The Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher in 2022

The Pros and Cons of Being a Teacher in 2022

Every profession has its ups and downs, and being a teacher is no exception. The past two and a half years since the start of the pandemic have had a massive impact on how organizations operate in every industry, particularly within the field of education.  

Not surprisingly, teachers are among professionals everywhere who are reassessing their careers, exploring new opportunities, and wondering if the grass is greener elsewhere. They are navigating transformative times.  

For all the good teachers out there taking a second look at your profession and considering other career choices, we’d like to help bring some clarity to your thinking by presenting the following pros and cons of being a teacher in 2022 – and beyond.  

The Pros    

  • You get to influence the next generation: When you think about your favorite teacher or teachers from school, who comes to mind? Or maybe they weren’t your favorites at the time, but as you grew older, you came to realize they were the ones who taught you the most and who you consequently came to appreciate the most. Either way, we all remember the ones who had a lasting impact and taught us the valuable lessons we carry with us to this day. Today you are paying it forward. You are a role model who is truly making a difference – one student at a time in our fast-changing world. 
  • You have job security and stability: There is no shortage of teaching jobs in public schools or private institutions today or on the horizon! All variables point to a solid, secure future and bountiful opportunities. Educators are in high demand at public and private schools at all levels of education, and baby boomers are reaching retirement age, opening the field to new and younger professionals. By 2030, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 7% growth among teachers at the kindergarten and elementary school levels and 8% growth among high school teachers. These increases are on par with average projected growth across all occupations. If you’re on a career path, your job security further increases with the opportunity to reach tenure, with the added incentive of potential retirement benefits.  
  • You’re always learning, growing, and gaining new skills: You learn as much from your students as they learn from you, and today, there is so much more to learn and know than ever before! Plus, exposure to today’s youth keeps you current on trends, fashion, music, and new vocabulary and colloquialisms. Teaching makes you a well-informed citizen of the world! Plus, your distinct skills as an educator, such as planning, organization, engagement, and emotional intelligence, expand your career and advancement opportunities, either in education or an entirely new field.  
  • Your workdays are filled with variety: If you prefer a fusion of activities and interactions in your work, as opposed to sitting at a computer or performing repetitive tasks by yourself all day for days on end, teaching is a great outlet for your energy and creativity. You’re in the driver’s seat to choose and mold the topics you teach, how you teach, and the ways you engage students to join you on the journey of learning during the school day. There’s simply nothing mundane or predictable about how students respond, the questions they ask, or the interesting ways they impact your day. At the same time, there is consistency in your workdays that you can count on, mostly ensuring your job does not encroach on your personal life and family time. 
  • You gain meaningful connections beyond the classroom: Your work as an educator connects you with the wider community through your relationships with parents, colleagues, organizations, school partners – and especially with other educators! Teachers are a distinct community within a community, with shared perspectives and unique insights that, when exchanged among peers, provide a greater sense of belonging and camaraderie and, at times, much-needed support in an industry that is changing and transforming by the day. 
  • You have an enormous amount of flexibility: Working hours are pretty much structured so that you are not tied to a 9-to-5 job. You avoid rush-hour traffic and have more time in your day after school than other professionals. There are also holidays, spring breaks, and summer flexibility if you choose, giving you the freedom to fill your life with other activities and interests. And there are great options in where you are employed. If you are a certified educator, you can essentially work anywhere, domestically, or even somewhere else in the world. Or you could become an online educator and work virtually for a living.
  • A gift that lasts a lifetime: We don’t need to tell you how deeply it changes your life to receive expressions of gratitude or praise from a current student or their parents or from a former student whose lives you guided or changed in a positive way. Moments like this might be the greatest reward of all in being a teacher, the brand of satisfaction that makes it all worthwhile.  

The Cons    

For some teachers, the cons can begin to outweigh the pros and result in the search for new career opportunities. There are reports of fewer new teachers and young people entering the industry, more teachers leaving, growing demand for instructors, and difficulty among schools in recruiting and retaining teaching staff. Here are some of the main challenges of people in the profession and why these reports persist. 

  • Being a teacher can be exhausting: Two main reasons teachers choose to leave the profession, either temporarily or permanently, are stress and burnout. In one study conducted prior to the pandemic, 23% of teachers reported their work as “always” stressful, and a significant 38% cited their work as “often” stressful. After Covid-19 emerged, as many as 1 in 4 considered quitting at the end of the 2020-2021 school year. Stress and burnout often result from high student-teacher ratios.
  • Sometimes you have to work long hours: Working prolonged hours from time to time is part and parcel of being a teacher. You must invest time outside the classroom, in the evenings or on weekends, to plan your curriculum and lesson plans and keep them relevant from week to week, semester to semester, and year to year. Grading papers, attending mandatory professional development days, performing school administrative duties, and other responsibilities are all part of the job.
  • There are ongoing certifications: A teaching certificate is essentially your license to teach in a classroom. Gaining the proper certifications is essential in becoming a teacher, as is keeping them current to remain gainfully employed. There are different requirements by state and for each level of education, and the number of years before expiration also varies.
  • There can be out-of-pocket expenses: It’s also no secret that a lot of teachers do not have access to sufficient funds from their schools to execute their lessons in the manner they intend. The alternative is to spend their own money to buy necessary supplies for the classroom and student activities. That said, teachers can now deduct up to $300 in out-of-pocket classroom expenses in 2022, up from the $250 that was set when the incentive began in 2002. “The limit will rise in $50 increments in future years based on inflation adjustments,” the IRS said.

Is it true? Has there been a mass exodus of teachers from the profession?  

During the most devastating period of the Covid-19 pandemic, there emerged a crisis in healthcare worker shortages. We heard and read about it for nearly two years, and many people experienced it first-hand. We are now reading about catastrophic teacher shortages due to the chaos and fallout of the pandemic; however, according to some brand new research, this may not be the case. According to a working paper released in August 2022 from the Annenberg Institute at Brown University, teacher turnover rates appear to be about the same today as they were prior to the onset of the pandemic.  

One good thing that resulted from the pandemic is that flaws in the education system that relate to the treatment, working environments, and general regard for teachers and their well-being have been elevated and are being acted on by school districts across the country. Programs are being introduced specifically to ease teacher stress and burnout.  

As in any profession, there are challenging times in the life of an educator, but the good times can and do make up for them. The rewards are plentiful enough to keep great teachers in the classroom doing what they do best – guiding and developing a nation of future leaders. Our future as a collective society is only possible through the fruits of their labor!  

Reach out to us to explore new opportunities

If you’re a teacher who is passionate about your work but simply ready for a new direction in education, we encourage you to make a connection today with a Goodwin Recruiting career specialist. Don’t let burnout or stress be the end of the road for you! There are countless available opportunities, and we’re happy to help you find the one tailor-made for your aspirations and experience.