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What Teaching Job Is the Best?

What Teaching Job Is the Best?

Pat Hensley

“The grass is always greener on the other side.”

I’ve been lucky enough to teach on all grade levels from elementary to university. I can honestly say that all levels have their own difficulties and their own joys. I have also taught special ed classes and some general ed classes and the same goes for that. Here are the things that I remember from all of these experiences.

When I taught on the elementary school level, I remember the hugs and the joy when the students saw me as they arrived. I remember the happiness over the small things in life. I remember the pride they had at pleasing others. I remember being part of a faculty that was small and felt like a family. I remember how taking away recess or sitting students in the corner would be all that was necessary to teach appropriate behavior. I also remember wiping noses, and not making it to the bathroom. I remember the “tattletales” and the name calling. I remember hurt feelings that seemed like it was the end of the world. I remember faculty squabbles because we were so small and were like a family.

On the middle school level, I remember students wanting to be young adults but still being treated like children. I remember some of them not understanding their own feelings and lashing out at anyone who is near. It seemed like everything might offend them and cause them to go berserk. Their hormones were causing them to go crazy! I also remember seeing these students learn how to control their own feelings and behaviors and the amazement on their faces when they succeeded. It seemed like a simple phone call home or a meeting with parents would encourage the students to act appropriately. I remember how the faculty supported each other during these turbulent times so that we could all be supportive of these students.

Poll: Can We Improve Education By Increasing Class Size?

Poll: Can We Improve Education By Increasing Class Size?

On the high school level, I remember how important it was to teach the students skills that they would use later on in life. These skills would be important for their financial and emotional independence. For these students, the light at the end of the tunnel was not that far away. Yet emotions were much closer to the surface and hurt feelings could cause major eruptions. At this age, sexuality was also a major factor in their lives and it scared me at the growing number of teenage pregnancies. The faculty was much larger and issues were quite different than those at the other levels. In fact, this large faculty was a society of its own. Yet, I was able to work with a variety of different teachers who taught different subjects. I was able to adapt many of their effective lessons into my own classroom. The sense of collaboration was much easier at this level than at others.

All of the levels had their own difficulties and also their own goodness. I am glad that there are teachers at each level that feel they have found their own niche. I suggest that if you haven’t found your niche yet, it is important to find it. The ones that have found it are the ones who are most effective with their own age group.

What level do you teach and why do you love it? Please share!

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