The Ultimate Guide to Teaching Kids: Pros and Cons
As the late, great Whitney Houston once said, “the children are our future”, and she couldn’t have been more right! Many people choose to play an important role as the backbone of our society by taking on the responsibility of shaping our collective nations’ youth. Some see teaching little kids to be a noble profession, while others see it as a complete and total nightmare!
One thing is for sure, teaching kids is certainly a unique job, and not everyone is up to the task. So before you dive into the world of ABC’s and screaming terrors, it’s best to look at some of the pros and cons of teaching kids!
Table of Contents
As a teacher myself, I’d argue that there are plenty of benefits to the teacher life! It’s not as nightmarish as people believe, and oftentimes, your job won’t even feel like work at all! Here are just a few reasons
As cliché as it sounds, working with children is such a rewarding career. You play an important role in shaping these little humans into intelligent, polite and decent members of society. As their teacher, you have a real chance to make a positive difference in these children’s lives.
Every day you’re able to see each step of their development, everything they have learned and how they’re able to apply the information that you have taught them. It’s incredibly gratifying to see your hard work and dedication in action, so see before your eyes how much of a positive influence you have been on these children.
Every Day is a New Challenge
This is not your average desk job! You won’t be spending your days punching the same set of buttons or asking “what can I get you?” 50 times a shift. Each day in school is completely different with new challenges to face. You’ll be teaching different kids a variety of different topics which also change each day. And with each new topic comes a question of how to teach it, which methods you can use, which games can you play, how can you make the day as entertaining as possible? It’s a job that always keeps you on your toes by ensuring each day, each semester and each year is fresh and new.
Let’s just face facts, children are simply adorable! You spend your entire day surrounded by cute little kids who just want to have fun with you! Even the most cold-hearted person would melt the instant an adorable little kid comes up to you wanting a hug because they simply adore you. How can that not bring a smile to your face? On days like that, then it’s never difficult to come into work, and you begin to actively look forward to it.
Kids are also very simple with their wants and desires. They just want to have fun, laughing and playing is the name of the game! Neither is there any fakery about them, there are no hidden emotions or motives, they put all their thoughts and feelings out there with total honesty, which is a trait lost amongst most adults! I know who I rather spend my time with.
If It’s Fun for You, It’s Fun for Them
No matter what job you may have, some days are just going to be boring. This is even more true for kids! Most of us can remember plenty of dull days we had in school! Luckily as a teacher, there’s a simple solution; make it fun! You are in control, this is your class, so it’s down to you to make it fun!
Get the kids on their feet, play games, sing songs, use props and funny voices, do whatever it takes to have fun in your class! It isn’t hard to entertain kids, they just don’t want to sit still all day and listen to their boring teacher make them repeat a boring set of words! Just a little action or a little more energy can make a big difference. Just remember the simple rule, if it’s boring for you, then it’s definitely boring for them!
Let Out Your Inner Child
If you’re anything like me, being an adult is so incredibly boring and buttoned-down. Why must we be so serious all the time? Sometimes being childish and immature is an enjoyable release! Well, how having an entire career that revolves around just that?!
One of the best ways to work with kids is to be on the same level as them, to thank and act like one yourself! Think about your own days in school with those super-serious monotone teachers who bored you half to death, students can’t connect with that! If anything kids began to naturally oppose them, especially as they grow up! By letting out your inner child not only does your job become a million times more fun for both you and the students, but it also makes your job so much easier!
So you want to be an ESL teacher, but don’t know where to start? We’ve all been there! Let’s explore some tips for becoming an ESL teacher!
Let’s get some perspective here, you’re not exactly trying to figure out nuclear fusion or trying to save someone’s life on an operating table. You’re teaching kids their ABC’s and their 2 times tables, how hard can that be? Relatively speaking, the task at hand is incredibly easy!
Of course, some aspects of children’s learning can be a little difficult to explain, but it’s only a matter of time. I mean how hard is it to figure out that “A is for Apple?” More importantly, it’s up to you to find the easiest way to explain it to them! Be it flashcards, real-world props, role-playing, or even basic translation if you’re teaching in another language, there are plenty of ways to help the children figure it out.
What’s more, for younger kids, most of your days are spent singing songs and playing games to learn the most basic elements of education. Can this sort of work really be seen as backbreaking labour?
