19 Top Ideas for a “Why I want to be a Teacher” Essay (2019)

Why I want to be a teacher essay

Here are the 19 best reasons you would want to be a teacher that you can include in your essay:

  1. To help children learn more effectively.
  2. To ensure children have positive mentors.
  3. To improve children’s lives.
  4. To help future generations solve the problems of today.
  5. To help the future generations become good citizens.
  6. To inspire future generations to create a more equal world.
  7. To give back to the community I grew up in.
  8. To be a part of helping my community thrive.
  9. To be a part of my community’s decision-making processes.
  10. Because you have the patience for working with children.
  11. Because you have compassion for children.
  12. Because you want to learn from children.
  13. Because you’re enthusiastic about learning.
  14. Because you are a generous person.
  15. Because you’re interested in learning how to teach difficult students.
  16. Because you’re interested in learning how to work with difficult parents.
  17. Because you’re interested in learning diverse strategies for teaching,
  18. Because you’re interested in learning to master classroom management.
  19. Because you’re interested in learning what works and what doesn’t in teaching.

The ‘Why I want to be a teacher’ essay is all about showing you have thought in-depth about what a teacher does and what their role is in society. It’s also about showing you think you’d be a good person to conduct that role.

The 9 Tips are split into five categories. You can scan this whole post or browse through the categories here:

This essay is hard to get right.

Most students write the exact same thing as one another with the same old cliché statements like “because I love kids” (ugh, wrong answer!). If you do this, your teacher will just give you an average grade (or worse).

You need your essay on “why you want to be a teacher” to be different – indeed excellent – so it stands out for your teacher.

I’ll show you how.

Why should you listen to me? Well, I’ve been teaching university students in education departments for 8 years. In that time I’ve marked several thousand essays by people aiming to become teachers. I know what essays get top marks and which ones are average. I also know exactly what mistakes students make that make their essays seem … dull.

So, let me get you started out by introducing 19 points that you should make in your essay on why you want to be a teacher. I’ll break these 19 points down into 5 separate categories. Check them out below.

1. Definitely do not say “because kids are fun”. Do this instead.

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The word ‘fun’ is a big red flag for markers. Too many people want to become teachers because they think it would be a fun profession. Or, they might think that they want to help children have fun. No, no, no.

This is an incorrect answer in your essay about why you want to become a teacher.

Yes, teaching is fun a lot of the time. And it is really nice to see students having fun based on activities you’ve set for them.

But society isn’t paying you to have fun, or even to make children have fun. You’re not going to be a child minder, aunt, uncle or clown. You’re going to be a professional who has a bigger social purpose than having fun.

Now, a lot of students say to me “But, students learn more when they’re having fun.” Sure, that might be true – but it’s not a central reason for teaching.

If making learning more fun is genuinely a reason why you decided to become a teacher, then you need to frame it in a way that shows the importance of teaching for the good of students. Here’s three better ways to say ‘because kids are fun’; for each on, we can start with “I want to become a teacher because…”:

  1. I want to help children learn more effectively. You could say something like: …When I was in school, learning was hard and I therefore hated teaching. There were a lot of teachers who seemed uninspired and uninterested in whether their children are learning. I was inspired to become a teacher so I could help children like myself to learn in ways that are engaging, motivating and inspiring.
  2. I want to ensure children have positive mentors. You could say something like: …Many children in the world don’t have positive mentors at home. A teacher is often the one person in a child’s life who is a stable mentor that the child can lean upon. I chose to become a teacher because I believe all children need a positive mentor that instils in them an interest in the world and a belief that they can make something of themselves.
  3. I want to improve children’s lives. You could say something like: …Being a teacher will give me the power to make children’s lives better. Learning opens doors to new opportunities, ways of thinking and paths in life that children wouldn’t have had before me. I am inspired by the idea of helping a child who is sad, uncertain and lacks confidence to see their own potential for creating a fulfilling life for themselves.

All three of those ideas still skirt around the idea that helping children have fun is something you want to see happen, but they also point out that there’s something deeper here than the idea that children should have fun: they should have fun for a reason. That reason could be so they learn more, develop an interest in the world, or see that their lives are full of potential.

