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Teaching is one of the most challenging professions you could possibly choose to enter into. At the same time, it’s also one of the most rewarding. Not everyone is cut out for a career in education, so it’s important to ask yourself a few important questions and consider these ideas before you become an educator. The more prepared you are as you go into education, the more effective a teacher you’ll become.

Do you like kids? What age group do you prefer?

Far too many people go into education because they think it’ll be easy and they’ll get good benefits. This mindset is what often sets up new teachers for failure. They randomly choose what age group or subject to teach instead of seriously considering what they prefer. Before you decide what grade level you’d like to teach, carefully think about if you’ll be happy spending 8 hours, five days a week with that age group. If you aren’t sure, you might want to try babysitting, volunteering with an after-school program, or some other way to be around each age group to see who you relate to better.

Can you talk in front of people all day?

While you do a lot as a teacher, a big part of your job is going to be standing in front of students and trying to teach them the knowledge they’ll later be tested on. You’re going to deal with at least some students who simply are not interested in the information you’re trying to impart. Can you handle talking in front of people for hours each day and knowing that a fair number of them aren’t really listening? While you’ll have awesome students who hang on your every word, you’ll also have some who don’t listen.

Do you feel confident about managing a classroom?

A big part of teaching is classroom management and it’s often something that you just cannot learn while in a class in college; you need to actually get into your own classroom. You need to be confident in disciplining students. You cannot rescind your rules or play favorites. You need to be able to handle any situation that might arise and keep your cool.

Are you passionate about what you want to teach?

For teaching, you’re going to be talking about a specific subject a lot or going over the same material from year to year and class to class, regardless of the age level you’re teaching. Are you passionate enough about teaching others or the specific topic that you can spend hours and years talking and teaching it? Make sure you choose something you genuinely care about as a teacher and your job becomes much easier.