Pros: work 10 months with summers off with pay, vacation time
Cons: inadequate salaries, raises rare, high stress
Working in a middle school environment has been an interesting experience to say the least. Oftentimes, teachers are expected to wear a variety of hats to meet the needs of a diverse population of students. Teachers are greeters who welcome students into their classrooms; instructors with a passion to help students absorb content; advocates to ensure students' needs are being met; surrogates when parents/guardians are absent; counselors who listen to a range of issues or coaches who develop academic and/or physical skills. These and many other duties are entrusted to teachers who work with adolescents. With this in mind, a typical day is never typical for an educator.
Based on my experiences, one invaluable lesson learned from working in the field of education is that one must remain flexible. Unexpected circumstances or events are inevitable. And, there is no possible way to plan for them all. Furthermore, in order to endure the daily rigors of teaching young minds, teachers must learn to use prudence when managing time especially. Although expectations can become daunting, having balance inside and outside of work can alleviate some of the stressors that accompany daily responsibilities such as: paperwork, conferences, trainings, testing, parents, and more. Thus, peers are a great resource. Fellow colleagues can provide support necessary to work with middle school students during a work day, while family can keep one focused on what is important after work hours.
Overall, teaching is rewarding. Although frustrations arise, witnessing the maturation of adolescents and helping them to maneuver through grade levels so that they may become productive citizen is very gratifying.