I'm of the mindset that you have to LOVE being a teacher. The moment you tolerate it, regret getting up early, grading papers, dealing with parents and administrators, facing teens (or whatever age group you have), you should just retire from the profession and find something else. There was an expression I used to hear a lot when I was in college:
"Those who can, do; those who can't, teach."
For reasons passing understanding, people felt (and still do feel) that that expression is acceptable. I don't want to spend valuable blog space refuting it. It's just not true for me and my colleagues. If you don't believe me, be a substitute teacher in a classroom (elementary is preferred for this: try working with 20 - 30 little ones all day long and see if you think it's an easy thing to do). I ascribe to something a bit more realistic:
"Those who can, do; those can do more, teach."
Now that's something I can agree with. And, it doesn't have to be teaching in a traditional academic environment, either. Teaching anyone anything applies. If you have a particular skill or area of expertise, then share it with others. It's not enough to DO a job. It's better to share what you know so that others can benefit, too.
If you're a good cook, teaching someone who doesn't know how. If you're a good writer, offer to work with a budding one. People also improve their own skills when they share them with other people, especially when it forces the teacher to learn more about his or her area. Being a role model is rewarding, and knowing you've helped improve someone's life or given him or her something that will be beneficial is "good karma."
Having the patience to work with someone else in any capacity is not everyone's strength; however, it makes what you do more pleasant when you know you have to stay on top of your game, just in case someone asks you for help.
Academic teachers train for many years, put in countless hours at work, deal with obstacles beyond comprehension, and are most assuredly underpaid for the work they do. And, here's a little secret... most teachers I know would gladly work through the summer and get paid regularly (with time off spread out throughout the year). So, while we go have vacation time and three day weekends (not to mention summers off), we oftentimes don't get compensated for that extra time we put in.
I know I can do more, and that's why I teach.