Which describes your path to becoming a teacher most closely?
Master's Degree in Education
What did you major in in college and what college degrees do you have?
I majored in English and History with a modern European concentration.
Did you have other full-time jobs before you became a teacher? If so, what were they?
I taught gymnastics full-time.
When in your life did you decide you wanted to become a teacher?
I decided in high school.
Did you complete student teaching before becoming a teacher? If so, describe that experience.
Yes, I student taught for 27 weeks, 18 at Hillside and 9 at Jordan. Student teaching was very difficult because I had to adapt my personal teaching style to fit into another teacher’s system, but it was the best learning experience of my life. I learned so much about what to do and what not to do. My mentor teacher totally changed the way I thought about teaching, students, and English. I made a lot of mistakes and felt overwhelmed and frustrated at times, but I could tell that I was becoming a better teacher everyday and so I focused on the growth. As I began to focus on that growth, I began to enjoy teaching more and make note of how I wanted to do certain things in my class. I also formed a great relationship with the students I taught because we were all growing together.
What are the pros and cons of being certified in the method you used?
Pros of MAT:
a. I studied the subject(s) I want(ed) to teach in-depth both at the undergrad and the masters level
b. I had a back-up plan and degrees to fall back on if I turned out to be a terrible teacher
c. The internship component of the MAT program (at Duke, at least) was an amazing experience—I felt like a second-year teacher going into my first year.
Cons of MAT
a. If you don’t get a scholarship you incur additional debt
b. Grad school can be challenging and a lot of work (but it’s worth it)
Would you recommend your path to becoming a teacher to others? Why or why not?
Absolutely! The MAT program was the best experience I’ve ever had. I learned so much about teaching, about people, and about English. I would also encourage students who are considering becoming a teacher to spend as much time in schools (a variety of levels) as they can prior to becoming a teacher because being removed from the schooling environment for so long can lead you to feel out of place in the schools. I volunteered as a tutor all throughout college and had a much easier transition back into the high school environment than some of my cohort.