Inside Middle School Teacher Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"Teacher Training Should Focus More On Classroom Management...
In college, most of the time we spent preparing for our teaching careers was devoted to lesson planning. Turns out that in reality, having training related to managing the classroom would have been far more beneficial." (Substitute Teacher; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Early Childhood Education at Chatham University in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Attitudes Toward Teachers...
I was surprised how very low the salary of a teacher really is. Also, how much people hate on teachers for educating children like its extremely easy job that takes no effort at all." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: , currently based in Wisconsin, female
School: Studied Education at Cardinal Stritch University in Wisconsin; completed Certificate degree in 2008

"Finding A Job...
I was surprised at how difficult it has become for teachers to get a job in the industry. That the education department field has dropped significantly and jobs are now difficult to find." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied History at CSUN in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"Not All That It Is Cracked Up To Be...
I am surprised at how flooded the job market is with applicants. I feel totally misled by the school. I wish I had a more meaningful experience, as student teaching was really the only thing that was valuable, and I had to pay to work 60 hours for free, which was a big shock." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied History/ Education at University Of Northern Colorado in Colorado; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"The Reality Of Being A Teacher...
What surprised me the most about my profession is the reality of working as an art educator in a public school versus what is taught in college. Much of what I learned about my career--the important things such as classroom management and learning to work hands-on with kids--I actually learned in the classroom working." (Art Educator; 2014)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in Pennsylvania, male
School: Studied Art Education at Edinboro University Of Pennsylvania in Pennsylvania; completed Master degree in 2012

"Teaching At Middle School Level Rewarding...
I am surprised at home much I enjoy working with middle school students. I became a teacher so that I could work with the youngest students. It was my objective to help these student build a strong academic foundation to ensure greater success in school. While working with these young kids was fun and involved a lot of creative, I discovered that I actually prefer working with the middle school kids. It is fun to engage in discussions with them and to lead them in interesting and challenging projects. Helping them to develop the study skills and habits they will need for high school is very rewarding." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 30 years of experience, currently based in Maryland, female
School: Studied Early Childhood Education (Preschool - 8th Grade) at University Of Michigan in Michigan; completed Bachelor degree in 1981

"Long Work Hours And Lack Of Appreciation...
Most people are surprised to learn how many unpaid hours they must dedicate in order to be considered a good teacher. I was also surprised about how much other people seem not to care about my job or how much my students actually learn; it's more about whether or not they pass and continue to the next grade, whether they have the appropriate knowledge or not." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Oklahoma, female
School: Studied Education at UC Berkeley in California; completed Master degree in 2012

"Students Love Success...
I was surprised at how well students can do when pushed to succeed. If you have high expectations in education, your students will rise to the occasion and blow you away. Teaching keeps you very busy but it is very rewarding." (Educator; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Texas, female
School: Studied Spanish at Sam Houston State University in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Hard To Believe That Students Do Not Care About Their Learning...
The majority of students and parents do not care, when it comes to learning and grades. Students feel that they are entitled to grades, instead of working for them. We are evaluated on test scores, but the majority of students do care about doing well on standardized testing." (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 9 years of experience, currently based in West Virginia, female
School: Studied Community Counseling at Marshall University Graduate College in West Virginia; completed Master degree in 2004

"Teaching Is A Rewarding Career...
My job is highly rewarding in the sense that I shape the minds of the people of tomorrow." (Music Educator; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Tennessee, male
School: Studied Music Education at Austin Peay State University in Tennessee; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"Teachers Are Not Valued By Society...
I was surprised at how many times the same ideas for educating students come and go. It seems like a pendulum that swings one way then the other. I was extremely surprised at how many people do not respect teachers and even to some extent resent them." (Middle School Teacher; 2013)

Career: , currently based in Wisconsin, female
School: Studied Elementary Education at UW-Whitewater in Wisconsin in 1993

"Wearing Many Hats...
I'm surprised at how attached you become to a class/group of students and how invested you become in their complete success in class and out. You are at their games, competitions, rallies, bee's, awards dinners, confirmations, etc. I'm also surprised at how much money I spend out of my own personal budget to supply the classroom with necessary supplies, toiletries, and rewards/treats about $50 a month!" (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 8 years of experience, female
School: Studied Curriculum & Instruction at Concordia University in Wisconsin; completed Master degree in 2008

