There’s a standard of living that plenty of Baylor students embody at some point in their college career: “Broke College Student.” We complain, we save, we spend and, at the end of the day, we worry about money.
Unfortunately, for a certain group of students in particular, maintaining living costs and continuing their education seems to be paradoxical. Education majors are at a major disadvantage in the higher education system during their senior year in college— they are required to get full-time, hands-on experience in the local school system, but they are not compensated accordingly.
According to the Baylor course policy, education majors are required to participate in an internship their senior year in place of a regular academic class schedule. The internship is described as “culminating field experience, typically the final year of the program for teacher education candidates.” This typically involves the student working as a teaching associate (TA) in the Waco area, attending teaching seminars and basically running a classroom with oversight by their “mentor teacher.” On top of working school hours each day, students are required to work on lesson plans, as well as attend Baylor classes at night at least once a week. All of this work is part of an unpaid internship, and, on top of that, senior education majors still pay full tuition, although they are not attending classes more than twice a week.
Baylor offers many different types of internships for school credit, but nearly all of them are part time and some are even paid. Education majors work basically full-time and aren’t shown any leniency in terms of finances. Although many students at Baylor are offered assistance through scholarships and loans, there are still many students in the Baylor community working to support themselves in various ways.
There are those who are trying to pay rent, trying to pay for school and those who are trying to feed themselves each day. In supporting a diverse student body, Baylor also needs to recognize that some students cannot afford to spend so much time working without any sort of financial support.
For a student teacher, who can only expect to make around $40,000 after graduation according to salary.com, finances are a constant concern. Not only would it be difficult for a student teacher to find time on top of their teaching schedule to work a job, but if they are working their way through school, it could be impossible for them to continue being a student.
While it is not practical for Baylor to compensate students directly, Baylor would be able to support education majors in other ways. Perhaps instead of having to pay full tuition while working in schools, education majors could pay a part-time student tuition instead. Another way to support students working their way through school would be by offering senior education majors additional Baylor scholarships or guiding their students in the right direction for applying for grants and external scholarships.
There are several ways to ensure that education majors, along with the rest of the student body, are supported throughout the Baylor educational experience. Some students are blessed enough to attend college free of debt, but others have to work to support themselves and to get the education they deserve. Our future educators need all the experience they can get in the field, but Baylor can help make their educational experience much less stressful by assisting them financially.