Not so fast. Being a teacher is more than just lesson plans and recess. There are a lot of things that today's teachers wish someone would have told them before they entered the education field. Gone are the days of getting apples from your students - today's teacher must be a master of time management and be able to think quickly on her feet.
The best way to see if you're ready to be a teacher is to get a daycare or preschool education job. You'll soon find out if you can handle working with children for eight solid hours. First, though, check out our list of the four things you should know before you decide to become a teacher.
It's a big time commitment
Just because the kids in your class go home at 3:30 doesn't mean your work is done. You'll spend hours outside of the classroom preparing lesson plans, grading homework and getting ready for the next day. You will have to conduct evening parent-teacher conferences and attend school staff meetings. You may even end up coaching a school sports team. Being a teacher isn't your average desk job; it requires a lot of dedication and may require you to sacrifice some of your personal time.
You'll feel underpaid
If you're getting into the education field to make money, you might want to switch majors before it's too late. On average, teachers start out making $33,000 a year. Depending on the state, the school and what subject you teach, that number can drop to around $20,000. However, there are opportunities to move up. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the highest paid public school teachers can make up to $80,000 a year - not bad considering that's on top of the two months of vacation you'll get every summer.
Working with parents can be a challenge
Many teachers find that the majority of the whining, complaining and childish behavior they encounter doesn't come from the students, but from their parents. You will be challenged by domineering parents who insist on telling you how to teach their child. You will encounter angry parents who will take out their rage on you. And your heart will be broken by apathetic parents who not only don't care much about their child's education, but don't care much about their child at all. Bite your tongue, keep your patience and remind unruly parents that you're just trying to help.
You need to be prepared for anything
And when we say anything, we mean anything. You might have a child get sick all over your clothing, be covered head to toe in paint after becoming the victim of a student prank, or find yourself snowed in with 20 rowdy second graders. You may find yourself teaching during power outages, natural disasters and school lockdowns. You never know what you might encounter as a teacher - there truly is never a dull moment. Remember, a good teacher expects the unexpected. A great teacher does it with a smile.