I'm currently an undergraduate student at a university in Canada. Over the past couple of years, it has become very clear to me that I want to pursue teaching as a career. My issue is that the level I want to teach at is the university level, as I feel that I am more likely to encounter students who are interested in and passionate about the material they are learning, just as I have a passion for knowledge and sharing that knowledge with others.
I have been fortunate enough already to have had opportunities to teach and lead study groups ranging in size from one-on-one sessions to larger groups of 40+ individuals, and I have experienced firsthand the joy of helping someone come to a realization, of using a great illustrative analogy, and facilitating someone else's discovery of knowledge. I mention this in an attempt to illustrate the passion I have for sharing knowledge with others.
I have also been lucky enough to develop good relationships with faculty at my institution, including instructors who have a definite focus on teaching above research. However, my understanding is that these faculty are still required to dedicate a significant portion of their time to working on research, and generating output. I have discussed my ambitions with them, and they have been supportive, but I also worry that they are perhaps painting a more fanciful picture for me than reality would warrant.
I have not yet had an opportunity to take on undergraduate research projects, but I hopefully will be able to do so in the next year or two. I am pursuing a double major in biology and physics (with an emphasis on biophysics), and am hoping to be able to undertake research projects in both disciplines.
My concern is that the academic world is very competitive, and I am not certain that I will be well-suited to the networking and politicking that such a career would require. I am aware that it is possible to get contract positions as a sessional lecturer without a PhD, but these positions are inherently unstable, and perhaps not as rewarding.
The other area I have considered is attempting to find work as an educator in the public or private school systems. However, I worry that this work would not be as rewarding, being as many high school students do not have the passion for knowledge often found in higher-level undergraduate or graduate students.
As mentioned above, I am in Canada, but I am not adverse in concept to relocating, either for purposes of study or permanently. English is my first and only language.
So, at the end of it all, my question is: what advice would you give someone hoping to find a stable, secure job teaching in biology or biophysics at the university level?