Is it possible to be born with an innate ability which predicts the career an adult will choose? Perhaps, but there are many factors which influence what jobs suit which personalities. Someone with a deep fear of dogs is never going to make it as a vet, no matter how much they may wish to follow that path. So how does someone know they are cut out to be a teacher? Is there some magic moment of revelation, or a comment which brings the realisation into crystal clarity? Unlikely, but entirely possible.
In reality, a lot depends on how someone was raised. Did they spend a lot of time around books, around people who were open to ideas, held many discussions about a wide variety of subjects and were they given as wide an experience of life as possible? Were the family and friends surrounding them teachers? This doesn’t necessarily mean people who taught in schools, but more people who were constantly willing to share their knowledge and expertise with those around them. That is the type of atmosphere which will definitely make teaching a viable option.
Some people find it easy to share what they know with others. This isn’t always as simple as it might appear. Being able to tell someone how to do something takes very little effort. Helping them to understand and retain that information takes a different kind of skill, one that is very rarely learned. It is simply something people can do, often because they have grown up in a nurturing, intellectual atmosphere as described above.
Another consideration is how someone reacts to children. Not just children generally, but the age of the children too. Some people may wish to be teachers but can’t take the thought of dealing with nursery children with runny noses, crying and inattention. Another person may find the idea of standing before a bunch of angsty, self-centred, ‘I know it all’ teens absolutely horrifying. Thinking about what age range suits a potential teacher is extremely important, and the best way to find out is to try.
Think about the qualities a teacher needs. Often they are almost a jack of all trades, on top of actually teaching. They need to be able to control a class, teach – a wide variety of subjects at junior levels – deal with paperwork (and there’s a lot of it), communicate with teachers, parents and children, and be able to plan, implement and complete numerous target based tasks.
Teachers have to be mum (when she isn’t there to kiss scraped knees), nurse, actor, singer, joker – laughter is a fabulous teaching tool – counsellor (especially for those hormonal teens), and even cleaner, on occasion. They have to be understanding, calm under pressure, quick on their feet – both mentally and physically, and not afraid to make a fool of themselves in the name of education.
Think about those teachers which stand out from school days. Everyone has at least one or more who really made a difference during their educational journey. They were the special teachers, the ones who simply knew how to do it. They were naturals, knowing exactly how to turn a kid in the right direction, hand out the right book, task or word of advice.
They were born to be teachers. But at some point they made the decision. What influenced them? Was it any or all of the above, or was it simply that some people know how to teach, almost as if it is written in their DNA. They can’t help but teach and every parent hopes their child will get one of those teachers. There’s a good list, here, of reasons why people might consider being a teacher, but one thing rises above – it’s in every teacher’s soul – the urge to help someone learn.