My Future Career Is More Than A 'Glorified Babysitter' Position, Despite What You May Think

My Future Career Is More Than A 'Glorified Babysitter' Position, Despite What You May Think

I am an education major and extremely proud of it.

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This is a topic that has been on my heart a lot this week. As an Education major, I've heard it all. "Do you know how much teachers make?" Yes. "You ACTUALLY like kids?!?" Yes, I LOVE them. "Why would you do that to yourself?" Because I love it. Because I love being an Education major, I've become extremely passionate about defending it. However, I'm getting tired of feeling like I have to.

This career choice is something that I'm proud of. I know that being a teacher means sacrificing several things. I know that it means sacrificing your financial security. I know that it means sacrificing your ability to not be constantly thinking about 30 other kiddos all of the time. I know that I'll be sacrificing my right to be selfish. If you think about it, everything that a teacher does is utterly selfless. They dedicate their entire college career and teaching career to make sure that YOU understand the material. They spend several chunks of their own money on their classroom to provide an environment that enhances your learning. It's selfless. And it takes a person who recognizes that fact to be a teacher.

Teaching also has many dimensions, that nobody actually thinks about. For example, the class description for one of my classes says that it "Focuses on multicultural and interdisciplinary literature appropriate for middle grades students; implements and evaluates effective multicultural, interdisciplinary instruction through selection, use and development of literature in middle grades classroom" (TAMU catalog). Within this class, I was required to authenticate texts (make sure that they're culturally appropriate), learn about how to build a culturally-diverse classroom library, and how to teach without microaggressions. And these things only scratch the surface of the content that I was required to know for this class. People seem to forget that this is only one aspect of teaching, making sure everyone feels included socially and culturally. So please tell me how "glorified babysitter" fits into this description.

Also, good teachers work extremely hard. A good teacher knows that every child is on a different level and teaches so that each child understands that material. Good teachers present the material in a way that visual, auditory, and kinesthetic learners can understand. They use a strategy called differentiation to "instruct a diverse group of students, with diverse learning needs, in the same course, classroom, or learning environment" (Glossary of Education Reform). Also, there will always be special education kiddos who come into the general education classroom for a subject or two, and it's important that good teachers have a lesson prepared specifically for that student that meets their IEP goals. These IEP goals are "Annual goals are statements that identify what knowledge, skills and/or behaviors a student is expected to be able to demonstrate within the period of time beginning with the time the IEP is implemented until the next scheduled review" (naset.org).

Teachers also have to worry about the kiddos who come from broken, abusive, and low socioeconomic households. One of the biggest things that I have learned so far is that a hungry student is a distracted student. There are several students that go to bed hungry and don't eat a lot over the weekend because their family cannot afford it. It's important to know that if you're going to get a student to listen to you, you've gotta keep some crackers or trail mix with you at all times in case they cannot focus because of their lack of food. With that, the other battle with teaching is handling the parents. Some are wonderful, others... not so much. I haven't had to experience this yet personally, but I'm prepared.

The key ingredient in being a good teacher is not the lesson you prepare, but the relationships that you develop with your students. I have sat through countless classes, and not once have I remembered the material taught word for word, but I have remembered the relationship that I've had with the teacher or professor. Being a teacher means that:

"students want to know that you care before they care about how much you know"

Building a relationship with 30+ kids is hard, but it's possible. You have to know that it's okay to admit your personal struggles and show that you are not a robot. Having a relationship with your kids means apologizing when you realize that you taught or did something wrong. Having a relationship means caring about things that students also care about. If they're concerned about something, it's your job to ask about it. Being a relational teacher means asking yourself: "what can I learn from my students today?"

I cannot wait to be a teacher, which entails a lot more than a "glorified babysitter". I cannot wait to teach the future generation everything that they need to know to be successful. I cannot wait to build really cool relationships with them, and see the graduation invitations from them when they graduate with master's degrees from somewhere. I am excited to love on my students and do something with my life that is worthwhile.

However, I know that I am not the only major who feels like they must defend themselves from the rest of society. What I've learned is that everyone will not understand you or what you love. Our job is to educate them respectfully. Every career choice is valid. Everybody does a different job in this world for a good reason. We all have strengths and weaknesses, and that's a good thing! Someone whose brain is wired to be a car salesman probably would not thrive as a scuba diver. Someone who is extremely good at math should probably not try to pursue a career in teaching collegiate literature. We're all different and we all have different passions. Not everyone will understand, and that's okay. Let's do our part to help them understand.

