If you are changing careers to become a Teacher in Arizona, every book, every career counselor and every life coach will tell you the same thing – you really need to try the job before you switch careers. In fact, in the 10 steps to a successful career change, numbers 5, 6, and 7 all include really getting to know your potential new career by truly getting involved in that career – from the website:
- Get personal. Find out as much as much as you can about the new fields and reach out to personal contacts for informational interviews.
- Set up a job shadow (or two). Shadow professionals in fields of primary interest to observe work first hand. Spend anywhere from a few hours to a few days job shadowing people who have jobs that interest you. (your Arizona Teachers Field Experience)
- Try it out. Identify volunteer and freelance activities related to your target field to test your interest.
A teaching career is no different. The more you can experience in a school setting, the better. You will be able to make a much more informed decision on becoming a teacher. This is truly a great calling – but a calling that is just as demanding as it is rewarding.
So – how do you try it out?
- Substitute – as much as you can. Our most successful teachers have substitute teaching experience. Make sure you are actually teaching a lesson plan – not just starting a movie. This also gives you a chance to meet other teachers and to truly understand the great things about teaching as well as the challenges. It also gives you an edge for a job opening – you will know school leadership, the teachers, the students, the school climate and culture – this gives you a leg up on the competition for a great teaching job
- Volunteer or Tutor – In most cases, volunteering gives you an opportunity to work with students on a one-to-one basis or in small groups. This is also a great way to learn more about schools in your area, as well as get to know teachers and administrators.
- Paraprofessional – This allows you to work alongside teachers to provide instructional and clerical support. For more information about becoming a paraprofessional in Arizona visit http://teachinaz.com/paraprofessionals.html.
The more experience you have the better prepared you are for day 1 in your classroom. And you now have some great teaching skills on your teaching resume. You will have used some of the teaching skills you learned in your Teachers of Tomorrow program and you will have a network of education professionals to help you get your first teaching job.
Get all the teaching experience you can so you can become a teacher-it will be well worth it!