Edward Kraftman has been working in education for the past decade. He is the co-chief executive officer of a non-profit program called So2Speak that caters to teens in after school programs. So2Speak.org is a non-profit organization which combines speech with education in order to empower tomorrow’s leaders.

(Photo Courtesy of Edward Kraftman)

(Photo Courtesy of Edward Kraftman)

What is the most challenging aspect of teaching in the classroom environment?

“A teacher has to be able to engage his/her students without being hindered by external factors. The students look up to their teachers and expect exemplary performance which they can grow to emulate. Indeed, every teacher painstakingly pours over their lesson plans. Yet, a teacher has to be prepared to improvise.”

“Teaching is a creative art-form coupled with a huge responsibility. A responsibility to his/her students. In a single day, a teacher makes at least hundreds of small decisions. Each decision has a potential to impact a child in either a positive or a negative way. Therefore, a teacher in the classroom is constantly challenged to make creative, meaningful, and correct decisions – decisions which will impact his/her students’ lives in a positive way. The teacher must do that, all the while being a role model to the students and not permitting his/her own personal interests to hinder the decision-making process.”

Are continuing education courses beneficial for teachers?

“A teacher has to be a role model to his/her students. Teaching is directly correlated with learning. A successful teacher is a perpetual student; a perpetual student of self-development. Today, with various new educational reforms a teacher needs to be continuously engaged in current educational developments. Educators, in general, have to exemplify a passion for learning.”

Do you have any advice for people wanting to enter into the teaching profession?

“Teaching should be a calling and a passion. Someone once said, ‘Love what you do and you will never have to work a day in your life.’ Becoming a teacher shouldn’t be one’s last resort. It is a profession filled with responsibility and numerous challenges. A teacher is responsible for the future and well-being of his/her students. Therefore, a career in teaching shouldn’t be a decision taken lightly.”

Christina Thompson is a freelance writer living in Philadelphia. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.