required to spend much of your day "test prepping" your students for a large standardized test to be administered at the end of the year." (Educator; 2014)


"Try Teaching And/Or Working With Kids Before You Begin...
Certain people are meant to become teachers. If I were on this path now, I would try to find an internship in a summer before I began the required college courses for teaching, just to be sure I was meant for this career. I would also work with the age of child I hope to teach in a part-time job to make sure that I enjoy that age group." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)


"Teach Where You Grew Up...
I would suggest that you try to get a teaching job in the area where you grew up and went to school and knew a lot of people." (Elementary School Teacher; 2014)


"Be Prepared To Substitute Teach...
Be prepared to substitute teach for a while. It's also important to network with people in education." (Teacher; 2013)


"Teach To The Test...
If you want to be a successful elementary teacher now you need to leave all of your creativity at the door and be ready to work hard and work your students hard. Be prepared to "teach to the test" instead of fostering a love of learning." (3rd Grade Teacher; 2013)


"Getting An Edge...
Do internships/help out at schools to get experience so you can ask around for any opening positions in the district." (Elementary Teacher; 2013)


"Get The Experience And Learn Tips From Your Colleagues...
Work as a substitute teacher while going to school to get experience with different grade levels. Observe veteran teachers to learn tips for classroom management and how to motivate students." (Elementary Teacher; 2013)


"Time Management...
Be prepared for many extra hours using creativity to invent supplies, games, and other supplementary curriculum. Have a plan for how to separate your home life and work life rather than always bringing your work home." (Teacher; 2013)


"Use All Resources...
If you want to be a successful teacher, you must be willing to adapt as students constantly change and their needs are all different. Talk to experienced teachers and really take their advice. They may seem "old school" but they have seen a lot of students in their career and they have a lot of validity to what they say." (Teacher; 2013)


"Open-Mindedness Leads To A Healthier Career...
If you want to be a successful teacher, be innovative and open to new opportunities. The more open-minded you are to various trainings, conferences and professional relationships, the greater access to resources you will have. The more resources you have available to you, the better your teaching will be." (Teacher; 2013)


"Develop Relationships With Other Teachers...
When starting a career as a teacher, I think it is important to find a job where you feel comfortable and that has a family-oriented, friendly atmosphere. It's also important to realize that the first year is all about survival. It's not going to be the best year you have ever had, but it's not going to be the worse either! It's also important to create a support structure with other faculty in your building." (Teacher; 2011)


"Pursue Your Master's...
If you want to be in the education field, get your masters in education. It is not required for this job but it would help me understand better teaching techniques and approaches to use on struggling students." (Full Time Math Tutor In An Elementary School; 2011)


"Be Energetic And Entertaining...
If you want to pursue a teaching career, you have to be energetic and full of life in the classroom. Children respond well to teachers who are entertaining as well as informative about their subject areas. I always thought that teaching was a little bit like acting!" (Teacher; 2010)


"Beg, Borrow And Steal...
1. Get as much field experience as you can in all different grade levels, so that you can see which age group suits you best. 2. A teacher's motto is "Beg, borrow, and steal"! Don't be afraid to ask for ideas. We share ideas all the time. Remember, you don't have to use them, but it's good to have options! 3. Try to get your master's right after you get your teaching degree. It's very hard to go back to college once you've started teaching. You become extremely busy!" (Teacher; 2010)


"Classes You Should Take...
Take your college classes seriously and learn as much as you can about the subjects you will be teaching. The deeper and broader your understanding, the better job you will do communicating it to students. Make sure you take a class in child development and brain-based learning. You need to understand cognitive development and basic psychology." (Teacher; 2010)


"Classroom Control Skills...
Make sure you take at least one course in classroom management. Learning cannot occur in a classroom that is poorly managed, or where students are not familiar with procedures and routines. If you plan to teach younger students, having a background in reading is especially helpful since learning to read is a major development in a young child's life. It would also be beneficial to have a degree or certification in special education as students in the same classroom have mixed abilities. Knowing accommodations and strategies to help different types of learners will help you reach the needs of all students." (Teacher; 2010)


