Every college student can’t wait for graduation day. The long, mostly boring, yet commemorative ceremony symbolizes your freedom from the academic institution that just placed you in years in of debt and you begin to piece together the puzzle that is your future. For most of us, we aren’t immediately sure what career path we want to travel down the rest of our lives and trying to make this monumental decision can overwhelming.
Graduates that are instantly aware of their “next step” have it lucky but then again, they don’t usually exist. If you take a teaching position the year after you graduate college you’ll open yourself up to not just a steady paycheck, but a unique category of work experience that will always look simple and sweet on your resume.
You can take a year or two to make a game plan and map out your long-term goals, or perhaps you’ll discover a new side or inhibited passion that you never knew existed within. If teaching isn’t your thing or you’ve never had a knack for dealing with children, then we’ll give you a few different, yet oddly advantageous reasons that post-grad teaching is the way to go when you need a little life experience after being the student for so long.
Reason #1: Be The Teacher You Wish You Had
Do you remember sitting in elementary school (or high school, for that matter) and wishing you had one of those cool teachers like the one Paul Rudd plays in The Perks of Being a Wallflower? If you take on a teaching position after you graduate school, you’ll get the opportunity to be the teacher you never got to kick it with in school. You can teach the students with the learning strategy you find most effective. You can adopt a laissez-faire attitude while still schooling them on the pop quizzes. Or, if you’re more into the Miss Trunchbull type from Matilda, you can teach some rowdy boys and girls some new wave discipline (just don’t use the “chokey,” that was bad). The point is – is that we all wish we had that one teacher we felt understood us and knew how to connect the academic material with the way our minds could absorb it best. Being the teacher you wish you had isn’t just a treasure for your hypothetical students, it’s a challenge you never realized you could be up for.
Reason #2: You’ll Develop Strong Communication Skills
Academic lingo and professional demeanor become a staple in your waking life after 4 years of research papers and textbooks. During college, you’ve acquired the ability to remain diplomatic in controversial discussions, somewhat calm in conflicting debates, and learned how to prove your point with an appropriate amount of conviction. Teaching children, or anyone at least a decade younger than you, will help you hone in your newly-advanced communication skills. Speaking to children, giving them concise directions, and most importantly, talking to them when they’re emotional or erratic will help you in the communication department greatly. It takes a certain level of patience and kindness to reach the mind of a child, which are two characteristics the adult world tends to steal from us after the age of 18.
Reason #3: You Can Go Abroad, If You’d Like
Teaching in your hometown or in the same area you went to college can serve up a solid plate of nostalgia, but there are far too many English teaching programs out there to not consider which one might be right for you. For those who didn’t get to study abroad when they were in college – this one is specifically for you. Try and take advantage of teaching children from another culture and in return, soaking up their culture and history. Spending a duration of time in a foreign country is always beneficial to your life experience but teaching abroad will send you home with a whole new perspective of what it’s like to work in another place where you don’t know the language or the customs. If you choose to teach abroad for a year or so, there’s a good chance you’ll make international connections and friends from all over the globe.
Reason #4: Working Hard For Little Cash In The Real World
Let’s be real for one moment. The real world outside of your university campus is difficult. You’ll have to quickly understand what it is to work hard for not enough money, at least in your first year of entering the workforce. Teaching while you figure you out your next professional move will not just help you with time management, but with budgeting techniques. Try living a salary for one year – that comes paycheck to paycheck – and learn how it feels to strategize your own finances and live comfortably in the real world. And don’t be fooled, teaching is hard work. You’ll strengthen the foundation of your work ethic with a proper pay stub to show for it and soon enough, you’ll be able to balance any checkbook or be prepared for any hard times that may (unfortunately) come at you in the future.
Reason #5: Interior Decorating, Enough Said
We hate to point out the obvious but if you become a teacher, you get your own classroom! What could be more exciting than having complete creative control of a finite space that is built to inspire and awaken young minds? If you’re raising your hand like a good student right now, that means you know the answer is nothing. Nothing is better than decorating and spicing up your workspace, especially when it holds true testament to the greatest elements of your personality. Pieces of the classroom can be present for purely visual purpose and other areas of your learning room can be interactive to get the kids excited. We don’t even want to think about how much a teacher could spend in IKEA if they’re getting crazy with their class theme.
Reason #6: You Can Teach What You’re Good At (& Like)
In case you’ve been reading this article and telling yourself, “But, I hated all my core school subjects. What would I even teach?” The answer is – anything your pretty little heart desires! For the creative type, you can be an art teacher. For the musical soul, maybe there’s an option to instruct a clarinet class. Drama departments are always lacking the proper amount authority figures and gym teachers get a worse rep than they deserve. If you aren’t into the traditional course structure of teaching, there are many other electives and class options to explore. Depending on the subject, you may need a license or certificate. However, a lot of degrees can be used to taught in your area focus. Do you hear that, philosophy majors? You can grab the Psychology students and have something to do right after you graduate college!
Reason#7: You Know, That “Make A Difference” Thing
You knew this one was coming, didn’t you? We know it sounds cliche, but a great teacher really can make a difference in the lives of their students. We live in a world where it can be difficult to find a mentor or someone who just simply believes in you and wants you to succeed in something you love. Parents often place unfair expectations on their children, even though we know it comes from a place of love, but a teacher can offer a student the right kind of guidance and inspiration they need to find what they’re good at and subsequently, end up feel better about themselves. Teachers have the chance to prevent bullying, spot red flags that families at home may not be able to see, and provide advanced opportunities for gifted children who aren’t challenged enough. Making a difference comes in many different shapes and forms and it doesn’t have to be reaching a group of students at once. Finding one young mind to mold and connect with is making difference enough.