So You Wanna be on the Other Side of the Teacher’s Desk

Or behind a computer screen? There are many routes to becoming a teacher! As a teen pursuing teaching, it might get a little confusing. So to clear things up for you, we are going to explain each pathway that’s available to you. Today you are going to get a behind-the-desk look at teaching from a few local teachers, and get solid advice on how to get started. Most importantly, we’ll tell you you can do now while you’re still in high school.

There’s a scary side of teaching

Let me scare you first! Here’s a list of what happened on one teacher’s first ever day of teaching. She said that students took off their shoes, stood on desks and yelled “I’m a chicken weenie!” repeatedly. Then, a student meowed each time she was asked a question. This first year teacher reminded her that she is not a cat nor a chipmunk. Rebecca Vogelezang endured a lot her first year as a teacher. If that doesn’t scare you away, then dive right in. You must be teacher material! We’ve got quite a lot to cover.

Advice from Real Teachers on the Front Lines, on What to Do now

The teachers giving us a look into the battlefield are — Stephen Smarr, a music teacher at Phillips Elementary, and Ashleigh Pennock, an Education transfer Professor at Washington state community college.

  • When asking the teachers what a teen should do first, Ashleigh explained they should get out into a classroom, start volunteering, and figure out if this is really what they want to do.
  • Next, I asked what they learned their first year teaching. Stephen mentioned that you have to start off strict, then you can choose to loosen up over time. It’s very hard to go into a classroom being nice then try to be strict. Ashleigh noted that you need to be well prepared, its all just trial and error.
  • What can you say to teens pursuing teaching? Stephen explained you need to do good on your ACT’s. it will make your future much easier. There are several tests you will have to take, but they are not required if your ACT score is high. Ashleigh advocated for the Washington state community college Education transfer program as a good way to get started.

Some Background on the Teachers…

Stephen Smarr became a teacher kind of by accident, He began working as a substitute to escape the job he was in. He had very little experience. In Ohio, you can be a substitute with any 4-year bachelor’s degree, and he had one in English so he went for it. Soon he realized his entire life changed for the better. He loved teaching, and mentioned even his worst days were nothing compared to any job that he had in the past.

I am blessed to be able to change the future by helping to educate and influence children” – Stephen Smarr

Ashleigh Pennock became a teacher also through an alternate pathway. She got a Degree in Science before she realized she wanted to become a teacher. She helped out at local schools and started working towards furthering students’ education at Washington state as a Professor in Education.

(I want to thank you both for speaking with me!)

If you’re a teen considering teaching as a career, did this article help you? What other questions can we get answered for you? You can comment below, on our facebook page, or send us a message.