Our Major is not “Cute”

By AnneMarie Schiller, SED 2015

Meeting someone for the first time:

Non-SEDer: What school are you in?
SEDer: SED.
Non-SEDer: What’s that?
SEDer: *Sigh* The School of Education.
Non-SEDer: Oh.

…and/or

Student A: What’s your major?
Student B: Elementary education.
Student A: Oh, that’s cute! It must be so much fun.
Student B: *Awkward giggle, followed by silence* (Most likely infuriated.)

IMG_3047Yes, absolutely. The School of Education is a blast, and (in my biased-opinion) the most fun college on the Boston University campus. But please, never refer to the major of education as being “cute.” Contrary to popular belief, we are not assigned coloring pages for homework, and do not cut out shapes and letters in class. Do we get excited to prepare bulletin boards, projects or presentations that require artistic abilities? Absolutely- most of us love that stuff! But that is certainly a rarity, and is simply added on top of our normal workload, consisting of readings, papers, lesson plans, etc., and is by no means the only thing we do.

It is sad to admit, especially as a proud SED student myself, but it certainly feels as though students of other schools here at BU look down upon the School of Education. We should never feel ashamed to tell someone our major, or what school we are in, because I feel as though I can speak for a large majority of SED students when I say, we are immensely dedicated to the field of education, and proud of the careers we have chosen for our futures. However, the connotation that we do very little work, or deal with subjects that are aimed for elementary-aged children, can be quite disheartening at times.

While it is true that we are taking courses that pertain to grade levels we have already surpassed instead of dealing with harder-level material, it is not all that simple. We are not solely reviewing such information as if it is the first time we are learning it. No, we are learning how to teach it, and explain the content in ways that may be easily understood by our future students.

Photo Courtesy of AnneMarie Schiller

AnneMarie Schiller with her fifth grade class at Mason-Rice Elementary in Newton (Photo Courtesy of Schiller)

I can truly only speak on behalf of my own program at SED, as I am an elementary education major, pursuing a dual-licensure in special education; so I apologize for not representing all education majors. The majority of SED students take between sixteen and eighteen credits per semester, not including summer terms, which most students must partake in. Most semesters we spend at least one full day, typically 8 am to 4 pm in a classroom at a school off campus. Our typical week consists of about twenty hours of class, not including any homework or study periods. All-nighters are a common occurrence, and Starbucks keeps us alive ninety-nine percent of the time.

The bottom line is that we love what we do, and we are truly passionate about the road we have started down. Please do not dismiss us as any less than you, doing any less work, or putting in any less effort. Instead, take the time to talk to an education major, find out about our school, our program and our love. We are a lively bunch and I am sure that most any of us would be more than willing to enlighten you with what it is like to be part of the SED family.

*AnneMarie Schiller is a junior at Boston University School of Education studying elementary education.

2 Comments

Charlie White posted on May 7, 2014 at 3:00 pm

You tell ‘em, AnneMarie! Couldn’t agree more!!

Tara posted on May 26, 2014 at 3:56 pm

Wow. I’m a student at Georgian Court University in NJ as a dual English/Education (K-8 with Special Education Endorsement) major. I definitely have had the aforementioned conversation where someone just assumes that it must be “so fun” to be an Education major. While they’re not wrong, I do love it, it is clear what they are connoting – fun and easy are synonymous in this scenario. I couldn’t agree more that it is disheartening to be treated as though our workloads are less, ESPECIALLY given the fact that at least at GCU, we have to participate in a 60 hours field experience, then a 90 hours field experience, then student teaching which is essentially being a teacher for free for fifteen weeks. Lesson plans are lengthy and tedious. The bar is set massively high for students in the SED. An “A” at my university is a 95 or above. One lesson plan at full length in Taskstream takes a minimum of two hours to adequately complete and I cannot begin to tell you how many I have done. I’m beginning my student teaching this Fall (3rd grade – so excited!), and I just finished my last semester of undergrad classes as well as my 90 hours in a Kindergarten classroom. I am currently enrolled in three summer courses and there is so much to prepare for (as well as look forward to) but after having gone through everything it took to get here (Praxis is one more thing on the list that people do not realize is highly stressful), I simply refuse to concede to the outside perception that anything we do as Education majors is “easy.” I could not have loved this article more. Spot on. Thanks for this!

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