Top 5 Reasons to Teach

Like I said last week, teaching is an AMAZING profession.  There are many reasons to teach, but I've chosen my top 5 to share with you.  

1) Financial Freedom

What?  I thought teachers were underpaid and overworked? Just ask the teachers in West Virginia who went on strike to protest low wages, lack of resources in the classroom, and poorly maintained buildings and facilities.  It is true, on average teachers earn below the median individual income nationwide.  For example, I just signed my contract for the next school year for $49,000 and I have a Masters in Fine Art. (Maybe not the best choice in degrees... but more on THAT later.)  Consider this chart from Wikipedia:

It is true, teaching is not a high paying profession.  It will not get you 100,000 in take home pay,  It IS, however, a stable, respectable source of income, with good insurance and benefits...AND NEARLY THREE MONTHS OF PAID TIME OFF. 

This is where the plug for Financial Freedom comes in.  The time between June 15 and August 25th (and 1 week for Spring Break and 2 weeks for Christmas Break) is time that I can put towards other pursuits.  I spend this time learning about and investing in rental properties.... but this time can be spent increasing your income in any number of ways.

My husband and I are in our 3rd year of buy and hold investing.  We buy single family homes and rent them out.  Each year, we focus on increasing our net worth and building wealth.  If you are interested in learning more, I recommend first learning about Financial Independence by listening to the Mad Fientist  podcast and reading the blog Mr. Money Mustache.  To learn about real estate investing, the Bigger Pockets Podcast is a good starting point.  

2) Summers

The older I get, the more I have come to realize that the most precious resource is not money, but TIME.  If I need more money, I can always find ways to increase my income.  However, I cannot manufacture time... I can only choose wisely how to spend it.  The other day while listening to one of my favorite podcasts, the guest quoted the following statistic: by the time a child turns 18, you (as a parent) will have spent 95% of the time you will ever spend with your child during your lifetime.  Time is precious.  I choose to spend as much of it as possible with the people I love doing the things I love to do.  Here is how I spend my summers:

  • 4 day camping trip with family
  • 10 day trip to visit grand-parents on West Coast with the kids
  • re-connecting and strengthening my relationship with my spouse
  • long days at the pool or beach with the kids
  • outings with friends and their kids
  • projects around the house
  • painting and art projects
  • prepare and apply to art exhibits
  • basketball, biking, throwing the football with the kids
  • daily exercise
  • catching up on doctors and dentist appointments
  • buying healthy food and finding new healthy recipes 
  • professional development
  • personal learning and growth
  • rest, relaxation, and health

3)  Schedule matches the kids' schedule

If you are a parent, then you get it.  No more need to arrange childcare for half days, snow days, and random days when the kids have no school but you still have to go into the office.  Not only is childcare expensive, but piecing together the schedule, arranging transportation, and packing supplies/food/clothing can be a real hassle.  Plus, you can choose to spend that time with your kids... and this is not time that comes at the end of a long work day when you are tired and ready to rest.  It is your best time.  You are relaxing with your children and can give them your best energy... the best of YOU.

4)  You won't get bored

So far, I've talked about everything BUT teaching itself.  That's because, for me, as rewarding and wonderful as it is... teaching is still a job.  If I did not HAVE to work, I probably wouldn't (... I don't know... maybe I'd do some VERY part-time teaching/ volunteering?)  Just being real.

But, as far as jobs go, if you are a creative individual and crave variety in your life, then teaching is a good career choice for you.  Every class, every child, every day presents new challenges (good and bad) for you to enjoy or problem solve.  You will savor the great moments, and enjoy the satisfaction of personal growth as you learn to handle anything that comes your way. 

5)  Job satisfaction

As a teacher, your job is to help others grow and flourish.  Whether you teach math, english, science, PE, music...  it matters not.  It is your PROFESSION to grow an individual's sense of self confidence, ability, and general knowledge.  You are contributing to society daily by raising up its citizens.  You are a role-model, mentor, confidant, guide, quality controller, bar-setter, coach, instigator, devil's advocate, etc.  If you do your job well, you will reap the rewards in smiles, accomplishments, "ah-ha" moments, thank you notes, and surprise visits from your students years after they have left your classroom.  I have never done anything so difficult, nor so rewarding, as teaching at a public high school.