10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Going Into Teaching–Part 2

There are so many things that come up in teaching that you quickly realize are the norm. Student teachers aren’t aware of all the routine tasks that need to be done on a daily basis. I’m not trying to discourage anyone from becoming a teacher, because it can be a rewarding and fulfilling profession. I just want to provide my views in order for people to make an educated decision if they want to continue their studies in the teaching profession. If you missed Part 1, just click on the link: https://teachingmylittles.com/10-things-i-wish-id-known-before-going-into-teaching-part-1/. Now, for Part 2, here are 5 more things I wish I’d known before going into teaching:

Monica Sedra on Unsplash
  • Spending Your Own Money–Schools will provide you with basic supplies to set up your classroom, but you’ll have to be very creative if you want it to look really cute. Most likely, you’ll need to spend your own money to decorate the bulletin boards and walls in the classroom. I’ve spent money on fabric for bulletin boards, books, pencil containers, decorations for the door, games, trays, etc. The Dollar Tree is a great place to find cute things that won’t hurt your wallet, and Scholastic has deals on $1 books.
by Bored Teachers
  • You Will Wear Many Hats–Depending on where you teach, you will find that you are going to be doing more than just teaching. You’ll be a parent, a counselor, a nurse, a social worker, a janitor, a role model, and so much more! There will be times when students will call you “mom”. Take it as a compliment, because that means they really trust and care about you. You’ll give out plenty of Band-aids for little scrapes, and you’ll need to determine what constitutes a trip to the nurse’s office. Although schools have janitors, I’ve always felt the need to tidy up my room before leaving for the day. So, I’d sweep and wipe down the desks to have a clean room ready for the following day.
Katie Harp on Unsplash
  • Teaching Doesn’t Pay Enough–If you want to make good money, teaching is not going to get you rich. I’ve heard of teachers having to get second jobs to make a living, but I think that sticking to a budget might help. I never had a problem with my salary, but I was always looking for opportunities to sign up for assignments or trainings that would pay a stipend. You can always sign up for summer school or intervention to make extra money. Some professional development classes will offer you a stipend that will be paid on your school paycheck. Check with your district to see how you can go up the pay scale. The sooner you finish the required classes, the faster you gain credits to inch your way up the pay scale. I maxed out quick and was getting the highest pay possible.
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  • Little to No Autonomy In Teaching–When it comes to teaching, teachers will need to teach the curriculum provided by the school and teach it at the time stated on your daily schedule. Art and music will be taught sparingly, if at all. It really depends on your principal and the school climate. Some schools are all about academics and test scores, while others may give you some autonomy to teach and engage your students to meet their needs in creative ways. I’ve experienced both, and it really comes down to being able to provide your students with fun and engaging ways to learn while you’re teaching them based on the standards that are developmentally appropriate for them.
  • The Grade You Teach in Not Guaranteed–Don’t fall in love with a grade level! I’ve taught Kinder to 3rd, but I found my passion in TK (Transitional Kindergarten). After teaching Kinder for a few years, I was offered the TK position and just loved it. It was a lot to learn, but I really found joy in teaching this grade level. The problem comes every year during the Matrix. Based on seniority and enrollment, teachers that have the highest seniority get first pick on the grade they want. If you’re at the bottom of the list, you’ll get whatever grade levels are left. I was lucky that no one wanted to teach TK, so I was able to teach it for several years.

I hope I was able to enlighten you a little on some issues that I wish I would have known before going into teaching. These issues wouldn’t have deterred me into going into teaching, but would have prepared me better for the unexpected. Being prepared and knowledgeable puts you ahead of what comes before you in order to have an idea of how to handle obstacles or surprises that come your way on your journey as a teacher.

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