Pros: great personal satisfaction, autonomy, working with diverse clientelle
Cons: never truly out of work, no benefits, dismal pay
Working at a community college in the United States was a great experience, teaching on university level to students making the transition into a university life from multiple avenues. A typical day at work involved arriving early to check emails and print any materials needed for class that day, giving lectures and seminars for several hours during my teaching hours, remaining for office hours afterwards, and then continuing home where I would grade assignments and detail lesson plans for the next few days.
Teaching there was highly demanding, taking your work home with you and never truly feeling as though you're off the clock, students often calling if they needed assistance or answer emails from earlier in the day. I required constant availability, a true dedication to the craft. Although sometimes draining, see your students engaged in the topic, actively learning and knowing you've improved their lives someone made all that effort worthwhile, making the most grueling and satisfying aspects of the job one and the same. Teaching is more than simply instructing a class, you make a personal investment in the people you're working with and want to do everything you can to help them succeed. It requires a personal commitment and goes beyond merely 'punching in and punching out', long, unpaid hours of thought and effort but when it's over, many of those students know how hard you worked for them care that you gaze them so much. Because of that, they aren't merely satisfied customers but headed to a better place in life. Teaching made me a better person.
My coworkers and managers – more... were very similar to myself, passionate about teaching, often to the point in which it inhibited their ability to prosper given the lack of financial security the job provides in the US. Everyone I met cared about their students, fellow employees and their craft but were at the mercy of the tight budgets and the constraints of the administration. Consequently, the vast majority of us were poorly paid, had little job security, knowing we could have our hours cut simply because there was no budget for us that semester, and no benefits to speak of. As much as I loved teaching there, I felt it was best to return to the UK and continue a degree, given the lack of guarantees. – less