An Open Letter to Ed Majors (Guest Blog Post)
I wanted to share one of the replies to my blog post on "Why I Teach". Elizabeth brings up some powerful points. I was surprised that this reasoning is STILL pervading the College of Education. What might WE do to help offset this issue?
Guest Blogger Elizabeth Anderson is an education major at the University of Toledo, specializing in English-Language Arts and Sciences. She writes the newsletter for the UT Writer’s Guild; she also runs their blog. Her own blog, Inkwell, can be found here, or you can follow her on Twitter here.
Dear fellow education majors,
I just thought you should know that you should change majors if you chose education because:
1. You hate kids but want to teach college someday.
You don’t need teacher certification to teach college; you need a Ph.D. in your area (at least to be full time). If you hate kids, you should not be a teacher.
2. You want summers and weekends off and the other benefits that teachers get.
It’s not bad to want these things—I’m looking forward to them myself. But if benefits are the only reason you want to be a teacher, you should not be a teacher.
3. You want to be paid to sit at a desk and do nothing.
YOU, you more than any of the aforementioned people who should not be teachers, are exactly the reason why the public has such a poor opinion of teachers. Teachers are not supposed to sit at a desk and do nothing. Teachers are supposed to teach. If you don’t want to teach, you should not be a teacher.
Look. It’s not that I begrudge you benefits or any easy job. But I do begrudge you a job that I actually want, for what I flatter myself are the right reasons, when you don’t actually want said job. Every time I tell people that I’m going into education, they say, “WHY? You won’t make any MONEY.” As if money is the only important thing.
I’ll tell you why.
I’m majoring in education because I like kids. While I admit that kids are much worldlier now than they were when I was a kid (much worldlier than I am now, frankly), they’re still not as jaded as adults—not as disbelieving. I’ve had kids at camp who say, “Fairies don’t exist,” but they’re not quite sure, and when I point out the glitter on the ground, their disbelief vanishes, and they run ahead to find fairies.
I love kids. You can still do fun stuff with kids.
And I chose education because I love English and biology, and I wanted to share my passion with people. I can’t think of a better way to do it. What better way to get people excited about biology than taking them out in nature and scooping up pond water to examine under a microscope? Who better to build people’s confidence as writers than someone who loves reading, writing, and editing?
But most of all, I want to become a teacher because I want to teach. At the end of the day, that’s what it comes down to.
And if you’re becoming a teacher for a different reason—if you don’t want to teach, or you don’t like kids, or you aren’t passionate about your subject—then you should not be a teacher.
Because YOU are the reason the public turns teachers into the enemy—part of the reason—and I and people like me are going to have to fight against that opinion, and you, every step of the way.
a proud future teacher
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