How to Gain the Experience You Need before Becoming a Teacher

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You always planned on going back to college, but somehow life always got in the way. Now you have a full-time job, a family and extracurricular activities, and balancing all those life experiences is tricky.

But you’re not alone. A recent study shows that 83 percent of undergraduate students in Minnesota work while in college – and 78 percent of those students work at least 29 hours per week.

It might be daunting, but it’s hard to ignore the added salary, job prospects and lifestyle improvements that come with a college degree. And while we’ve got you thinking seriously about earning a degree, why not focus on a field that’s growing rapidly: teaching.

A recent article in The Guardian reports that nearly 8 million extra teachers will be needed around the world by 2015. With that, let’s take a look at how you can manage your time effectively to earn the degree and experience you need to finally become a teacher.

Managing working while in college

Balancing work while in college is not an easy task, especially for those full-time students who work almost 30 hours in a given week. Managing your school work and earning valuable teaching experience takes more than just hard work and determination. It also means specific planning, so you can avoid overloading your schedule.

“Every time I was faced with tough decisions, I'd take a step back and think about the larger picture: what are my ultimate goals and what will get me there?” says Simon Tam, an MBA student at Marylhurst University in Oregon. “Too often, it's tempting to look for short term gains rather than taking the extra work needed to achieve those larger goals.”

Tam is a student, business-owner, author, musician and he also manages the digital and social media efforts for Portland Community College. He admits the balancing act is tough but he credits a finely-tuned system of time management as his most valuable skill.

Here are a handful of other time management tips for working students.

How to gain the teaching experience you need

A crucial part of managing your time and achieving your goals is making sure that you’re taking steps to gain experience in the world of teaching. Whether you have a little or a lot of teaching experience, there are several opportunities in the working world.

In his book How to Get All-Important Teaching Experience, Rick Reis recommends expanding your teaching experience by guest teaching in classrooms, team teaching and working as a summer school teacher.

Informal teaching experiences such as chaperoning one-time events or on-going educational programs are ways to get your foot in the door. Also, consider contacting your local Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop and offering to lead a particular badge-winning activity.

Volunteering your time with museums or local parks is another way to gain experience interacting with young students.

What are you waiting for?

You’re right. It is difficult going to school, working and focusing on your future. But by managing your time well and taking advantage of volunteer and community-based opportunities, it is possible to achieve the teaching career you want.

So if you’re ready to change your future, gain the teaching experience you need to move into the teaching position you want, download our Education Career Outlook to determine which teaching career would be the best fit for you!

If you’re looking for further information about how a degree in education can help you start your career, check out the programs offered by the Rasmussen College School of Education!

Kendall Bird

Kendall is a Social Media Strategist at Collegis Education who is focused on bringing awareness and engagement to Rasmussen College's social media properties. She is passionate about helping others, the power of education and building strategies that put the needs of students first. 


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