Education majors are essentially learning how to be teachers. In addition to learning all you need to know about the subjects you’ll be teaching, you have to learn how to teach – using different methods for different students, disciplining in the classroom, guiding your students. Normally the major is broken down into age category – early childhood up to high school.
It’s pretty important to like kids, since you’ll be with them all day, every day. Education majors like to be leaders, and like to motivate others. Clearly they like to teach. It’s also good to like organization and planning, because there’s lots of that going on.
Education majors are good communicators. They should be quick on their feet, able to explain things different ways to help students with different learning styles. They also can work well with all kinds of people. An education major doesn’t necessarily have to be strong in math, science or writing … as long as he or she doesn’t teach that subject.
If you lack patience and people skills, education isn’t for you. If you absolutely hate school and can’t wait to get out of it, jumping into a major that sends you right back into school may be a mistake.
Education majors will need to master the general education topics – reading, writing, arithmetic, history – as well as find an emphasis that suits them. If you’re going to teach elementary school, you’ll have to be a jack of all trades. If you’re more interested in junior high or high school teaching, you’ll likely become expert in one subject in addition to your knowledge of the basics.
Not surprisingly, Education majors typically become educators. They teach anywhere from preschool to 12th grade (depending on their emphasis). Those who go on to get advanced degrees may even teach at the college level or become education administrators (principles, superintendents, etc.). A bachelor’s degree plus state certification is required to teach in any public schools, as well as most private schools.
Some high schools have programs where you can volunteer as a teachers aid in your school district. If you’re interested in majoring in education, give this a try. You’ll get a better idea as to what age you’d want to teach, or if you really want to teach at all. It’s also a great way to start networking, because we all know it’s not what you know but who you know.
Education majors don’t really do internships, but they do finish their college career by student teaching – spending at least a semester in an assigned classroom first observing the regular teacher and then teaching. Your ability to do well student teaching is pretty crucial.