I am a future teacher, and I'm proud of it.

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8 Things You Should Never Say To An Education Major

"Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"
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Yes, I'm an Education major, and yes, I love it. Your opinion of the field won't change my mind about my future. If you ever happen to come across an Education major, make sure you steer clear of saying these things, or they might hold you in from recess.

1. "Is your homework just a bunch of coloring?"

Um, no, it's not. We write countless lesson plans and units, match standards and objectives, organize activities, differentiate for our students, study educational theories and principles, and write an insane amount of papers on top of all of that. Sometimes we do get to color though and I won't complain about that.

2. "Your major is so easy."

See above. Also, does anyone else pay tuition to have a full-time job during their last semester of college?

3. "It's not fair that you get summers off."

Are you jealous? Honestly though, we won't really get summers off. We'll probably have to find a second job during the summer, we'll need to keep planning, prepping our classroom, and organizing to get ready for the new school year.

4. “That's a good starter job."

Are you serious..? I'm not in this temporarily. This is my career choice and I intend to stick with it and make a difference.

5. “That must be a lot of fun."

Yes, it definitely is fun, but it's also a lot of hard work. We don't play games all day.

6. “Those who can't, teach."

Just ugh. Where would you be without your teachers who taught you everything you know?

7. “So, you're basically a babysitter."

I don't just monitor students, I teach them.

8. “You won't make a lot of money."

Ah yes, I'm well aware, thanks for reminding me. Teachers don't teach because of the salary, they teach because they enjoy working with students and making a positive impact in their lives.

Cover Image Credit: BinsAndLabels

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3 Struggles Of Attending A Pre-Med Dominated University — No Matter What Your Major Is

It's a hard knock life for the many pre-med students out there.

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Even though we as college students are technically considered adults, we are still burdened by stress at a young age. Especially in a pre-med oriented school, we feel pressured to keep up with or even surpass the achievements of others as we struggle to maintain our busy schedules while attempting to balance what little time we have left for ourselves. It's a sad reality.

1. The competition

Coming from a very pre-med oriented university, I can't help but feel the competitive vibes around me. During the lecture, I can hear the students around me ask their peers what score they received on the most recent midterm while others boast about how busy they are during the week because of all of the things that they are doing outside of the classroom.

It's this dog eat dog environment and constant comparison that makes students and myself included feel as if we are somehow lagging behind or not doing as much as we should be doing so we push ourselves even harder to keep up. As much as we don't want to, we have the tendency to measure our success in terms of others' success, and this, in turn, makes it more difficult for us to focus on ourselves. Now, I'm sure that you've been told not to compare yourself to others, but in the end, isn't that how you gain admission into medical school? By being compared to others? It's all relative.

2. The authenticity

It's not rare to see a pre-med student taking 18 or more credits while trying to squeeze in some volunteer work, a campus job, and even some research hours all into one day. At times, however, I question whether or not they truly want to do all of these things, but at the same time, I understand that they feel pressured to embody the "ideal" medical school applicant.

One of my friends once said to me, "I need to beef up my resume", and it's sad to see how she now feels constantly pressured to apply for a volunteer position or a job because of this. I also see others dread the work that they do, but they continue to stick with it and overload themselves because they believe that is what admissions officers want to see. I am a firm believer of doing something because you genuinely want to and not because you feel like you have to, yet this mentality gets lost as one becomes so immersed in meeting the requirements of the medical school.

3. The balance

While doing well in your classes is important, so is eating, showering, and sleeping. In fact, I think that one's physical and mental health triumphs all else. I recall the hectic week that one of my friends recently pushed through. She had a weekend class and an exam as part of something she pursues on the side, and that same week, we had a chemistry midterm followed by a biology one and not to mention all of the other assignments we had due in between. My friend already felt tired and burnt out from the weekend, and this led her to miss a lecture and some homework assignments. She even went a day without eating an actual meal.

With only a bag of popcorn for dinner one night, she stayed up until FOUR in the morning to catch up on what she had missed during the day. Many of my other friends who are pre-med struggle to balance academics, extracurriculars, leisure time, and maintenance of their overall health because there is always a trade-off. There are only 24 hours in a day, and one thing has to be sacrificed in order to obtain the other, and I wish it wasn't this way.

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