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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Why did you choose education?

Why did you choose education?

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Madeline Isaacson and I are both pre-service teachers in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. Madeline is working on her endorsement in primary education, while I am working on my endorsement in secondary mathematics. As pre-service teachers we are often asked how we decided to be teachers, why we chose education as our profession. Edutopia invited us to answer these questions here.

We both felt called to teaching when we were younger. Madeline would often teach her stuffed animals, it was a way that her mother could check in on what she was learning in school because she would reteach her school lessons. Grant did not teach his stuffed animals. He did, however, tutor his younger brother in mathematics. Grant did not feel called to the profession until middle school, where he encountered fantastic teaching and fell in love with the profession.

Madeline had a one-track mind on choosing education as a profession, and completed her psychology practicum on an education related topic. Grant’s senior project changed his career path away from education and he spent 15 years pursuing his radio career. Our paths came together when we both found ourselves in the Master of Arts in Teaching program at The University of Puget Sound.

We are both dedicated to equity in education, and are passionate about helping Title I students to realize their potential; that all students deserve to feel cared for and to have educators that hold them to high expectations, that provide rigorous classwork that pushes student thinking. Diversity is a quality we both hold in high regard, honoring students diverse identities, even when the student body is not outwardly diverse, is important to both of us.

Equally, we both hold personal growth in high regard. Teaching is a reflective practice, as teachers we will always be growing, there is never an end-point to being a better teacher, and we both see this lifelong journey as enticing and invigorating. We’re both excited to get into our own classroom and put into practice all the theory and best practices that we’ve learned in the MAT program at The University of Puget Sound. Excited, and maybe just a little nervous, too.

We’re curious, why did YOU choose education as your profession?


This post was created by a member of Edutopia's community. If you have your own #eduawesome tips, strategies, and ideas for improving education, share them with us.

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Laura Thomas's picture
Laura Thomas
Director, Antioch University New England Center for School Renewal, Author of Facilitating Authentic Learning, Director of the Antioch Critical Skills Program; Elementary Library Media Specialist

What a great question!

I had a teacher who saved me. I was completely at sea as a student and a person and she just...reached out and grabbed on to me. I wanted to do that for someone else in just the way she did it for me (and is still doing for kids in rural Missouri). I only taught High School for 10 years, but I tired to make every single day a day where I grabbed onto the kids no one else seemed to see. It was a privilege- it still is.

Kevin Jarrett's picture
Kevin Jarrett
Teaching Middle School 'Technology, Engineering & Design' in Northfield, NJ

Second career teacher here. I've always loved school. Loved, loved LOVED it. First day of school in September was like Christmas morning. Not even kidding. I'm fortunate to have had such a great experience with school growing up.

Upon being told by my parents that I'd never make enough money to support a family on a teacher's salary, I got my business degree and ultimately an MBA, then built my career with a variety of jobs and positions, including Corporate Human Resources, Finance, Marketing, Management Consulting, and I.T. Project Management.

After 9/11, I decided I wasn't going to wait any longer to pursue my dream of teaching as a second career, so I walked away from the corporate world (summer of 2002) and in January 2003 by the grace of God lucked into a K-4 technology education position in my local school district. I've been here since.

I am a lifelong learner, I love technology, and I enjoy working with kids - teaching is the ideal career. Now, if I didn't have to work two or three other jobs to provide for my family financially...lol. Seriously, I believe that to be a successful teacher long term, it truly has to be a calling - otherwise, too many other factors can bring you down!

-kj-

Karen's picture
Karen
Language Arts and Special Education in The Northeast Kingdom

I was one of the students who continually asked Why? Why is this important? Why does this matter? Why am I learning this? Why does it have to be done this way?

Going through school I never felt like I got good answers to those questions and was sure there were better ways to reach more students. After 29 years in education, the thing I've learned best is to listen to my students and encourage them to answer those why questions themselves. Unlike many teachers I once had who were 'sages on stages', I try to make a difference by being a 'guide on the side.'

Teaching is not what I do, it's who I am. I think it chose me more than I chose it.

Rafranz Davis's picture
Rafranz Davis
Executive Director of Professional and Digital Learning, Lufkin ISD

When I was in junior high, my mother used to drag me to church with her to tutor high school students needing help in math. I won't even pretend that I wanted to go and I tried every excuse in the book to get out of it but I had a gift and my mother saw it early.

When I was in college, I found myself sitting across from a girl that bullied me. She was crying because she had to pass her history test in order to avoid academic probation. I sat next to her, grabbed her book and started reading and highlighting phrases. I started questioning her about the text and together we prepared her for her exam, which she passed with flying colors.

That girl would go on to become one of my best friends and I knew at that moment that I was meant to teach.

The rest is history.

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