Picking a major once and for all!

<p>I'm starting my junior year in college, and can't decide on a major. I'm split between Photojournalism and Elementary Education.<br>
I don't like journalism, but I'm good at it. The classes stress me out and I find no joy in the field, but I always seem to get high A's on all my classwork. I do like that you can do serveral things with a communications degree, though.
I've wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember, but I don't like the organization of my schools education department and the fact that I have to take several classes where your graded on how well you can deal with a room full of 2 year olds and how nice your handwriting is. I have taken one course in education and liked it a lot, plus I breezed through the much-failed program admissions test.
The school's counciling service is little help (taking the Sigi3 and VALS is their answer to everything), and I'm running out of time to make up my mind.
Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thanks in advance.</p>

<p>I see little point in selecting a major just because you get A's in that field. I'm good at washing my car but I wouldn't want to make a career out of it. You should pursue what you're really interested in doing as a career. You need to think past college and imagine what you'd be doing day to day. If you see yourslf as being a teacher, then that's what you should pursue. Like any major, it may have some courses you don't care for. This just goes with the territory so you just need to tolerate the ones you don't like and enjoy the ones you do like. Some of those you don't like may just have value. If you're planning to be an elementary school teacher, then you do need decent handwriting and you do need to be able to tolerate a room full of kids. I know some people who became teachers only to discover after a year or two that they don't tolerate a room full of kids well and ended up quitting teaching. I know others who love being in a room full of kids and the challenge of keeping them focused and engaged. It's best you take those classes and learn up front if it's for you or not.</p>

<p>I think back to my teaching courses, and the arguments I had with my prof, and realize that they did little to make me the teacher I am today. But, I had to get through them in order to do what I wanted to do. Remember: once you have your own classroom, you can take the good things that you learned, add your own instincts and personality to it, and you will become the teacher you want to be. I got A's in biology, but no one I know would want me as their doctor! However, here is a compromise - there are journalism teachers at the high schools.</p>

<p>I vote for the education degree.</p>

<p>You can pursue a career in journalism without having a degree in journalism.</p>

<p>You cannot pursue a career in elementary education without having the necessary credentials.</p>

<p>If you major in education, you can change your mind later and get a job in journalism. But if you major in journalism, you cannot change your mind later and get a teaching job (unless you go back to school to take the courses necessary to get a teaching certificate).</p>

<p>I like school-aged kids, but I just feel a bit overwhelmed with infants and toddlers. In the preschool teaching classes and labs there are so many rules and odd decipline practices that if you mess up in the slightest way, you're expeled from the teaching program. I also have concerns about how my allergies/asthma will hold up, I'm highly allergic to bleach and scented baby products, both of which are used in the preschool rooms.</p>

<p>I do agree that you can do journalism without a degree. I just keep feeling like I must like it deep down somewhere and that I'm so close to graduating with it. However, there is one professor that I'm simply don't want to take but is the only one that teaches two required courses. He only gives one A in each of his classes every semester, and tends to live in his own little world (Walks up to people between classes and talks about what the characters from his writing excersises have been up to as if they are real people).</p>

<p>I'm just really spilt about the whole thing. I think I would be happier in Elementary Ed, but I'm not sure if I want it bad enough to go through everything.</p>

I do not understand what elementary ed classes would have you observing pre-school children for any length of time. My daughter is an ed major and has spent weeks observing and teaching middle school students, I don't remember hearing much about pre-schoolers and I wouldn't think you would encounter them much unless one was looking at an early education certification. That sounds like what you should be avoiding. Have you done any student teaching with school age children? If your heart is not in teaching, you do not belong in the classroom and the best way to find that out is to student teach, before you make a decision.</p>

<p>They only offer an early childhood thru 4th grade certificate and a 4th thru 8th grade certificate in Texas. I have observed in a 1st and 4th grade classroom, and really liked it. In the teaching programs, you aren't allowed any in-classroom experience until the end of your Junior year when you start your internships. Student teaching is your last semester before you graduate.</p>