"Don't Do It For Summer Vacation...
If you think this is a great job because you finish at 3:00 and have summers off, think again. You don't. But if you love children and are enthusiastic about learning yourself, you'll find the work very rewarding. Volunteer in a classroom, even if you can only go after your school day. The last hour of an elementary school's day can give you a taste of the atmosphere and you could see what teachers do to prepare." (Teacher; 2010)


"Feeling Overwhelmed Is Normal...
1. Entering a room of twenty six and seven year olds can be overwhelming. Courses that teach classroom management and behavior management are extremely helpful. 2. Starting your career as an academic aide can expose you to many different teaching styles and environments. It can give you a feel for the demands of the job without the responsibility. You can also learn and be involved in programs that are new to you and provide you with hands-on experience. 3. Expect to feel overwhelmed. Remember that you learn from your mistakes and that it will get easier over time. Think simple and concentrate on the basics. Over-prepare your lessons, but go slowly. You can always use it tomorrow." (Elementary School Teacher; 2010)


"Good Educators Like Children...
If considering a career in teaching, consider working with children prior to your college education. During the summer, get involved in summer camp programs, church bible schools, etc. If possible, attempt to volunteer in classrooms as part of a community service project. An educator ought to be happiest when with children." (Retired Public School Teacher; 2010)


"Good Teachers Make A Difference...
Becoming a teacher is one of the best things you can do. Kids need really great role models and need to hear from teachers with whom they can relate. A good teacher can take a student who may be teetering on the edge and help open him up to possibilities that he had never been aware of. Going to college and graduate school are a must as there is no making up for the hands-on learning that you will be able to do while you are in school." (Elementary School Teacher; 2010)


"Include Children In Lesson Development...
Children are very honest, and they will tell you if they don't like what you are doing, or if they are "bored. At first, this can be somewhat disheartening, especially to a new teacher who's spent hours preparing a lesson only to see it flop. My advice would be to continue planning these lessons and have the students give some input as to 'how they learn best' so you will feel more successful. Also, learning to share with other teachers is a great benefit to new teachers who are beginning with minimal supplies." (Teacher; 2010)


"Keep Your Program Full Of Students...
Learn how to play all the wind, percussion and stringed instruments. If you cannot demonstrate the proper sound, how will the students know what they are aiming for? Learn how to sell while in college. Be a telemarketer or some other kind of salesperson. If you are an instrumental music teacher your job security depends on how many students you have in your program. Think Harold Hill, the con artist at center of "The Music Man." Learn how to create schedules. Administration will often look for your advice when scheduling. A schedule can make or break an instrumental music program." (Band Director; 2010)


"Learn From Experienced Teachers...
Being a teacher is a wonderful thing! Make sure that you take good courses which prepare you in all discipline areas: math, reading, writing, science and social studies. It is also very important that you work with a cooperative teacher when you do your practice teaching. You will learn so much from him or her. Discipline was one thing I struggled with, so make sure you take several courses in behavior management. I also believe it is important to take some leadership courses." (Teacher; 2010)


"Love ALL Children...
You should only go into teaching if you love children, not just the well-behaved and beautiful variety! You will have them all, and they all deserve the best you have to offer. You should not go into teaching with the idea that you will have your summers off and that your hours are better than those of a regular 9-5 job. You will work many hours beyond the regular school day and you will spend time in the summer taking workshops that will help you to become a better teacher. Being a teacher is incredibly hard work but it is very rewarding." (Elementary School Teacher; 2010)


"Make Sure You Take Care Of Yourself Too...
Get in the classroom as soon as you can. The only thing that ever teaches you how to teach is doing it. You could take all the courses in the world and know nothing until you get in front of kids. Don't teach if you hate it. It's nice to have a steady paycheck, but you'll hate it more as time goes on. Teaching is too important to treat as a day job. Make time for yourself. When you do leave school, leave it there. It's hard and draining. If you don't learn to shut it off, it will burn you out, and then you may find yourself stuck in a profession you no longer enjoy. Finally, concentrate on the kids. The other stuff is nonsense, and if you start caring too much about it, your time with the kids will be ruined." (Teacher; 2010)


