Being a Prof is an incredibly rewarding experience on so many levels. First, there is an element of moral unambiguity to it --- you absolutely know that you are doing work that is good. Educating students, discovering new things about the world, giving lectures and writing about your discoveries, mentoring students: these aren't activities that one associates with shades of gray. They are clearly on the side of the angels.
Second, there are the close relationships with students. The dominant emotional current associated with the Prof/Student relationship is love. Even if it sometimes doesn't feel that way, Profs care about our students deeply. We want them to do well. We want them to shine. We are proud when they do and disappointed when they don't. And we want to awaken in their minds the love of the subject and the passion for discovery. The fact that you're always working with enthusiastic and vibrant young people doesn't hurt either!
Which brings us to the third big reason why being a Prof. is just awesome: the thrill of discovery. Faculty life is about research. And research is about deepening our understanding. It is hard to describe just how good it feels to learn something new and then to share it with others. Everytime someone else understands it, we get to relive an echo of the original thrill through their eyes. There is nothing quite like it in this world.
It may have been my particular circumstance (adjunct for a NYS required graduate course that most students did not value), but it was a bit frustrating. My colleague and I changed up the material, added much interaction and creativity, and I enjoyed much of it. But the lack of caring by many of the students was disconcerting to me, since I cared about the topic deeply. I would still consider teaching again in another circumstance.
Underestimated how much work there was. Countless all-nighters preparing powerpoints, schedule, reading material (no text), lesson plans, quizzes, exercises, tests.. and marking.. all while trying to keep things interesting, be liked by students, stay current with changing law, attend meetings and volunteer within the university.. EXHAUSTING. Would love to say I love it, as my other colleagues do, but I don't. Good for autonomy, pension, benefits and vacation, poor for bureaucracy, work load, and decreasing budgets/resources/job security.
teaching is satisfactory, especially when you have a group of avid student learning, however, everything else that accompanies the task of the teacher (grades, weekly plan, invest time in useless seminars) is routine, monotonous and very boring .