"First Hand Experience Is The Best Teacher...
I was surprised when most of the classes I took for my music license turned out to be next to useless. Colleges try to teach best practice, but there is no such thing. There is no one way to teach. You must be adaptive in the field and ready to improvise on the spot. All lesson plans can be differentiated for different types of learners." (Music Education K-12; 2014)

Career: 4 years of experience, female
School: at Johnson State College in Vermont; completed Certificate degree in 2012

"Stepping Stone...
I still have yet to enter my desired profession, and am saving to get my masters to be a professor. This is a stepping stone job, not profession. I am surprised at how I am able to be seen as a leader and have acquired skills through it." (Restaurant Host And Substitute Teacher; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Louisiana, male
School: Studied General Studies at Nicholls State University in Louisiana; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Teachers Work A Lot...
I was surprised by the amount of work that I have to put in outside of school. I work, on average, multiple hours at home each night." (Math Teacher; 2014)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied Mathematics at The Ohio State University in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"Teachers Need Education Too...
Many people may be surprised to know the amount of training that is required for teachers once we obtain our initial degrees. We are required by the state to not only have a certain amount of hours put in every five years for training, but also to obtain a secondary degree (a residency degree, if you will) two years after the first. In my case, since I am a long time veteran, I decided to take the option of obtaining National Board Certification. This means I now have a Bachelor of the Arts degree, my initial and continuing teaching certification, a Masters Degree in Educational Administration, and National Board Certification. This amount of education is not uncommon in our field." (Math/Algebra Teacher; 2013)

Career: 22 years of experience, currently based in Washington, male
School: Studied Educational Administration at Central Washington University in Washington; completed Master degree in 2005

"Be Prepared To Use Plenty Of Reading And Writing...
I was surprised that many campuses would look at music, not as a subject that can stand alone, but as a way to advance other core areas. Students are expected to write daily and teachers are expected to assess. Music students that could excel in a music class if all they were required to do was sing/play, struggle because reading and writing is mandatory in order to justify having the arts in the school system." (Director Of Vocal Music; 2014)

Career: 21 years of experience, currently based in Missouri, female
School: Studied Music Education at Missouri State University in Missouri; completed Bachelor degree in 1991

"Ongoing Changes In The Work Environment...
I was most surprised about the flexibility I would need as a teacher. You have to be open-minded to changes, and resilient, or it will be hard to prosper in this type of career. Changes are made daily, and you are expected to bounce back quickly from the," (Teacher; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in North Carolina, female
School: Studied English/Education at East Carolina University in North Carolina; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"Kids Wanting To Learn...
I was surprised by the reception by inner-city kids that want to learn. Normal views on this is that they are hard to reach and don't really want to learn." (Educator; 2014)

Career: , currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Education at University Of North Texas in Texas in 2012

"Not Everyone Cares...
The most surprising part about being a teacher is understanding that not all parents cared nearly as much as mine did. Making phone calls home and hearing that parents do not care at all about the progress of their child at school can be quite daunting at first, but you quickly come to feel numb to these parents and try your best to care for the kids." (Educator; 2013)

Career: 7 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied English at University Of Miami in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2007

"Administration Really Matters...
I think many people would be surprised to know that having a successful job in education is terribly dependent on the administration where you work, more so than the kids or parents. If your admin is not supportive, you will find your under-resourced and without the aid you need to manage a top-level classroom." (Teacher; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied Education at PACE University in New York; completed Master degree in 2005

"Theory And Practice Differ...
From what I've learned in my Education classes on how to effectively teach and tutor a subject, I've found it to be a whole different experience when actually being out on the field and working. The things you learn in school can certainly help guide you, however the bulk of what you need to learn is synonymous with learning how to swim by being thrown into the deep end of a pool. My first day tutoring/teaching was just that, I was paired with a student who was operating on a much lower reading level than I expected and that was already a challenge!" (Supplemental Education Services Provider; 2013)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in California, male
School: Studied English And Education at University Of The Pacific in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"I've been surprised at the amount of paperwork required of the job. Teachers have to fill out numerous forms pertaining to state exams and district matters." (Middle School Teacher; 2013)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Texas, male
School: Studied I Majored In Geography And Computer Science. at I Attended WTAMU. in Texas; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

