So, last month I left science after 10 years, and started as a substitute teacher at a high school. I currently plan to become a high school teacher in physics and maths, which means getting an extra degree. The main reason I decided to try out teaching is that I liked it during my PhD. Another reason is because I was fascinated by blog posts about teaching, like about puzzling e-mail exchange with a student, about respecting students’ decisions, about why teaching might be good profession for autistic people and about an impressive reaction to sexism in a student evaluation, and many more posts on these and other blogs.
Of course, I don’t know if teaching will be the right career path for me in the long run. I am quite introverted, and I notice teachers tend to be extroverted. I am also very good at detecting negative emotional responses, even if they are subtle. Therefore I notice every unhappy face very clearly, and currently it still follows me home after class.
On the other hand, maybe thanks to my introversion, I am good at interacting with student one-on-one and actually listening to them. I think I am good at encouraging students with low self-confidence in their abilities. I know fear very well, I know how it paralyzes the brain, and I know how to respond to it.
Another advantage that I have is that I have in the last years finally understood how fundamentally different people are, which I had not really known during my 20ies. I have a feeling that this realization might be a prerequisite to being a good teacher.
Unfortunately, I have to get an extra degree, which is a major undertaking, equivalent to 2 years of full-time study. This despite a lack of physics and maths teachers in my country. I am not sure how this will go, since, of course, I already got very annoyed about some of the lectures are built up and what they require. This is probably another reason that I think teaching is a good choice for me: I hate having to do what other people tell me. I need independence like air, otherwise I get very cranky and very bad at what I do. I have the impression teaching is a profession where you get to make the most important decisions yourself.
So my current theory is that being stubborn, introverted, and having a long history of fighting with my fears will somehow make me into a good teacher. And also the fact that I apparently like teenagers. I like how raw they are, how vulnerable and how emotional.
I will find out in the next months if this theory holds. In any case, I will start writing about my experiences with teaching on this blog from now on.