Email from a former student

For whatever reason, I feel compelled to share this email and response that I sent to a former student today.  I think that I wanted to share it because it reflects how I feel about myself and my teaching.  I am always questioning myself and my methods, and I think that makes me a better person and teacher.  That is also why I write this blog…it gives me an outlet to reflect on what I am doing in education.  You may find this relevant or not, but I wanted to share it.  The names have been taken out to protect the innocent!

How are you!? How was band camp? I just got my laptop and everything set-up and thought i’d send you an e-mail! I’m so excited to be at college, but I must say I do need a little more closet space! haha. But, I did want to talk to you about when you went to school. Did you ever question your major or think you should change it?  I just find it very distracting because when I tell people i’m going into Elementary Education they tell me stories  of how everyone goes into that major and hates it after a while.  It just makes me very nervous to go into something that really isn’t for me. Anyways, I figured I could always talk to you considering you were my favorite teacher and always have great advice! 🙂

Hope everything is going well!


Doug Butchy

show details 11:29 AM (3 minutes ago)
Reply

Hi!

Thanks so much for the nice email.  I really enjoy keeping in touch with everyone this way – now I don’t really feel like you’ve left!  HA!  Band camp went really well, and we are on pace for a really good year!  Hope that you can come and play on homecoming in the alumni band!

Anyway, when I first started at YSU, I actually was a music performance major.  When I graduated HS, I can remember saying “I don’t want to have anything to do with teaching high school kids.”, and I truly felt that way.  But, I had a friend in music education that told me to go ahead and pursue an education degree, basically for job security’s sake.  So, I did.  And then, about 2 years later when I actually started taking some education classes and going to do field experiences, I realized that I really liked teaching.  In fact, I realized that I loved it!  I guess that means that my situation is opposite from yours!

But, here is what I can tell you.  I guess the question I would have is why do people hate the major after a while?  Is it the coursework? Or, is it that they found they did not like to teach after doing some field experiences?  I would speculate that it is probably because of the classes, and not because of the actual teaching part of it.  I think it is normal to question what you are going to be doing.  I had moments when I questioned what I was doing in music all through my 5 years at YSU, believe me!  And, quite honestly, there are still times that I question what I am doing now.  You probably don’t know this, but if I hadn’t been hired at Sharon, I was ready to go to the State Police Academy and pursue a career in law enforcement!  Anyway, I think that is absolutely normal and you shouldn’t be worried about it.  You will know once you start into your education classes if you like it or not.  But at least give some field experiences a try first and see.  If you truly don’t like it, that’s okay!  Don’t feel like you can’t change your major if you know you are in the wrong field.  In education, the worst thing to do is to become a teacher and be unhappy.  Because, believe me, if you are going to teach, you had better LOVE it!

Long story short – I think that questioning yourself is okay.  That is what makes you introspective and allows you to grow as a person.  It makes you improve, and that is a good thing.  I am always questioning myself and how I teach, and that makes me a better teacher.  And, when you graduate and go out “into the world”, make sure you are happy, no matter what you are doing.  I think college is a time of self-discovery and a lot of soul searching – finding out who you really are, as opposed to who you thought you were.  If that means that you discover that you really would be happier doing something else, then do it!  I know this is a cheesy line, but it is true – S, the sky is the limit, and you can do whatever you want.  To quote one of my favorite movies, “Back to the Future” – “If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything!”

Good luck this year, and I look forward to hearing all about it!  Have fun!  And, give me a call or an email anytime if you need anything!

Mr. B

PS – I am very touched that you would think of me, and ask my advice on your first day at college!  It means a lot to me!!

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