Note that in my three examples above, I never used the word ‘fun’: it’s too much of a red flag for your markers.

2. Explain how teaching helps the world! Here’s how.

Have you ever heard someone say that ‘Teaching is a noble profession’? Well, it is. And this is something you really should be talking about in your essay on why you want to become a teacher.

Your teacher will be impressed by your understanding that teaching is a profession that keeps the world turning. Without teachers, where would we be? Probably back in the dark ages where people couldn’t read or write, technology wasn’t advancing very quickly at all, and people mostly lived in ignorance of their world.

So, being a teacher is has a bigger social purpose. As a teacher, you’ll be an important piece of society. You’ll be one of the army of tens – no, hundreds – of thousands of people helping future generations to propel our world towards better days. Below are some ways teaching helps the world. You can start these off with “I want to become a teacher because…”

  1. I want to help future generations solve the problems of today. Being a teacher gives you the opportunity to propel students to greater heights. The children in your classrooms will be the people who solve climate change (oh, goodness, I hope so!), create the technologies to make our lives more comfortable, and get us out of the ecological, economic and political messes we seem to have gotten ourselves into!
  2. I want to help the future generations become good citizens. There’s a concept called the ‘hidden curriculum’. This concept points to the fact that children learn more at school than what’s in the tests. They also learn how to get along, manners, democratic values and the importance of sharing. These soft skills are more than just a by-product of education. They’re incredibly important for showing our students how to get along in our society.
  3. I want to inspire future generations to create a more equal world. A lot of what we talk about at school are moral issues: what’s the right and wrong thing to do? How do our actions ensure or hinder equality of races, genders and social classes? As a teacher, you will be instilling in children the idea that the decisions they make will lead to a more or less equal world. And of course, we all want a more equal world for our children.

These points are some higher-order points that will help you teacher see that you’re becoming a teacher for more than ‘fun’. You’re becoming a teacher because you see the noble purpose in teaching. If you do this right, you’ll surely impress your teacher.

3. Discuss your commitment to community. Here’s how.

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Teachers are at the center of communities. Parents take their children to school, drop them off, then go to work. They busily get on with their jobs: architect, shop assistant, nurse, builder, and so on… Then, they all come back at the end of the day to collect their children from school.

School is one of the few things that brings all of these different members of a community together. Parents gather around the pick up location to gather their kids, and there they stand around and chat about sports and politics and community issues.

School is at the heart of community.

And you, as a teacher, will be one of the respected members of that community: there to serve all the members of the community by helping to raise their children with the values of the community in which you live.

You can talk about this as a central reason why you want to be a teacher. How about you start off with: “I want to become a teacher because…”

  1. I want to give back to the community I grew up in. You could say …I grew up in a close-knit community where we all looked out for one another. Being a teacher will give me the opportunity to give back to my friends and mentors in the town who need someone to raise their children who they trust will do a great job.
  2. I want to be a part of helping my community thrive. You could talk about how you are from a growing community that needs good quality, respectable people who will educate future members of your community. As a teacher, you will be at the heart of ensuring your local town remains a great place to live.
  3. I want to be a part of my community’s decision-making processes. Teachers hold a certain authority: they know how students learn, and they usually have a very deep understanding of what is best for children in order to ensure they thrive. You can talk about how you want to become a person with deep knowledge about the children in your community so you can help guide you community’s decisions around how to raise their young people.

Note that in this group of ideas, ‘community’ represents the close-knit town in which you live, whereas in point 2, I talked about ‘society’, which was the bigger picture of the future of our nation or world rather than just your town.

4. Discuss the personality traits you think you can bring to the role. Here’s how.

You should show how you have reflected on the requirements of the role of teaching and thought about whether you have the personality traits that are required.

Why? Well, you need to be able to show that you know what being a teacher is all about… and that you think you’d be good at it.

