When I was a senior in high school, everyone asked me what I wanted to study in college. I typically told them, “I’m planning to study secondary education. I think I want to be a teacher.” Throughout my years in college, I have had a lot of support for that decision, but I have also had a fair share of people respond with something like “Hmm… you don’t want to be a lawyer or a doctor? Those are great careers, and I’m sure you would be great at that.”Whenever people responded that way, I knew they meant well. I knew they meant that they believed in me and my capabilities to succeed in Christian Studies and classically tough subject areas. I knew that they meant that they wanted me to go into careers that would lead to a comfortable and prosperous life. Underneath all of that, though, I also knew that they meant that teaching is not a worthy major to pursue.
So, to all of the parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts, fellow churchgoers, and even to the high school students who think (or have been convinced) that education is not something worth studying, I encourage you to think again. Education is one of the most satisfying majors you could choose, especially here at Wheaton College. Here are 5 reasons why:
- Great Professors
You learn from professors who went to school for education themselves. These professors have years of experience in classrooms all over the country and have worked all over the world. Now, their job is teach you how to teach. And trust me, they do that well. Check out Wheaton’s education faculty here. They are an impressive group of scholars and educators, but are also fantastic people who really care about their students.
- Off-campus Experience Is Built Into The Major
Students in the education department start to engage and interact with students their first year and are working in the classroom by their sophomore year. Additionally, student teaching your final year at Wheaton can be a great learning experience. You can student teach as close as just a few minutes from Wheaton and as far as halfway across the world through international student teaching opportunities in countries like Senegal, Australia, China, Germany, or the Dominican Republic, just to name a few. As a campus tour guide, I am frequently asked how often students get off-campus. Students get off campus in lots of different ways, but as an education major, it’s part of your coursework!
- Education Majors Are Quality People
The saying goes that you should surround yourself with people that you want to be like. I am currently in an educational psychology class, and aside from learning some amazing things about the mind of a child, I am also in a class of people that I really enjoy and ultimately want to be like. They are fun and kind but are also intelligent and ambitious. Additionally, they have so much love in their hearts for the students they are currently working with and for the students that they will have in their future classrooms. Not to mention, most people know that teaching isn’t the highest paying job out there — there is something special about knowing that the people you sit next to in class are there because they are passionate about people and creating change, regardless of the post-graduation projected salaries.
- It’s An Interdisciplinary Major
When I started taking education classes my freshman year, I had no idea how much I would be exposed to learning about such a variety of topics and disciplines. I’m not sure what I was expecting to learn — maybe how to write up a lesson plan and how to effectively teach Shakespeare? Thank goodness, I am learning those skills in my classes, but I’m also learning concepts from subjects like anthropology, sociology, history, linguistics, gender studies, and philosophy. When you are learning how to work with people and the unique intricacies they bring with them to the classroom, all those subjects are important to understand. Building a combination of majors for yourself is one way to do it (and you can do that here at Wheaton!), but I’m thankful to have those majors incorporated into integral parts of my coursework as an education major.
- You Learn How To Love People
As I mentioned above, taking classes that incorporate all of the different subjects helps me to understand the theories and research about people. However, engaging with students allows me to put these theories into practice. Students come in with learning disabilities, problems from home, deep-seated emotional baggage, English as their second language — the list goes on and on. In teaching them, I am learning how to love and care for people… even when it’s hard. I am learning how to meet them wherever they are in life and support them in the everyday. That is a skill that applies to any field, education or otherwise, and to all areas of life after Wheaton. I’m not only learning how to teach, I’m learning how to live.
Bottom line: in my time here at Wheaton College, and my pursuit of an Education major and involvement in Christian Studies, I have learned that despite what people might tell you, being an education major is 100% worth it.
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