<p>Well, that's a bummer. My daughter, college senior, is on her third student teaching experience - not just observation but lesson planning and teaching that started Sophomore year. It certainly helps to weed out those that think they want to teach (and find out they don't) at a time early enough for them to switch to a better fitting major. Summer jobs are another way that you should have been exploring your future. Did you work as a camp counselor or at a local newspaper?</p>

<p>In my opinion, the only good teachers are the ones that have a passion for their job. I'm not saying that you won't be a good teacher, but think hard about this: would you enjoy teaching children every day, doing the lesson plans and grading homework for years? Are you willing to put up with bullying parents, teaching a curriuculm that is sent down from above, teaching to the test so your class looks good on paper? Teaching is not a job for the faint of heart. The best teachers are creative, compassionate, humorous and very organized - is that you? I am just concerned because it sounds as if you feel your only two choices are ele. ed or communications and you sound unsure about both. </p>

<p>This is not about "getting a job", this is about finding a career that you will enjoy. Have you had any experience working on a newspaper or magazine? There is a world of difference between what you are taught in college and what really happens. It sounds to me like you really need an internship to find out what a photojournalism career would be like, or at least start researching to see some specific jobs that would be appealing. If there is nothing appealing, then you've pretty much answered your question and there would be no reason to pursue a communications degree. </p>

<p>I would assume that you have thought about getting certified in English so that you can get the 4-8 certification and teach slightly older students. The good grades that you've gotten in your journalism classes would certainly indicate that you are a good writer. Generally, MS teachers (6-8) have a better chance at being hired but it takes a certain kind of person willing to teach those grades.</p>

<p>Are you choosing between the two majors because you cannot double major and get degrees in education and communication? If you can double major, I would pursue that and in the meantime do everything you can to get hands on experience in both fields.</p>

<p>I have done writing work on the student newspaper, they don't think enough of my photography skills to hire me for that even though I've outscored all of their photographers in photography classes, and and still just don't care for it. I find no joy in chasing stories. Journalistic writing makes me feel physically ill. If I do continue with photojournalism, I plan to do freelance and studio photography. Of course, the more photography courses I take, the more burned-out I'm feeling. It's becoming less of something that I want to do and feeling more like something that I'm being forced to do.</p>

<p>You description of the best teachers sounds exactly like me, except for the very organized part at the moment. I set up my organization system for my EC-4 major, not photo-j, so everything's a mess right now! I'm going to revise it when I get a chance (which is looking more and more like Thanksgiving!). </p>

<p>I talked to the ele. ed. office about switching to a 4-8 english and social studies program with a Journalism minor. I do run the risk of have a small hour overage (once you hit a certain number of hours over what is required for a degree, you have to pay out of state tuition), but it would still be cheaper than going post-bac. and getting my certification. I would have an extra semester before I could graduate, but that's no big deal. They thought that the Journalism would be a marketable skill to have.</p>

<p>There is no way to possibly double-major with anything education. My sister had a friend that tried and nearly got kicked out of the program, not because her grades were bad, but because of the double major. She ended up having to drop it, take an hour overage and stay an extra year.</p>

<p>If I could simply find a way around the pre-school classes, I would go back to EC-4 in a heartbeat. I loved my reading course and the faculty I met in the education department were wonderful. Of course, you do have to take most of the same courses for 4-8.</p>

<p>You have lots to think about. Let me toss in some more. The best teachers I've known didn't have education degrees. They studied whatever they were most interested in while in college -- history, physics, political science, French literature -- you get the point. Then, after spending a year or two in the Peace Corps, or as a traveling nanny, or hiking in Europe, they got a job teaching at a private school. Most don't require or even prefer an education degree or a teaching certificate. Come to think of it, the best journalists I've known (and there were many in my career) didn't have journalism degrees either. And the computer wizards didn't have computer science degrees. Hmmm ... I'm beginning to see a trend here.</p>