"The fact that education has changed so much over the years. I expected the increase in technology (smart boards, etc), but I did not expect the complete lack of respect that students now have for teachers. In my time, I it was expected that students listened to the teacher, did what was asked of them, had manners, and that was it. The worst thing we would get in trouble for would be not doing homework or talking with our neighbor. NOW? Kids can get away with anything in school-- the parents now don't trust the teachers and believe their children. If a kid says, "I didn't curse or give the middle finger" then the parent believes them. This leads to major issues because the kids know they can get away with anything. The lack of support from administration also surprised me. Again, "back in the day" my teachers would merely mention "Principal" and everything froze. NOW? Kids will walk right into the principal's office and tell her exactly what is on their mind, whether it is right or wrong. Kids get a free pass on negative behavior now!" (Middle School Teacher; 2013)

Career: 4 years of experience, currently based in New Jersey, female
School: Studied K-12 Education, Specialization In English at Centenary College in New Jersey; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"Teaching student is now almost secondary to all the paperwork and accountability that goes into this profession. I was also surprised to see how much politics influences a child's education and what can be taught. Also, the amount of academic freedom that a teacher has is very limited. If you go into this field expect lots of "busywork" outside of the classroom." (Middle School Science Teacher; 2013)

Career: 8 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Social Work at University Of Central Florida in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 1996

I am surprised how kids are disrespectful these days. When I was in school that would never fly. This generation needs to be taken back to the basics and learn them first." (Teaching; 2012)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Nebraska, male
School: Studied Education at Peru State College in Nebraska; completed Certificate degree in 2005

"Teachers Get Blame...
I am surprised at how little support I get from parents of students. When I was young, if I did wrong or poorly, my parents blamed me. Now the teacher or school gets blamed." (Teacher; 2012)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Florida, male
School: Studied Secondary Education at Berean Baptist College in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2004

"I was surprised to find out that being a teacher requires a tremendous amount of patience. The one thing college does not teach you about this career is how difficult it can be to deal with certain students." (Teacher; 2012)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in New York, female
School: Studied Childhood Education (Grades 1-6) at Brooklyn College in New York; completed Bachelor degree in 2010

"I was surprised to realize I'd need to know so much more than just my lesson plans. I teach math, and I am constantly surprised at the questions they ask me about that require information about other subjects (geography, science, etc...) It has really kept me on my toes!" (Middle School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, female
School: Studied Education at Western Connecticut State University in Connecticut; completed Master degree in 2003

"Teachers do not receive the same type of community support that was prevalent years ago. Now it seems as if we are accountable to parent's whims and wishes. The students do not want to do the required work to obtain a satisfactory grade, so the parents are always asking for special favors to improve their child's grade." (Math Teacher; 2012)

Career: 20 years of experience, currently based in Florida, female
School: Studied Special Education And Math 5-9 at USF in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 1992

"What has surprised me most about my profession is how much I have grown to love the kids that I teach. Middle school is a tough time for most kids. They are all changing and discovering their real personalities. It is great to be able to guide them in the right direction." (Middle School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 1 years of experience, currently based in Virginia, female
School: Studied Secondary Education at Florida State University in Florida; completed Bachelor degree in 2012

"When I started teaching, I was surprised at how much time I spent managing student behavior, rather than teaching content. I feel as though a good portion of my day is spent teaching basic social skills instead of about the ancient Egyptians or how to write poetry. This was an aspect of the job that I felt I was not prepared for." (Middle School Teacher; 2012)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in New Hampshire, female
School: Studied Geography at University Of New Hampshire in New Hampshire; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Teacher: "The best part of this job is working with kids. Students in seventh grade are anywhere from 12 to 13 years old. I love getting to know their personalities and getting them excited about science. This is only their second year of a formal science class. I want them to like coming to class but at the same time I expect students to perform and focus in class. I enjoy the challenge of it all. The only down side is the amount of time it takes to correct school work. I have to be careful that it does not consume me." (2011)

Elementary School Teacher: "The best parts of my career are the students. There is nothing like seeing the light in a student's eyes when she gets what I have been teaching. I know that I am making an impact, and it is awesome! The worst part of my career are the parents. I have my own children, so when I see a parent acting in a manner that I don't like, it is hard to be diplomatic towards them, even though I have to be. Sometimes the way that parents treat their children breaks my heart." (2011)

Public Middle School Teacher: "There are far more satisfying moments in my teaching job than there are bad moments. Perhaps my biggest reward at the end of my working day is to know my students have actually learned something constructive. They can use their newfound knowledge in the future. My aim is to encourage every student equally, not just the bright and studious students. The slower and less articulate students hold my attention just as much and I feel equally blessed for what I learn from them. I stay available to individual problems and find constructive solutions on an ethical ground." (2011)