"Not A 9-5 Job...
1. Spend as much time in classrooms as you can. This will help you figure out if teaching is truly for you and it will help you gather many ideas of what you would like to do in your own classroom and what you do not want to do. 2. Teaching is not a 9-5 job. Once the bell rings and the students leave, a good teacher stays and works on creating inventive lessons that will hold their interest. 3. Get as much experience with special needs students as possible. If you choose to teach in a public school system, every classroom has students with special educational needs. Learning about those needs early will help you significantly when you have students of your own ." (Tutor; 2010)


"Nothing Like First Hand Experience...
It is important to get experience in a classroom before you begin teaching. Many undergraduate classes teach you HOW to teach, and are important in learning the curriculum. But there is no replacement for being in an elementary classroom. I think I learned more about teaching in my first year of teaching than I did in all of my undergraduate classes combined. Also, be prepared to work hard. Even though the school day is over in the afternoon, there are many hours after school when you are still working." (Teacher; 2010)


"Patience. Flexibility And Passion...
1. Patience is a virtue. Just because a student doesn't understand a problem the same way you do, doesn't mean it can't be taught. You have to persevere and find the way they learn best. 2. Be willing to be flexible; changes in your schedule, changes in their schedule, and having to change the way you teach to reach all the children is always going to happen. 3. Love what you do. You have to love children and teaching; it's not as easy as it looks, but at the end of the day, you have to find the positive." (Teacher; 2010)


"Pithy Advice For Teachers...
Love children. Be organized. There is so much to be done at once. Remain calm. The crisis will pass and the next moment will be better." (Teacher; 2010)


"Practice Lesson Planning...
1. Because I chose elementary education, some assignments in college were not very challenging, but the childish activities do provide more of a realistic example of what I do daily. 2. Begin to practice developing lessons early, 'cause doing so will be a daily necessity. 3. Learn as much about instructional technologies as possible." (Elementary School Teacher; 2010)


"Read Kid's Books...
Reading is a key to success as a teacher. I would advise all new teachers to read as many children's books as possible. Acquaint yourselves with many, many children's authors. Be very familiar with all literature. You want to be organized too. Organization will save you a lot of time. Take the time to create files and keep them updated. And always be a good listener. Listen to your students and your fellow teachers too. Your students will let you know what is troubling them and then you will know what to do to help them. Your fellow teachers can often help you through their past experiences." (Teacher; 2010)


"Seek Out A Mentor...
Spend time in several classrooms to be sure that teaching is what you truly want to do. Teaching is not a job, it's a vocation. You will have to get your master's degree once you get your teaching certification. If possible, find a job first. You may be more marketable in this economy if you start at a lower pay scale. Find a mentor who has a compatible teaching style. Beginning teachers can feel overwhelmed and you will need support in your first year(s)." (Teacher; 2010)


"Smile...
1. Volunteer in schools to make sure this is really what you want to do. 2. Never stop learning, and even if your grades are not perfect, keep trying. It is your heart that matters. 3. The more you smile, the more kids like you. 4. The best grades in college do not make the best teacher. (But they do get you scholarship money.)" (Teacher; 2010)


"Special Ed Knowledge Helpful...
When pursuing a career in education you need to expose yourself as much as possible to working in actual classroom settings. Working face to face with children is where you can put theory into practice. A special education background would also be beneficial as the information would help a teacher to better meet the needs of all students. It would also enable teachers to differentiate learning to target different ability levels. Working closely with veteran teachers can also be helpful." (Teacher; 2010)


"Students Have Different Skills...
Get ready to be flexible. Try to network with colleagues for ideas and support. Be ready to deal with all sorts of students. Many children who are not academic stars excel in the arts." (Elementary Art Teacher; 2010)


