If you’re an education major, you’ve probably taken a fair amount of criticism and doubt about your choices. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of people out there who think that teaching is an admirable, noble profession. In fact, I would imagine that the majority of people feel this way. So why do future teachers face such a hard time?
Okay, let’s go over some of the commonly uttered phrases.
“Do you just want summers off?” Go ahead and ask a teacher if they really get summers off. Teachers, though they do certainly have opportunity for a nice vacation, do have obligations during the summer. Though I would absolutely love to teach nine months and spend the other three on a beach somewhere with a nice book and an iced tea, that isn’t how the cookie crumbles. There is an enormous amount of planning that goes into any lesson. A lot of that typically gets done in the summer. Lesson plans don’t just come to teachers in visions before class.
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” Thanks Woody Allen, but no. If you think that people decide to teach art or music because they can’t make it as an artist or musician, you are sadly mistaken. In my experience, people don’t usually pick education as a fallback career. Teachers teach because they like teaching, not because they flunked out of grad school. Can we just take a moment and think about what the world would be like if Woody Allen was right?
“You better marry rich.” Wait– you mean that teachers don’t make six-figure salaries? Well, that changes everything. Unless you aspire to a $35,000 salary, you aren’t going into education for the money. It’s not a secret that teachers in the United States are grossly underpaid. Also, I don’t appreciate your 1950’s ideology. But thank you for the advice. I mean it.
Here’s the moral of the story, folks. People decide to teach because they want to make a difference. Teachers provide a necessary and difficult service to the community. They shape young minds. They share their passion for learning with a bunch of kids who would rather be doing literally anything else. When someone says to you, “Oh, I’m going to be a teacher,” you should follow a rule that I know you’ve heard before: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.