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Why Become a Teacher?

A career in education is uniquely challenging, yet especially rewarding.

teacherWhy Become a Teacher?

A career in education is uniquely challenging, yet especially rewarding. School teachers are tasked with preparing their students with the knowledge that will see them through into adulthood. Adult education teachers may prepare college and university students for future careers or teach a new skill such as a language. Prospective teachers should be patient, calm, and detail-oriented, with an ability to clearly communicate information in the classroom. According to the OES 2018, the average salary for K-12 teachers in Hawaii was about $51,435. All public school teachers must have a degree and be certified or licensed by the state.

Teacher Quote: “Teaching can be one of the most rewarding and energizing careers. Never lose sight of the kids who drew you to this career. When we forget the human aspect of teaching and get bogged down by the pressures of testing, standards, and curriculum, we are forgetting about the needs of our learners. Let your dedication to helping your students succeed drive your energy for the rest. If you do this, you will have a fantastic and wildly exciting road ahead of you.” -Krista Wallden, Delaware Third Grade Teacher

teacher with studentsWhy Become a Teacher?

Careers in education can be rewarding because educators are able to make positive impacts that may last for their students’ lifetimes. If you are considering a career in teaching, you should consider all of the career-related benefits that come with the job.

Teacher Benefits

Full-time teachers typically receive health and life insurance, a retirement plan, and sick leave. Some teachers get sabbatical leave. Teachers who participate in collective bargaining or union agreements may receive additional job security. Experienced teachers who meet or exceed standards of teacher quality may also qualify for tenure, which provides an added measure of job security.

Personal Fulfillment

Another benefit of the job is being able to work in a subject that excites you. If you are strongly interested in math, history, English, or another subject, earning an endorsement in that area can keep you involved with your personal interests throughout your career – with the added benefit that your passion will engage students in the subject. Earning more than one subject endorsement can also add variety to your job and prevent your lessons from becoming repetitive. Holding multiple credentials in in-demand subjects can also lead to higher salaries for teachers.

Time Off

Another benefit of a teaching career is that teachers’ work schedules largely follow school schedules. In addition to extended vacations around major holidays and spring break, it is possible to get your summers off. Since most schools operate on a “school year” rather than on a calendar year, schools are typically open between the months of August and May. That means the months of June and July may not be required working months for teachers, so theoretically you can spend your summer relaxing, traveling, spending time with family and friends, or pursuing other interests. Keep in mind that many teachers do choose to work during the summer school session, leading summer classes. Summers are also an ideal time for teachers to accumulate the professional development hours they need to keep their certification status. Additionally, even though they may not have regular working hours during the summer, most teachers spend time during summer months writing lesson plans, getting their classrooms ready, and making other preparations for the upcoming school year.

Teacher Career Realities

At the same time, while there are many benefits to a teaching career, those considering a career in education should be aware that there can also be drawbacks to becoming a teacher.

Long Hours

Most teachers work more than eight hours in a school day due to the time it takes to grade papers and homework, speak with parents, tutor students, and complete the administrative tasks required by schools. This additional work frequently extends to weekend hours as well, but since full-time teachers are usually paid a salary, there is no additional pay for overtime work.

Summers Off?

Many people believe that teachers have summers off, but this is not always the case. Teachers are required to fulfill professional development hours throughout their careers in order to keep their certification; this education is most often completed during the summer months. Many teachers also lead summer classes, especially as more school districts switch to year-round schedules. In addition, many prospective and new teachers underestimate the time that it takes to plan a lesson, much less the curriculum for an entire school year. Even those teachers who are not reporting to the classroom during regular school hours over the summer months are using some of that time to plan for the year ahead.

Types of Teaching Jobs

If you are thinking about a teaching career, before selecting the type of degree you intend to pursue, you should consider the type of education job you envision for yourself. There are many different types of teaching jobs available, from special education teacher to preschool teacher. Career Kokua provides detailed information on education and teaching careers including educational and licensing requirements.

Educational Careers and Salary Information

This table breaks out teaching careers and includes education requirements, average teacher salaries, and employment numbers, as well as the job outlook for each specialty area. This information is the most current available. Check Career Kokua from time to time to keep pace with changes in the projections and salaries.

Job Title
Education Needed
Job Outlook (through 2026)
Median Salary
Hawaii Employment
Preschool and Kindergarten Teachers Postsecondary vocational training to Bachelor's degree Average employment growth
(10%-19%)
$45,410 1,420
Elementary School Teachers Bachelor's degree Average employment growth
(10%-19%)
$59,930 6,040
Middle School Teachers Bachelor's degree Average employment growth
(10%-19%)
$59,610 .1,960
High School Teachers Bachelor's degree Average employment growth
(10%-19%)
$58,880 4,310
Special Education Teachers Bachelor's degree

Average employment growth
(10%-19%)

$57,260 1,950
School Counselors Master's degree Faster than average employment growth
(20% - 28%)
$56,920 1,580
Instructional Coordinators Master's degree Faster than average employment growth
(20% - 28%)
$62,570 .900
Education Administrators Work experience plus a bachelor's or higher degree Average employment growth
(10%-19%)
$92,100 1,190

Posted: May 5, 2020 @ 2:50 PM HST


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