Is it more challenging to be a college professor, a high school teacher, or an elementary school teacher?
I've taught middle school (in the USA, these students are ages 12–14) and high school (up to age 18). I've never taught elementary school. In my opinion, elementary school would be the most difficult without a doubt. The number of needs you have to meet for primary age students is far and away greater than those of teenagers. While you may need to deal with hormones and work issues with teens, the emotional turmoil that younger kids go through is pretty overwhelming. I don't think I could deal with emotional meltdowns on a regular basis. I know that most elementary teachers can and do just that.
My hat goes off to anyone who teaches in an elementary school. You are the Rock Stars of the teaching world.
It depends on the type of challenges your talking about. Ok a professor once told me middle school was the easiest elementary school was harder to teach. The most physically challenging of these is by far teaching elementary school. You have to line them up walk to class quietly every morning, lunch , and dismissal. If grade 2 or younger you must make sure they leave with a parent and you see them leaving. It's a pain in the ass when you have three groups to dismiss like after school, bus kids, and parent pick up and there's only 1 of you. You must change decorations every 4 to 6 weeks. Show student work and make it look aeshetically pleasing even if it's horrible (frame everything with construction paper) . Middle school and high school you get two prep periods and lunch elementary you only get one. So your teaching 5 less hours a week However you teach a subject not a class of the same kids all day. You must be extremely knowledgeable on those one or two subjects you teach. This can be challenging especially teaching middle/high school math or science. Also the behavior can be really bad and not much you can do about it. I've heard middle school is the worst because legally they can't drop out till highschool and they are as big as you. By highschool if they're really bad they usually stop going to school. In elementary you can use table points, prizes, and stickers for behavior. You could call up parents and they can discipline their kids. Bit by middle school there's not much even parents can do of a kid is a real bad ass. I would say overall middle school most challenging with behavior. Elementary most amount of work physical and paperwork related.
Hands down - elementary school teacher. There's no comparison! The day-to-day drill is just enormous on an elementary school teacher. There's no down time! There's no relying on the kids to meet you half way! They are the most micromanaged of all teachers (teach math this way, use this phonics program, etc.). My friends that teach elementary regularly complain about finding time to go to the bathroom during the day. These are professionals with Master's degrees that we entrust our very future with!
Not only is their job harder emotionally and physically, but everyone they meet assumes they can do their job better and that they are smarter than them.
I have never taught at a college or university, but I know one thing about it: A college professor is legally allowed to kick a student out of class, permanently if need be, if that student slaps, punches, or otherwise physically assaults the professor. High school teachers are just told ‘That kid didn't mean no harm, and you should ignore him when he does that.' At least in an elementary school, the students are smaller than the teacher and so less likely to cause real injury.
I don't know that there is any way to compare the amount of challenge in each of these professions. Each has its own unique challenges, difficult to quantify.
What I do know is this: I have known a lot of high school and elementary school teachers, and I could not do their job. I have neither the skill nor the kind of patience needed to deal with either of those jobs.
As a college professor, it's either high school or elementary school from my perspective. I can treat my students as adults to an extent, and I don't have to deal with parents. The arguments made here that elementary is tougher than high school... high school students seem to be composed of 50% attitude, 50% drama, and 75% hormones, so I'm unsure.