If you’re starting out in your education career, or just paving your way down the path to becoming an educator in the future, it honestly can feel a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of mental hurdles to get through, on top of all of the learning you yourself will have to do before you even step foot in a classroom as a teacher. With that said, it is a pleasurable and very rewarding line of work that will always leave you feeling fulfilled. Here we’ll outline 5 things that you should have as a teacher, ranging from the tangible materials to the intangible qualities.
- Proper Qualifications
You may think that to become a teacher you’ll simply need to have finished schooling in an education program and earn your Education degree. That is not always the case, and more often than not you’ll find yourself having to take specialized tests and programs that vary from country to country, state to state. For example, in Oklahoma state, after finishing your schooling you will need to receive certifications in education, which come in the form of passed tests, namely the OGET, OSAT, and OPTE. In the UK, you might need a PGCE once you’ve finished your subject degree.
So, after you’re done with your schooling, be prepared for these tests and study hard and remain focussed on getting those certifications, as they solidify your capabilities to teach.
- The Right Mindset
At surface level, becoming an educator may sound simple, because you are just teaching young and maturing students for much of the day, but in reality there is a lot more that goes into it. You will need to have the mental fortitude to not only withstand being ‘on’ throughout the school day and ready to be the helping hand and guide for hundreds of students, but also the commute to school, waking up in the wee hours of the day to arrive well on time, crafting and building a plan and tests for your courses, and of course grading and revising these plans and tests as new ideas and requirements arise. It is more than just the hours on the clock, but all the time between them that gets filled with being fully prepared for those 8 hours as best as you can.
- Professional Attire
A lot of other professions have the luxury of wearing more or less what they want, whichever is comfortable. When you are an educator, you can wear things you pick and it is up to your discretion, but it always has to be something on the professional side. You are in many ways a role model to your students, and one of the best tidbits to impart onto them is the idea of class and professionalism – something that is evident in what one chooses to wear.
With that said, one part of your attire that can err on the side of casual is footwear. You’re going to be on your feet all day, and you definitely need shoes that hold up and don’t make your feet ache. Ideally, you can find a pair of sleek teaching shoes that will still manage to look appropriate.
- Creating Unforgettable Experiences & Moments
On top of being strong enough to go through with all the hard work it takes to become an educator, coming up with lesson plans and tests will also test your creativity. The goal of a teacher is more than just having your students be able to recite facts, or grasp concepts, but also provide them with meaningful outlooks on life as a whole, as well as unforgettable learning experiences that are both engaging and productive. This is a difficult balance to strike, and it varies by discipline as much as it does by student body (i.e. what would my students react best to?). Teaching can most definitely be considered an artform in the way you have to be able to make information easily palatable but also fun and exciting, to inspire the students as well.
- Organization Skills & A Tidy Classroom
The final quality an educator should have is unrivalled organizational skills. Your classroom is your domain. When you start out, you’d be lucky to have a room that wasn’t already chock full of binders, resources and everything else under the sun. You should personalize this space in a way that makes it most effective for you to teach. Knowing where everything is, having a tidy and organized space will help you become a lot more productive and encourage the same from your students. If you aren’t so lucky and get a hand-me-down, one of the first things you should do is completely purge the area and reorganize it into a space you can more comfortably use to teach at full capacity.
Again, teaching is an incredibly rewarding line of work that cannot be easily compared. The joy you will feel makes up for all the long hours of toiling away to craft the perfect teaching environment and courses. You are a pillar of knowledge, a beacon that shines into your students, promoting inquisitiveness, inspiring them to do great things and follow their own passions in life. These 5 major aspects are all incredibly important for you to become the best possible educator you can be, so don’t skimp out on any of them!