Passionate Young People Need to be Our Education Workforce
As young people make their way to the end of high school and start to think about what the next step might be, several avenues open, at least for those privileged enough to have options. Which courses to take? Which career to follow? A similar question might be asked by undergraduate students as they think about postgraduate courses, which will lead them to specialise in a domain.
Much has been said about the volatility and opacity of future careers: many, if not most of the jobs of the future do not exist yet and people are likely to change careers much more frequently than they do at present. At least, this is how a popular belief goes. However, if you scratch at the surface of this, you realise quite quickly that such an idea is a myth. Clearly, some new professions will come about, but many – probably the majority – will not change, at least not by 2030.
There are some career paths that lead to more robust professions than others – meaning they will remain essential areas of human activity in the future. One such profession is education: children will need to be schooled and young adults will seek degrees and qualifications. It will not be possible to automate teaching effectively. It can be done superficially (pre-recorded messages, automated assessments), but not profoundly (through 1:1 interactions, the necessary human presence to explain carefully, answer questions, and differentiate instruction).
But if education is a profession that will continue to exist in the future, it is for a reason that is core to what it means to be human. It is important not to think of careers uniquely in terms of individual growth but also as the public good that is done through the work. Professions dedicated to societal renewal are essential for the future and one of the most essential of these is education.
Education is not only a powerful liberator for the individual, it brings people together and allows them to build something together as a community. The social function of schools and universities, both live and online, has become increasingly important in a world divided by pandemics and, tragically, war. Education allows scholars to learn from each other and to discover new faces, approaches, and ideas.
A good education is much more than knowledge and technical skill, it’s also an experience in which values are developed. It is through the design of educational experiences that open-mindedness, accountability, planetary custodianship, a yearning for social justice, and equity might be developed. When you enter the world of education, it is a moral responsibility since minds and hearts will be shaped, and that, ultimately, will shape the future.
This is why I implore passionate young people to consider a career in education: there aren’t enough teachers in the world and society needs brilliant teachers to lead the way.
The Master’s in Education that we have designed at the University of the People is a rigorous, high-quality learning experience that gives students International Baccalaureate teacher awards. This online, free course, is changing lives every day and in that way, contributing to more hope for the future.