Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Furman University's Student Newspaper

The Paladin

Exploring the Elementary Education Major

The Elementary Education Major is harder than you might think. These future teachers take on the emotional burden of teaching young children while shouldering a full major’s worth of coursework.
Courtesy of Furman Athletics

Coloring inside the lines, reading children’s books, and solving simple arithmetic. I was also jealous when I first heard about the homework assignments of Elementary Education majors here at Furman University.

It is common to assume that Elementary Education is an easy major based on the homework you see Education students “laboring” over in James B. Duke. An article published by CBS News even claimed that the student looking to earn the country’s easiest degree should choose to major in Education.

Anna Fluevog, an Elementary Education major said exasperatedly, “We do more than color!”

It is unfair to disregard Elementary Education as inferior before we fully understand the academic and emotional tolls that go along with it. Logistically, the major has over 15 course requirements and requires 20 hours of fieldwork with each Education class. After graduating with a degree in Elementary Education, Furman students are given the opportunity to get a master’s degree in a specific field of study.

Examples of the specific fields include Early Childhood, Special Education and Literacy. The fifth year puts pressure on students to get a full-time teaching job in Greenville while taking classes at night.

The Education major and the teaching career entail grave responsibilities and emotional tolls that take a special person to handle with grace and confidence. Elementary school teachers help shape who children will become.

Amy McGreevy, a Elementary Education major, noted that the reason she is driven to be a teacher is due to the impact her second grade teacher had on her life. McGreevy hopes to make a positive impact on the children she teaches.

Teachers must care for each individual student’s education and well-being. This throws the teacher into the child’s personal life, which at times can be emotionally exhausting. When a child is in need, a teacher must understand his or her boundaries while also being driven to aid a hurting child.

Alyssa Cameron, an Elementary Education major, experienced this in her fieldwork last spring. Cameron was working in her assigned classroom when she witnessed the teacher hand a little girl a trash bag. This trash bag was a temporary backpack.

Cameron later learned that the first grade student’s home had burned down. The girl’s family was below the poverty line and had lost everything in the fire. Cameron knew she had to do something to help her student, so she called upon her sorority at Furman to collect supplies for the family.

Cameron concluded by saying, “Being involved in a child’s life can be very draining, but it is rewarding to play a part.”

How did you get to college? There could be many answers to this question, but you could not have done it without the help of a teacher. An Education professor at Furman once said to her class, “When someone asks you, ‘Why are you going into the education field?’ you say, ‘Why aren’t you?’”

We should all admire our teachers and those Education majors who are brave enough to take on a career with such responsibility. Take the time to thank a teacher who has made a sincere impact on your life, and remember that the job of an educator is not as easy as it may seem, even if you do see them coloring in the library.

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