We Can Do It

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 "Yet all around them a rich literature exists, extraordinary books to be taught to younger minds" -William M. Chace The Decline of the English Department

                First of all, I have to say that I respect anyone out there who decided to follow their dream of becoming a journalist or author. I have somewhat more comfort in knowing that I will have a teaching certificate along with my English degree when I graduate. I have always wanted to be an author and a teacher, but I don't think I could ever have just focused on writing. I need more stability and options, which is why I respect those of you who decided to defy what society deems difficult and follow your dreams.

            Chace said that part of the decline of the English department is in fact their fault. I think all of us English lovers out there need to do what we can individually as well as in a group. My plan is to become an elementary teacher and show kids just how special reading can be. I believe one problem with kids not enjoying reading is that they can't find the right book. There is a right book out there for everyone and I am determined to help all my future students find it. Reading and writing is a vital part of every subject. In fact, I just wrote a research paper on how literature can be used to teach math lessons. The research proved that the kids loved reading about characters solving math problems rather than copying notes off a board. I think the English department needs to get role models and government involved as well. This may have already been done, but I think mature celebrities and maybe even the president should advertise the importance of reading in television ads and so forth. It seems as though teachers and the education programs do a fairly decent job of stressing the importance of reading in schools, but not outside of school. If we got the community involved (the president and other high profile figures), it might show kids that reading is just as important outside of school as it is inside of school.


Dave said:

The decline in English as a study doesn't necessarily equate a decline in reading or writing. I just checked, out of curiosity and only one of the top-five New York Times fiction writers begun their career as a writer, and actually got an English degree: Stephen King. Dean Koontz also studied English, but began as a teacher. James Patterson was in advertising, and Dan Brown (who did study writing, though I'm not sure what degree he actually got) began his career as a musician. Michael Crichton actually got his degre in Biological Anthropology and went on to become an M.D. (How that guy managed to write and publish novels while in Med School is beyond me)

I guess the point that I wanted to illustrate is that just because more people are getting degrees in non-English fields it doesn't necessarily mean that less people care about English. While I don't think either of them have aspirations of being writers, my parents read constantly, despite holding degrees in engineering and mathematics. One of my friends, who absolutely loves literature, and probably reads more than I do, didn't graduate High School. I just don't think the assumption that what people study always reflects what they care about is always accurate....I love to cook and play guitar (badly), I'm extremely interested in history and psychology, I'm really, really good at science and math, I enjoy working on cars quite a bit......despite all my other interests and talents, here I am getting a creative writing degree. Granted I do like English too, but I see no reason why a business, chem or art therapy major can't be as into English at least ALMOST as much as us English people.

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