If a teaching career is an option for you, you're going to want to make sure you're a good fit for the classroom. We've all heard stories about teachers who hate their jobs, after all. No one wants to be in that situation. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to make sure you don't end up in a teaching situation that's not right for you. From interviewing teachers to getting practical experience, you can find out if you really want to teach.
1. Talk to a teacher. You need to start looking at how the classroom works from the other side of the desk. You'll want to set up a series of questions you'd like to ask, and then set up meetings with administrators and teachers to answer them. It's best if you talk to more than one teacher, since everyone has a different perspective. Different areas may also result in different answers.
2. Visit a classroom. You may be able to get permission to shadow teachers in the subjects or grades you'd like to teach in. You'll get the chance to check out a number of different teaching styles and see what really happens in the classroom. Remember that you have to talk to the principal of each school before you arrive, as registration of guests is required in most schools.
3. Look for a mentor. There are probably people in your life that can act as mentors and be good role models while you're finding out more about teaching. Many families have members who teach, or you could talk to college professors or high school teachers who have taught you in the past.
4. Take a good, hard look at your teaching skills. There are a lot of things a teacher needs to be able to know how to do, and it's a pretty big list. A few of the things successful teachers should be able to do is to treat students with respect, maintain high but fair expectations for themselves and the classroom, and be able to adapt to changing administrative demands. You'll also need to be able to communicate effectively, have experience with children, and have the patience to deal with students who don't get it right on the first try.
5. Practical experience is important. You'll need to spend some time working with children and teaching in the areas you're interested in to make sure you really like it. Volunteer experiences, part-time jobs and summer jobs are a great option, as are internships. Once you progress far enough through a teaching program, you'll have student-teacher experiences, but it's a good idea to get other experience before that to make sure teaching is really for you.