Some people were born to teach. They played "school" at home with siblings and friends, and then tutored confused classmates at recess. Other people pursue teaching out of a love for a particular subject. The beauty of an algebra equation or a poem by Robert Frost gets them dreaming of being in front of a class of eager students. Regardless of what draws you to education, all educators share in the many benefits of being a teacher. From teacher compensation to summer vacation, there are many things to get excited about if you think teaching is the career for you.

Teacher Compensation Packages

If you're considering becoming a teacher but you need to make a decent paycheck, don't worry. Teachers can make good incomes.

Teaching Salaries
A study from the National Center for Education Statistics found that teacher salaries have kept pace with inflation since 1990, and even increased by three percent after inflation since 1996.* And the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics found that elementary, secondary and special education teachers earned $33.06 per hour in 2006, compared with the $31.30 that other professional employees earned. It may come as a surprise, but this study also found that teachers enjoyed a higher hourly pay rate than everyone except business and financial management employees.**

Teacher Benefits
In addition to your regular pay, one of the benefits of being a teacher is the impressive benefits package you'll enjoy. Schools offer comprehensive health and life insurance, as well as government pension plans to many public school teachers. And even if you choose to teach at a private school, you'll likely enjoy perks such as free or discounted tuition for your children, so make sure you inquire about these things when you apply for teaching jobs.

The Greatest Benefit of Being a Teacher: The Work Schedule

The one benefit that teachers love most about teaching is the time off. This is no nine-to-five job, and every teacher looks forward to the end of the school year—and two months off.

Work-Life Balance
If you are a working parent, you know how challenging it can be to maintain your home and shuttle your kids around to after-school activities. One of the benefits of being a teacher is the opportunity to be home with your own kids after school. You may have additional work to complete in the evenings, but your on-site work day will end with plenty of time for you to spend quality time with your children or be a soccer parent.

Summer Vacation
Who says only students look forward to summer vacation? Teachers in states with traditional school calendars enjoy more than two months off each summer. Many teachers use this opportunity to travel, earn additional money, pursue additional education or just enjoy the sunny weather with friends and loved ones.

Holidays Off
Teachers don't have to work on holidays like some other professionals. You may not think of it as one of the important benefits of being a teacher, but if you've ever had to work while others enjoyed a holiday off, you'll appreciate this teaching perk.

The Main Benefit of Being a Teacher: Changing Lives

The teaching profession in the U.S. continues to grow,*** and this may be because of the many benefits of being a teacher. But remember that beyond the facts and figures, teachers enjoy a unique opportunity to invest in the lives of their students. You can't put a price tag on that or fit it into a calendar, but the effect you have on the lives of your students is enough to put a smile on your face and make you proud of a job well done.

*U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. The Condition of Education 2008.
**U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. National Compensation Survey: Occupational Wages in the United States, June 2006.
*** U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. Digest of Education Statistics 2006.

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