The former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” On National Teacher Day, individuals, organizations and communities celebrate their teachers as a way to say “thank you” for the role they play in shaping the future of their students.

Teaching is a challenging and rewarding career. Experts estimate the United States will need about 2 million new teachers over the next decade and beyond. You could be one of them!

If you think you’re not smart enough to be a teacher, think again! Teachers learn to be teachers from… you probably guessed it… other teachers.

Anyone can become a teacher. Just like any career, you have to plan and prepare to obtain the necessary background education for the type of teacher you might want to be someday.

But how do teachers get to be so smart? They obviously have to know a lot of things to be able to teach, right? Are their brains bigger than average? Are they superhuman?

Not quite… teachers are regular people just like you. They have invested a lot of time in preparing for a career in teaching. They’ve gone to school for many years, learned many things, practiced teaching and now pass on what they know to their students.

But that’s not all they do. They keep learning throughout their whole lives. They learn about and practice the newest strategies to help students learn.

For example, when computers became popular and eventually earned a place in the classroom, teachers had to learn new things in order to help students continue to learn in the best ways possible.

They also do a lot of homework! That’s right. They review and constantly refresh their memories about the materials they use to teach you.

Plus, those assignments you turn in don’t grade themselves. Teachers work hard — both in the classroom and at home — to make sure your educational experience is the best it can be!

So what should you do if you think you might want to be a teacher someday? Ask questions! The best resources you could ask for are all around you.

Find a few teachers you admire and ask them what made them want to become teachers. What types of schooling did they need to get where they are today? What advice do they have for you?

Your teachers will be glad to give you whatever guidance you need to follow in their footsteps. There are all sorts of teachers: elementary, middle and high school teachers, college professors and even adult education teachers.

You’re never too old to learn and have a teacher. What kind of teacher might you want to be?

Quotes about teachers:

  • "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops." — Henry Brooks Adams
  • "The dream begins, most of the time, with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you on to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called truth." — Dan Rather
  • "The art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery." — Mark Van Doren
  • "Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher." — Japanese proverb
  • “America believes in education: The average professor earns more money in a year than a professional athlete earns in a whole week.” — Evan Esar

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