A teacher? Me? Nahhh ... Well, maybe ... Ok, yes.
If you happen to be anything like me, maybe you have had a similar thought process. To be honest, it wasn't until I really got into my student teaching that the third part of that thought process came into being. Continuing with the honesty, I was afraid to take on this monster, Student Teaching, that I had heard so many myths and legends about. But my brakes seemed to have broken somewhere along the way down this road of an education major, and somehow it has turned into a lifesaver.
Over the years, I have heard the accusations that fall upon the ears of nearly every “Ed. Major,” and not only are they frustrating to hear, but they can be daunting notions to host in our own minds. Being an educator is not easy, so every aspiring teacher needs reassurance and support. For this reason, I want to debunk the myths that we hear all too often:
"Must be nice to just do arts and crafts with little kids all day," or " At least your major is easy."
As a Secondary Education and English major, that never would be the case for me, but even still, my day is not just reading stories and talking about feelings. You have to want to journey with students through the good and bad days to get the students to arrive at that passionate feeling towards your subjects. You have to be willing to dedicate your spare time to preparing lessons, going to school functions, and reflecting on what went well or went horribly, horribly wrong. It does not matter whether you are teaching young children or teens, the work that the teacher puts into the job will never be fully known to anyone who was only ever just a student.
"Do you really need a degree for that?"
Absolutely. Society doesn't just need more teachers, it needs more good teachers. Teachers who are knowledgeable, trained, professional leaders. We need teachers with qualities that are really only established through a four-year degree, just as in any other profession.
"Well you can't be in it for the pay, so you must be in it for the summers off."
You're right—the pay is pathetic. But if you do anything just for the pay, then your work will never pay off. I'd rather hear people spread the saying, "If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life."
"Must be nice to only work 8-3 and have off in the summers."
Yeahhhh... Except that most teachers are there well before and after the school day officially starts and ends to work on lessons, meet with students and parents, attend faculty meetings, go to school events, etc. And except that teachers often spend the summers either working another job because of their financial needs, and/or planning and setting up for the next year. Not to mention how exhausting it is to lead classes all day, whether you are leading 20 energetic kindergarteners or 150 apathetic teenagers. As much as you love them, if you don't take a break, it will break you.
If you are considering majoring in education, you may have started hearing these rumors already. Don’t be scared away by them. If your passion is to work with students and engage in the academic life, run with it. Every major has its ups and downs, and every major has those who are not cut out for it. But if you are willing to give it your best effort, then you might just learn the rewards of a real education.