Junior High Teacher: "The best part of this job is that I know I am making a positive difference in young people's lives. I get to encourage and support a range of students in academics and non-academic areas. I feel privileged to be a sounding board for kids who have no one else to turn to. The worst part of the job is getting used to all the paperwork and follow up required to keep a class on task and on target. The paperwork is not insurmountable, but it requires a certain level of organization." (2011)

Middle School Teacher: "The best part of my job is getting the chance to work with kids. I love the opportunity to personally invest in kids and to teach character as well as traditional content. I also love the greater sense of purpose that working in the field of education brings. I would say that the worst part of my job is dealing with the "politics" and some of the unnecessary administrative things such as standardized tests and state-implemented standards." (2011)

Teacher: "The best part of my job are the connections I make with the students. Like the look in their eyes when a students learns something for the first time or shows an expression on their face that shows they are excited about history just as much as I am. I love when students work and interact with other students they may normally not even acknowledge in the hallway. The worst part of my job are the duties in the school, grading and parents who are looking to attack you at any opportunity." (2011)

Teacher: "The best part of my job is interacting with students. They are very fun and enjoyable in this age group (most of mine are eleven). They are still very excited about school in general and like to have fun with their teachers. They like to joke around or tell you about their lives. When they learn something and it makes sense of them, I get a great feeling of accomplishment. The worst part of my job is accounting to their parents. Parents in my district are very involved in their children's lives and often question my decisions. Although I try to make the best and fairest decisions I can, I am often criticized by parents. It is very frustrating to be attacked like this on a regular basis. Teachers around here are probably held in even lower esteem than the weather man." (2010)

Special Education Teacher: "The best part of my job is the students. I enjoy seeing them mature and make progress. I generally work with students for a few years, so I really get to know them very well. This year I began working in the elementary school and it is great fun to watch the 'little ones' in the halls and at lunch. They are so talkative and innocent. I enjoy being with many of the dedicated professionals I work with. They all love the students and each one is important to them. At lunch they'll talk about them and share funny stories, never seeming to tire of them. I have had many great parents to work with also. They truly appreciate the time and effort you put into working with their children. The most rewarding yearly event is the Special Olympics. Some of the most shy and unmotivated athletes become outgoing and energetic and they are all winners, which is the best part. The worst part of the job is the politics and sometimes the back stabbing of people who are supposed to be supportive and understand the effort that we all put in. It seems to come down to the fact that the economy is bad and the budget is tight. Good people are let go and under-appreciated. I also see a lot of wasteful spending and no economizing. They hire maintenance staff when they should have a training program for students with limited career opportunities. They have ex-teachers running things and the buildings are poorly maintained also." (2010)

Teacher: "The best part of my job is the daily interaction with kids and building relationships with them. It is very rewarding to see former students who have grown up and become successful. The worst part is not being able to help every one. Some kids have too much other stuff -- family issues, mostly -- that keeps them from concentrating on their school work the way they ought to." (2010)

English And Reading Teacher: "The most rewarding part of teaching is the kids. Watching students grow throughout the school year is amazing. Making connections with them beyond the classroom provides a sense of safety and security for these young adolescents. The look on their faces when something finally "clicks" is enough to feed any teacher's ego. Another part of the job that is wonderful are the friendships you make over the years, to know every day that when you enter the school building, you enter the house of your "other" family. A supportive, caring environment is a very important factor in choosing a job. The worst part of the job is time management. You can have the best-laid plans but when the bell rings you are done for the day. If there was a better way to balance and manage time in our profession, it certainly would create a less stressful atmosphere." (2010)

Teacher: "The satisfaction I get from teaching is immeasurable. I love the interaction with my children and it delights me that they can't wait to see me every day. I especially love to see a student who thought he or she was not capable of achieving, accomplishing work he thought beyond himself. I love to see students forming relationships with others they thought were not like them; sometimes this happens when they work together on group projects, and they realize that someone they thought they knew has a gift or talent that they themselves lack. In middle school, a teacher often sees that unlikely relationships can flourish when the students begin to appreciate the differences between themselves and others, rather than let the differences separate them." (2010)