<p>Jobs in journalism are very hard to get. Teachers are needed. Why not cope with the preschool requirements--you can learn a lot in that situation even if you don't want to teach that age. (You might be a parent someday, you know.) If you've always wanted to be a teacher, then suck it up and get through the program. There are opportunities for teachers who can write...books, reviews, lesson plans. There are several teachers who have become quite famous in the education field because of their own books they have written, some of them on the writing process itself. You can also use your writing skills to help your own students become better writers. You can use your writing talents in the education field. It sounds like a good match for you. (I have worked in publishing for most of my career, much of that in educational publishing.)</p>

<p>kiki, be sure to check out the new thread on teacher education programs</p>

The more you talk about how much you dislike photojournalism, the more I'm wondering why you are majoring in it at all. A hobby as an event photographer sounds like a fun option to me. </p>

<p>I agree with bookiemom that you should just suck up the classes that you don't like to get the degree you do want. If you really want to teach the younger kids, that's what you are going to have to do. Flip side is that middle schools and high schools (around here anyway) are more apt to hire people if they will take on a club like yearbook or school newspaper as an advisor. If there is any appeal to the older grades, that would set you apart from the other graduates.</p>

<p>I think it would be really, really stupid to major in journalism photo or otherwise if you dislike it. Education schools everywhere are full of annoying courses and a lot of bad theory. My (private) high school purposely didn't hire education majors. However that doesn't really help you. I think you need to just take the classes you don't want to take because you do want the degree. Nearly every major has a few unpleasant courses. Do you have to stay at this particular college? Are you definitely going to want to stay in Texas? Because you could transfer...</p>

<p>mathmom, isn't your advice inherently contradictory? You say your school won't hire education majors (for good reason), and then advise kiki to go ahead and get the education degree. She's just a junior. Assuming she's done her core courses, she can major in English lit and spend the next two years doing something worthwhile. This country doesn't need any more badly trained teachers.</p>

<p>Yes, I am being contradictory. However you can only forgo the education degree if you are willing to get certified via grad school or alternative certification programs or teach at private schools which at least around here pay a pittance compared to public schools. I also do think that for high school being well versed in your major is much more important than the sort of broader based coverage that an elementary school teacher ought to be getting. </p>

<p>I could also tell you about my mother who did 90% of her teaching before she got an education degree... I could tell you about my cousin who got certified with weekend courses from Antioch New England Graduate School and then went on the get training from the Waldorf guys. I know there are other options, but the people I know who took these routes didn't know the first time round in college what they wanted to do when they grew up.</p>

<p>If HelloKiki truly hates the education department at her school she could major in something else and pursue teaching some other way. But because she's limiting her options I wouldn't particularly recommend it.</p>

<p>kiki, you're too young to limit your options: scrap photojournalism classes and scrap education classes -- they're worthless. Do something you love. Then get a mail order teaching certificate if that's still what you want to do (the mail order route is worthless too, except you get your teaching certificate, and that's what public schools demand).</p>

<p>oh, kiki, this is too blackly humorous. I wanted to provide a citation for a mail-order teaching certificate. I knew they existed, but forgot where, so I Googled "mail-order teaching certificate" -- of course. I got plenty of hits. This one had me rolling on the floor (crying):</p>

<p>"Applying for a certificate</p>

<p>You may apply for a certificate in one of two ways.
Applying online is easy and fast, and allows you the options of paying by credit card or mailing your payment. To apply online, click on ."</p>

Even though celloguy thinks that education programs are worthless at State Schools, I think you can be a great teacher in (and maybe despite) that program. I do agree that you should drop the communications and instead find a minor that will help you in your teaching career. I'm guessing that you have some credits towards an english minor, can you do that with an ed major?</p>

<p>kiki said back in #9:
There is no way to possibly double-major with anything education. My sister had a friend that tried and nearly got kicked out of the program, not because her grades were bad, but because of the double major.


<p>That being the case, she's locked into two more years of courses she hates, with a questionable outcome, unless she switches her major out of Education. That was why I made the suggestion.</p>

<p>edit to add: do go have a look on the "Teacher Education Programs" thread for first-hand assessments:
<a href="http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=240107&page=2%5B/url%5D"&gt;http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/showthread.php?t=240107&page=2&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>