“So what did you do in class today? Color inside the lines?” A friend in CSOM approaches me with this question regularly knowing that it’s the perfect way to get under my skin. I am the first person to defend the Lynch School of Education. The smallest comment ignites me to rant about social justice and the plight of teachers, a rant that no one around me wants to hear. Glaring at him over my laptop, which is now proudly covered in “If you can read this, thank a teacher” stickers, I tell him that I have never and will never be a “CSOM wannabe.”
Although my friends are only playing around and I probably get too defensive, their jokes reflect a hierarchical sentiment that quietly runs among the four main schools of Boston College. Any BC student will relay the same unspoken power structure within the school: CSOM students are at the top, A&S students take second, CSON students are often overlooked and LSOE students are accused of having it easy. Because of this tiering system, I feel that I am expected to be self-conscious of my status as an LSOE student. Instead, I am (almost too) proud of it.
When I entered BC last fall, I was often met with comments such as “Why teaching? How will you make money?” and “You want to be a teacher? But you’re so smart!” While I appreciate the support and flattery, I'm not a pitiful case of untapped potential. I did not apply to LSOE to have a better chance of getting into BC, I did not apply to LSOE to have an easier course load and I did not apply to LSOE with the intention of transferring out once I arrived at BC. I applied to the Lynch School to join a community of qualified academics who wish to enact change in our unjust world. I unapologetically desire for others to stop devaluing my choice.
In terms of academic validity, LSOE students are not an exception to the criteria to which other BC students are held. In fact, LSOE students take the same university core while being required to double major and student teach. Our experience culminates in a full practicum senior year; it entails spending all five weekdays at our placement, arriving early in the morning and staying beyond the end of the school day. We plan lessons, co-teach them, and have two weeks of full takeover, a period in which we are the lead teacher of the classroom. We have the duties of a full-time teacher—minus the pay and prestige—while taking a class to keep us connected to our LSOE advisors. Personally, I am not sure which aspect of this repertoire sounds easy.
I recently made the switch from a secondary education and English double major to an applied psychology & human development and English double major with a minor in special education. My decision reflects my desire to go abroad and have more flexibility in my schedule, but I still have the utmost respect for the students who are undertaking such a demanding pre-professional track. I view teaching as no better or worse than any other profession, but I do request that it gains an equivalent amount of respect to other career paths.
Whether we are in CSOM, CSON, A&S or LSOE, each one of us is a member of the larger community that is Boston College. There is neither reason to stigmatize CSOM students as power hungry nor LSOE students as less intelligent. Rather, we each must learn to be proud of our individual schools while also respecting our peers and their differing academic pursuits. Ultimately, we are all students of a top-tier institution with a mission to change the world in our future success in any field we choose to pursue.