Recently, I got this message posted in my message-box on another type of blog I run. . .
This poor person is in the same boat as a LOT of other 18-22 year-olds the world over, and I can empathize with their plight. SO, I am sharing a slightly-varied version of my response to them on this blog, in the hopes that it might be helpful to anybody who stumbles across my blog whilst feeling similar stress.
First of all: I’m to anyone who is feeling stressed about choosing your major or career path! I remember the struggle to decide what major to declare. First of all, remember that it is NEVER too late to change your mind. There’s this weird belief that once you pick a major your fate is sealed, and there’s no going back. But, even though there are some majors (like pre-med or pharmaceutical medicine) that you have to declare very early on and pursue all the way through your studies, it is never too late to change your mind later on if you find yourself unhappy with the career path you are on. Most people I know changed their major at least once. I also know people that switched careers after doing something for 10 years. It might not be the easiest path, but it is do-able. In light of this, my biggest advice is to try to pick something that aligns with both your passions and your talents, because that is where you will most likely find future career success.
On the other hand I 100% encourage picking a field of study that will result in a job or some kind of marketable skill set! We all know the stereotypical example of being an English major – which might be fascinating, but is not always marketable in a practical or direct way (especially not without further formal study). So, as you study your way along, periodically you should probably ask yourself what you’re going to put on your resume.
Let’s do just that and take a critical look at teaching as a viable job option. If, like my forward-thinking message-friend, you’re worrying about the availability of teaching jobs before you’re in your junior year in college, I would encourage you not to worry about that juuuust yet. There is a certain amount of assumed job security in teaching (although it is not always accurate, if we’re being truthful with ourselves). Honestly, until the zombie apocalypse arrives and we’re all more focused on survivalist skills, there will always be a need for teachers. Even with Zombies, if it comes down to teachers v. zombies, my money is on the middle school teacher team. If they can thrive in a middle school, they can survive anything.
Jokes aside, though, there are a lot of teaching jobs, although not always where/when you want to work. Finding a teaching job can sometimes mean being flexible about the when/where you will teach, which can be hard. Another reason why you shouldn’t worry about this just yet, though? Any College Teacher-preparation program worth its salt will do their best to help you network and find a job post-grad.
Likewise, if you go to a school with a good education program and you want to be a teacher, you should not worry about the licensure test. Real Talk Time, friends. At this point, I have taken . . . four? maybe five? of these miserable exams. While they aren’t fun at all, they ARE do-able. If you have studied your subject matter and taken those studies seriously, you will be just fine when it comes to licensure tests that evaluate content knowledge and educator-knowledge.
One last bit of advice about teaching and whether it is for you? If you want to go into teaching, then you should GO INTO TEACHING!!! But you should only do that if you LOVE (A) the subject you teach, and (B) people/students! Too many people get into teaching thinking it’s a “sure thing” or a “good fall-back” and do not realize that it is a job that requires a lot of heart and soul if you want to do it well. If you feel passionate about being a teacher, then pursue it full steam ahead and see what happens. I sort of fell into becoming a teacher and now I’m addicted – it’s not always perfect, but it’s still the most wonderful thing I’ve ever gotten to do!