Written by Amber Wibbenmeyer. Media by Kelsey Middleton
One teacher can make or break a student’s education. This is an intimidating truth that education majors are told frequently. When someone asks, “What’s your major?” you respond proudly with “Education.” There is always a particular look that they give for your answer. This look can cause a sinking feeling in your chest, making you second-guess your chosen major. After a moment of thought, however, the second-guessing is shrugged off and you continue with your day.
Education majors do not have it easy and they are not doing it for the glory. Jordan Morris, an Elementary Education major in her junior year at Eastern Illinois University, said, “I wish people would understand that I know my life will not be easy for me. I know I will not make a lot of money, so please quit telling me that. Because that is not why I’m doing what I do.” She, as well as many other education majors, are told countless times that being an educator isn’t worth the time or effort because it doesn’t pay enough for all its trouble.
On the other hand, many people will often commend education majors, congratulating them on all the vacation time they will have, always being off on holidays, and never working on a Saturday. Greenville University student, Tabitha Rice, combats this by saying, “It’s more than getting summers and weekends off. It’s about learning to teach the new generation well. It’s about changing the perception of teachers into a positive one.” This is something that many people do not truly understand. Although teachers do not typically have to be at school on weekends or during the summer, they are often grading papers or homework, making lesson plans, or setting up classroom decorations. A lot more goes into teaching than what immediately meets the eye. No matter how hard teachers, new and experienced, work, this stigma can be hard to combat.
There are countless other things that go into becoming a teacher. Working with licensure, taking all the necessary tests, completing the EdTPA, and going to workshops to expand your knowledge are just a few of the many requirements.
By becoming an educator, you are committing to becoming a lifelong learner; even after the degree is earned, there are endless other things that factor into education. Getting a master’s degree, certification, additional licenses, and any other specializations that you will need or want in the future can be difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.
Many people wonder if becoming a teacher is worth it. Any student who is happily pursuing education will tell you it is one of the most rewarding professions to pursue. Rice is one of these students. When asked what her reason for pursuing education was, she said, “I chose education because I want to be a role model and mentor to students just like my teachers were for me when I was growing up.” Morris was asked the same question and responded with, “I am an education major to make a difference.”
Any education student can change the world for their students. But, perhaps more importantly, their students can change the world for them.