Education is a rewarding career for many people who enter it at midlife. Professionals will often become teachers as a second career so they can use their experience to make a difference in the lives of their students, both children and adults, and in their communities. While earning a master’s degree and obtaining a teaching certificate are important, the following tips can help you decide if teaching is the best career path for you before you invest in your own education.
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1. Be a volunteer
Volunteering allows aspiring educators to gain experience working with children or helping others in general. It helps you to discover if you’re capable of giving of yourself and your time because that is what educators do on a daily basis. Try volunteering through your local library, public school system, after school program, or town recreation department to get a feel for working with students in your area.
2. Try substitute teaching
Becoming a substitute teacher is a good way to experience classroom teaching first hand without needing a teaching certificate, and you’ll earn some extra money at the same time. Contact your local school system for information on how to register as a substitute teacher and be prepared to undergo a required background check before working with children. When you feel ready to take on more assignments, you can branch out and register with surrounding cities and towns as well. Experiment with teaching different grades and different subjects to get a feel for what type of teacher you might want to become.
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3. Offer tutoring services
Tutoring can also help you gain experience in teaching. It can be as a volunteer service or a paid position. Most times, tutors assist students in specific subjects or areas, such as math, English, writing, or a foreign language. Many teachers tutor while schools are out of session and tutor on a variety of subjects. Advertise your services on bulletin boards such as those at the public library or local coffee house, use internet sites like Craigslist, or advertise in your local newspapers. You can also look into local tutoring centers if you want a paid position where you don’t have to find your own students, and make sure to do a google search for SAT and College Board tutoring services as well. They are always looking for good hires in many geographic areas, and they will train you.
4. Obtain graduate education
Obtaining a graduate degree not only provides you with good credentials, but going back to school also challenges educators to become better teachers by putting them in the student’s seat. This helps put things in perspective when they go out to teach their own students. Getting an online master’s degree in education can also open up opportunities for different jobs and better pay.
A career in education is rewarding but not an easy one. These tips will help to guide teachers toward successful careers in education.