Since I declared my major my freshman year at Alma College, I have been a Secondary Education/ English double major for going on three years now. In that time, I’ve completed one placement and am currently completing another, accepted a work study position within Gratiot County, taken what seems like a boatload of education credits and have become President of the Education Club. You could say I’m rather involved with the education department and all things education related.
Over the course of my time here at Alma, I’ve heard multiple things regarding the pros and cons of being an education major from my peers. Ash Holland (’23) said that there are both ups and downs to the major.
“Some pros of being an education major are being part of an amazing community of people and the feeling of being supported and able to ask as many questions as needed,” said Holland. “I like how we have a lot of placement opportunities before we student teach.” However, Holland also recognizes the cons of being an education major. “A con of being an education major is being busy especially when doing a placement. Many times, education students have to drive to do a placement and it is a major time commitment to achieve,” said Holland. An overall change that is suggested to be made is to have students complete less “busy work” and a larger focus on assignments regarding teaching, such as creating lesson plans.
Dr. Brian Hancock, an Assistant Professor of Education at Alma College, is happy with the work being done within the education department. “The program is nationally recognized and our faculty and clinical partners do an amazing job at preparing well- started teachers who are ready to do great work with Pk- 12 students,” said Hancock.
“The changes to our education program offerings are in-line with the new requirements from the state of Michigan and, especially important for the Pk-6 major, now include a clinical placement in a classroom during the first year of study,” said Hancock. Dr. Hancock also shared some advice for students. “I always encourage education students (and all students, for that matter) to take advantage of any and all travel opportunities during their time at Alma College. So much of “good” teaching is being responsive to students needs and interests and is not scriptable within a curriculum. We collectively can learn so much about ourselves and others when we visit new places, and it’s important to take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves,” said Hancock.
As an education major, I greatly sympathize with other students in the field as I have worried about driving to and from placements, about completing my hours in a timely fashion and awaiting acceptance into the Teacher Education Program since some of the requirements do not fit the content area in which I am going into.
With this being said, I have had an overall positive experience with the education program here at Alma. I have enjoyed going into classrooms early in my years here so that I can determine whether or not teaching is what I truly want to pursue. I have endless gratitude and appreciation to the education department faculty, for they are always willing to answer any questions I may have as well as instruct classes that have given me new perspectives about my field.
I additionally love being President of the Education Club as I get to connect with members while also acting as a bridge between student and faculty communication.
In conclusion, I commend my fellow education majors that are passionate about what they do. I believe the pandemic has been one of the greatest examples of how overlooked and overworked teachers are, and just how much we impact our students.
When I went to New York City this summer, I bought a pin in Central Park that reads “Teacher Power”. A dear friend of mine asked what that meant. After thinking about what it means, I took a few notes that I would like to share with you now.
Teacher power is inspiring students to become the best version of themselves. It’s acting as a role model when there’s no one to look up to. It’s providing stability when the home life of a student is rocky.
It’s supporting them when there’s no one to hold them up. It’s motivating them to get what they want out of life and to not let go. It’s shielding students from gunfire.
It’s the bookmark my teacher made me that I use to this day. It’s the sympathy cards I received when my grandfather died. It’s the conversation I recently had with one of my past English teachers.
It’s every hug I received at my high school graduation and every conference my parents attended. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I could take care of every single child in the world, I would. And that’s teacher power.