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Becoming a Teacher

You can love 'em or hate 'em, but you have to admit your teachers are some of the most important people in your world! If you're thinking about becoming a teacher when you grow up, read on to find out what it takes.

The ABC's of Teaching

One of the great qualities about teachers is their patience. They wait for you to figure out that really hard math problem and they don't get mad at the kid who always wets his pants in class. Teachers also need to be creative (for art class), dramatic (for acting out Shakespearean plays in English class), energetic (for P.E. class) and enthusiastic for classes that aren't so exciting, like geography. Oh, and you're going to have to be really good at explaining things, like how something works, and be a great public speaker cuz you'll be in front of a class every day. If you have a fear of public speaking, then conquer it now!

Getting Certified

You have to be certified in order to be a teacher. Every state has its own requirements, so talk to your state Board of Education and find out what your state's specific certification requirements are. Depending on whether you want to work with kids or teenagers, you can be certified to teach elementary school, junior high, or high school. You can also become a special education teacher who works with children with behavioral disorders or learning disabilities like dyslexia.

The Money Factor

Unfortunately, teachers don't make that much dough. Starting salaries vary across the country, ranging from $25,000 up to $50,000 - if you're willing to move to Alaska. But you're not going into this career for the money, right? It's cuz you love kids and want to make a difference in their lives! And what other job out there gives you two months of summer vacation, plus a week off in the spring and two weeks off in the winter?

Did You Know?

  • Private school teachers don't have to be certified, so they earn less than public school teachers.
  • National Teacher Day always falls on the Tuesday of the first full week of May, and then that whole week becomes Teacher Appreciation Week.
  • Teachers don't have to stick to public or private schools. They can teach aboard a ship, at an aviation school, or even at the school of rock!
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