Educator: "The best part of the job is collaborating with students. Watching them grow as young men and women and helping them to learn about the field of instruction that I teach is inspiring to me. The worst parts are having to deal with the myriads of state requirements and the paperwork, and then having to undertake the professional development course work (that provides little or no benefit to me or my program) and also having to deal with unmotivated students who take time away from those who want to learn." (2010)

English Teacher: "The best part of the job is seeing students develop into young adults before my eyes...and seeing their faces when they finally understand something. The worst part is dealing with people who don't teach and aren't in a classroom who try to tell us what we can and can't do... and not having access to our own printers and photocopiers." (2010)

Instrumental Music Teacher: "The best part of my job is working with such interesting students; each day is an adventure. The students challenge me every day to find new ways to explain concepts lucidly. They are able to find joy in things that I would never expect, such as learning to play fun songs or new notes. I enjoy traveling to different schools every day, but the worst part of my job is that I always have to teach in a "found" space such as a gymnasium, library, closet or hallway." (2010)

Teacher: "The best part of my job is that I am surrounded by young people. This gives me hope for the future as I get to know each one individually. Another part of the job that appeals to me is seeing students outside of school. They give me big hugs, and I often receive invitations to graduations, birthdays, and other events. The worst part of my job is going into classrooms with "bad" teachers who don't give the kids engaging work. I feel like the kids' time and future is being wasted." (2009)

Career Background

Middle-School Teacher

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Making Teaching Work...
Be prepared to work at motivating students. Be ready to CYA, document Be ready to defend policies that you do not feel is appropriate." (Teacher; 2014)

"Before Becoming A Teacher...
You should take every opportunity that you can to work with kids. You can be a camp counselor, volunteer at a school, or do some other similar work." (Math Teacher; 2014)

Do not expect your career right out of college." (Restaurant Host And Substitute Teacher; 2014)

"Be Yourself...
It is important to be yourself while trying to reach out and teach children. They really enjoy a teacher with a personality." (Educator; 2014)

"Prepare And Survive...
Be prepared to be swamped your first year, but it is so worth it later on. You will put in your dues and it will pay off tenfold the next year." (Educator; 2014)

"Teaching Certification...
If you are going to be a teacher make sure you get a certification that is very specific, like a reading certificate so you can be a reading specialist. Do not get a general teaching certificate they are becoming less, and less valued." (Teacher; 2014)

"Remember Why You Came And Think On Your Feet...
If you want to be a successful teacher, go into it knowing it's a vast trial and error process. No matter how prepared you think you are, it's pretty much a guarantee that it will be different. Always be prepared to think on your feet, in the classroom and out. Keep your passion alive, lest you forget why you started teaching in the first place." (Teacher; 2014)

"Seek Learning Opportunities Beyond What Is Taught In College...
Work hard and learn what you can in college. However, to be really successful, be open to learning from other professionals, read articles and books, stay up-to-date with trends in the field and subject area, and seek out opportunities to work with children to ensure that education is your calling. Additionally, network with other teachers while substitute teaching." (Art Educator; 2014)

"Get Ready To Make New Friends...
If you want the students to respect you and buy into what you teach then you must respect them and buy into what interests them as well. Make friends with local business as when you partner with them they not only serve as real world role models (maybe even mentors) but they also have access to good stuff i.e. office supplies, trinkets, toiletries, snacks, and additional funds/contacts." (Teacher; 2014)

"Be Open-Minded In Your Responsibilities...
One tip I would offer to prospective teachers is that you need to go in with an open-mind. Children are diverse in their experiences, and you have to be willing to adjust to all types of learning styles." (Teacher; 2014)

"Be Prepared To Include Other Disciplines In Your Music Class...
Be prepared to make sure your class included a wide variety of supplemental activities that will help students succeed in Language Arts and Math. The arts no longer exist on their own, and must supplement core classes." (Director Of Vocal Music; 2014)

"Gain Job Experience And Perspective, Substitute Teach...
If you want to be successful in education, substitute teach first. By actually doing the job of a teacher you will have a better feel if this is the right career path for you. Also you will learn more by doing the job than just reading about it. Also substitute teaching is a great place to form connections and gain valuable experience." (Music Education K-12; 2014)

"Social Connections Is Key...
Make sure you have connections with teachers in school you want to work so that they can recommend you. Its who you know rather than your knowledge that is key to get a job in the field." (Teacher; 2013)

