Let me begin by telling you I am currently a junior majoring in Education at a prominent southern university… Okay, The University Of Oklahoma (1st Amendment, right?) so I have that experience to back my opinions, and honestly I have had a pretty disappointing and eye opening experience so far. I don’t attribute this negative attitude of higher education to my university alone, instead I attribute it to the values that the “successful members” of society (usually the academics) puts on getting a post high school degree from a university. With this blog post my intention is to let others know about my experiences with the higher education system and to voice my opinion that college is not the best option for everyone, and it is absolutely not the only road to success… If I knew the truth about what college was really about, while I was a young high school student, I wouldn’t have chosen the collegiate path. Unfortunately like a lot of kids these days I was told from birth that I would go to college, and growing up with this pressed into my young and easily influenced mind I never even considered my other options, here is why you shouldn’t believe what everyone tells you and instead decide what you believe is best for YOU!
My first eye opener about my educational experience so far (and my authority on this opinion stems from actually studying to become a teacher) is that professors are only experts or highly educated individuals in their field, they are not educators, and they are most definitely not teachers. With a Ph.D. comes vast knowledge of a topic and I know that these professors know their material the problem is they don’t know how to teach it and here is why. As a Language Arts Education major I am only required to take 26 credit hours of Education classes out of the required 124 credit hours of classes required for graduation, which means I am taking 98 hours of subjects that don’t involve me learning how to teach. Do you want your kids being taught by someone who only takes eight classes about how to be an educator? I don’t, and if you don’t believe me follow this link http://checksheets.ou.edu/langarts.pdf Yes a lot of my required classes are about Language Arts itself and I believe that those classes are absolutely necessary for me to become the best teacher I can be, and I do need a decently well-rounded education in English but why not make the strong focus on what I will be teaching in high school. I am not seeking a Ph.D. in English so I don’t need to be a master of the literary arts, I simply need to know how to introduce high school students to literature and how to teacher them how to find themes, motifs, etc. of pieces of literature, but most importantly I should learn how to teach them how to problem solve life situations by teaching them how to find these literary devices. The majority of my future kids are never going to need to quote John Donne’s Holy Sonnet 17, they need to learn how to find their own ideas about that work of literature and in doing so learn how to problem solve real life situations.
So to tie this waste of classes back into my point about how professors are just experts in their field and not teachers I pose the question, why must I take so many BS (and this doesn’t stand for bachelor of science…) classes where I am splashed with information in subjects that in no way pertain to my degree of education or my passionate desire to learn how to successfully teach high school students.( I don’t need someone to lecture me on the value of a liberal arts and a well-rounded degree, I have heard it a million times and I don’t care to hear it again.) So why am I required to take these miscellaneous classes throughout my education and those people who seek to be professors (usually only requiring a Ph.D. in the field) are not required to take ONE SINGLE class about how to teach? Out of the many many classes they take to become that doctor of their field they don’t take one class about how to teach their subject, frankly I find this disgusting. It’s lovely if you have your doctorate but if you can’t teach me about your field then why the hell are you a “teacher”. My experience with professors is that they use their “teaching” platform to inform me of their own research (and in a few cases buying a textbook published by them or one of their friends for $100, isn’t that nice…) I firmly believe, out of my three years as a college student my money and my time is being wasted by learning information and subjects that I am not good at, I will never use, and that I am not interested in. Why choose a college major that highlights my intellectual strengths when many of my classes in no way pertain to this subject anyways? So my proposal is, that the class requirements for all degrees be tailored much further into that area of study. And again for the argument that I need to be well rounded, to get accepted into college I had to graduate from High School (or get a GED I suppose) so why must I repeat these classes again? I know what I want to do with my career so why am I forced to spend time in subject areas that I know I don’t want to pursue. The answer to this question unfortunately is money. The cost of a college education is astronomical these days, and universities will suck on your saving account for every penny it is worth (ex. a “walking on the grass fee” at the good ole U of O). Which leads me to my take-away point, if you don’t have the passion for a career that you know with all your heart you want to pursue (ex. doctor, lawyer, meteorologist) one that requires a university degree then don’t go to a university. If I could write a letter to my high school junior self now this is the advice I would give, and to the shock of some, this is the advice I will give to my high school kids when they ask for my honest opinion about their post high school options.
To further my point that college isn’t the best option for everyone, my fiancé knew he wouldn’t go to college, he just knew it wasn’t for him, and honestly I am quite jealous of his accomplishments being a young adult and having the experience, skills, and job security he now has. He works a blue collar job and he makes every bit as much money (plus more) than I will make upon my graduation from college. Yes, a teacher’s salary isn’t much and if that example doesn’t have you thinking then this one will. My Dad attended a trade school (which I believe to be much more valuable than a university education and I highly recommend to everyone, it is hands on and teaches you your desired trade, not all the time wasting liberal arts crap) he works a blue collar job in the aviation industry and makes more than the average attorney with a graduate degree. At $4.5k in a day and a half, all because of a degree at a tech school, now that sounds like college degrees aren’t as valuable as they would like you to believe, and as my example proves, they are most definitely not the only way to a successful life.
In conclusion, of course I am not telling everyone to drop out or to never apply to college. My message is clear; do not feel pressured to attend a university as I did. In my eyes trade schools and tech school are more valuable than universities in a lot of ways. My advice is if you are not dead-set, no changing your mind, born to be, something that is only attainable by attending a university I suggest not going. My suggestion is, if you have an idea, but you just aren’t sure go to a community college before heading off the big fancy state university, that is the mistake I made. I got caught up in the prominence of being accepted to OU while I had no clue what I wanted to study, I’m just blessed I found my calling in education. It has been a very rocky road because I just don’t see the prestige and value that everyone puts on the education I am currently going through (two professors just didn’t show up (no explanations) to class twice this week… good value out of that $8,000 a year tuition right?) As for me, if I knew all of this beforehand, I would have went to cosmetology school (and probably make the same salary, while graduating in only 6 months instead of 4.5 years) but I will continue to battle my way through this experience until I graduate and receive my teaching certificate. Why? Because in the midst of all of these bad experiences I realize that my calling is to inform others and to teach kids, I mean really get through to them. I want to help them be the best individuals they can be because I never had any teachers who cared that much.
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