An ongoing project by Scholastic Corporation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation known as Primary Sources, gathers opinions of thousands of teachers across the U.S. as a way of informing policymakers, the media and public on the ground realties faced by educators.
While the goal of the project is to ensure that teachers’ voices are at the center of the conversation on education, the survey findings also offer a firsthand account of some of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of a PreK-12 teaching career. This information can be particularly useful to bachelors in education students as they prepare for their careers as educators.
Below is a brief overview of some of the key report findings from the third edition of Primary Sources which surveyed more than 20,000 public school teachers across the U.S.
Most Rewarding Aspects of Teaching
Overall, most teachers (88 percent) agree that the rewards of teaching outweigh the challenges of the profession. Some of the most rewarding aspects of teaching include:
- The opportunity to make a visible difference in the world
- Witnessing students learn, grow and experience “aha” moments
- The ability to share the love of learning with others
- The opportunity to help students reach their full potential
Most Challenging Aspects of Teaching
More than 80 percent of teachers said that the “constantly changing demands on teachers and students” is the most significant challenge they face as a teacher. Other cited challenges are:
- Limited time to collaborate with colleagues
- Large class sizes
- Differing student populations in a classroom (e.g. students who are below or above grade level, special education students, ELL (English Language Learner) students, etc.)
- The need for greater collaboration between teachers and parents
At William Woods University, students earning a bachelors in education will take a number of courses designed to equip them with skills necessary to deal with common challenges they’ll face as teachers. For example, students will take EDU 231 Exceptional Child, a course that teaches students how to manage differing student populations in a classroom, including children with special needs.