"Take Early Classes In College...
1. Work hard in college. I learned so much from my professors who all had many years in the field of education. Read the required assignments and apply what you've learned when you have the opportunity to be in a classroom. 2. Take early morning classes. Regardless of whether or not you are a morning person, school starts by 8:30 and you have to be ready to go. Taking early classes prepares you for the real world. 3. Spend as much time as you can in classrooms and ask questions. The more classrooms you visit, the more you will know what you want yours to look like and be like. 4. Start collecting children's books. As an elementary school teacher, you need many books. You will often need to buy these yourself. Go to library sales or ask around; maybe you can find someone who is willing to donate them or give away books they aren't using any more." (Teacher; 2010)


"Take Substitute Training...
It would be a good idea to take a substitute training course at your local community college. This is a great way to discover what you may be expected to do during a work day. You can get ideas on activities to do if you have free time in class. It also teaches you the rules and regulations of your school system. Sometimes you can have the experience of teaching your classmates too." (Substitute Teacher/Stay At Home Parent; 2010)


"Take Your Job Seriously...
1. Take a course to prepare for substitute teaching. These are frequently available at community colleges. If there is not one specifically for substitute teaching, take a few basic courses on classroom management or behavior management in the classroom. 2. Be well prepared and enthusiastic and <I>always</I> follow the instructions that the teacher and the school provide. 3. Cultivate a strong work ethic and do your job well. This will help you build a good reputation with the schools and teachers so that you will be likely to get more calls for work." (Substitute Teacher; 2010)


"The Best Job - For The Right Person...
Teaching is a true art. It is not as easy as it looks. If you truly enjoy working with young children and you are skilled at teaching others, this is the best job there is! I have been teaching for about 22 years now and each year is new. I continue to take classes and to read up on all the new data for 21st century learning skills. No two classes are ever alike and each year has its own unique set of challenges." (Elementary Education Teacher- Grade 2; 2010)


"Treat Each Child As Your Own...
1. Learn from your peers. Why reinvent the wheel when your colleagues are full of ideas? 2. This job can be overwhelming. Remember why you chose this career and focus on that. 3. Treat each and every child as if he were your own. I thought I did this until I had my son. All parents love their children and they are sending you the best they have. Keep that in mind when you have a child who is driving you crazy!" (Teacher; 2010)


"Use Tried...
It is important to observe as many classrooms and teachers as possible. All of my best ideas have come from other teachers. Once you see an idea, you can then duplicate it or tweak it to fit your teaching style. Also make sure to document things because you will probably forget parts when you go to do it yourself. Lastly, make sure when you observe to keep an open mind and realize that teaching is harder than it looks, so try not to criticize. Not all teaching styles are the same, although they may be equally effective with the students." (Teacher; 2010)


"Volunteer Or Observe A Classroom...
I would suggest getting as much classroom experience as possible before entering this profession. The hands-on experience is most helpful when you're deciding whether or not teaching is the career for you. Schools are very welcoming to people who want to volunteer or students who want to observe a classroom. Taking courses is a wonderful way to start to learn about classroom management and how to develop lesson plans that will meet the needs of each student." (Elementary Class Teacher; 2010)


"Work Life Balance Important...
If you decide to go into teaching, find a mentor for those first couple of years. It can be a bit overwhelming. The second tip (which I am still working on) is trying to strike a balance between your professional and personal life. You bring so much work home, it is easy to let it consume you. Last, don't forget to laugh every day, and get enough rest and exercise to keep up with your students." (Teacher; 2010)


"Continuing Education...
1. Be patient. Remember you are working with elementary school students. 69% of them here are non-English speaking. 2. Get the training you need to do the job and continue with the training 'cause things change every day. New ways to teach are always being developed and you have to keep your certification and training up-to-date. 3. Love of children. You have to be able to relate to the child and show compassion and understanding." (Academic Interventionist; 2009)


"Develop Positive Parent Relationships...
Never stop learning and reading. Keep an open dialogue with staff and parents. You learn so much about why students behave in in certain ways by maintaining a positive relationship with parents. Never be afraid to speak your mind no matter how unpopular it may be. Stand up for your students." (Reading Teacher; 2009)