The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
With the start of the fall semester fully under wraps, there are probably a large number of freshmen students who are considering going into Education. I am a Junior at the lovely Winona State University and am hoping to finish my time here with a degree in Communication Arts and Literature Teaching (which is a super fancy way to say high school English teacher). I knew from the time that I was five years old that I wanted to be a teacher. I would sit in my dad’s classroom and have been pretending to teach since I could reach the whiteboard. I never doubted this decision. Even though I was confident, there are a few experiences that I encountered that no amount of research could have prepared me for. Therefore, I wanted to write a letter to the freshmen who are considering becoming teachers so that, maybe, they won’t have to wait as long as I did to realize them.
- You’re Going to Feel Overwhelmed
Throughout your entire time at Winona State, you are going to become very overwhelmed with the fact that one day you will actually have to teach (funny how that works). It all sounds so far away until you are doing your clinicals and working with the same children that you will one day be in charge of. It sounds like something that is impossible, but it really isn’t. In a little less than three or four years, you will hopefully be standing up in front of your own class telling them about yourself and how you became a teacher. You will create a “get to know me slide” where you will list your favorite hobbies and where you attended school. This idea of being an adult who is responsible for shaping the minds of future generations was a very scary realization for me. I was intimidated by the responsibility, but once I got over that, I realized how absolutely and utterly excited I was for what the future holds—and you will too. It is okay to be overwhelmed, but just remember that if this is something you love—it will all work out how it is supposed to.
2. You Cannot Choose to Become a Teacher Lightly
It is a common fact that teachers do not get paid as much as they should (I may be a bit biased on this). So, teaching is not something that someone does for the money or even the summers off. In order to be a successful teacher, you need to want it so badly that you will be okay with the low pay and in-school politics. No one said teaching was easy, but it is one of the most rewarding jobs that there is. Teachers do not get paid in money for what they do, rather they get paid in watching their students grow and become successful because of their support. There is an entire generation of students who may have no support at home and if you are only there so that you get holidays off, they will be able to sense it. These students need to know that you care about them and your profession.
3. Many People are Going to Try and Convince You Out of It
Every single time that I tell people that I want to become a teacher, at least one out of the three times I get asked the same question: “Why would you want to put yourself through that?” Teaching is a job that is seen as undesirable by most and they will be able to give you a plethora of reasons as to why they are right— which obviously they aren’t (once again, just a tiny bit biased). They will tell you that teachers don’t get paid enough to make it worth it, children are terrifying (they aren’t completely wrong about this one), and that teacher burn-out is incredible. Once again, teaching is not for the half-hearted and these people will prey on the ones that aren’t confident. They do not understand the appeal to the job and that is okay. Teaching is not for everyone, and it was never meant to be. Only certain types of people can become teachers and that is what you must remind yourself of when they start to try and plant doubt within you.
4. You Are Going to be Okay
Even through all this turmoil, you will make it through stronger than ever. I have never been more confident than I am now that teaching is what I was meant to do, and hopefully you have this same epiphany. Even when there is doubt, it will be restored by the overwhelming excitement to do what you love. Teachers are some of the strongest, most adaptable, caring, and motivated people that I have ever met, and being one of them is something to be proud of. It won’t be easy to get there, but nothing in life that is worth it is ever easy.
With the rest of the semester unfolding, I hope that you keep these thoughts in the back of your mind to help propel you towards your passion. If teaching is what you still want to do after the first year, then I am so excited for what you will accomplish one day in the classroom. And remember, to instill confidence in the newest generation, we must first have confidence in our teaching skills and ourselves. I hope to be able to, one day, call a few of you my future colleagues.