Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Answers, Part 1: College

Last week I asked you to ask me questions to answer here. The beautiful and fierce Carmen asked:

What did you study in college? Would you recommend that to your high school self? Why or why not?
When I was entering college I was bound and determined to be an elementary school teacher, with certification for deaf ed. I wanted to eventually teach in a school for the deaf. Seriously. (Why I wanted to do that is a whole other story that I won't go into now. Besides, it's not all that interesting.)

The first year for any college student is primarily general ed, so that is what I took at The University of Tennessee. In a nutshell, I was pretty homesick, so I went home and transferred to the University of Northern Colorado. I had every intention of continuing to study elementary education and then figure out the 'deaf ed' part later but fate, or whatever, had a different plan.

At the time, all education majors had to take ED 101, which was an introduction to all levels of education. As part of the class, we had to do 4 observations: 1 in primary, 1 in upper elementary, 1 in middle school, and 1 in high school.  I don't really remember the order that I did them but distinctly remember my feelings after sitting in a first grade classroom: OH HELL NO. I also remember being in the middle school class and realizing that age was perfect for me. Thus, I changed my major to Middle School Education.

(Side note: My graduating class would have been the last class to even be able to major in Middle School Ed. which I don't totally agree with. Kids from 5-9th grade have such a unique set of circumstances to deal with that I think that it takes a uniquely gifted and educated person to be effective for this age group. But I digress.)

So over the next couple of years I did a few Ed classes and also took English and History classes, since that's what I wanted to teach. At the end of my junior year I went in to get a grad check and found out that it was going to take me 3 MORE YEARS to graduate. Thus, my second OH HELL NO moment of college. I then had my advisor run the grad check with an English major/History minor, and lo and behold I would only need 2 more years to get that one. Yep, I took the easy(er) way out. And, yes, if you're doing the math, I was on the 5 year plan.

Would I recommend this entire scenario to my high school self? No. However, knowing what I know now, getting out of education was the best decision I've ever made that I didn't plan at all. Saying that, though, who really knows at 18 what they really want to do with their whole life? Yes, there are a few, like my dad knowing around 3 that he wanted to fly, and my darling Headless Girl that decided at 7 that she wanted to be a doctor, but most of us don't come to those decisions until much later in college, if at all, and many people have a job/career dropped in our laps and we just take it and run with it. I am disgusted with the education system in general. (Don't get me wrong, I love the school and my boy's teachers.) I think that the standards and benchmarks for students are out of whack, I think that the 'business' of education in our states has gotten way out of hand, and I know that it has got to change drastically if we are going to effectively educate our children.  /soapbox

I do think that my degree was a good decision. What it has given me over my adult life is: knowing what dedication and persistence is, I am able to express myself clearly in writing, and I'm the most kick ass helper when it comes to my kids language arts homework, among other things. (Like 3rd graders having to write 5 paragraph essays. What's up with that?)

So Carmen, did I cover everything? ;-)

Also, if you would like to still ask a question, leave it in the comments of Riddle Me This... Thanks!
Headless Mom


Busy Mom said...

It is scary to think most kids are making that decision at 18.

I'm a nurse because that's what I checked on the application the day my dad made me fill it out.

HolyMama! said...

i'm impressed with the age range you'er drawn toward. that's the group that would have me going OH HELL NO. In fact, I did, even when i WAS that age. but i couldn't opt out then. now, my preferred age range for kiddos is 2-4. They're just soooo sweet then.