Why I changed my major…

I’m a sophomore in college. School has always been what I excel in, so naturally, I’ll be graduating a semester early. Sometimes I put a lot of pressure on myself. And even more times, I take on too much at once, but still manage to get it all done (and done to the best of my ability). I’ve always been proud of my accomplishments. And I have always had that “go-getter” attitude. It probably drives some people nuts, but it really is like a disease.

I’m telling you this because I made a decision last semester that altered my career. I decided it was time to change my major. I was on the path to become a Secondary English Teacher. I wanted to mentor students, be a role model, teach them about my passion of literature and literacy, and recommend all of my favorite books to them! BUT all of this stopped one day when I realized I didn’t like the education world I was going to enter in to. It took me a long time to make this decision. I tossed it up, rolled it around, even bounced it off the walls of my brain for SEVERAL weeks.

It came down to the fact that I couldn’t handle not being able to do what I wanted in the classroom. I didn’t want my students to ever feel pressured and get anxiety about all of these exams they take like I did in high school. I didn’t want my students to have an education that didn’t mean anything to them, or that they weren’t passionate about like so many students I know. I wanted education to be more, and I knew there was going to be no possible way I could perfect and teach at the level I would have wanted to.

plan

Photo CC-By Pexels

So with that in mind, I stepped down from what I thought I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I stepped down because I knew I would feel like a failure for so many students if I couldn’t change the way literature was being taught. And I knew I couldn’t handle that task as a perfectionist, when there was so much work to be done (because I also want other things in life… like a family of my own).

This all came flooding back to my mind after reading Jim Bailey’s Curing the Reading Germ. He was in the same exact position as I was in not too long ago, except he was already in the classroom. If you read the steps he took, he was able to make a change! I’m so thankful for teachers like him, that can stand up against the “teaching norms” and do what is best for students.

I in no way have regretted my decision, but I do recognize the effort put in by so many teachers across the nation that want to make English classrooms better.

From my online reading this week, I’ve learned to appreciate the innovative thinking that so many people have and every motivator in the classroom. For example, I loved the fact that Bailey recognized that “AR” reading wasn’t cutting it for students (because it’s definitely not) and he decided to do a “40-book challenge”. I can’t stress it enough how important it is to allow students to choose what they are reading because it motivates them to actually ENJOY reading. AR doesn’t let them choose, AR tells them what they should be reading and how much they should be reading.

Literacy is all about connection between literature and the reader. That connection, motivates students to continue reading. That’s what should be happening in our classrooms all around the world. When students excel in reading, they tend to excel everywhere else, too. That’s why life with books is just so much better.

Even though teaching wasn’t the path for me, under my best judgement, I’m glad that there are innovators out there. I’m glad that I know there are resources dedicated for teachers who want to find different methods of teaching.

I looked at the way a lot of classrooms are taught today during my observation hours, and none of them stressed enough on reading and the benefits of a good reader. And actually, my hometown elementary school has practically done away with showing any importance at all towards reading. It breaks my heart, but no one can change the way things are being taught except us. We need to be the good examples for young people.

change

Photo CC-By Gerd Altmann

Today, it’s important for us to let our kids, students, nephews, nieces, etc… to know the benefits and values of picking up a book and enjoying the process of reading. It’s important for us to raise kids to love to read. The only way I see this working is if we allow young kids to pick out books they want.

START THEM YOUNG PEOPLE.

Take them to the bookstore. Give them space and time to roam through the shelves to choose what book they want to read. This will encourage them to continue to build this habit for the rest of their life.

I’m sorry, this post went a little long. This is just something that I’m really passionate about. Books are meant to be enjoyed. Plain and simple. So everyone, for the love of books, choose what you WANT to read.

Happy Reading,

-A.

 

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9 thoughts on “Why I changed my major…

  1. seetheworldinbooks says:

    Teaching will be my second career. Like you I started off majoring in English and secondary education many moons ago. Somewhere in the middle I changed my major too. I took an elective in the Journalism school and loved learning about writing well. I made the switch and had a great career in communications for a long time. I got burned out writing for marketing, publicity, and PR spin; I now find myself going back to school to be a teacher. Ah the circle of life. I’m hoping my experiences in the in the business world will help prepare me for all the hoops teachers have to go through. I admire your love of literature and respect for yourself and students. I’ve learned in my 40+ years, your gut is usually right, and when you listen to it you don’t regret it. Although, with your passion for books and your thoughtful and caring ways, I would love for my own kids to have a teacher like you. However, these same traits will bring you success in any path you choose.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithbooks2017 says:

      Yeah! I switched to journalism too and I’m really excited to see where the world takes me with communications. I honestly could see myself going back later in life to finish my teaching degree, but as of now, I want to see what I can do with journalism and where it takes me!

      Liked by 1 person

      • seetheworldinbooks says:

        It’s a fun career where there’s never a dull moment. I really enjoyed my career and met some extremely smart and talented people. Communications opens many doors, and I’m a firm believer if you can write well, you can do well in many different arenas. Good luck to you. If you can still minor or double major in English I would. I didn’t and wish I had. I was a slower student and already behind, so I just when full throttle into Journalism but since you’re ahead it might work out well.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. tannerwalker6 says:

    There are many examples in your blog that were exactly how my parents helped me learn to love to read! We went to the library often, the book fairs at our school, and they would purchase me sports magazines to enhance my time spent reading. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Zane Hesting says:

    Good, honest post. No sense in doing something you don’t feel right about, and you are right instead to go all out and take the risk in an area you like. The pressure of standards in a classroom are daunting, and I think everyone wonders what in the world is going to become of the education system in the coming years. Everything seems to ebb and flow, and perhaps if enough people come to understand the power of reading and writing, then it will work itself out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithbooks2017 says:

      You make a good point, “if enough people come to understand the power of reading and writing, then it will work itself out,” it’s getting people to the point of understanding and wanting to understand that I think we struggle with now. How do we get everyone to this point of understanding that we have of reading and it’s importance?

      Like

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