Forget the old adage that those who can’t do, teach. An education major will give you the ins and outs of running a classroom. Think you’ve got what it takes to teach a class of rowdy kindergarteners how to read? Can you handle explaining calculus to an uninterested sophomore who just wants to get asked to senior prom? Want to experience the joy of getting biology to finally “click” for that struggling kid? Or see the smile on your C+ student’s face when he crushes the last history test? If you answered yes to any of the above, you might be able to handle the roller coaster that is teaching.
What You’ll Be Doing
As an education major, you’ll spend your days learning about theory and practice and… teaching. Duh. Most programs get you in a classroom to start student teaching as soon as your sophomore year. Usually, you’ll have a double major in the subject you want to teach. That does mean more work, but it also means more fun! You get to explore not one passion but two, so buck up.
Pro tip: take a special education class or two. Not only will it make you more marketable when you’re applying for jobs, but you’ll also learn crucial strategies to implement in your classroom. You’re welcome.
1. “From being able to double major, I felt like I got a well-rounded education from BC and got to study more about two of my passions at the same time.” –Katie Trefcer, Boston College 2012, 4th Grade Teacher
2. “When teaching, you always have to be thinking about how you can tweak an explanation so that it makes more sense, or if you need to change what you’re doing to help your students succeed. You can’t be set in your ways. You need to be flexible to a changing education system and what you bring to the classroom.” –Kristen McGeehan, Boston College 2014, 4th Grade Classroom Aide
3. “I think the most beneficial part was learning how to work with so many different kinds of people in various settings. Being able to realize that not everyone is the same, and fair doesn’t always mean equal.” –Katherine Dimitriou, Boston College 2012, 6th-8th Grade Spanish Teacher
1. “I know that there is a stigma attached to education students about not being as ‘smart’ or driven as other students.” –Katie Trefcer
2. “There’s so much you straight up can’t learn in a classroom. No amount of classroom discussion or paper writing or strategizing is going to prepare you for the 6th grader who wraps himself up in your shades pretending to be a cat and refuses to get down until the vice principal comes busting in.” –Katherine Dimitriou
3. “The amount of coursework and student teaching required to complete the major limits the amount of space in your schedule that you have to take other courses. I only got to take one elective during my whole undergraduate career.” –Allyson LaConte, Boston College 2015
Hopefully, you don’t need Sherlock Holmes to tell you that the most popular career path for those with an education major is becoming a teacher. Depending on what grade level and subject you want to teach, you have to take different classes and certification exams. So deciding if you’d prefer to teach the cast of Rugrats or Skins is your first step.
You still get to work with kids, but in a different capacity. If you’re passionate about books and reading, you can still teach and guide students about what books might be good for them. Who doesn’t remember Wishbone, the talking dog librarian that went on adventures?
3. Guidance Counselor
This is another great way to work with kids without actually teaching. If you love the college admissions process or you’re passionate about helping high school students, maybe guidance counseling is your true calling. It’ll give you a chance to pretend like you’re applying to college again. Who doesn’t want to relive that…
4. Government Employee
Want to make change in educational policy? Consider looking into a career with the U.S. Department of Education. You’ll get to make large-scale changes that will have major effects throughout the country’s school systems. You’ll feel like Olivia Pope…without all the guns and probably without the amazing wardrobe.
5. Tour Guide
Teach people about an attraction rather than a subject. If you love your city, explore it every day with new people and help them learn things along the way. If you’re from the Boston area, try running a Duck Boat. You get to quack at people all day.