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5 Signs You Should Be a Teacher

We asked education professionals how they knew teaching was right for them.

So you’re thinking of becoming a teacher, but you’re not 100 percent sure you’re ready to make the leap. You wonder if you’ll find a job after earning a degree, you’re concerned about your future salary, and you’re not sure if you’ll be ready to tackle a classroom full of students.

Well, there’s good news. The need for teachers is constant and some specializations, such as special education, science, math, and English as a Second Language, are in high demand. And if you teach in a state like Massachusetts, you’ll earn an average annual salary of $82,042, according to the National Education Association (2019). Your options for a teaching degree have also expanded, so you’ll be able to find a program that fits your schedule and will prepare you to succeed in the classroom.

Of course, knowing that you’ll find success as a teacher isn’t enough. You also want to know whether you’ll enjoy waking up for work every day.

That’s why we asked educators how they knew teaching was right for them. Putting their responses together, 5 themes emerged. If you say yes to these 5 questions, now might be the perfect time to start on the path to becoming a teacher.

1.  Are You Concerned for Our Future?

‘Inspiring the next generation’ sounds like a cliche, but to teachers all over the world, it’s their everyday reality. You’ll go to work knowing that your students will have to grapple with a changing climate, transformations in our geopolitics, and the opportunities of artificial intelligence and automation. That means it’s imperative to equip our youngest generation with the tools to innovate and lead in a changing world.

“Teachers get in on the ground floor of the most important investment there is: our future. By improving our craft, we create greater opportunity for generations to come. Invest in the future, become a teacher.”

Beth Short, Northborough, Massachusetts
th, 5th, and 6th Grade Teacher

seaweed in someones hands

2. Do You Enjoy Working With Young People?

Students often approach the problems they face in unique and interesting ways. Sometimes that means they come up with new solutions, and sometimes that means they fail at simple tasks. Whatever the result, you’ll find inspiration as you walk alongside young people during their journeys of discovery. They’ll end up teaching you about perseverance and the possibilities of the future as much as you teach them about science or math.

“Few things are more satisfying than sitting alongside a six-year-old as he reads an entire book on his own or listening in as an older child who’s always resisted reading share with her literature circle an important insight into the main character's motivation. Teaching is important, challenging work—and the benefits are tremendous."

Dr. Valerie Shinas, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Former Middle School Teacher

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Becoming a Licensed Teacher in Massachusetts

3. Do You Want to Make a Lifelong Impact?

Teachers influence the lives of countless young people and make a lifelong impact on their lives. And some experienced teachers often influence entire families, instructing multiple generations across decades. Establishing relationships and extended roots in a community mean that you’ll be able to build a foundation for the future of our world.

“I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I love to show people new things, learn from people, and provide new experiences. And I’ve stayed a teacher because of the impact I’m making on my students and their parents.”

Stephanie Crawford, Boston, Massachusetts
Kindergarten Teacher

Alumnus Beau Morimando Teaching Students at a Desk

4. Do You Believe All Students Are Entitled to Quality Education?

Applying a social justice lens to teaching—often one student or one class at a time—can be immensely rewarding work. Bridging cultural divides, teaching acceptance, and creating an inclusive environment can forge a lifelong sense of belonging to your students that would otherwise struggle. And in today’s world, fostering understanding is more important than ever.

“The mission of teachers is to create learning opportunities by removing barriers to learning, creating equal access for all. Fueled by the social injustices in educational systems, teachers can empower students to lead self-determined lives.”

Dr. Linda Lengyel, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Associate Professor in Special Education Programs

5. Do You Crave a Challenge?

The new challenges and daily discoveries of teaching means that no two days are alike. If you’ve ever found yourself wanting more than an average job, teaching might be right for you. You’ll work to find new and interesting ways to pass along knowledge, keep everyone’s attention, and use your passion for learning to cultivate the innate curiosity in your students.

“After 15 years of teaching, I have experienced everything-elation, frustration, fury, terror, amusement, astonishment-but never boredom. The job is never the same from day to day, from hour to hour.”

Dr. David Nurenberg, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Associate Professor, Middle School and High School Programs

Learn More About Our Education Programs 

Teaching is a tough job, but it can also be an immensely rewarding one. Are you ready to start your teaching career? At Lesley University, you can choose from 5 undergraduate and 10+ graduate education programs leading to initial teacher licensure in Massachusetts. Explore Lesley's teacher education programs.

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