Being a teacher and teaching as a career comes with its advantages and disadvantages. Let us consider advantages first.
a) Touching many lives
The first and the most important part of being a teacher is that you get to have the opportunity to touch and shape the lives of many people. The future and wellbeing of your students lies mainly on how their teachers and tutors guide them both educationally and morally. This is one of the reasons why I think that teachers are even more important that presidents. While the presidents rule for now, a teacher rears minds that are needed for a better tomorrow.
b) Good communication skills
To be a good teacher means that you will have to be a great communicator. This is your ability to pass knowledge and the ease at which you are understood. If you are not proficient with this knowledge, teaching provides you the opportunity to improve on it.
c) Being a disciplinarian
As a teacher, you have the opportunity to correct a child when they are going the wrong way. You get to discipline the student and at the same time imparting knowledge on why the path they followed was wrong. This is another way of touching the lives of a child positively.
d) Having job satisfaction
This is one part of being a teacher that I love most. You get to have job satisfaction as well as a good pay. There is a lot of time and space which allows you to approach every day with a new sense of direction.
e) You get to be a role model
To be a teacher means that you get to be a role model to a lot of lives. This means that the children of a lot of parents will get to take many decisions in their lives based on what they see you do and hear you say. Students are more likely to obey their teachers more than they obey their parents. So being a teacher comes with a lot of burden but I want to see this as an advantage. This is because you get to have the opportunity to guide a life on the right path. Students are better off getting the right information from their teachers than from an unreliable source.
f) Shaping the future
Being a teacher is more than just shaping lives of your students. By shaping the lives of your student positively, you are shaping the future and making the world a better place. The presidents, senators, congressmen, ministers and ambassadors of the world were all students. The credit of who they’ve become should go to their teachers.
g) Opportunity to be creative
Because you want to impart knowledge as a teacher, you get to be creative. Besides creating room for flexibility, teaching enables you to tailor your message in any way of your choice as long as your message is understood.
h) Less job stress than regular jobs
The regular 8am to 5pm jobs come with their own share of stress but teaching is somewhat easier. The only stress that comes with teaching is having to deal with children and their needs. Fortunately most teachers are passionate about what they do and that is why something that is supposed to be stressful seems easy.
i) Becoming a parent to many
If you love kids then teaching as a profession will be as fun as being a parent. As a teacher, you get to have so many kids that love you and look up to you as a parent. The bond that teachers and students share is a special one that cannot be broken even with time.
However this profession comes with challenges:
a) It can be exhausting
Being a teacher can be as exhausting as any other job but what makes it different is that it is a job that comes with passion.
b) Involves a lot of paperwork
Being a teacher means that you have to attend to lots of paper work when preparing for class and the administrative part of the job.
c) Responsibility for students’ wellbeing
Teachers are held responsible whenever anything goes wrong with their students while in the school premises. As a teacher, you are bound to take care of as many children as possible. You have to bear the burden of having them delivered to their parents safely every day.
d) Spending money to educate students
Sometimes the school authorities do not provide every material that teachers need to do their jobs. This is why teacher are left with the option of spending their money to buy some of these materials for the smooth operation of imparting knowledge.
e) No holiday
While the rest of the world and students are enjoying their holidays, teachers use this period to prepare for the new school session and year.
f) Testing and grading students stressful
The most stressful part of any school session is when a teacher has to do with testing and grading their students. At times like this, teachers break their backs to get the jobs done right.
g) Job security not guaranteed
If you want to have job security as a teacher, a lot will be demanded from you. Most times teachers are faced with the regular demand of improving their qualification to secure their jobs. This can be demanding, improving your knowledge while imparting knowledge at the same time to your students.
Looking at both pros and cons of teaching we can agree that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Even most of the disadvantages are some things that we have to keep doing for the love of the profession.
The writer is a lecturer at Kigali Institute of management