Dean’s Message: Dr. Joseph Mannion
How do your friends and family members react when you tell them youre going to be a teacher? What do they say? Do they address the superficial issues like salary, long hours, dealing with the bureaucracy, lack of school funding? Or do they discuss such issues as the critical importance of serving others, helping children grow, becoming a life-long learner, exercising creativity, being absolutely in love with your job, and assuming the role of a social crusader as you help lead the charge to destroy ignorance?
And why do you want to be a teacher? How do you personally address that question as you sit and reflect on the future direction for your own life? If youre considering this remarkable profession, chances are good that youre one of those special individuals interested in serving others more than yourself, in measuring the worth of your life by how much you help rather than how much you make, who values giving more than getting, who realizes that life is a voyage of self-discovery as each day in the classroom unlocks more about yourself through those reflecting eyes of your students.
But teaching is also a privilege; a privilege each day to see children grow through new questions, ideas, and friendships never forgotten. It is indeed an absolute privilege to play a major role in helping children find their way through life. For it is only through the act of teaching - that desire to serve and help others - that we are enabled to touch the heart, the mind, the very soul of our students in such powerful and profound ways.
Anyone who says theyre going to teach children immediately becomes an individual I respect and admire. I cannot imagine any profession in the world that takes so much courage, vitality, perseverance, and creativity. Teaching is indeed the most energizing yet exhausting, exhilarating yet deflating, most demanding, exciting, energy-draining, life-influencing career.
But dont allow anyone to fool you, nor delude yourself by believing anyone can be a teacher. It is an awesome responsibility! Teaching is not something you do by default; it is not a career one slides into for lack of something better to do. Teaching demands courage, commitment, energy, and a serious desire to serve others. Do you have what the job demands?
The Concordia teacher candidate is an average of 27 years old, comes from numerous ethnic backgrounds, usually has experience working with children (camp counselors, teacher aides, coaches, tutoring), exhibits moral character and high ethical standards (92% affiliated with a religious denomination), shows a genuine sensitivity to diversity issues and special needs children, plans and executes developmentally appropriate learning activities, learns competency in various methods of assessment, studies to pass all state required teacher licensing tests, and understands teaching as an act of supreme service to children and their families.
That same candidate undergoes a rigorous, heavily field-based program that fuses classroom theory and instructional skill building with numerous teaching experiences in real classrooms. But this is all just part of the journey. None of us ever arrive. Instead we are always in process, working to become the very best teacher we can be.
It is indeed a long, arduous but rewarding journey. If you decide to continue your quest to become a teacher, I invite you to explore how Concordia Universitys College of Education can assist you in becoming a member of the most vital profession on earth.