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8 Signs That Teaching Could be Your Calling

About the writer: Ameya Nagarkar, who once aimed to be an engineer, found his true calling in teaching by chance. Now a dedicated STEM teacher at Fortitude Valley State Secondary College in Brisbane, Ameya is passionate about inspiring students from diverse backgrounds to explore teaching as a fulfilling career.

I never thought I’d become a teacher. Growing up in a family of engineers, I always thought I’d follow the same path. Turns out, life had other plans. Now, I share my passion for Maths and Physics with a classroom of teenagers every day, and I love every second of it.

Looking back, I can see that my passions and interests were signs that pointed me towards teaching all along. So, I thought I’d share some of those signs with you. Who knows? You might see some of these traits in yourself.

1. You feel that helping others is impactful.

I’ve always found great joy in helping others, even as a young child. Back then, I thought engineering would be my way of making a difference. But now I can see that the impact I have on students can last just as long as any scientific breakthrough. 

Beyond the textbooks and lesson plans, we shape students into the best versions of themselves. It’s why almost every adult can remember their favourite teacher – our impact stays with students long after they leave school.  

2. You enjoy sharing your unique skills and passions.

A common misconception about teaching is that you have to love public speaking. What really matters is conveying passion and knowledge in a way that resonates.

Think about the last time you recommended your favourite book or show to a friend, and how easy it was to talk about. Passion is infectious, and your enthusiasm could be the spark that ignites a lifelong pursuit for a student.

3. You value the opportunity to shape the next generation of young Australians 

Knowing your stuff is important, but being a great teacher requires more than knowing facts and figures. It’s about empathy, compassion, and making real connections with your students. 

Understanding where students are coming from and being there for them – that’s what sets the best teachers apart. 

4. You want to help create a society where diversity is celebrated and respected

Teaching is your chance to be a champion for inclusivity. Having a cohort of teachers that reflects the society we live in is an important part of this. Coming from a migrant family, I’ve noticed how students benefit from interacting with teachers who share a similar background to them.  Creating a classroom where every student is seen, heard and feels valued can have a powerful impact for all.

I have also personally experienced the benefits of having more teachers from diverse backgrounds. I’ve seen how it can encourage curiosity and enhance respect across the wider school community. 

5. You want opportunities to learn and grow professionally, financially and personally

Almost everything I’ve learnt about great communication has come from my career as a teacher. You may be surprised to learn that teaching can open doors to many opportunities. I’ve had the chance to expand my knowledge, attend leadership workshops, and even speak at the World Economic Forum in New York. 

Whilst job stability is certainly a benefit of the teaching profession, it also offers a range of growth opportunities – whether it’s progressing into senior leadership roles, learning new innovative teaching methods or simply switching subjects or year levels. 

6. You enjoy variety in your work 

If you thrive on novelty and change, there’s nothing like working with young minds. I get to adapt to the day as I go, all while seeing growth and progress happen right in front of me. As a teacher you’re constantly exposed to new people and thinking, which is inspiring and rewarding.

7. Thinking about the future and what humankind can create, excites you

I’ve always been excited about innovation. Sharing that passion with students means I get to sow the seeds of the next big ideas before they’ve even made it into the world. 

By instilling a sense of curiosity and wonder, and encouraging their young minds, we pave the way for everything they could create once they leave our classroom. 

8. You’re open to the idea that great talent is built, not born

Ever heard the saying “practice makes perfect”? Well, it applies to teaching too. Sure, some people might seem like natural-born teachers, but the truth is, it’s a skill that can be learned. 

I never expected I’d be considered as an outstanding teacher. I’ve found that with dedication, passion, and a willingness to learn, anyone can become an exceptional teacher. 

Does this sound like you? 

Whilst you don’t need every trait on this list to become a teacher, I wouldn’t be surprised if you recognise some of these in yourself.

If you do, it could be time to look at the possibilities that teaching offers. Like me, you might even find your calling in the classroom. 

Read more inspiring stories of teachers and their impact at bethatteacher.gov.au