The first thing you need to do to become a teacher? Don’t Panic! Ok, got your towel ready?1 Then, let’s proceed to the more nitty gritty details of becoming a teacher.
If you’ve done any research at all, then you know that the road to becoming at teacher usually starts in college. You also know that what degrees you need and what other requirements you have to meet vary from state to state. Not real helpful, huh? You just want the bottom line, right?
Well, the bottom line is that there are many ways to become a teacher that don’t involve tons of school. But…many of them don’t pay very much, or at all (in cold hard cash, anyway). So, if you want to get paid to be a teacher then put on your thinking cap because you’re going to be spending a lot of time in school as a student.
Maybe I’ve peaked you interest? Maybe I’ve got you worried again? Remember – don’t panic. You can get there.
Just as you must prepare lesson plans once you become a teacher, you must prepare a plan to get to being a teacher. This rest of this article will go into more details about that, as well as get back to those unpaid teaching jobs.
1. Before you look at colleges, accredidation programs, or the teaching requirements in your state, make sure that you really want to be a teacher. At one time, I really, really wanted to be a marine biologist. I wanted to follow in the footsteps of Jacques Cousteau. I kept the image of the wind in my hair and the waves under the boat in my mind as I tackled four years of undergraduate studies. The further I got in my studies, the fainter that vision become. By the time I walked across the stage to recieve my Bachelors Degree, I was done with school. Yet, if I wanted to become a marine biologist – there was at least 5 more years of school ahead of me. Because I learned that to get to where I invisioned myself going, I needed a PhD. Yikes!
While most states don’t require a PhD to be a teacher, many require a Masters. And, if you want to teach at the graduate level – gear up for that PhD. Many, many people become teachers every year, but they really, really want it. And that desire stays firm no matter what hardships come their way.
If you are sure that you really, really want to be a teacher, make sure that you keep your reasons in mind. For inspiration on why you may want to be a teacher, please check out (my previous article).
2. So, you know that you want to be a teacher. What next? The next step is not to go looking at colleges. The next step is to get some experience teaching to be sure if you even like it in practice.
I know that sounds like the old merry-go-round: you can’t get the job because you don’t have experience, but you can’t get experience without the job. That’s where those low or no paying jobs come in.
Look around and see where you can get a job teaching at the level you want. Think outside the box and you’ll find lots of ideas. Here are some to get you started:
- Sunday/Bible School
- Summer camp
- Cub/Boy Scounts
- Girl Scouts
- Volunteer at your children’s school
- Create a one day program for kids (or adults) through a club you belong to; anyone who considers themselves a novice would enjoy a well taught introduction. This could be a gun club, classic car club, book club, etc.
- Volunteer to help with programs at your local library.
- Check out volunteer programs at museums, zoos, aquariums, theme parks.
- Do you know an area particularly well? Could you give tours? That’s also a kind of teaching.
- Coach a sports team
Not only will doing one or more of these activities get you a taste of what teaching is like, you’ll also be able to practice your passion while you’re doing all the other things that you need to do to become a teacher. Some of the suggestions above are certainly not in a traditional classroom, yet they still give you practice with leading groups of people in a structured environment (even a day hike has a structure). Many also give you experience creating lesson plans, even if minimal.
Now that you know for sure that you want to be a teacher, you’ve got your reasons, and you have some experience (or will get some soon) it’s time to talk about actually becoming a teacher. For which you will need a teaching certificate. Read more about that in this article: How To Become A Teacher – Teacher Certification
- Reference to: The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy ↩