COVID-19 has disrupted seemingly every facet of education. For teachers, the change has meant shifting to online instruction as you learn how to use it. Communication with parents and school administrators has also become perhaps more important than ever.

While everyone plays a pivotal role in transitioning to remote learning, teachers are on the front lines. They’re tasked with implementing rapidly changing school policies, and ensuring students continue to have access to quality education.

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With so much unknown about the future of education, many aspiring instructors are probably asking themselves, Is it a good time to become a teacher? Here are a few things to keep in mind:

Acknowledge the challenges

In these unprecedented times, every business has struggled to quickly adapt to social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders.

But K-12 teachers face a unique challenge. The classroom environment provides more than academics—it’s where children learn to make friends and socialize. Simply put, the classroom is arguably just as important to a child’s emotional development as it is to their intellect.

Even when kids are able to return to school, what will the classroom look like? Will technology change the fundamental role of the teacher? If you’re thinking about becoming a teacher or plan to become a teacher, you’ll have to recognize that a career in education will be full of new questions, but it’s important to remember that new challenges present new opportunities for rewards.

Weigh the benefits

Despite the upheaval to education, teachers have a chance to make a significant impact. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that leadership is crucial. During turbulent times, it’s easy for students to become distracted from academics, or become emotionally untethered. A good teacher can act as a kind of leader, providing stability, confidence, and reassurance for children.

Is it a good time to become a teacher?

Additionally, if you’re technologically savvy, you can use your skills to empower kids with knowledge. Whether remote learning continues indefinitely or classes resume on campus next fall, there’s no doubt that technology will be an integral part of the classroom going forward. Your passion for education coupled with your ability to navigate tech tools uniquely positions you to deliver quality education to K-12 students at a time when they really need it.

Consider your next steps

If you do choose to become a teacher, you should start thinking about your next steps. You’ll first need to complete teacher training through a state-approved preparation program, or by earning your Master of Arts in Teaching degree from an accredited university.

Head’s up: Universities have different timelines for when they plan to re-open on-campus instruction. Additionally, as part of your training, you typically need to complete student-teaching hours where you practice instruction in a live classroom under the guidance of a full-time teacher. This too may vary depending on where you attend school. Check with your program’s admission office to address these questions. It’s important that you feel comfortable and safe in your program. Additional requirements to becoming a teacher may vary by state.

In this unprecedented time, teaching is a challenging job, but the potential benefits include career satisfaction, and positively impacting children at a sensitive time.

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About the Author:

Brian Soika is a Digital Content Writer in the Office of Strategic Enrollment Services, USC Rossier School of Education, University of Southern California.