As a college student, I am often asked, “What’s your major?” and when I respond with, “Education” people look completely disgusted. They’ll tell me that going to school for education is a complete waste of money. They claim that there just aren’t any jobs for teachers, and for those that do find jobs, they don’t make enough money to pay back their student loans.
Fun fact: there is currently a teacher shortage in the United States. What that means is that right now, U.S. classrooms are short more than 60,000 teachers and by 2018, that number will increase to over 100,000. With class sizes averaging about 25 students per class, by 2018 over 2,500,000 students will be without a teacher. It would seem that these numbers prove that there are actually jobs for teachers.
When people look down on me for going to school for teaching, they are looking down on their own children. When they say that my going to school for education is a waste of money, they are saying that they don’t care whether or not their own children have a qualified teacher who actually cares about their students. And yes, I admit that a teacher does not make as much money as many other professions. The average salary for elementary school teachers in Pennsylvania is $60,000. The average salary for a preschool teacher in Pennsylvania is $27,800. So yes, student loans will be more difficult to pay back than if I were going to school for another profession. But the thing is, I am not going into teaching for the salary. Students who claim to be going into teaching because it’s easy or for the paycheck are not people that you want to be educating your children. When you say to a future teacher, “It’s not worth the money”, that teacher will probably laugh and respond with, “Well, I guess it’s a good thing I don’t do this for the money”.
I am in school to become a teacher because I believe that educating our youth is one of the most important jobs someone can have. If instead of criticizing a teacher’s career choice, you asked, “Why do you teach?”, you would get thousands of responses. Many teachers would say that they love that flash of light in a child’s eyes when they finally understand the topic they’ve been struggling with. Other teachers might respond by telling a success story of their students. The general consensus, though, is that they all teach for the students.
Going to school for education is the best decision I could ever make. I have the opportunity to enlighten children every single day. I get to see their struggles and their triumphs. I get to teach them new things, while they’re teaching me new things. I am able to experience a whole new world of letters, math, reading, emotions, friendships and adventure.
Walking into my classroom and seeing my students smiling up at me, waving hello, and offering high fives is what makes going to school for teaching worth every single penny.