The evolution of educators: exploring the stages of a teacher’s career

Hello, teachers and aspiring educators! 

Do you remember the first time you stepped into a classroom, filled with nervous excitement?

Or perhaps you’re about to embark on that thrilling journey as an educator, ready to make a difference in the lives of your students?

No matter where you are in your teaching journey, I think we can all agree that this journey is filled with unique challenges, bittersweet moments, and growth opportunities. In short, teaching is a never ending adventure! 

In today’s article, we invite you to explore each fascinating stages of a teacher’s professional life cycle, discussing the distinct challenges and opportunities that come with each milestone. 

So, whether you just dipped your toes into the world of teaching or a seasoned expert, grab a cup of coffee and get cozy, and join us as we explore the exciting world of teaching through the ages! 

1. The pre-service stage 

Ah, the pre-service stage! Where the journey of becoming a teacher truly begins!

Simply put, the pre-service stage is where future teachers acquire the building blocks to excel in their profession. And trust me, there’s never a dull moment in the world of teaching! 

This is where future teachers take their first teaching or education courses. A good program should offer a perfect blend of theoretical knowledge and hands-on experience, covering topics like pedagogy, education psychology, and subject-specific knowledge. 

One of the most exciting aspects of the pre-service stage is field experience. Aspiring teachers get a taste of a real classroom dynamic through observation, internship, and student teaching placements. 

They might find themselves nervously practicing their “teacher voice” in front of the mirror or nervously chuckle at the unexpected yet hilarious questions kids can ask during class. Remember these moments? 

As pre-service teachers delve into the world of education, they also embark on a journey of self-discovery. They’re encouraged to reflect on their beliefs about teaching and learning, leading to the development of their own unique educational philosophy.

This philosophy will guide their instructional decisions and shape their approach to teaching throughout their careers—whether they end up as the cool, laid-back teacher or the strict, no-nonsense disciplinarian.

Finally, this stage is all about mastering an array of pedagogical strategies.

From teaching methods and classroom management techniques to assessment practices, pre-service teachers are exposed to a variety of tools and approaches. 

They learn to juggle lesson planning, grading, and keeping a straight face when a student makes an unintentionally hilarious mistake during a presentation!

2. The induction stage 

Welcome to the induction stage, new teachers!

It’s an exhilarating time, filled with a whirlwind of emotions, from the thrill of your first day to the occasional “what have I gotten myself into?” moments.

So buckle up, because the induction stage is a rollercoaster like no other!

During this stage, which typically span the first few years of your teaching career, you’ll face numerous challenges. 

From navigating the mysteries of classroom management, trying to keep a straight face when a student tests your patience, to taming the wild beast that is the photocopy machine, it’s almost like it’s the wild west out here! 

But fear not! With time, you’ll master the art of managing a classroom, winning over even the most stubborn of students, and becoming best friends with that pesky photocopier.

Lesson planning will also become your new favorite pastime—or perhaps the bane of your existence.

You’ll spend countless hours crafting the perfect lessons, only to discover that sometimes, things don’t go as planned. But don’t worry! You’ll learn to adapt on the fly and turn those unexpected hiccups into valuable teaching moments.

The induction stage is also about building relationships. You’ll forge connections with your students, learning about their unique personalities, strengths, and challenges.

You’ll also discover that parents can be your greatest allies or your most formidable opponent!

And let’s not forget about your colleagues, who will become your support system, sharing tips, tricks, and stories of their own teaching adventures!

One of the best parts of the induction stage is the opportunity to experiment with your teaching style.

You’ll try out new strategies, incorporating technology and creative lesson ideas, and sometimes discovering that the most out-of-the-box approaches can lead to the most memorable learning experiences.

You’ll also learn to appreciate the little victories, like that “aha!” moment when a struggling student finally grasps a concept, or when your class somehow manages to stay on task for an entire lesson!

Trust me, the memories you create during this stage will stay with you for a lifetime! 

3. The developing stage 

Congratulations for surviving the wild ride that is the induction stage!

As a developing teacher, you’ll have a few years of experience under your belt and you finally feel like you’ve got a handle on things (well, for the most part anyway!). 

You’re no longer the new kid on the block, and you’re ready to tackle new challenges head-on. You might even find yourself becoming a mentor to the wide-eyed new teachers who are just beginning their journey.

