Are we really prepared?

For this week we read a piece by John Pyne called, “Are You Thinking of a Career in Secondary Schools? A Supervisor’s Perspective on Which Candidate to Hire”. This was very interesting and brought up some mixed feelings for me. When people go into education during their undergraduate studies I think there are two motivating factors. I think there is a group who goes into it because they love the subject they picked, and then there are those who go into education because the actual teaching part intrigues them. Personally I fall into the second group. Growing up there was always a part of me that wanted to be a teacher and throughout my first two years in college, while I was constantly switching majors, there was a piece of me that always went back to teaching. Once I decided that education was the path I wanted to take, I had to decide what subject I was going to teach. As I began the process I knew there were a few subjects that I could rule out immediately, math and science. What was left was history and English and I was torn between the two. After going back and forth, I chose history because I loved hearing about historical events and it always interest me thinking about how past events shaped the country that I live in today.

So fast forward to today, I am a senior, History, Secondary Education major, about to face the real world and the daunting task of finding a job. For the past two years I have often questioned my choice to go into the major I did because I found myself in classes, surrounded by people who were so passionate about the course we were taking. Granted, I found them interesting but felt so behind on my knowledge of history, American and World. But when I found myself ready to give up, the thought of my future students kept me hanging on. Now as my schedule is filled with more education classes that teach me pedagogical strategies, I find myself excited to be in class learning. I am excited to take what I have learned and observed and apply it to my future classroom.

How does this go along with John Pyne’s article? Well I personally think that there is a balance between being passionate about content as well as teaching, rather than more emphasis being placed on content. Do I think that it is important to know what you are teaching and find it interesting? Absolutely, it is what is going to make every day of the rest of our lives bearable. But in my opinion it is the love of teaching that is what is the most important. Not all of our students are going to love history or even appreciate it, but as teachers we still have the possibility to influence them outside of teaching historical events.  As I often like to say, I do not want to spend the rest of my life just teaching students about a subject, I want to TEACH my students through a subject. For me this job goes far beyond being passionate and knowledgeable about a content area, it is a responsibility to impact lives and be an example for kids. So as much as I appreciate the value that Pyne puts on content knowledge and passion, I would say that there is more weight outside of content. Does this mentality I have make me nervous? Of course, but content knowledge will come with time, but knowing how to reach students starts on day one.

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One thought on “Are we really prepared?

  1. You are right to say that content mastery comes with time; I feel that in our first year of teaching we will focus on staying ahead of students and preparing lesson plans, but as the years go on we will have taught social studies content over and over again and will not have to worry as much about staying afloat. I feel that content passion is necessary for effective teaching; if your students do not see you get jazzed about and invested in content, they will not be invested in it either. The problem for me is staying excited when teaching about subjects I personally do not find interesting. I imagine myself going all-out for a unit on the 1960s, but not being so excited about the Era of Good Feelings. However, I feel that content passion for a wider range of topics will come with classroom experience and mastery.

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