Author Topic: Ten Basic Requirements to Become a Teacher  (Read 2466 times)

Badshah Mamun

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Ten Basic Requirements to Become a Teacher
« on: July 17, 2012, 05:51:01 PM »
Ten Basic Requirements to Become a Teacher

Teaching is a terrific field to enter into nowadays. While some industries suffer in today's economy, teachers have a good deal of job security, as public education will always be in demand. However, not just anyone can become a teacher. There are a number of desirable qualities for those intending to become teachers, some related to ability, some related to experience, and some related to personality. Here is a list of ten of the most important job requirements for anyone wishing to become a teacher.

Have Knowledge of What You Teach

This is one of the most basic requirements to be a teacher. If you are seeking education to be a teacher, be realistic with yourself. Don't pursue specialization in an area with which you struggle. Students will respect you much more if you are knowledgeable in your academic field of choice. Being knowledgeable about the subject you teach also means staying current with developments in the field. If you are an English teacher, that means staying current with new literature, and if you are a Biology teacher, that means staying up-to-date with new discoveries. Teachers are often required to take summer courses throughout their careers, which may help introduce new material and developments to educators.

Have Experience in Your Field

This is more important for some educators than others. For example, it is probably more important for a business teacher to have some experience in the private sector than it is important that a math teacher to do advanced studies or research. However, if you are a foreign language teacher, you owe it to yourself and your students to spend some time abroad. See what is typically advised for a person in your particular field, and consider taking a year or two off between college and teaching in order to gain some "real-world" experience.

Have Certification to Teach (And Ideally a Master's Degree)

Beyond being knowledgeable and experienced in his or her field, a teacher must also be certified to teach in his or her state of residence. There are a number of teaching exams and courses that one must take in order to become certified to become a teacher, such as the PRAXIS exam. This is a general article, so no time will be devoted to the specific requirements for any state. If you are seriously considering teaching as a career, do an internet search for the teaching requirements for your state of residence. One general recommendation that will be made is that you obtain a master's degree as soon as possible after entering the teaching field. Often there is a graded pay scale for teachers, with teachers having only a bachelor's degree at the very bottom, and teachers having a master's degree or master's equivalency at the top. Obtaining a master's degree earlier in your career maximizes your earning potential.

Develop Your Oral and Written Communication Skills

Even if you are brilliant within your academic field of choice, have considerable experience, and have the highest possible qualifications, you still must be able to interact with students, parents, colleagues, and superiors using oral and written communication. As a teacher, you will be responsible for doing a considerable deal of public speaking, and the notes and test instructions you give should be crystal clear. Students depend on you to be able to instruct them competently and without unnecessary confusion. If you cannot communicate well, you should probably not teach. This is a point where being honest with yourself early on can save you a lot of time and effort. If being a teacher is your dream and you realize that you are not the strongest communicator, consider taking some courses in public speaking or professional writing. You will most likely benefit from these.

Develop Your Listening Skills

Dispensing information as a teacher is critical. But this is only one side of the coin as far as effective communication is concerned. In teaching, listening is just as important as speaking and writing. You must be able to receive feedback on how well students understand the material you present, and you must be able to listen to students if and when they come to you with sensitive personal issues. There may be communications classes you can take in order to improve your listening skills, although simply practicing listening more when talking with others will go a long way towards bettering these skills.

Develop Leadership Skills

Being a communicator is one thing, and being a leader is another. It is not enough merely to be able to put information out for the students to learn. Rather, you must also inspire your students to want to learn what you teach. Much of this can be accomplished by making the topics being studied interesting and relevant to students' lives and interests. Making the learning process fun will make your job easier and the class more likely to perform well. However, being a leader also means retaining control of the classroom and not letting side discussions and distractions prevent you from performing your job. Enjoyable learning should not be confused with losing control of the class. Learn leadership skills from classes, or by obtaining real-world experience in a student or volunteer organization. Remember to keep having new experiences, as these will allow you to relate to a broader variety of people.

Learn to Be Organized

Organization, both in presentation of material and your workspace, is crucial. Presenting material in an organized fashion minimizes student confusion and allows them to develop a framework with which to receive new information. This is common sense. Likewise, being able to keep an organized workspace saves you from looking for misplaced papers and losing students' tests and assignments. Develop a ritual method of organization even before you become a teacher so that you can avoid such problems from the very beginning of your career. There are books and articles on how to organize a workspace.

Learn to Be Productive

As a teacher, you will be required to grade assignments on a regular basis. This will most likely not be fun. Nonetheless, it must be done. Being productive and completing tasks such as these as soon as they are received maximizes the amount of free time you have and minimizes the amount of stress in your life outside of school. Take advantage of study halls and free periods to do work. If you currently have problems with procrastination, work on these before you become a teacher. Develop a system for doing work as soon as it lands in your inbox.

Learn to Be Objective

As a teacher, you will come into contact with a number of students that may directly challenge your beliefs and opinions. You must be able to be objective as a teacher. You will get in trouble if you treat students differently due to their beliefs. It is okay to have disagreements, so long as they are civil and respectful. Encourage free thought - isn't that the purpose of education? If you find that you have problems when your beliefs are challenged, engage in activities and read things that challenge your beliefs, and learn to tolerate and respect those of differing opinions. If you can't do this, you probably should not go into education.

Learn to Be Patient

Even the best teachers give a bum lesson every now and then. If you have trouble teaching a particular topic, don't give up. Try a different method the next day, or see if a student who does understand can communicate the concept to the rest of the class. Think outside the box, but never give up. Likewise, it will sometimes seem that individual students do not understand the material. Don't give up on them, and see what you can do to present the information in a manner that makes sense for their particular learning style. For help with this, learn more about multiple intelligences, a topic that is likely to be discussed in many education courses.

A Final Suggestion - Take Opportunities to Shadow Teachers Before You Invest Yourself

Make sure that you enjoy the career. Shadow several teachers before you fully commit to education as a career. Even if you fulfill all of the above, it does not mean that education is the right field for you. Don't let teaching be a "last resort." Make sure that it is something you can see yourself doing for a number of years. Make sure that teaching is right for you.

Md. Abdullah-Al-Mamun (Badshah)
Member, Skill Jobs
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