"Respect The Parent's Knowledge Of The Child...
Appreciate the wisdom and knowledge of the parents - from my experience, teacher preparation programs give the idea that teachers know more than the parent which is ridiculous because the parent has been with that child all of his/her life and has seen her/him in more environment then just school. Expect great behaviors from your students - they will rise to the occasion if you treat them with respect and allow them to make decisions, when possible, about how lessons should be presented and explored." (Teacher; 2013)

"Be Ready To Be Busy...
If your heart is in teaching, be ready to commit many hours at the start of your career to the additional training you will need. Therefore, I'd really suggest that if at all possible, put family commitments aside. If you can wait a year or two, do so before getting married or starting a family. Life will be intensely busy for a couple of years, but then you will have the hang of it and better able to handle more commitments." (Math/Algebra Teacher; 2013)

"Visit Classrooms Prior To Seeking Degree In Education...
Get into a classroom as early as you can, even before going to college. That way, you'll have a sense of your responsibilities and the work environment you will have to work in. Schools are often looking for volunteers, which is a way to get your foot in the door." (Substitute Teacher; 2013)

"Influence And Patience...
You should look forward to being an influential person. You also need to have a lot of patience." (Music Educator; 2013)

"How To Be Successful In The Education Field...
If you want to be successful, I would highly suggest getting involved in technology and how it could be used in the classroom setting. Honestly, today's climate in education is somewhat tenuous. I would seriously consider other alternatives because the teaching environment is very competitive and adversarial." (Middle School Teacher; 2013)

"So You Want To Become A Teacher, Huh...
Be prepared to deal with a lot of meaningless paperwork and pointless meetings with administration that will throw you under the bus to save their jobs." (Teacher; 2013)

"Be Friendly, Not Friends...
If you want to be a successful teacher, understand that students have plenty of friends and do not need their teacher to be their best friend. While being friendly is of course great, being friends leads to more problems than it solves." (Educator; 2013)

"Ask Your Interviewer These Tough Questions...
If you want to be happy as a teacher, you need to ask a lot of questions at your interview, and not just about your job. Ask how they handle troubled students, how they mediate issues between teachers and parents, and why there is an opening at the school. If they can't give good answers move on and don't accept that job." (Teacher; 2013)

"Demanding But Rewarding...
Teaching is a very rewarding career, however, you must be aware of several things. First of all, your job does not end when the bell rings. You are expected to attend departmental and building meetings, correct papers, create lesson plans and prepare your materials. This takes a lot more time than most would realize. Second, teacher's pay is not very high, therefore you have to examine your lifestyle and what you really want. However, it is a rewarding and enjoyable job." (Teacher; 2011)

"How To Land A Teaching Job...
1. Get as many endorsements as you can if you plan to teach in Middle Schools. The market is tough out there, so be the best applicant they get by being the most qualified and diversified. 2. Ask to student teach in a district in which you aren't known. This broadens your scope of contacts, which you will need when you look for a job. 3. When you interview, be sure to bring in examples of lesson plans and ideas that you would use with your class. Principals hate it when you come in empty handed. 4. If you don't land a job right away, sub or work as an aide. It gets your foot in the door and helps you show your skills before they have an opening you want." (Elementary School Teacher; 2011)

"Kids Learn Better With Visual Aids...
Teaching is a noble profession, but it also requires a real love for children. Knowing your subject well is crucial, but it must be taught in a way that children can understand. Don't steam ahead just because you have to complete a quota. Many children fall between the cracks when teachers teach this way. Create as many visual aids as you can, no matter what the subject. They hold the students' attention longer and they gain more from something tangible." (Public Middle School Teacher; 2011)

"Stick With It For At Least 3 Years...
My first piece of advice for anyone thinking about joining the teacher community is to make sure you take any and all classes that deal with "class control" and "class management." This is an often overlooked area and it is critical to new teachers to have a game plan for class management. Another piece of advice I would offer is to talk to teachers in the grades and school systems that you think you are interested in teaching. My last piece of advice is to enter this field with a firm commitment to stay at least 3 years. Any less than that may give you a false sense of frustration or a sense of being overwhelmed. You need a few years to get yourself settle in the school system and get comfortable with you curriculum." (Junior High Teacher; 2011)

