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we offer tips on how you can improve your professionalism to prepare for the work world

From Student to Professional: Mastering the Art of Professionalism in Education

The number of students getting bachelor’s degrees in education has declined over the last 30 years, making up only 4% of over two million degrees issued in 2020. This drop could be happening because of various reasons, including education majors not getting the support they need in the transition to the professional world.

Not only must students be aware of the unique challenges that come with teaching in the real world, but they must also develop their professionalism to be as confident and effective in their role as possible. Guidance on how exactly to do this could make a difference in inspiring a new wave of professional educators.

Before we offer tips on how you can improve your professionalism to prepare for the work world, let’s touch on some of the challenges education majors encounter when they’re transitioning into their professional educator roles.

Challenges Education Majors Face When Entering  the Professional World

Transitioning into the professional world and working with students is much more challenging than most people think. The nerves that come with entering the classroom as a teacher could make a student second guess their decision to become an educator.

It’s also hard to grasp just how difficult it is to work with a variety of students on a full-time basis when you’re in college. It’s a fast-paced, ever-changing environment that you must be ready for if you want to succeed.

Finally, if you start teaching right out of college, you’re still pretty young. You may not feel like you’re the established professional educator that you are because of this. You’re still growing into a mature adult. So, you may not think you have the leadership skills to work with children effectively, hindering your confidence and growth in the profession.

Thankfully, there’s a way to thrive despite these challenges in the transition phase.

Tips for Mastering Professionalism as an Educator

It’s much easier to navigate challenges in the professional world when you exhibit professionalism.

This is because professionalism involves being confident, setting high standards for how you work, and showing how much you care about your students. You’re willing to tackle obstacles to provide a positive educational experience.

To master professionalism as an educator, start with improving your self-image.

Improve Your Self-Image

Being a successful teacher requires confidence, so you can effectively communicate with your students and colleagues. You need it to take on challenges and find adequate solutions. You need confidence to be successful in all that you do as a teacher.

But to have confidence, you must first have a positive self-image. How you look at and feel about yourself can affect your confidence. If you look at yourself in a good way, you’re more likely to act with conviction. On the other hand, if you have a negative perception of yourself, self-doubt, low self-esteem, and stress resulting from these confidence issues will follow.

You can improve your self-image by practicing self-care. Doing things that nurture your mind, body, and soul will bring you closer to yourself. You’ll develop a positive relationship with yourself that results in a favorable self-image. Self-care activities can be simple, like getting enough sleep and eating right, or more detailed, like going on a weekend getaway every quarter.

If you need additional support for improving your self-image, try therapy. A therapist can help you further flesh out your self-image issues and develop a plan for addressing them and coping with triggers.

Prepare for Working With Kids

Working with kids is no easy task. Their minds, emotions, and behaviors are still developing, causing them to make decisions and do things that may surprise you.

If you aren’t ready for these types of ups and downs, it may cause you to have negative interactions with your students that hurt them and their educational journey. It could also harm your career progression because you’ll appear unprofessional and unable to handle the job.

Luckily,  there are ways to prepare yourself for working with kids. Ensure you’re physically ready for all the moving around you’ll be doing as a teacher. Build a wardrobe of clothes that are professional, comfortable, and allow you to be mobile. And finally, grow your empathy, patience, and enthusiasm.

Preparing to work with kids full-time ahead of time will help you feel more confident in your abilities and ultimately appear more professional.

Be a Positive Role Model

If you want to exude professionalism, work on becoming a positive role model. A positive role model inspires others to live productively and meaningfully. They have integrity. They hold themselves to high standards. They’re someone others can look up to. All of these things are a part of professionalism.

To become a positive role model, you should first identify what you do well and what you need to work on. As you work on your weaknesses, you become a stronger, more well-rounded person. And if you share your journey with your students, you’ll become someone they can relate to and look up to.

Positive role models are also transparent and honest. Communicate openly with the people around you to become a more effective communicator and listener. Finally, establish a set of core values that you’re committed to living by. You need them to ensure you always conduct yourself with integrity.

Feeling and conducting oneself like a professional doesn’t come naturally to every education major transitioning into the professional world. The unique challenges in the process don’t make it any easier. But by applying the tips above, you can master the art of professionalism and move into a professional education role seamlessly.

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How Do I Become a School Teacher?

How Do I Become a Teacher?

You’ve found yourself reading this article because you’re considering becoming a school teacher, which is ideal as we are going to talk through the route towards becoming a school teacher!

First, however, if you have not yet entirely decided if a teaching job is right for you and your life, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have a desire to teach?
  • Will I be able to complete all the teacher requirements?
  • Is the general teaching salary acceptable?
  • Do I have the patience and willingness required to give students the best education?

How much time does it take to become a teacher?

The time it takes to become a teacher varies drastically, mostly based on the students’ age and education level. You may not need experience and more than the basic certification to teach younger children.

As you would expect, the older the pupils are, the longer it takes for aspiring teachers to get qualified to teach them. In general, it will take at least four years to become qualified to teach, including the time it takes to earn the minimum degree and certification requirements.

How much do teachers earn?

It is difficult to put an exact sum on how much teachers earn. Their salaries differ even more than the education levels. Teaching salaries vary by age level, degree, school district, length of employment, subject matter, and many other factors. It can be safely assumed that teaching paychecks go up as the students’ age increases. As a teacher, you will have two or three months free during the summer break, during which you can work a part-time job if you need the money. The average teaching salary for the US was about $61,000 for 15 years of experience.

Different kinds of teacher for different kinds of people.

In the first three teaching levels (early childhood, preschool, and elementary), the students are younger and the curriculum is broader. Therefore, a teacher here would be responsible for instructing across multiple subjects. Future teachers of middle school and high school levels instead must specialize in a particular area (biology, geography, etc.), as these students’ widening knowledge calls for it. Special education teachers are those who instruct children with various learning disabilities and developmental disorders.

What degree does a teacher require?

Prospective teachers will need to earn an accredited bachelor’s degree at the very least. Elementary school teachers usually major in elementary education. For those wanting to teach older students at higher grade levels, they will major in the subject that they wish to teach.

Learning how to become an elementary school teacher, preschool teacher or early childhood teacher will be easier than understanding and learning how to become a high school teacher. The salary you receive will generally reflect this gap in difficulty.

Which degree is best?

Now that you have decided to dedicate your career to teaching, it is crucial that you pick a major that lines up with the level of education or speciality that you are most interested in teaching your future students. To become a History teacher you will need a bachelor’s degree in education, preferably with a major in history. To become an English teacher you will need a bachelor’s degree in English. For a Maths teacher, you will need a bachelor’s degree in education with a concentration on mathematics. To become a science teacher, you will be best set up by a bachelor’s degree in education in the specific scientific field that you intend to teach.

How to get a teaching certificate

Once you have your degree, you will need to obtain a teaching certificate in order to be licensed as a teacher. In most states, the route to getting a teaching certificate goes as follows:

  • Obtain a relevant bachelor’s degree.
  • Complete a district- or state-approved teacher preparation program.
  • Pass required exams in the school district and/or state
  • Submit a state teaching license application.

Check the US Department of Education website for resources state by state.

Experience is crucial

Obtaining teaching experience is a requirement for most teachers. It may seem bizarre that you will need classroom experience before you have been licensed and accredited as a teacher.

Most future teachers (depending on location) need a certain number of hours of supervised classroom teaching experience if they want to get licensed. Similar to flight hours before becoming a full-fledged pilot, these student teaching hours can come during your studies or after you graduate. This can begin as a teaching assistant, a good way to understand the dynamics of a classroom, as well as how to effectively interact and communicate with your students.

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