In today’s world, telling people you are seeking a degree in education elicits a similar response to telling them that you are pursuing a degree in underwater basket weaving. Even those who are less vocal seem confused about the choice of career.
Obviously, there are multiple (and sadly justifiable) reasons behind this reaction. A couple being the pay and poor working conditions as behavioral issues in the classroom continue increasing. Educators are leaving the field by the thousands, as some 300,000 have quit since the start of the pandemic.
In order to remedy this new shortage, states are implementing processes that make it easier to receive a teaching certificate rather than attempting to improve their education system. Some states are even dismissing that a college degree is necessary for a person to work in this field.
While this will help fill job positions, it is a poor route to take in the long run because quality teaching requires much more than just relaying content. A good educator has to be knowledgeable about trauma responses in children and how they can improve the child’s life so they can be successful outside of the classroom as well.
These qualities can be obtained outside of a university, but a college education is more likely to provide tools that create empathetic, responsive and versatile teachers. This being said, the drop of expectations insinuates that many states do not place access to quality education at a place of high importance, and simply “getting kids through” school is enough for the time being.
Educators and future educators do not expect perfection, and, while changes in salary would be great, most teachers are clearly not motivated by money.
Before real change can happen for America’s education system, lawmakers and individuals must acknowledge education as a field of incredible importance as it is shaping the country’s (and globe’s) future.