Teaching Tuesday: Reflection on if a Teaching Career is Right for Me

By Tracy Vasquez, Emily Farkas, Dusty Sanchez, and Marjaneh Gilpatrick, faculty

male teacher speaking to students

When you consider if teaching is the right career for your future, there are a few aspects of teaching we encourage you to consider. Teaching requires daily reflection on students, instruction and how you are influencing others in the community. Consider the questions below as you think about a career in education.

Do You Want to Influence Others and Inspire Change in the World?

Teachers who excel at their practice are consistently going out of their way to address student curiosity and their interests. For example, one Teacher of the Year applicant collected questions from her students on marine biology. She submitted the questions to a leading institute on marine life. The professionals from the institute then contacted the students and informed them about the areas of their interest. The students were inspired by seeking out answers to their questions. This allowed the teacher to have a holistic approach to learning and empowered students to find information when questions arise.

Are You Seeking to Make an Impact for Current and Future Generations?

When knowledge and skills are shared in the classroom, it can be likened to when a pebble is thrown in the water and ripples appear. For example, as a teacher you can seek out opportunities to help students learn about their communities. You can present pieces of information to them in the context of what they can process, while also challenging them to think critically about their influence in the world around them.

Are You Able to Adapt to Meet Daily Opportunities for Growth?

As teachers, you will have many different sources of feedback; administrators, coaches, families, students, colleagues, etc. We need to be able to welcome many different stakeholders to observe our classroom and provide us feedback on our teaching practices. Sometimes the feedback might not be what we expect. Consider the term “failing forward,” as covered in the book "Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes Into Stepping Stones for Success" by John C. Maxwell. When we embrace this concept, we use our experience as a stepping stone to nurture our growth mindset and to move forward.

According to author Robert Allen, “There is no failure, only feedback.”1

Are You Curious About Earning a Teaching Degree?

If your responses to the questions posed in this blog are “yes”, then, you may be fit to pursue a degree in teaching. The next question that you can ask is which population of students do you want to teach? Whichever teacher preparation program of study you choose, you will have the opportunity to observe, teach and interact with students from pre-K through 12th grade. Conducting your field experiences with these diverse populations will facilitate your decision on what age group you wish to educate.

For instance, you may love working with very young children. So, you could pursue a degree in early childhood education. You may find that you are attracted to working with students in the primary grades. So, you could major in elementary education. Whichever degree you choose, field experiences will provide you with the practical application of the knowledge and skills that you learn throughout your degree.

Want more? Check out all of the articles from Teaching Tuesday and return each week for a new post. To learn more about the College of Education and our degree programs, join in our efforts to elevate the education profession.

1Retrieved from W. Michael Scott- Thoughts of The Day, A spoon full of inspiration, in April 2014. 

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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