During this stage, you’ll continue to perfect your classroom management techniques. Gone are the days of frantically trying every trick in the book to maintain order. Now, you have ascended! 

The developing stage is a fantastic time for experimentation and innovation. You’ve got the basics down, and now you’re ready to push the boundaries of your teaching practice. 

You’ll embrace new technologies, try out bold lesson plans, and maybe even turn that one disastrous classroom experiment into a teachable moment on the importance of trial and error.

Collaboration is key during the developing stage. You’ll work closely with your colleagues, sharing ideas, resources, and the occasional funny story about a student’s unintentionally hilarious response during a class discussion. Together, you’ll create a supportive environment where everyone can learn from each other and continue to grow as educators.

In short, the developing stage is the perfect time for exploration and growth. You’ve navigated the challenges of the induction stage, and now you’re ready to flourish as an educator!

4. The expert stage 

Welcome to the pinnacle of your teaching career!

At this point, you’d have about 6-8 years of experience as a teacher. 

Your teacher’s senses are finely tuned!

You can spot a potential disruption from a mile away, and you’ve mastered the art of the “teacher stare” that can silence a chatty student from across the room!

As an expert teacher, you’ve refined your teaching style to an impressive degree. 

You’ve developed a deep understanding of your students’ needs. You’ve learned to anticipate and adapt to the ever-changing dynamics of the classroom, and you’ve turned multitasking into a veritable superpower.

Who knew it was possible to keep an eye on the clock, give instructions, and maintain a firm grip on the marker that’s about to run out of ink—all at the same time!?

Now, the student has become the master! 

Now, you are the mentor and leader within your school community!

New and developing teachers will turn to you for guidance, and you’ll generously share your expertise and your collection of hilarious stories from your own early days in the classroom.

Collaboration and professional development continue to play a crucial role in the expert stage. You’ll work with colleagues to develop innovative curricula, lead professional learning communities, and contribute to the ongoing improvement of your school’s teaching practices.

In the expert stage, you’ll also have the opportunity to reflect on your teaching journey and the impact you’ve made on countless students’ lives. 

You might receive a heartfelt thank-you note from a former student, or perhaps you’ll bump into a successful young adult who credits your guidance for their achievements.

These moments will remind you that while the world of teaching is filled with challenges, the reward is truly priceless! 

5. The veteran stage 

I salute you, seasoned educators! 

Congratulations on reaching this esteemed milestone in your teaching career!

You’ve weathered the trials and tribulations of the earlier stages and emerge victorious! 

Your collection of memorable stories from the classroom could fill a book—or at least make for some fantastic dinner party anecdotes!

In the veteran stage, you’ll continue to refine your teaching practice, always staying on top of the latest developments in education. Your adaptability and willingness to learn have proved invaluable for your growth as a teacher.

You’ll gracefully incorporate new technologies and strategies into your teaching, even if it means occasionally hitting the wrong button and accidentally muting yourself during a virtual lesson. Hey, nobody’s perfect!

Mentorship is the hallmarks of the veteran stage. As a seasoned educator, you’ll share your wealth of knowledge with new and developing teachers, helping them navigate the challenges of the profession.

The veteran stage is a time of reflection and appreciation. You’ll have the opportunity to look back on the countless lives you’ve touched and the difference you’ve made in the world, one student at a time.

You might even see former students follow in your footsteps, inspired by your passion for teaching and the impact you’ve had on their lives!

So here’s to you, veteran teacher, and all the laughter, learning, and unforgettable moments that have shaped your incredible journey.


Throughout their careers, teachers touch countless lives, inspiring students to reach their full potential and shaping the future one lesson at a time. They continuously grow, adapt, and evolve, proving that learning is truly a lifelong process!

So, to all the educators out there, whether you’re just starting your journey or have been walking this path for decades, we salute you!

Thank you for your unwavering commitment to making a difference, for embracing the ups and downs, and for always finding a reason to smile, even on the toughest days!

Do you want to develop yourself as an educator?

At IELC, we give you the opportunity to join a great team, develop yourself, and make a difference to Indonesia’s future by teaching English the right way to the next generation of English learners. 

You will also get access to continuous training and professional development and get to meet fantastic, like-minded colleagues and team members. 

Take the first step to enjoy a supportive and fun working environment, develop yourself, and get a rewarding job with IELC.


Anthony McCormick 

IELC Managing Director