The most significant challenge for eager young teachers is the reality that the benefits of their profession are dwindling by the day. Experienced teachers are leaving their classrooms faster than universities can fill them with new teachers. So why teach? And why teach English? The college struggles may seem endless, but as a third-year English Education major, I hope to give you the confidence that the experiences you will encounter prepare you to be the best teacher you can be (and that English is not as bad as people make it seem).
The greatest challenge I have faced while studying English and Secondary Education is not the level of classes I am taking but the internal belief that I am incapable of retaining the knowledge I’m given. My English classes are filled with students who plan to be writers and publishers, and I want to teach eighth graders how to form a readable sentence. I often tell myself that my classes are pointless and that I will never use this knowledge in my classroom, but that mindset is more detrimental to my education than a low grade in a 600-level British Literature course.
Believe me, it is challenging to see the bright side when writing a paper at one o’clock in the morning, digging anything out of my brain that seems somewhat intelligent. But after I had a good cry, I reminded myself that my future students won’t know what my final grade was in American Lit. They will only know how passionate I am about what I am teaching them.
Believe it or not, feeling like the least intelligent person in my English classes is one of my favorite parts of being an English major. I can always guarantee that I will leave the room knowing something I didn’t know before I came in. And so much of what I learned came from my fellow classmates. I benefit from my peers’ knowledge just as much as I do from reading a novel or doing a worksheet.
English classes give me the excitement of learning something new. I may not feel like the smartest in the room, but I know I am genuinely expanding my knowledge. Like I said before, I do love English, and this feeling proves it to me. This is the best advice I could give to an English Education major. Being a student is the best experience in preparation for being a teacher.
I’m not sure how useful any of this information may be, but I want to encourage you, as a future English teacher, bad grades or challenging classes will not make you a lousy teacher. They are only preparing you to have the biggest heart and deepest passion for your students and for English. Do not let the hard times or challenging courses prevent you from seeing the bigger picture; react to the challenges the same way you hope your future students will respond to their own setbacks. Don’t give up on English, I promise you, it will help you make a difference in the future.
Sigma Tau Delta
Sigma Tau Delta, International English Honor Society, was founded in 1924 at Dakota Wesleyan University. The Society strives to
- Confer distinction for high achievement in English language and literature in undergraduate, graduate, and professional studies;
- Provide, through its local chapters, cultural stimulation on college campuses and promote interest in literature and the English language in surrounding communities;
- Foster all aspects of the discipline of English, including literature, language, and writing;
- Promote exemplary character and good fellowship among its members;
- Exhibit high standards of academic excellence; and
- Serve society by fostering literacy.
With over 900 active chapters located in the United States and abroad, there are more than 1,000 Faculty Advisors, and approximately 9,000 members inducted annually.
Sigma Tau Delta also recognizes the accomplishments of professional writers who have contributed to the fields of language and literature.
Sigma Tau Delta accepts submissions to our blog, WORDY by Nature, throughout the year from all membership categories (students, Advisors, and alumni). If you are interested in submitting a blog, please read the Suggested Guidelines on our website to check if your topic is a good fit and to verify your article is correctly formatted. Email any questions and all submissions to: [email protected].