Educators do more than give out grades. They demystify fractions to confused 10-year-olds. Teachers turn scribbles on a page into words, sentences and stories for first-time readers. And they push teenagers to live out their wildest dreams. Basically educators get a lot bragging rights even if the world doesn’t see it that way. Your STEM or business major friends may say education “may not be the best option” because of the low pay grade. Encourage yourself to do what you love most and educate them instead. Let the world know all you do and all you plan to do as an educator.
Keep reading for 10 reasons education majors should feel proud.
1. You earn more than just money
You won’t become the richest person in the world as a teacher. But what you lack in funds you get to truly make a difference in the world. “I’ve found my motivation from teachers in the past that inspired me and helped me be successful. I want to do the same for students in the future,” said Boston College sophomore Education major Jenny Prag. But you still get tired of hearing, “How are you going to make any money teaching?” One of my favorite teachers in high school assured me teachers can and do live comfortably with their professions. And some locations offer pretty decent starting salaries for teachers. In Massachusetts, a teacher’s salary averages as high as $65,000 a year according to teachingdegree.org. If you do stress about money, you can always tutor on the side for extra cash flow.
2. You literally shape the minds of the future
The future is in your hands, literally. Students explore their identity and begin to discover their real passions and interests in school. Without educators who provide structure for these experiences, students would not be able to explore their options as holistically. A teacher can provide resources to students as young as three and as old as 100. In a world of many inconsistency, teachers are a constant in the lives of youth, which is an extreme highlight of being an educator. Educators get to witness growth and physically see the change they can make for students in their daily lives and in the future.
3. You play many roles
An educator wears many hats. Educators act as allies, friends, coaches, tutors and support systems all in a single school day. Every student is different. A teacher must tailor their classrooms (and beyond) to account for the different learners in the room. “When I first began teaching, I believed that I taught literature… Now, I believe I teach so much more,” said Alison Casper, teacher at Revere High School in Massachusetts. “I teach students how to be good friends, neighbors, members of the community and citizens. Teaching students content knowledge, skills and citizenship will help students cultivate lives of meaning.” In this process, she’s played a multitude of roles: teacher, parent, friend, social worker, therapist, coach, mentor and more. “In guiding others, I’m really enriching my own life, shaping my own values and learning to see the world in all its beautiful chaos more clearly and vividly,” Casper said.
4. You open yourself up to more job opportunities than you think
Communication, reliability, creativity, motivation, positivity and responsibility: that only names a few skills an educator learns while moving towards their degree. Notice all of these skills are similar to those of any great leader in any respectable profession. You may think an education degree will only get you a teaching job. But you thought wrong. Education majors can move on to graduate degrees in counseling, student affairs, speech and language pathology, educational leadership and more. Educators and teachers work in more than schools, like hospitals, courthouses and businesses.
5. You get a holistic education
You are more than content knowledge. Your education forces you to take courses that will not only make you a better educator, but improve your personal life. Classes relate to many different fields of study like psychology, social work, management and more. Of course, other majors can get a holistic education as well; education provides students with just as well-rounded education as any other major. In my experience as an education major, many of my classes taught me more about myself as a person in society and exposed me to the different educational experiences of people in and out of my immediate environment.
6. You get real life experience before you get your degree
Education majors typically cant graduate without some kind of practicum experience. That means you literally can’t graduate without first teaching a classroom. Universities want to see their students working first hand in the classroom before entering the teaching world full time. In many degrees students graduate with zero clue what their day-to-day job will look like. Education students already have a plan and get to directly prepare for it while still learning. This first-hand experience truly tells to students hone in on their educational interests and decide if education is the right professional route for them. Biology majors can’t say that. English majors can’t say it. But you can, smarty pants.
7. You get to consider yourself a lifelong learner
Every day is different in the classroom. Teachers must comprehend their course material to the fullest extent. Casper said, “Every text (in any genre) I teach requires close reading and re-reading, analysis of the text’s claims and reflection on the meaning.” That also means listening to students and helping them draw new conclusion, opening up teachers to new experiences and perspectives that add to their existing knowledge base. Casper added, “As an educator, my understanding of a text is much deeper than my understanding was as a student… Teaching has allowed me to learn and be inspired by my colleagues and students. Teaching invites rich conversations about complex subjects and issues.” This happens. Every. Single. Day.
8. You can bring your life experience into the classroom
It’s great if you knew you wanted to become a teacher at a young age. But some people go into the real world and discover their business or psychology degree didn’t lead them to happiness. And those newly-discovered educators bring just as much passion to the classroom. Some people love to say, “I guess I could just become a teacher if I have to,” as if teaching is only worthy as a backup plan. This supports the cliché that “those who can’t do, teach” which is completely false. Educators spend hours a day molding the minds of the future. Then they must clean up, go to faculty meetings, grade essays, papers and tests, run extracurricular activities, and so much more. Being an educator is not an easy task. And it is truly not for everyone.
9. You can work anywhere in the world
Though states and countries require different certifications to teach, your education degree qualifies you to earn those certifications. I always felt like someone who studies education is equipped to take their skills anywhere that people are willing to learn. Skills like leadership, reliability and classroom management can be used across the board regardless of geographic location. Educators who find themselves in different places may even benefit more in their careers. Just like with any other major or career path, the more experiences, the better the knowledge.
10. You get to actually enjoy your summers
Well, maybe not exactly. Many teachers find other jobs to do over the summer or spend their time preparing for the next school year. In my high school, some teachers even worked at the school over the summer for high school readiness programs and summer school. But still, if you want there to be or not, you do get some time off to relax from the hecticness of the school year. You earned that.