Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Would Be Teacher Discovers She Has A Lot To Learn

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am a sophomore in college, and am studying education. My whole life, I have wanted to be a teacher. I like the idea of helping children learn, as well as being a positive influence in their lives; plus the stability of municipal employment. However, my plans seem to be hitting a snag.

Obviously, the economy is bad right now, and even though there are signs of improvement, many communities are giving lay-off notices to teachers or outright firing them for poor student performance! So much for the job stability I was expecting upon graduation. Now, I am uncertain if there will even be a job waiting for me when I graduate. This brings me to the second part of my problem.

I recently started my practicum sessions, and have discovered that I really don't like working with a classroom full of children. There are some kids I like and really enjoy teaching, but then there are the troublemakers who don't seem to want to learn. I realize that with some children there are extenuating circumstances, like health issues or problems at home, but many students just don't seem to like school. Teaching them makes for a miserable experience, and has left me questioning if teaching is the right career for me. If I am going to change my major, I will need to do so FAST or else I will end up not graduating on time, in addition to having wasted two years of my life learning stuff that I will never have to use. Do you have any advice for me?

Burnt Out Before Her Time

Dear Burnt Out:
It appears to me that you chose a career path with great wisdom. You wanted a field that would afford you financial stability as well as personal fulfillment. Sadly, you are realizing a hard truth in life: That nothing is guaranteed.

The good thing is that you have discovered what you do not like about teaching, but I have news for you: No matter how much you like a particular job or career field, there are going to be aspects of it that will cause you stress. Perhaps you romanticized the idea of teaching and are disappointed to find that the reality of it is that it is not all about molding young and willing minds; but about sparking the interest of those who refuse to be taught, as well? Take the time to list the pros and cons of a career as a teacher, and follow your heart where it leads you.

If you decide that teaching is just not for you after all, explore other careers in the field of education before scrapping the work you have done towards your degree in Education. There are many job opportunities for people with such a degree, including professional Tutors; School Administrators; and Researchers. You could also work on attaining a Masters Degree in a myriad of fields that require an Education background. Furthermore, you could switch gears towards Adult Education. Older students are generally much more open to learning than children, because they understand the value of an education. Whatever you decide, remember that the time spent getting an education is never time wasted. You never know when something you thought you would never need to know will propel you towards success.


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