“Why Would You Go Into Education Right Now?” Three Reasons to Become a Teacher For Such a Time as This
A faculty blog by Dr. Cheryl Bremer
As the Dean of the School of Education at Grace, I cannot tell you how many times I’ve heard the question, or some form of the question, “Why would you want to become a teacher?”
Usually, the question comes from a concerned parent who knows the woes of teaching first-hand, and it is directed at their son or daughter who is following in their footsteps. Other times, the question is directed at a male student from a family member who thinks of teaching as a vocation for women only.
And over time, I’ve become well-accustomed to fielding these questions and giving prospective students reasons to become a teacher. In fact, “Why should I become a teacher?”, is now one of my favorite questions to hear.
Each time, I look at them with sincerity, and I tell them these three things.
1. Despite what you’re being told, this is actually the best time to be a teacher.
This is always met with a look of disbelief. The best time? How could this be? That’s right — you heard me correctly. The work of teaching is more purposeful and impactful now than at any other time in history. Culture is changing rapidly. History is being made each and every day. Is it an easy time to be a teacher? Absolutely not! But just because something is hard, does not mean it’s not worth it. Quite the opposite. In my opinion, this is one of the best reasons to become a teacher. The ability to speak into our changing world, shape young minds, and build into the lives of image-bearers is priceless.
And since we’ve acknowledged head-on that teaching is challenging, that leads me to one of the next reasons to become a teacher.
2. You can rest assured that you will be prepared for the classroom of today.
As I mentioned before, the question, “Why would you want to become a teacher?” is often asked from a place of knowing. Knowing the challenges of teaching. Knowing the consequences of teacher shortages. Knowing the ongoing fight for better representation at local, state, and national levels. But what they often don’t know is the way that curriculum — specifically the Grace School of Education curriculum — is constantly being placed under the microscope, reexamined, tweaked, and prodded to ensure that it is optimized to prepare teachers for the classroom of today. The way we prepare our students in 2021 is different than the way we prepared them in 2015 and even 2018! Here are just a few examples of how.
We have always devoted the last two days of curriculum (after students complete their student teaching placements), to a “teaching summit” of sorts. We bring in a diverse group of experts to speak on a wide array of topics. In recent years we have adjusted those topics to include setting up work/life boundaries, implementing self-care, understanding federal law and policies at public schools, handling social/emotional trauma. We dive head-first into these aspects of teaching and more, allowing students to ask questions and prepare for all of the challenging implications of life as a teacher.
In addition, we’ve given our technology training a major facelift over the past two years. In September of 2020, we expanded our existing Teacher Technology Training to meet the evolving needs of the field and to equip teachers for remote learning and teaching. Now all of our students graduate with the Educator Level 1 Certification training through Google Fundamentals.
We are committed to walking alongside our students and instilling in them the skills they need to ensure competence so that they can be confident. This is so important.
But the last of my reasons to become a teacher is the most important for prospective students to buy into.
3. You must know your “why.”
One of my favorite things about the question, “Why would you want to become a teacher?”, is that it forces our students to come up with their own reasons to become a teacher. In the School of Education, we stress the importance of the “why.” The vocation of teaching is about so much more than a job. It’s a calling. It’s a ministry. And if a student does not grasp this, he or she may not have the grit to stay in the field.
A recent social media post by Kyla Kohler, an alumna from our program, reminded me of the importance of knowing your “why”:
Everyone always tells you that as a teacher there will be some kids that stick with you forever, and I think I’ve already met one. You see, this kiddo came into our class a few weeks into the year, and when I say the entire dynamic shifted, I mean it. Many days felt like a losing battle. I felt as though I wasn’t helping him at all. There were moments of defeat, tears (for us both, haha), frustration, and doubt.
Teaching is not an easy profession and these days so many amazing teachers are choosing different paths. There are so many reasons to find an “easier” career. And along the journey, many ask the question, “Why would you want to become a teacher?” But, as I sat with this kiddo yesterday and watched him point at pictures and “read” me what was happening in the story, I took a moment to reflect.
Why do I keep showing up for kids day after day? Why did I choose a career that is so much more than just “teaching”? Why do I continue to chase (sometimes literally) after these kiddos? Why am I so persistent that all of my kiddos can and will achieve great things? Because I know what my WHY is. This little boy is my why. What a gift it has been to see him blossom.
So, whether you’re a teacher and you need some motivation to get through until Christmas break or your someone else of a different profession or life path, my encouragement to you is to find your “why.” To my previous teachers and the ones I now work with, I see you. I encourage you to reflect and in hard times, remember your original reasons to become a teacher. Remember that your work is meaningful. You are appreciated and I know that just like in the case of this boy, you are impacting lives daily. May this be a reminder to keep it up. What you are doing matters.
It’s evident that Kyla knows her “why.” She is reaching kids where they are. She is diligently working to improve their learning. And she is being persistent in the work she was called to do.
That makes all the difference.
So what are your reasons to become a teacher?
If you know your “why,” we know just the place for you to get started on your way to a purposeful and fulfilling career.
Read stories from the School of Education to learn more about what sets us apart from the rest.