Education majors don’t deserve the hate

When I was asked as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, I always said a teacher, but it wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I started getting questions about it. 

People would say, “Is that really what you want to do as a career?,” “You’re smart, why don’t you do something that will make you more money?” and “You could do so much more with your life.”

I have heard all of these questions and statements since starting college, and I am not the only student in the education department who has received them. Even fellow students have made comments about my assignments, like “You really have an art project as your final?” or “Do you ever have real homework in education classes?” 

Many people think going into education is what you do if you want a “Mrs. degree,” which is when someone goes to college intending to find a spouse or an easy course load, but a lot more goes into education classes than many people see. 

Yes, we do have the occasional art project or reflection paper on our experiences in school, but we also learn about the psychology of children and adolescents, as well as the many parts that go into lesson planning, like the “hook” to make students interested in the lesson, the activities involved in the lesson and how you will assess the students to see if they learned something. 

We also spend hours observing other teachers and learning what to do and what not to do; sometimes this exercise is required for a class, but sometimes it is on our own because we want more experience in the classroom. 

We also prepare lessons to teach to our desired age group and then practice it with our class of college students and our professor grading in the back, which is way scarier than teaching younger students. 

On top of all this, we also learn how to prepare for the unexpected, like what do you do when a student has an outburst during a lesson? How do you deal with difficult parents? How do you redirect students when they are off-topic or distracted by their peers? So much of education is learning how to avoid classroom management problems so you can actually do your job of teaching. 

There is no way a professor could possibly make a traditional final for us at the end of the semester that could cover it all – plus, we are taught that cumulative exams are not a good strategy to test children, so it would be ironic if we took them. 

People who are not education majors can assume what they want, but the reality is that those who are planning to become teachers actually do want to teach and work with kids. It is as simple as that. 

The paycheck and backlash from the public don’t matter because we are doing what we love. It does not matter how many horror stories I hear about how terrible schools are right now and how many teachers are quitting; I cannot imagine doing anything else with my life. 

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