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Teaching 101

by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor

“So, what do you want to be when you grow up?”

The question has been haunting us since we were in kindergarten. At some point, we have to figure out what occupation we are going to have for the rest of our lives. Throughout our journey to finding out which job that might be, teachers are there to help us along the way.

Have you ever thought about having a career as a teacher? If so, you should know there is more to it than just having summers off.

Education is a huge part of becoming a teacher. The more you have, the more valuable you are, and the better your chances are in getting a job and making more money. The minimum amount of education needed is a high school diploma and a college degree, preferably in education.

The next step to becoming a teacher is to get a teacher certification. Most times, with your degree, there will be a series of tests you need to complete in order to receive your certification, such as the PRAXIS.

Other requirements vary upon where you live, but usually they include a period of student teaching, background checks, and fingerprinting.

After completing all the requirements and finally becoming certified to teach, you must decide which type of school you would like to teach at.

-Public school: A basic, state funded school, which requires more effort and training to work at, but includes more secure benefits and employment.

-At-risk school: Low income schools, which are perceived as more dangerous because most students are at risk of falling into a life of crime or hard drugs. Teaching at schools such as these can be more rewarding, but are also more challenging. Depending on what you chose to study, your student debt can be forgiven if you choose to work at one of these schools for a certain length of time.

-Private school: Schools run by churches or companies, which require a higher education to teach at, but also come with a higher salary, and students will generally be more behaved.

-College: Working at a university requires at least a Master’s degree, but oftentimes a PhD. The pay is better, but teachers have less resources available to them.

-Online school: If you avoided getting proper credentials, but you have a degree in the appropriate subject, you can teach for an online school. While you will be able to work from home and have a flexible schedule, you may not have security when it comes to employment and benefits.

-Private tutor: If teaching at an actual school is too challenging, you can join a tutoring center or work for yourself. While the pay is not as good, your hours will be flexible and you will be able to have more one-on-one contact with students.

To gain more insight on what it is actually like to be a teacher, I was able to get some questions answered by Mrs. Rebecca DeRollo and Mr. Scott Williams, two teachers from Colonia, New Jersey.

Mrs. DeRollo and Mr. Williams both got their first teaching jobs at Colonia High School: DeRollo, teaching psychology, in 2002; and Williams, teaching American history, in 2006.

When asked what drew her to teaching, DeRollo replied, “I always loved school and if I could be a professional student and get paid for it, that would be my career. I teach, not only because I love school, but also because I enjoy helping others, especially children. And of course I teach because of the wonderful vacation package!”

Williams responded with similar enthusiasm.

“Many of my family members have been involved in education, which was definitely an influence. I also always liked presenting when I was in school, so teaching just seemed like a natural extension of that,” he said.

What do they like most about the career?

“The best thing about being a teacher, for me, is when I witness the students becoming excited about something in class, whether it is an activity or a concept,” said DeRollo.

Williams focused more on diversity, saying, “Well, even though there are aspects that are pretty routine, I like the unpredictability that comes with each class.”

However, with every job, there are some challenges. The teachers had similar responses when asked about the more difficult parts of the job.

“The most challenging aspect is having unmotivated students in class. Also, all of the paperwork and extra duties, which take away from preparing for class,” said DeRollo.

Williams also admitted to having trouble with unenthusiastic students.

“The most challenging aspect is definitely trying to fight against student apathy,” he said.

Still wishing to be an educator in the future? The teachers gave some advice for students who want to pursue a career in teaching.

“My advice would be to always remain positive and not to pre-judge any students before you get to know them,” DeRollo said.

Williams also had some kind words.

“Be serious about your objective, which is to help students learn, but above all, just have fun!” he said.

Being a teacher is a rewarding experience because you are teaching the future leaders of America. One day, the students you taught will be grown up and using the knowledge you bestowed upon them to better the world.

Many students remember their favorite teachers and how they affected their lives very fondly. Some might even say their teachers shaped them into the person they are today.

“To this day, I still remember my favorite teachers from when I was younger. They helped me understand the things in school I was struggling with, and made me happy to get up and go to school every morning. Because of those teachers, I’ve decided that I want to become a teacher when I am older, and help kids like me,” said junior Corinne Franchette.

Whatever you decide to choose as an occupation when you are older, be sure to choose something you love to do, something you are passionate about and makes you happy to get up and go to work in the morning.

So, what do you want to be when you grow up?

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