There are many reasons to become a teacher, some of which are practical and some of which have more to do with quality of life issues. While teaching certainly isn’t the highest paid of professions, there’s a reason so many bright, passionate, and caring individuals continue to make becoming a teacher their career path of choice. In addition to some of the less obvious financial perks, certain aspects of becoming a teacher greatly enhance both your lifestyle and your peace of mind. Here are five of the top reasons to become a teacher, starting with the practical and ending with the priceless.
Like most government and unionized employees, public school teachers get some of the best benefits you can find. In a climate where healthcare is a major issue, teachers have access to medical and dental benefits the likes of which are rarely seen these days. Teachers generally have great life insurance options as well. Don’t forget one of the most important benefits available to teachers: a pension. One of the few job choices that still offers a pension, being financially prepared for your retirement is considerably easier. While teachers in private schools may not have quite the same level of benefits, they’ll likely get other perks, such as a tuition discount for their children.
Student loan payments can be a real drain on your bank account after graduation, but depending on where and what you teach, you may be eligible to have all or a portion of your federal student loans forgiven after a certain number of years. When you consider the remaining amount you owe plus interest, which can add up to quite a financial savings. Visit the Federal Student Aid website at student.aid.gov for more information on whether or not you qualify.
Don’t you miss the days when you were still a student and had the summers off? Those days don’t have to be over if you go into teaching. While the rest of the year is spent working hard designing lesson plans, correcting papers and projects, doing grades, participating in extracurricular events, and managing a classroom full of personalities, at least you get a couple of months to recover. You’ll also have a considerable break around the winter holidays and then again in mid-winter. And don’t forget the best vacation of all: the bonus snow day!
Nothing keeps you young and curious quite as much as being around others who are young and curious: your students. While motivating students to learn is certainly hard work, it keeps you on your toes mentally, always inspiring you to find new, creative, fun, and more effective ways to encourage your students to succeed. There’s always something new to learn in a classroom, both for you and your students.
At the end of the day, the absolute top reason to become a teacher is because you are going to make a real difference in children’s lives. Remember those special teachers you had as a student, the ones who you loved, who taught you something interesting or profound, who introduced you to something about which you felt passionate? You can now be that teacher. You can do that for not just one child, but for hundreds. In the long run, that is compensation enough for giving up the six-figure salary and doing all the hard work.