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Teacher Profession: Becoming a Spanish Professor

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What does it mean to become a Spanish professor? Being a professor means you are a teacher but for the higher rank of students who are at a community college or university. Foreign language professors are extremely important because nowadays every job pays more if you know more than one language. Becoming a teacher of any subject requires a lot of patience, compassion, strength, communication and listening skills, friendliness, a strong work ethic, etc. Teachers/ Professors are the reason we have the knowledge we do now, if it wasn’t for them none of us or our future generations would be what they are now. They not only teach you and give you knowledge about unfamiliar things, but they also build strong relationships with their students to where the student can come to them for anything, even if it’s not school-related. Being a foreign language professor can be very stressful and requires the most patience because learning a new language is never easy for anyone. The way a professor teaches has a lot to do with how a student learns and processes new material, so it’s not just teaching students but it’s finding a creative way to do so. An issue today professor’s face is not getting treated equally as other staff who are hired full-time. Why should it matter who is full-time and who is part-time if they are all equally professors? Also, what is their hiring process? What does it take to become a professor? Professors don’t get recognized as much as they should be and that is a major issue in majoring in teaching. But if you are truly passionate about teaching and love helping others then that shouldn’t stop you.

What does it take to get hired at a community college or a university? Do others with more experience get the job ahead of you or quicker? Getting hired at a community college can be very competitive and stressful, there are hundreds of professors out there trying to get a full-time job. The 2019 article The Chronicle of Higher Education states that just because you receive a Ph.D. degree doesn’t necessarily mean that you will automatically get hired at a university nor a community college. The whole application, interview, and even sometimes the offer is definitely not the same, in the article the author states that “one of the hardest things for graduate students to wrap their minds around is that a degree that qualifies them to teach at a university might not qualify them to teach at a community college”. You would think that going to school to receive a Ph.D. degree will get you hired easily at any high school, community college, or university but that’s not the case. To get hired, you must go through this long process which sometimes you go through all of it and not even get the job. Universities typically hire Ph.D. graduate students even if they have no teaching experience, but community colleges are the opposite; they most likely will require two to three years of teaching experience. Some students may start teaching in their field part-time to earn that experience or do internships as well. Becoming a foreign language professor requires a lot of time and effort, not just going through school but also having the patience and motivation to get hired full time, or even part-time at a college.

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So, what does it take to become a professor? What are the responsibilities professors have? Any type of professor always has major work to do besides teaching which could be planning curriculum, organizing events, grading papers, and sometimes even coordinating with other faculty members. Yes, it does sound stressful and overwhelming but professors who do all of this love their job so therefore they don’t mind it, and what job doesn’t come with responsibilities? Amy Garner’s article Go Pro: How to Become a Foreign Language Professor and Get Paid for Passion discusses how professors have major work to do, but it is all worth it! She says that “being a professor allows you to leave a positive and lasting impact on your student’s lives, which is a pretty incredible feeling!” Not only should you know the language your going to be teaching but also know the heritage. When becoming a Spanish Professor, you should know the whole background of Mexican Heritages that way you as the professor know the pastimes, the culture, the food, etc. Also, patience is key when becoming a Spanish professor, it’s never easy for anyone to learn a new language especially one they may have never heard before. The way a professor teaches has a lot to do with how a student learns and intakes material, therefore if a teaching method isn’t working out for your students you should always be willing to try new teaching methods! A Spanish professor should always be motivating to their students and have the ability to inspire them to become the best they can be, In Amy Garner article she states that “ by asking engaging questions, as well as choosing or developing informative and entertaining materials, you can spark curiosity in your students so that they’ll be eager to advance to the next level”. Lastly, a characteristic a professor should always have is a passion for teaching a new language, professors should always be as motivated as the students for them to learn the language. Garner makes an outstanding statement, “ moreover being a passionate teacher is instrumental in carrying yourself through those tough days when things don’t go exactly the way you had hoped because instead of planning on a comfortable day in the office, you’re more concerned with helping your students succeed”. Lastly, A professor is basically like a parent, the way you care about your children is the same way you should care about your students and their success.

Next, well as you know every job comes with its downfalls so what does teaching come with? What is a major issue Spanish professors face today? One major issue professors face today is not getting hired full-time but as adjunct professors instead, adjuncts are basically professors who get hired part-time because the college or university may not be able to cover the salaries of a full-time professor. In the 2014 YouTube video uploaded by PBS NewsHour “Why Adjunct Professors are Struggling to make ends Meet”, Arik Greenberg an English adjunct professor says, “we are not given any kind of benefits, no medical, dental, vision, retirement, family leaves, sick leave, no nothing”. This is a huge issue hundreds of professors face today is not getting enough work hours and having to take side jobs to provide for their family. Arik Greenberg in order “to support his family he drives to three different Ohio universities to teach six English classes, and tutors on the side”. It is devasting that these professors go through all this school and put in all their effort to earn that degree to just get hired as an adjunct professor. Nicole Beth Wallenbrock is another adjunct professor who got interviewed in the video as well, she received her Ph.D. in French Literature to become a full-time professor anywhere. She states, “I had this idea that I can get a job so that I can have a good income to support my son and it didn’t work out that way”, adjunct professors are struggling because they barely make enough money to survive and it’s one of the hardest struggles they go through. She went to school to get the highest degree thinking she would make the most income because of it but that was not the case for her. It is very unfair that professors have to go through this because the university not having enough salary to pay them. Since graduating in 2012 she has worked part-time and is barely making enough money so therefore she is receiving food stamps to make ends meet. Another issue professors face today is teaching without a tenure. Perhaps the reason they’re still working and not getting these jobs is that the state doesn’t have enough money to pay everyone full-time. The root of the problem here is that states don’t want to hire everyone full-time because that requires getting paid more and to them that would be tons of money lost. Also, adjunct professors are non-tenure which means that they don’t have a contract so therefore their teaching position isn’t always guaranteed the following semester. According to the 2015 article Professor in Name Only: Teaching Without Tenure in American Universities it claims that “tenure is not a lifetime job guarantee, but a school administration cannot dismiss a tenured professor unless they present sufficient evidence that the professor is incompetent or has behaved inappropriately, or that an academic department must be closed for financial reasons”. So, what does it take to be a tenured professor at a university? It can be very scary not knowing if you’re going to have a job the following semester. They face struggles daily and risks but what keeps these adjunct professors going is truly being dedicated to what they love, they love helping students succeed and being part of their achievement so even if they make not the best salary, it is totally worth it to them.

To conclude, writing this essay gave me more knowledge about own major I’m wanting to go into. Some of it was not the best information I wanted to hear and other parts of it made me very content. Becoming a professor has its obstacles but I know I will overcome anything that gets in my way, and just like any other job, it will have its downfalls and its rewarding moments as well. At the end of the day when I know that I helped a student succeeding in becoming successful then I will know I’m doing my job right and that is what teaching is all about. It’s not about the money or the hours or none of that, it’s about helping students become what they truly want to be and encouraging them to strive for the best. Where all of my questions answered? Yes, for the most part, yes but there is still some stuff that I believe I won’t know until I’m truly experiencing it myself. Doing all this research on becoming a Spanish professor discouraged me a little bit just because I didn’t realize all the struggles professors go through, especially being a conjunct professor. It’s scary thinking that you’re going to school all these years and you’re not even guaranteed a full-time job, but teaching is something I’ve always wanted to do ever since I was a little girl. I’m not going to let that stop me because if you’re truly passionate about something, you’re not going to let anything stop you. I hope this inspired you to always do what you want, and money will follow, It’s not always about the income but it’s about choosing a major that you will be happy with for the rest of your life.

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