A teacher’s job seems like a simple one, right? Just teach the students the material, make lesson plans, grade, create assignments, focus on each individual student out of the hundreds they teach, and do all this while following a curriculum. To better understand the plight that is the life of a teacher, I asked math teacher Bill Losekamp for the opportunity to teach a class to gain some insight to what it really takes to be a teacher.
The only guideline Losekamp gave me for his Algebra I class was to teach the lesson. I created a plan to cover example problems from the textbook then leave the students to their devices. I’ve had many teachers teach this way and figured this would be the simplest way to show the material.
I spent about an hour making sure that I knew exactly what I was doing to ensure that the students would be able to follow along. That was the easiest part of my teaching experience. When it was time to present the information to the students, nerves set in. My biggest fear was that I’d teach them the wrong thing or confuse the students.
Teaching the students was incredibly stressful because of how much pressure is on the teacher to be “perfect” in their ability to relay the information. Humans make mistakes, but teachers are expected not to for the sake of the students. After teaching just one class I was drained. “One of the drawbacks is feeling like you’re always on because you always have to always be thinking about what’s going on in your class,” Losekamp said.
Despite the exhaustion after teaching it was also immensely rewarding. At one particular point of teaching, a concept visibly clicked with multiple students, which reassured me that I had effectively shared my knowledge. Losekamp said that helping students overcome their struggles and helping students realize that just because something is difficult doesn’t mean you should just give up is one of the most rewarding aspects of the teaching profession.
Being a teacher allows for building rapport with students and seeing your efforts displayed in a student’s work. “Make sure you’re getting into [teaching] for the right reason; making a difference in the kids’ lives,” Losekamp said.
We’d love to hear from our readers through this poll about their perceptions on what it takes to be a teacher.