There are many different kinds of teachers and students pursuing an education degree. But whatever subject they teach or demographic they serve, teachers all tend to have one thing in common: a hunger to make an impact.
Teachers make an impact on the world in countless ways. They serve students who are young and old, beginner to advanced, differently-abled, representing every ethnicity and cultural background on Earth.
The effects of that impact are profound.
If you’re thinking about pursuing an education degree, let these nine ways you could potentially transform the world as a teacher be your motivation!
9 Ways You Could Use Your Education Degree
Depending on the degree(s) you earn, you could make an impact in one or possibly several of the following ways, and many more besides.
1. Build Healthy Minds
Every teacher’s mission is to open minds to facilitate growth and understanding. For those focused on early childhood education, there is an exciting opportunity to build a framework for learning almost “from the ground up.”
If you enjoy working with children, part of the draw to becoming an early childhood educator is how much fun it can be! Play is not something that only happens at recess. It is understood today as a vital part of brain development. So having fun is actually essential.
With the training in guided play you’ll get in your education degree program, you will play a role in building the minds of future innovators. You will train their brains for:
- Language development
- Creative thinking
- Math concepts
- Spatial skills
- Agency (recognizing their own power)
- And much more!
Just imagine what these healthy, capable minds will go on to accomplish. It’s exciting to think about how early childhood educators play a role in creating the next generation of leaders.
2. Put More Empathy Into the World
Adults can certainly learn to think and act empathetically, to put themselves in the shoes of others and to respond with compassion. But teachers of children have a great opportunity to create a more empathetic society. They get to influence brains that are still developing.
Teachers at early childhood, elementary and even secondary education (middle and high school) levels have a lot of influence over a child’s ability to honor the pain of others. Through a combination of modeling and direct teaching, you can build up their capacity for empathy.
This is no small accomplishment. Empathy is the key to creating more effective government, ethical businesses, impactful social services, and healthy organizations of any kind.
You could help create a world in which the needs of more people are met. That is powerful.
3. Reduce Conflict with Critical Thinking
Empathy is part of what it takes to reduce conflict between individuals (or, on a larger scale, political parties and nations). Another important piece is critical thinking skills, which teachers help students develop so they can find constructive solutions to conflict.
Critical thinking skills are important at every stage of learning, but secondary education teachers have an opportunity to instill them in individuals whose power to affect the world around them is growing dramatically.
There are many ways students begin practicing critical thinking much like they will need to as adults:
- Providing leadership to diverse personalities in student council.
- Creating clubs and other student organizations that may compete for real resources.
- Learning to drive and interact with other drivers safely.
- Volunteering with organizations that may challenge their preconceived ideas.
These are all opportunities you may have as a teacher to show students how to think critically to accomplish goals through negotiation and collaboration, and how to work through conflict.
4. Promote Inclusion
Many groups of people get left out or overlooked in society based on race, gender, age and other factors. Every teacher can and should instill the value of inclusion in students, in hopes they will carry that value into their future lives and careers.
One group that has historically been excluded from classrooms, workplaces, and society in general, is people with disabilities. Teachers who specialize in working with students with disabilities help ensure these children grow up recognizing that they belong.
5. Provide Perspective
History provides valuable lessons that the world has a tendency to forget. It can be difficult for societies to recognize when leaders are repeating the mistakes of those who came before, or to acknowledge the value of yesterday’s solutions to today’s problems.
If you’re interested in teaching history and social studies, you’ll join the ranks of those dedicated to remembering and applying the lessons of the past.
Because of you, students will be more likely to approach the world with a broader perspective, able to glean from our collective human wisdom.
“I chose Eastern Nazarene College because of its amazing community. From the moment I stepped on the campus during Festival of Life in 2016, I knew I was going to be an ENC Lion … I chose Elementary Education as a major because I have a passion for teaching. I want to help students discover their purpose in life the way my professors have supported and encouraged me.” – Cassandra Cook, Class of 2021
6. Prevent Pandemics
It has never been more clear than during a global pandemic how much we depend on people who work in biosciences. Doctors, nurses and other practitioners, along with epidemiologists and other researchers, are the world’s healers. And they aren’t born with their knowledge.
If you choose to teach biology, chemistry and related sciences, you are providing students with the foundational knowledge necessary to enter these important fields.
Some of them may become the professionals that help prevent the next pandemic. How’s that for impact!
7. Set Innovation in Motion
Many architects of the greatest advancements in human civilization have teachers of mathematics, physics and other sciences to thank for their accomplishments. We all do!
As a teacher of math and science (or STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics), you’re not only sharing useful concepts. You’re giving students the kind of foundational knowledge that led to the car you drive, the building you teach in, and the phone in your pocket.
Who knows what future world-changing innovations you could be setting in motion because of the time and attention you give your students?
8. Create a More Equitable World
Equity, or equal opportunity to exert power in society, has too often been denied people groups in society. In the U.S., racial equity has long been among our greatest challenges.
All teachers have a degree of power they can exert in the classroom to promote equity among all students regardless of the color of their skin. But racial equity is bigger than the classroom. Inequality is so often institutionalized, much of what drives it outside of an individual teacher’s control.
Teachers who pursue master’s level education degrees with a focus on racial equity through institutional reforms can be especially impactful in this area.
Knowledge gained through administrative courses such as urban leadership programs provide the skills it takes to intentionally empower young men and women of color.
9. Teach Our Teachers
Those who train, send out and mentor teachers have the broadest impact of anyone in this field. Their education degree empowers them to touch countless lives through the work of the teachers they equip to serve, and all the students those teachers empower in turn.
Imagine how many teachers you could teach in the course of your career, and how many students each one touches throughout that teacher’s lifetime. That could be your legacy if you choose to pursue a Master of Education in Higher Education degree.
Of course, any teacher will tell you they care more about the depth of their impact. Even if they can touch just one life in a meaningful way, it’s a good day’s work!
Get a Truly Transformational Education Degree at Eastern Nazarene College
Our mission at ENC is to deliver a transformational education for all our students. The experience should transform you, equip you to serve, and prepare you to transform the lives of others.
If that’s what you want to do as a teacher, your personal mission likely sounds a lot like ours!
Whether you are just graduating from high school or desiring to enter the next phase of your career, ENC offers a variety of education degree options to help you reach your goals:
ENCounter a transformational education – for yourself and every life you’ll touch – at Eastern Nazarene College. Learn more today!