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Five Stages in the Life of a Teacher

30th Aug 2018
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stages of teacher development
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This model outlines what may be the stages of development that teachers may go through as they mature in their careers. I'm posting this here in the hope of getting honest feedback from others who may know a little about the topic. Are the following stages reasonable or accurate? Once it's finalized, the teacher development model outlined here may serve as an educational piece in a future iNLP Center program

While considering this model, it’s important to track the status of each individual’s value for teaching, that passion or inner love of participating in the education process.

Fulfillment as a teacher comes from acting upon this value for teaching.

Life of a Teacher Stage 1: The Dream

Going to university, preparing for and contemplating a teacher’s life, the teacher is excited or passionate about education. A love for learning combined with the thrill of seeing the lights go on in another’s mind is meaningful. This is the dream, to work in an environment that values learning.

Combine the above with subject matter passion, and we have an individual with a lot to look forward to in life.  

Life of a Teacher Stage II: Reality of the Education System

At some point early in a working teacher’s career, he or she meets with the realities of the education system. In most countries, the education system is broken. It’s underfunded or mismanaged and does not (or cannot) meet the needs of teachers or their students.

In many cases, teachers feel left on their own, unsupported or even opposed by the administration. Parents can be difficult. Students can be even more so. In all this, the dream of teaching can turn into a nightmare. Love for education can turn into the dread of facing another day at work.

Life of a Teacher Stage III: Surviving the System

Most teachers need to stay employed, so they adapt to the system and learn to live with it. However, the reality of a shockingly unsupportive education system has killed the dream. Surviving the system, earning a paycheck, and getting through the week become the norm. Job burnout is one of the symptoms of this stage.

Teachers in this stage often commiserate with other educators. They feel disempowered, disenfranchised, and even hopeless or helpless.

Life of a Teacher Stage IV: Rebirth of the Dream

Some teachers move beyond surviving the system, but not all. In this stage, the teacher reclaims her dream. This time, however, the dream - and the joy of teaching - comes to full maturity in that it can co-exist with an imperfect educational system.

Embracing the mature version of the dream, the teacher is able to recapture fulfillment in teaching and sees the educational system realistically.

Life of a Teacher Stage V: Optimism

More in control of her destiny and having found a way to love teaching in an imperfect system, the teacher is optimistic about her career, enjoys working and remains curious about her subject matter.

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