Where the Teacher is Mom
There is an army of teachers in this country and around the world that get no pay, do not show up at a classroom and get no recognition for the work they do. But they are doing the job of teaching young minds and getting them through a year of academic work. These are the minions of home school teachers who are quietly doing the job of education of the next generation. And we have learned from studies into homeschooling, they are doing a pretty good job because homeschooled students often rank high in college preparation exams.
If you are considering becoming a teacher in the limited scope of homeschooling your own children, the task is not as intimidating as it seems. And the potential benefits to your children are great. Public schools are notorious for taking bright young minds and snuffing out that fire for learning that they were born with.
The reason this happens is simple. Public schools are mandated to teach a very large body of kids so because of the volume of kids they must pass through each grade, the emphasis much be on discipline and order and the priority for high-quality academics has to slide so that every child can get through.
That is why the focused and specialized environment of a home school situation is perfect for a bright mind such as your child has because you can customize your curriculum to fit your child and to accelerate as fast as they show an aptitude to go. You don’t have to put a big emphasis on being in their seat when the bell rings and being in school uniform down to their underwear. There are no bells in home school and they can come to school in their underwear if they want to. As long as they learn, that is the emphasis in a home school environment.
When you set out to become a home school teacher, you have a huge amount of flexibility in how you structure the learning environment. If you have a room you can set aside as the “classroom”, that is a nice set up because you and your child know that when you go into that room, learning will happen here. But because the goal in that room is to complete one step along the way to finishing a curriculum, your young student knows that class will be over when they achieve their goals, not when the bell rings and that encourages productivity and focus.
It is also a myth that homeschooling will become expensive. In fact, you can virtually set up a perfectly valid year-long curriculum for very little cost. By logging into the public school’s system, you can find the curriculum for the grade your child is in school and what must be learned to finish that grade. In many cases, local public schools and many private schools have programs to help you get started so that your child follows a similar educational path that is going on down the street in the public schools. This is an advantage to you and the school because should you decide to send your child back to public school the next year, they are not out of step with the program.
Materials can often be had for very little expense as well. Many times a textbook that is being used for a particular subject will come out with a new edition. When that happens, you can pick up copies of the previous edition, now out of date to the public schools, for very little cost and often for free. The topics in the textbook are just as valid in the previous edition so you can conduct a full year of classes using that textbook and not face any serious cost investment at all.
By looking for ways to take advantage of public facilities like the computers at the public library and of programs offered by churches, public schools, and other institutions to help home school teachers like you be successful, you can set up a program at home that will help your child succeed as a student in this educational setting. It will be an adventure for you. And you will see a new appreciation come into your child’s eyes when he or she suddenly realizes that mom is still a mom but she is also an outstanding teacher as well.
Can You Teach if You Are Old?
If you are just preparing to enter the ranks of professional teachers and you are not a recent college graduate, it’s easy to feel a bit insecure and ask that question, “Can you teach if you are old?” It’s a fair question even if you are not so far along in life that you consider yourself to be “old”. But it is easy to feel old if you are a middle-aged or senior adult among 20-year-olds in teacher college and if the competition for the teaching jobs is kids that could be your own sons or daughters.
There are a lot of jobs where there is a noticeable age bias against older workers. In the business world, sometimes companies prefer to hire younger workers because they work cheap and if they work out, there is such a longer career life ahead of them. But even in the business setting, many forward-thinking employers are beginning to realize that the ranks of older workers contain a group of workers who are stable, hard-working, and devoted employees. So too schools are realizing more and more that hiring an older worker is not a disadvantage at all but that you bring a lot of good with you that the school should be thrilled to have.
If anything the profession of teaching is a perfect environment for someone who has seen a bit of life and who has matured and perhaps raised children of their own. Teaching full time while rewarding can be a huge challenge because it is sometimes hard to establish your authority in the classroom and there are so many ways for a disruption to hurt the flow of teaching that is so important to accomplish your academic goals each day. An older worker is less prone to panic about disruptions or sudden problems that might come up as you teach and you have the experience and maturity to handle the problem efficiently without upsetting the rest of the class and get everyone back on task quickly.
It could be that one concern those who hire new teachers might have with an older worker is energy. Younger workers are able to keep up physically with children and they need to know that you won’t tire during a long school day and that you have the physical stamina to get through a school day and come back for more tomorrow. There are a number of ways you can demonstrate that you are in shape and up to the challenge of teaching. You can put on a show of energy and enthusiasm during the interview. Or you could go so far as to offer to substitute teach or be a teacher assistant for a day so the administrator can witness first hand our energy and ability to “keep up” with those kiddos.
There is a good chance that not only will you encounter no age-based bias or discrimination from school administrators, but you will also find that they already have a number of older teachers on staff so they know the value the school gets from that experience and wisdom. But the relationship that may give you more concern is whether the students can accept an older teacher and give you the same respect and regard that they would give to someone just out of college.
It may come as the biggest surprise of them all that children and even teenagers really do not mind older teachers or older people for that matter. After all, to a child, every adult is an older teacher so they may not even notice that you are 20 years older than their last teacher. To a kid, old is old so what’s the difference? Moreover, children have relationships with parents, uncles, and aunts, and grandparents that are loving and respectful so if they lump you in with those role models, you have it made.
What students don’t like are older people who try to deny that they are old, who are ashamed of their age or who try to act younger than they are. Youth crave honesty. And youth are also quite aware that older age awaits them down the road so the last thing they want to see is you showing shame or discomfort because of your age. By being honest about your age with the kids, they will embrace you easily and you will have no difficulty teaching them.
1. Teaching is time-consuming
2. Perception is Key
3. Teachers are also actors
4. Expect the unexpected
5. Respect is not given, it’s earned
6. Dealing with parents is HARD
7. Promotion is only through degree, not merit
8. You cannot go to the restroom whenever you want
9. Save all your materials in multiple places
10. No two years will ever be the same