Yes, I Am An English Major, And Yes, I Want To Be A Teacher

Yes, I Am An English Major, And Yes, I Want To Be A Teacher

Do you not think that the people who will teach your children are important?
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There seems to be a reoccurring theme every time the "so what are you studying?" conversation comes around. It's almost like everyone who I talk to about my English major has a checklist in their head, that I imagine goes like this:

Step one: Patronize her and nod your head with a fake smile.

Tell her, "that's great" in a high-pitched, babying voice, almost like you're talking to a dog.

Step two: Give her the benefit of the doubt.

Ask her what she plans to do with her degree. Ask, "Do you want to go into law?" because clearly, that is the only honorable profession that can come from a degree in English.

"No, I want to be a high school English teacher."

Step three: RED ALERT! What do I say???

No worries, don't panic. Just tell her that we need good teachers, but make sure it is half-heartily so she knows that deep down you disapprove. Make a joke about how those who can't do teach to show her that you can be funny while also reaffirming my disapproval.

Step four: Talk about what you want to study and make subtle hints that you will be more successful than her.

Don't forget to remind her that your workload surpasses hers to establish that your major is harder.

Step five: Walk away.

If you meet another English major who wants to teach, repeat.

Now I realize this probably isn't what goes through people's heads during this conversation, but it sure as hell feels that way. English majors already have a bad rep. I'm sure you've heard the joke about the difference between a pizza and an English major.

No? Spoiler alert: the difference is that a pizza can feed a family of four.

This anti-English-major stigma is one that I personally don't understand, and if being in a major that for some reason is constantly the butt of jokes isn't enough, imagine going into a profession that is also deemed unimportant.

Usually, I am not one to complain about being teased and roasted, but when it comes to my major and wanting to be a teacher, I get mad.

Stop belittling my major! Stop patronizing my hopeful profession!

English is important. Teachers are important. Imagine a world in which no one knew how to write. That'd be a mess. Imagine a world without good teachers. Tragic. Sure, teachers don't make as much as some other professions, but this is what I am passionate about. Teaching others and hopefully passing on a passion that I have to my future students, that's important to me.

I have been blessed enough to have some fantastic teachers who made me excited to learn, and I want to pass that excitement onto others. Is that a crime? Do I need to prove myself to you before you decide that's acceptable? I hope not. You should just be a decent human and respect all majors and professions.

To sum this up: yes, I am an English major, and yes, I want to take a more traditional route and become a teacher. But no, that doesn't make me any lesser than you, and no, I am not becoming a teacher because I "can't do". So, do me and all the other English majors and aspiring teachers a favor: stop patronizing us, stop comparing our major to yours. We are working just as hard as you to do something just as respectable.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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To The Teacher Who Was So Much More

Thank you for everything
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I think it's fair to say that most people remember at least one teacher who had a lasting impact on them. I have been incredibly lucky to have several teachers who I will never forget, but one individual takes the cake. So here's to you: thank you for all you have done.

Thank you for teaching me lessons not just in the textbook.

Although you taught a great lecture, class was never just limited to the contents of the course. Debates and somewhat heated conversations would arise between classmates over politics and course material, and you always encouraged open discussion. You embraced the idea of always having an opinion, and always making it be heard, because why waste your voice? You taught me to fight for things I believed in, and to hold my ground in an argument. You taught me to always think of others before doing and speaking. You showed me the power of kindness. Thank you for all the important lessons that may not have been included in the curriculum.

Thank you for believing in me.

Especially in my senior year, you believed in me when other teachers didn't. You showed me just what I could accomplish with a positive and strong attitude. Your unwavering support kept me going, especially when I melted into a puddle of tears weekly in your office. You listened to my stupid complaints, understood my overwhelming stress-induced breakdowns, and told me it was going to be okay. Thank you for always being there for me.

Thank you for inspiring me.

You are the epitome of a role model. Not only are you intelligent and respected, but you have a heart of gold and emit beautiful light where ever you go. You showed me that service to others should not be looked at as a chore, but something to enjoy and find yourself in. And I have found myself in giving back to people, thanks to your spark. Thank you for showing me, and so many students, just how incredible one person can be.

Thank you for changing my life.

Without you, I truly would not be where I am today. As cliche as it sounds, you had such a remarkable impact on me and my outlook on life. Just about a year has passed since my graduation, and I'm grateful to still keep in touch. I hope you understand the impact you have made on me, and on so many other students. You are amazing, and I thank you for all you have done.

Cover Image Credit: Amy Aroune

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The Best Decision I've Ever Made was doing Scientific Research

It opens up so many doors, and teaches you so much more about life then just what you're researching/

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Growing up, I have always been interested in science and why things happen the way they do. I've always asked why, and I've always wanted to dig deeper into some questions and topics. This is a natural part of life that many people do, and honestly more people should do throughout their lives.

Asking questions is something that can lead to change and to more answers and clarity. How? Simply through research and finding answers to these questions by ourselves.

In high school, I took a Science Research course, and I took it for three years. I researched a question I had always wondered about, which was how to predict severe weather more accurately. I was scared of it, and I wanted to find a solution to better protect/prepare myself and the people around me.

I didn't quite find the answer I was looking for or any answer for lack thereof, but I learned some incredibly valuable life skills and values. One of them being how to easily overwhelm Microsoft Excel by putting a million data points (I am not exaggerating) and trying to make into a graph.

Jokes aside, one of the bigger lessons I learned through scientific research is how to persevere through something that is tough. Meteorology is not a common interest nor is it a populated field, so getting someone to mentor me in this project was incredibly difficult and getting data for my experiment was even harder. It's kind of weird how something that impacts all of us and everything doesn't have a lot more people in the field.

Also, it's complex and there isn't a lot of uniformity to it. It's hard to find control variables and to find things that stay constant throughout because the weather is one of those things that are constantly changing. That's not fun when you're trying to run an experiment and trying to see what causes something to happen.

This ties into another lesson I've learned through scientific research, I learned how to problem solve and how to be resourceful. My experiment was difficult to run because I only had access to a few places to get data. I had to use things that gave me a million data points because I had to use things that documented every minute for an entire year.

It was a lot, and it was difficult. However, with the help of mentors and teachers, I persevered, and I learned how to make the most of the limited resources available to me. I learned how to analyze these new graphs that I've never analyzed before.

I learned how to read in between the lines and interpret things that weren't clear. It was hard, but now I can apply these skills to everything else I do in life. I learned more than what was related to my topic in science research.

Scientific research is an imperative thing to do because it teaches so much more than just your topic matter. It can teach you about life, and it gives you life skills that you will need to use in almost every other aspect of life. I know it has given them to me.

The best part about scientific research is that it can lead to a breakthrough. You can change the world by asking a question and running an experiment on an answer to that question. It's so weird that something that seems so simple (it's not that simple, but anyone can do it), can have such a profound impact.

Research can be done in anything, it can be done things that aren't heavily science-based like marketing or it can be a scientific approach to ballet. If there's a question or a gap in anything, then there is a way to find that answer. That could be running an experiment of your own.

If you have the opportunity, do research. It will change not only your life but the lives around you because it could lead to a breakthrough. That breakthrough could be something that our world needs.

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