English Major Doesn’t Equal Education Major

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I graduated from a four year university with a degree in English. During my time as an undergrad student, I took several creative writing courses, journalistic writing classes, and a poetry class. I also learned about developing theories, different research methods, and analyzing literature through a more critical lens. On top of that, I got to study about British Victorian literature, American minority literature, and happiness in literature. Those are just a few of the English courses I can think of off the top of my head.

The funny thing is I never once took an education class and I can’t recall my professors ever implying that any of us, myself and my fellow English majors, would be teachers, yet, every time I mention my English degree, people automatically assume that I’m going to be a teacher. While in college, as an English major, I was encouraged to be a journalist, do research, or get published, never to be an educator. So to respond to past and future assumptions… No, I don’t want to be a teacher and, no, I will not be a teacher.

I don’t understand how the English course selection can be so diverse, but education is all the average person can muster up as an appropriate career. Yes, being a teacher is a possibility, but there are also so many other possibilities that English majors can pursue. We can be editors, screenplay writers, copy writers, theorists, journalists, biographers, translators, novelists, poets, or essayists just to name a few. Personally, I want to be a published author, specifically, in creative writing, which I’m already pursuing. If I wanted to I could be a blogger for an online magazine, a copy writer at an advertising firm, or I could even translate books from Spanish to English and vice versa. I don’t have to be a teacher.

The other day, I ran into my high school advisor and, after continuously dropping comments of how I should be a teacher, her words of wisdom to me were that the only way I will have a successful writing career is to get my book in the hands of Oprah or Tyler Perry. I laughed it off and thought to myself about how I can’t wait to send her a copy of the first book I get published.

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About Tatiana Figueroa Ramirez

Born in Puerto Rico and raised in the mainland United States, I graduated with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and am a 2016 VONA Voices Alumna. I currently perform spoken-word in the greater Washington D.C. area and have previously performed in Philadelphia, Miami, and the Dominican Republic. Most recently, I have been published in Public Pool, Spillwords, and The Acentos Review, and Here Comes Everyone: East & West Issue.

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