I wasn't sure that teaching was right for me.
Many years later, I still believe that I made the correct decision not to become a full-time teacher straight out of university. Instead my path took me into the world of business where I experienced diverse roles and responsibilities in a range of working environments. Although I didn't know it at the time, this actually gave me the management skills and business know-how on which to base my future career as a teacher. Without this solid grounding, I doubt that I would be anywhere near as successful as I am.
When I came back to teaching later in life, it was almost by accident, rather then by design.
I have now been working as an English teacher in Italy for a number of years, and I can easily break down what being a teacher means to me into 3 simple things.
Freedom – I work as a private tutor so I can work when and where I want to. I get to make my own decisions based upon what is best for my circumstances without having to consult a higher authority. With this type of freedom comes responsibility as well, if I make a bad choice, I have to live with my decision and the consequences of it. The power of the internet also give us the freedom to teach students from around the world, where not so long ago this was impossible. Without leaving my home, I can travel the world and meet any number of interesting characters, all with the same passion as I have for languages.
Pride – I take enormous pride in my work these days, which is not something that I could have said about working in the world of banking and insurance. When a student progresses, or when an important point clicks into place, when they pass the exams which are important to them and go on to achieve new goals in their lives, I feel proud that I have played some small part in helping them. It makes you feel as though your existence is worthwhile and that you have made a contribution to the world at large.
Satisfaction – Private language tutors are only ever as successful as they are good. If your teaching schedule is literally bursting at the seams and you have a constant demand from new students, then the 'proof is in the pudding' that you are good at what you have chosen to do as a profession. No boss could ever give you that kind of feedback, nor could they reward you in the same way that students do. For me, teaching is the most rewarding work I have ever done, and it is also the hardest work I have ever done.