Exploring Teaching as a Career

Why do teachers teach?

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Alberta teachers work at the elementary (Grades K–6), junior high (Grades 7–9) or secondary (Grades 10–12) level or some combination of the three. In Alberta, the minimum qualification required to teach is four years of postsecondary education leading to a bachelor of education (BEd) degree. Usually teachers work in schools, though technology now allows some teachers to teach through distance learning or video conferencing. Some teach in an outreach school in a mall or community centre. But no matter the location, all teachers have something in common—they have a passion for students, teaching and learning. 
 
Elementary teachers usually work with one class of students for an entire school year. They provide lessons in a variety of subject areas, including basic mathematics, reading, science and art. The diverse teaching material keeps things interesting hour after hour. However, elementary school teachers interact with more than just the kids in the classroom. They must deal with administrators and parents to coordinate the best learning environment for their students. Beyond imparting book knowledge, teachers at this level teach social skills and learning habits that remain with students for the rest of their educational careers.

At the secondary level teachers need to love their subject and have in-depth knowledge about it. Teachers at this level specialize in areas such as English, math, chemistry and art. While teaching more-advanced subject matter in the classroom, they also work with students on adult issues that they have already encountered or soon will. Secondary teachers’ additional responsibilities outside the classroom can include supervision duty, advising students, meeting with parents, organizing field trips and leading extracurricular activities.

Being a teacher is hard work. Teachers frequently work longer past the end of the regular school day, designing lesson plans and assessing student work. They sometimes work in crowded classrooms with limited resources and are asked to perform herculean tasks. Some days, they might feel that it is all for naught. But those days are few, because in the end, they know that being a teacher is the most rewarding career there is. Every day, teachers touch the future. Through their work, they inspire and excite their students. They teach because they want to make a positive difference in the lives of their students. They teach because they want to change the world and know that it all begins with the youth.

Finally, teachers teach because they simply cannot see themselves doing anything else.

What education do I need to teach?

In Alberta, the minimum qualification required to teach is four years of postsecondary education leading to a bachelor of education (BEd) degree.