What’s your major?: The world’s reaction to my answer

I am majoring in Secondary Education and English. Whether it’s a close friend, aquaintance, relative, or complete stranger: no one hesitates to give me their honest and immediate opinion.

Here are just a few of the reactions I’ve gotten:

1. Ohhhh! *with an encouraging headnod and a smile*

2. Ohhh… *with a look of concern, distress, and the occassioanl awkward smile*

3. Well I’m not gonna tell you how to live your life.

4. That’s a shame.

5. That’s great; I like teachers. Without teachers where would the world be?

6. You can major in education?

7. Hopefully CPS sorts everything out..

8. You’re not going to make much money.

It’s always encouraging when I get positive feedback for pursuing teaching. I am both thrilled and terrfied to enter the field so it’s nice to have people who I can voice my excitement and anxiety to. It’s refreshing to talk to people who view teaching as a profession with the power to create positive change. However, my answer to the “what’s your major” question usually elicits negative responses. I think that’s because most  people just don’t understand why I would want to become a teacher. They wonder why I would spend all that time in school just to be in school forever: underpaid and underappreciated? Others take a deficiet perspective and feel that I’m just wasting my time because “some kids just don’t care about school”.

I am aware of the (partial) validity of these naysayer’s concerns. But to me, it’s all worth it because everyone deserves a quality education and that’s what I aspire to provide for my students. I want to be that teacher for someone. I want to help my students develop self efficacy; I want them to know their voices, and stories, matter. And, as a highschool teacher, my goal is to get these kids ready for college.

After witnessing my favorite teachers and professors in action, I realize it’s going to take a lot of time and hardwork for me to get to that level; but when I think about the impact these educators have had on my life I am more than certain that teaching is exactly where my passion lies.

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