"Take Jobs That Give You Teaching Experience...
If someone wants to go into the field of education, I would first suggest that they decide what specific area that they want to teach. I fell in love with literature and writing in high school, so that part was easy for me. Second, I would suggest spending as much time in any "teaching type settings" as possible - whether it be working as a camp counselor, tutoring, babysitting, etc. I would also suggest that they start to realize that while teachers don't make huge amount of money, they get the chance to impact the lives of children every day and are serving the greater purpose of educating the world." (Middle School Teacher; 2011)

"Use Subbing As A Learning Tool...
1. I would suggest spending time substitute teaching. The pay is low and the job is tough but you will learn classroom management skills prior to getting a job and having your own classroom. 2. Use the opportunity as a substitute teacher to determine what grade level you would like to teach. I went into teaching hoping to teach HS until I was a substitute and realized I loved middle school. 3. Be prepared to work more hours than you will ever be paid for and weekends may be included. There will be days you are "caught up" on all your work and days you are overloaded with correcting. You will survive. 3." (Teacher; 2011)

"80% Organization...
Get as much experience as you can in the field. Between observations, volunteering, substituting and your student teaching, it will only make your chances of getting a job that much better. Use all the resources you can in college to help you. Use the career center, your professors (most used to be teachers), your advisor, etc. They can help find you a place that will fit you. Get yourself organized. Teaching is 80% about organization. If you are not organized, you will feel like you are drowning, so find a simple system to take in all the information you get each day and process it so you know what you have to do for the rest of the week." (Teacher; 2010)

"Consider A College With A Lab School...
I felt that I learned a lot more by going to a college that had a lab school. We had the opportunity to learn something and then see it in action and then practice it ourselves. When I went to get my masters degree, we never saw a student. I also find going to seminars and trainings in specific areas that I will be teaching to be useful. It is not the most profitable career, but it is rewarding and has a lot of variety." (Special Education Teacher; 2010)

"Don't Do It For Summer Vacation...
1. Do not go into teaching because you want the summers off. The ten months you do work are insanely busy. 2. Get as much experience as you can being in charge of kids. 3. If your first year teaching is hard, stick it out anyway. Year two is usually when most people really get the hang of things." (Teacher; 2010)

"Dress Appropriately...
It may seem a bit old-fashioned but it is very important to look professional in the school building. Dress appropriately and maintain a healthy grooming regiment. Get into a classroom to observe or help out as often as possible. Major in a subject area and minor in education. And finally, take additional course work in areas such as Special Education, English Language Learning, and Technology." (English And Reading Teacher; 2010)

"It's OK Not To Know It All...
1. You must have an affinity for young people. 2. You'll need to be flexible; you'll meet with, converse with, disagree with, and learn from your students, their parents, your fellow staff, and your administration every day. 3. Don't assume you know everything. Teachers are in a learning environment and often when working things out in the classroom, you'll learn plenty, if your mind is open and you don't have to be right." (Teacher; 2010)

"Make Your Career Happen...
Decide what you want to do in life and set a course toward your goal. Have a plan. Don't wait for things to happen. MAKE them happen! If you think you would like to become a teacher, first volunteer your time to see if working with children is something you will want to do for the rest of your career. If having summers off is your primary motivation, then you're making the wrong choice." (Educator; 2010)

"Respect All School Employees...
You can only learn to teach by teaching at a school...not in a college classroom. Make sure that you learn how to use rubrics and how to grade. They're important. While you're new to teaching be humble about what you know and absorb what veteran teachers have to tell you. Remember that you should be nice to every person who works in your building. The custodian and the office staff are just as important as you are. They keep the building clean and running and if they don't do a good job, you won't be able to either. In any job you should treat all employees with respect. All are valuable or they would not be there." (English Teacher; 2010)

"Seek Out Help From Peers...
As a college student, practice your primary instrument as often as possible. Take as many courses as you can, especially courses that feature music technology. Also as a student, take any opportunity to observe other teachers in your field. When you find your way into the workforce, take private lessons on the instruments that you are less comfortable with and converse with your peers about different teaching strategies, lesson ideas, and classroom management ideas as often as you possibly can." (Instrumental Music Teacher; 2010)

"Don't Limit Yourself To An Age Or Social Class...
I recommend working with young people in after-school settings, camps, or any other venue. It will give you ideas about discipline and engaging activities. Also, visit as many classrooms as you can. Do not limit yourself to the grade level you intend to teach. I've taught all ages, from pre-K to college and have learned from each level. Plus, don't limit yourself by saying you'll only work with one social class. For example, I've taught high-income students and impoverished and have enjoyed both." (Teacher; 2009)