Focused Career Choices: How Teacher Educators Can Assist Students with Purposeful Career Decision-Making Throughout a Teacher Education Program.

Each semester in my teacher education classes, I explain some career facts to my students. I ask them to take a good look at each other, because the reality is that they will not all be graduating together and becoming teachers. (1) One or two in the room will never make it to student teaching, some will start to student teach and hate it, others will finish, but never pursue teaching. Many who complete the degree will be so disheartened from subbing or from trying to compete in saturated job markets that they will give up and find another line of work. Some graduates will complete one year in a full-time position, others two or even five, but very few will complete 30. I do not tell my students this to scare them or to weed out the class. I tell them this because I want to give them permission not to be teachers. I have found that students put so much pressure on themselves to finish a degree that they oftentimes do not stop to think if they will enjoy the work they have nearly prepared themselves to do. Others simply do not want to admit that they truly do not like the work because they “just want to be done.” For many, they already have a good idea that they do not want to be teachers, but they believe they have invested too much time and money and so they trudge on to graduation. Having no other employment prospects, they may begin subbing or teaching, many marking time until they “get a real job.”

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