Plenty of Vacation Time
This may not be a primary reason to start teaching kids, but you best believe it’s a huge benefit! While all the office workers and business suits slave away at their 9 to 5 throughout the whole year, you’ll have regular vacations for weeks and months at a time!
Summer vacation will be all yours, and depending on where you’re teaching, you’ll also have regular national holidays, such as Christmas and Easter. Without a doubt, after a long and stressful semester, you will happily take those vacations! The only downside is that it becomes pretty heartbreaking going back to work.
It’s safe to say that working with kids really is not for everyone! It comes with its own set of challenges and unique responsibilities that truly make it stand out from other types of work. As such, people have plenty of reasons against teaching kids.
There’s a BIG Responsibility
As daunting as it may sound, working with children is an enormous responsibility, in more ways than one. First and foremost, you have a major hand in shaping this human being into what they will become for the rest of their life! Each of us can remember a teacher out there, for better or for worse, who affected our lives. You walk an emotional minefield with every decision you make!
Your guidance and actions can be the difference between a kid being a courteous and functional member of society or a rebellious little monster that shows no respect to the world around him. You may believe that’s an overstatement, but don’t forget, you’ll spend almost as much time in the presence of this kid as their actual parent! You’ll have plenty of time to influence them.
Not to mention you’re in charge of their safety! You have to be in control of a bunch of little kids who aren’t able to take care of themselves. It’s hard enough for parents to look after one kid, let alone 20! Not to mention the added pressure that if anything goes wrong, even if it wasn’t your fault, the blame will fall solely on your shoulders. So good luck with that.
They’ll Drive You Insane
It’s common knowledge that, at times, children can be an utter nightmare. Whether it’s a screaming toddler or a hormonal teenager, kids can be challenging to deal with. They’re enough to push the most docile teacher of teachers over the edge every once in a while. For that reason alone, many people don’t want to work with kids, and you can see why!
All joking aside, if you have a short temper, this line of work is not for you. Kids don’t like to be told what to do, and they naturally begin to resist and resort to messing around. Asking nicely to “quiet down please” has no effect, which is why many of our childhood teachers resorted to shouting and screaming bloody murder. But you don’t want to be that teacher. If you need to scream to control a class of kids, then you shouldn’t be a teacher. Though no matter what you try, eventually, these kids will drive you mad!
You Have To Deal With Parents
What’s more annoying than the naughtiest child? Their parents. No matter what you do, at least one parent will have a problem with it. It could be disagreeing with methods, materials, or simply thinking they know better. Sometimes you’ll have to face these parents yourself and listen to their dramatic lectures on why their child is more special than everyone else’s.
Every parent out there believes that their child is a total angel, their little prince or princess. Many believe their precious child could never do anything wrong, how could they? If an issue arises, a lot of the time, they cannot accept that their kid might be at fault. Instead, they will blame other factors, and more than anything, think you are the problem. “Why does my child not know this? Can you not punish my child when they misbehave?” Why did my son answer a question 3 times but everyone else tried 4 times?” It gets pretty frustrating after a while.
Which is easier to teach, toddlers or teens? Each group of kids have their own advantages and problems when it comes to teaching, particularly for ESL! What are they?
An instant challenge for teachers, especially for older students, they don’t want to learn! You are forcing them to do something they simply don’t want. They will avoid working at each opportunity. They won’t talk, and if they do, it’ll be with each other. The absolute minimum effort will be put forward just so they can coast to the end of the school day.
That is such a difficult situation to start any task with. There are not many jobs where you have a group of people resisting you from doing your job. You can put them in the same group as police officers and lawyers, that also have a pretty difficult job ahead of them!
You’re Not Allowed a “Bad Day’
We’ve all have it from time to time. The day just isn’t going right for you, little problems have been niggling at you all day until you’re slumped deep into a bad mood. Well tough, you better suck it up quick because you can’t take that attitude into the classroom.
Like anyone working in the service industry, nobody cares if you’ve had a bad day, and neither is that an excuse to affect your work, you have a job to do. Neither is it fair on the kids for you to take out your anger and frustration on them when they aren’t to blame.
On top of that, if you’re already going into the class with a negative attitude, you better believe you’ll walk out with a worse one. So toughen up cookie, or better yet, maybe find a less stressful career.
A Welsh university drop-out on a mission to travel the world for as little money as possible. My adventures have taken me through over 30 countries across Europe, Asia and Oceania, and the list keeps on growing! From classic backpacking to working and volunteering, I have found all sorts of ways to maintain a life on the road.