By Hana Kim
Recently, my husband and I bought a house. The process was arduous- it involved daunting paperwork, long waits, and lots of money. It is such a complex process that it can become overwhelming and, at times, it seemed like we may never close on our dream house. At the same time I was buying a house, I had also begun pursuing my Master’s in Teaching degree, and I realized that the things I learned in the process of buying a house could benefit those thinking about becoming a teacher:
1. Do not rely solely on the internet; go hunt your house actively. Online research is an important step in gathering new information, but it also limits your choices. You have to get out and see the properties. You have to visit real houses and see what features each house has. After visiting a couple houses, you may sense that this could be your house or this is never going to be your house. When discerning what grade or subject you want to teach, don’t just visit a school’s website, go visit the local schools around where you live. Do volunteer work to see the differences between schools. See how each teacher teaches in different ways. Find out which teaching methods you would like to apply or to avoid in your future classroom.
2. Do not wait until the last moment. My realtor warned me on the first day we met, “Do not wait until the last moment to find what you want. Good houses are sold quickly.” The same is true for teacher preparation. Participate in educational events or seminars. Be proactive about what you are interested in. Do not hesitate to finish the courses you have to take. Grabbing an opportunity is like a gambling; there is no guarantee. But if you let a good one pass, you will regret it.
3. There is no such thing as “a dream house”. This was a shocking fact to me. There is no dream house even if you built it by yourself. Humans easily get bored. We always look for something new or different. There is no perfect job in the world. That is why we call it a “job.” Do not feel frustrated if you don’t have perfect settings for your school or class. There are no perfect students either. If you do not like where you are, think about how you can make changes for your school, students, and yourself. There is a reason why those home improvement stores are popular.
4. Work together. The most inefficient way to finish a task is do it alone. Buying a house involves multiple agencies, a bank, a realtor, and friends and a family. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Talk to your peers, teachers, advisors, mentor teachers, and coworkers. Get all the information you can. People generally feel valued themselves when someone asks for help or support.
5. Closing on a house does not mean that you can stop maintaining the house. The final process of buying a house is closing and getting a house key. However, it is not the end of your work with a house; the truth is that it is actually the time to start work on your house. You have more responsibility with maintaining the house. Your house will increase in value based on how much effort you put into maintaining it. Becoming a teacher does not mean that you can stop improving yourself. There is no end to your training as an educator. This is one unique element about becoming a teacher. Usually, when you get a job it is time to work hard and make money. But once you become a teacher, it is time to work harder to increase your knowledge and skills, to prepare your students and lessons, and to build your school community. Never stop improving yourself.
Buying a house is an important step of life. (It is also hard to get a refund once you signed your signature on a hundred pages!) Becoming a teacher also requires a commitment to you, your students, school administrators, and students’ parents. Owning a home is a huge accomplishment–Own your teaching and make a difference every day for those who need you.