Interacting with these teachers made me realize early on in my life that I wanted to make an impact on the lives of young people. The kind of impact that makes kids know how incredibly special and talented they are. However, I never really wanted to be a teacher per se, and I considered myself lucky not to have been bit by "the bug" as my mom calls it. As a teacher herself, she said no true teacher could deny the calling. So, I chose to follow my dreams of impacting young people in a different way (which has led me to my current Ph.D program and career path.) But, when I entered graduate school, I was presented with a really cool opportunity to work for a college learning community, teaching and working with first year college students. Many of these students stay in the program as upperclassman and serve as student mentors, developing closer relationships with the staff and one another. I jumped at the opportunity, thinking this would finally be my chance to give back, change lives, and be the kind of teacher that Mrs. Kelly and Ms. Crittenden had been for me.
I got into teaching because I wanted to give back, and now that I'm teaching, I'm still receiving the type of encouragement and challenge I longed to one day share. I don't know if I can explain it or make sense of this unexpected twist, but I certainly wouldn't trade it for the world. What started as a cool graduate school opportunity, has turned into a delightful and life changing experience. So while I will continue to strive to shape my students the way that Mrs. Kelly and Ms. Crittenden shaped me, I give great thanks for the many lessons my students have taught and continue to teach me.
Jennifer was one of our longtime mentors and I adore her. She has graduated and moved on, and I feel like a proud mama :)
At a training before taking the students on an overnight retreat. My students certainly keep the sassy part of my in check :)