So, let’s dive in to 5 personality traits that teachers have, and how you can show you have those traits:

  1. Patience. Patience is an enormously popular skill for teachers to have. You’ll have kids who just don’t understand concepts one iota, and you’ve got to sit there and work with them until they get it. It’s tedious, let me tell you!
  2. Compassion. Patience and compassion go hand-in-hand. If you don’t feel empathy for the kid who’s struggling super hard at learning, you’ll get pretty mad and just give up. You might also say some mean things to the kid! So, compassion is really necessary if you want to become a good teacher.
  3. Open minded. Teachers always need to be learning new things. We often talk about the importance of learning with students more than directly teaching If you set a student a task, you’ll be sending them out to gather as much information on the topic as possible. They’ll often come back with new knowledge and you will want to praise them for teaching you something new.
  4. Enthusiasm. Let me tell you, when it’s Wednesday afternoon in the middle of a hot school week and everyone’s depressed and flat there’s one person to rally the troops: you! Teachers need to wake up every morning, put their happy face on, and march into the classroom with boundless enthusiasm. It’ll motivate your students and make them feel welcome in the learning environment.
  5. Generosity. You need to be generous with your time and praise. You need to be constantly thinking about the students in your care and doing anything you can to help them learn, instil in them a love of learning, and give them the confidence to try anything. Teachers need to be very generous people.

There’s a ton more traits that make a good teacher that you can talk about. These are just a few. Go forth and learn more, and add them to your essay!

5. Conclude with the things you still need to learn. Here’s how.

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One more thing: good teachers are constantly learning. As someone studying to be a teacher, you need to remember that there’s a long way to go before you have all the answers. Heck, I’ve been a teacher for nearly a decade and I’m not even half way towards knowing everything about being a good teacher.

So, conclude your essay by highlighting that you understand what the role of a teacher is in society and the key competencies required of a teacher; but then go further and mention your enthusiasm to learn more about the profession over the coming years.

Here’s 5 things you can mention that you still need to learn:

  1. How to teach difficult students. Some students hate school – mostly because of their terrible experiences in the past. You need to learn to get through to difficult students, and this takes time and patience to learn the art of inspiring the uninspired.
  2. How to work with difficult parents. Oh boy, you’ll have a lot of these. You can highlight this as one of the key things you want to work on in the coming years: again, you’ll need to draw on that skill of patience (as well as the skill of diplomacy) when it comes time to deal with an angry parent.
  3. Diverse strategies for teaching. There are a lot of different ways to go about teaching. Over the years you’ll pick up on the various strategies and tricks different teachers have to help children learn.
  4. Classroom management. This is one of the hardest things young teachers need to learn. And really, it just takes time. Discuss how this is something you want to focus on, and how you’ll use mentors to really work on this skill.
  5. What works and what doesn’t. Great teachers have this intuitive knowledge about what works and what doesn’t, all based upon their deep experience and trial-and-error. The only way to learn to teach is to do it. Over the coming years, you’ll be learning about this. A lot.

You’ll only need one or two paragraphs on this final point, but it’s a great way to end your essay on why you want to become a teacher. It’ll show your humility and eagerness to take on one of the noblest professions in the world.

If you want to learn to write a top notch conclusion, you might also like my post on the 5 C’s Conclusion method.

Summing Up

Before you finish up your essay, you might want to check out my awesome posts on how to improve your essays, like these ones:

I promised 19 thoughtful points to make in your essay about why you want to be a teacher. Here they are, all summed up in one final list:

  1. Say you want to help children learn more effectively.
  2. Say you want to ensure children have positive mentors.
  3. Say you want to improve children’s lives.
  4. Say you want to help future generations solve the problems of today.
  5. Say you want to help the future generations become good citizens.
  6. Say you want to inspire future generations to create a more equal world.
  7. Say you want to give back to the community you grew up in.
  8. Say you want to be a part of helping your community thrive.
  9. Say you want to be a part of your community’s decision-making processes.
  10. Say you want to share your patience with your students.
  11. Say you want to share your compassion with your students.
  12. Say you want to learn from your students (be ‘open minded’)
  13. Say you want to share your enthusiasm for learning with your students.
  14. Say you want to share your generosity with your students.
  15. Say you’re interested in learning how to teach difficult students.
  16. Say you’re interested in learning how to work with difficult parents.
  17. Say you’re interested in learning diverse strategies for teaching,
  18. Say you’re interested in learning to master classroom management.
  19. Say you’re interested in learning what works and what doesn’t in teaching.

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Chris Drew, PhD (aka The Helpful Professor)

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