• “It is one of the most rewarding careers.”
• “Don’t you think you are too smart to become a teacher? Don’t you want to make any money?”
• “Aren’t you aware that this is probably the worst time to go into the teaching profession.”
These are just some of the comments I hear as a pre-service teacher. Some provide words of encouragement, while others attempt to persuade me out of my future career. It is a time of great frustration in education, with national standards, new assessment techniques, and evaluation systems that seem to put teachers in front of paperwork more often than the actual classroom. However, I have taken solace in the fact that I have been blessed with the opportunities available for pre-service teachers.
Every field is dynamically changing to keep up with our quickly moving world. Some say that fifty-percent of what a doctor learns in medical school will be obsolete within the first five years of his or her career. The same applies to teachers. College classes can only provide a small glimpse into the field of education. However, professional development and leadership workshops offer the continued advancement of knowledge that extends beyond the normalcy of college teacher preparation programs.
My main point is to stay involved. But do not let your resume dictate your reasons for staying involved. Instead, attend a conference or seek a leadership role in a teaching club on your campus because you want to enhance yourself as an educator. Your resume should be an added bonus, but never the vehicle driving your motivation. These are the ways we will be able to answer the popular interview question, “What sets you apart from the rest of the applicants for this job?” Having the answer to that question comes from your willingness to extend your knowledge past your teacher preparation program.
And above all, never let anybody discourage you from pursuing what you are meant to do. It is no secret that fifty percent of educators who enter the profession will leave within the first five years. Next time you sit in an education class, look around the room. Statistically, half of your classmates will not be colleagues within five years. So I challenge my fellow pre-service colleagues: pursuit an education outside of the college classroom.
– Kevin Mount
Bio: Kevin is currently a junior elementary education and mathematics double major at The College of New Jersey. His involvement in student organizations has allowed him to stay current in the field of education and assist other pre-service teachers in their journey to becoming certified educators.