Cool! So you want to teach?
There’s no point counting how many times English majors get asked this question. People don’t willingly study English unless they want to teach anyway, right? The moment you tell them that, no, teaching really isn’t your end goal, their face falls and you can see the confusion behind their eyes. She said she’s an English major? But she doesn’t want to teach? Is that even a thing? She’s going to be sorry she ever wasted all that money. It gets to the point where it’s easier to just lie rather than tell the truth.
While a lot of English majors do go on to teach and are amazingly good at it, it’s irritating when people just assume that’s the only thing we’ll be good at.
Aren’t those Liberal Arts degrees a dead end?
Just because I didn’t find passion in business or engineering doesn’t mean I don’t have a future. You go do your boring equations and I’ll go back to my Edgar Allen Poe, thank you every much.
Will you read my paper?
Unless you’re a close friend or a blood relative, you have no claim on my edits. Editing takes time on my part, so you can’t spring it on me hours before the deadline. I’m not dropping my life to bring your C- up to only a B+ because you procrastinated.
People really major in that? But English is just so easy!
You go ahead and write three 15-20 page research papers on Shakespeare, Austen, and Milton – all due on the same day – with six credible outside references (no, Wikipedia never counts) and flawless MLA citation. Can you accurately describe and formulate a thesis statement? Can you write a detailed, five paragraph response to Flannery O’Conner’s A Good Man Is Hard to Find within the next hour? Also, your original (and fully edited) 4000 word manuscript is due at the end of the week. Are you ready to have everyone tear it to absolute shreds at the critique table?
English is many things, but it is so not easy. It’s like saying that studying music is a cop out, but that’s a whole other rant.
But I thought everyone can speak English . . .
An English degree isn’t in the language (I’ve actually had to tell people this) . . . and no, not everyone can speak English (I’ve also actually had to tell people this).
How do you expect to make a living if you don’t teach?
I can bet you that teachers don’t choose their profession solely for the surplus income benefits. So, maybe I’ll sell my plasma because there are no other jobs out there I can’t get with an English degree. None. Absolutely zip.
Any other English majors out there? What’s something someone has told you that just made your blood boil . . . or made you want to smack yourself in the face . . . or perhaps a little bit of both?