Teaching children offers so many rewards, it’s the ideal job for an adult of the right temperament. It’s obviously not a job that just anyone can do, and those who try without gaining the proper grounding will soon find out just how challenging it can be. But for all the tests that teaching will throw at you, it remains a job where, if things are going well, you’ll feel like you’re making a huge, important difference to dozens of lives.
Imparting knowledge is one part of teaching, and in reality the key part of the job. However, ask any educator and they’ll tell you that teaching is many jobs in one – not only do you teach, but you’ll find yourself mediating, counseling, fundraising, organizing and much more besides. And among these extra elements that a teaching job contains, one that’s increasingly important is that of guidance consultant. It’s not a job that you’ve applied for, but it is one that your role will put you in a position to carry out.
Teachers are present for the formative moments in a kid’s life
Most of us are capable of being perceptive and solving problems when the circumstances suit it, but a child in a classroom is a child who is facing a challenge. As adults, we are often guilty of thinking that kids don’t know what pressure is. That’s unfair – education by its nature places pressure on a child to learn and regurgitate information, and it hands out passing and failing grades. It is when they are under that kind of pressure that a young person will show their skills – and also put their vulnerabilities on display.
Teachers know what learning looks like – and what a learning difficulty is
Any child, of any background and any temperament, can experience a learning difficulty. Dyslexia, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and more besides can arise in any young person. While it may be diagnosed quicker in a smaller and more exclusive school, any teacher will be familiar with the signs of a learning difficulty, and sometimes a teacher in the Teach for America program can be of vital importance in spotting the signs in a gifted child. It’s easy to miss the signs of a learning difficulty when you don’t know what you’re looking for – but a teacher always will know.
Teachers recognize the importance of early intervention
It’s often posited that conditions like those mentioned above “didn’t exist” a few generations ago – that somehow the prevalence of such issues is a sign of the overmedicalization of personal characteristics. That, of course, is fundamentally untrue, and teachers have been pivotal in both recognizing where well-intentioned and intelligent children are facing frustrating obstacles, and in developing solutions to those obstacles. An early diagnosis of an issue such as ADHD can allow measures to be put in place to deal with it, and this can have life-changing results for a child.
Few jobs swing between challenge and reward quite as much as teaching does, and it’s something that can make the role stressful. But when you make a difference in the life of a child, there is nothing on earth that beats the feeling of accomplishment you will experience.