The general idea of life as a teacher is not a grandiose or monetarily rewarding one. In fact, the aspiration to become a teacher does not come from an idea of great fame or recognition. The urge to teach comes from wanting to make a change, inspire people, and leave the legacy of a better community. Teachers understand the sacrifice needed to be successful in their classroom, with their students, and with their administration. It is, at times, a juggling act at which many excel. The Alternative Master’s Degree in Science Education is the tool that enables prospective teachers to garner the skills required to make the juggling act a bit easier and more organic. The Noyce Scholars Program is the stepstool that enables the teacher to achieve that goal, affording education students a chance at something that had previously been out of their reach. There are many programs that would allow a person with a Bachelor’s in science, math, or engineering to teach in the public or private school system, however, I believe that in order to have all available tools at my disposal, a degree in education is imperative. In attaining a Master’s in Education, I would be doubly prepared for the intricacies of the teaching experience, pairing direct scientific knowledge with classroom management and student relations training that only an Education degree can afford me.
A year ago, if anyone had asked me what my career aspirations were, I would have probably offered up the kind of canned response one would expect. I planned on attaining my Ph.D. and from there, move to either a research position or college academia. Over the course of the past year, I realized that although I have a love of laboratory research, something was missing. I have a seven year old child who is just beginning in the public education system and I have had the opportunity to speak to parents of other children and teachers about where education is going and what kind of students are emerging from it. My college professors would lament about the lack of critical thinking skills the entering freshman exhibited and how they could “reset” their thinking pattern from one of memorization to one of interest and overall understanding of the subject matter. So I started seriously thinking about secondary education and the ability to change these things early on. Nip it in the bud, so to speak.
Today, my aspirations read a bit differently than when I graduated in May 2011. My goals are much more linear and inspired, and less of a conversational canned response. My intention is to attain a Master’s Degree in Science Education in order to be better prepared for the teaching platform. I feel it is critical to learn as much about teaching philosophy and classroom management as I can in order to be the most successful teacher I can be. From there, I will secure a teaching position in whatever school needs me the most because that is what teaching is all about: filling a need for better education. I want to become a science teacher in a high needs school in order to facilitate and inspire the idea of higher education in students that may not have the means or aspirations to understand that it is a reachable goal to them.
The acquirement of highly qualified teachers in high needs schools is paramount. Even before I knew what a Title I or “high needs” school was, I saw the devastating effect that poverty and race can have on a child’s education. I have worked for a very long time in the service industry, alongside busboys, dishwasher, cooks and servers and time after time, have watched intelligent people with bright potential allow what society thinks of them to hold them back. I have also seen inspiration in the breakdown of the class/race divisions and watched people make their own opportunities and reach goals unimaginable. This is what inspires me as a teacher. I desire to give students an opportunity to understand that certain levels of education/life are not out of their reach due to economic/race/psychological labeling issues that may cause them to think otherwise. School is oftentimes the only place children have that is “theirs and theirs alone”. So much of their life is spent on school grounds and we have an opportunity to ensure that school can be a safe, fun environment that can help them to achieve things that the “outside world” insists cannot be accomplished.
Larry C. Harbin
In every life, I suppose, you come to a proverbial cross road as to what career path you will pursue in your adult life. For myself, this cross road arrived during my undergraduate studies at the University of South Alabama. During this time, I had to make a choice between a degree in biomedical science and a traditional degree in biology. The traditional biology degree would allow me the option of applying not only to physical therapy school, which at the time I mistakenly thought would be my life’s career, but also to graduate school in secondary education. I believe that I made the right choice for myself in choosing to obtain a traditional degree in biology. In the last few years I have come to the realization that the medical field would not be as satisfying to me as a career in education will. After closely analyzing my life goals, I realized that the reason I was interested in physical therapy was the ability to work with children and youth to make a difference in their lives.
As the son of a mother with twenty-seven years’ experience as an educator and a father who has served for the past nineteen years on the local school board, I have been raised with a respect for our public education system. I was raised in a home with a belief that we should all strive to become life-long learners. Having been exposed through my parents educational experiences to the profound impact an education can have on one’s life; as I matured, I developed a desire to make a difference in other’s lives as well. It is my belief that no other profession gives one the opportunity to truly change lives for the better.
In December of 2011, I graduated from the University of South Alabama with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Related Sciences. The subject of science, with biology in particular, is my passion. I have always found the subject matter to be thrilling and as a student strove to learn everything science related. It is this enthusiasm that I wish to foster in the minds of my future students. I was blessed to have had several science teachers who sparked that passion in me and whom served as role models for my life. It is my desire now to be that role model for today’s students and to foster that love for science in our future generation.
I believe that as a teacher, I will be given the opportunity to make a lasting positive impact on the lives of my students. I have often heard my mother say that teaching is a “calling” much like being a minister; I know that I have that “calling” on my life. I have always enjoyed working with children and youth and I am ecstatic about the prospect of sharing my passion for science with others. I am anticipating putting forward the love of learning that others have instilled in my life for the entirety of my career.
“Those who know, do. Those who understand, teach.” That is a quote by the great ancient philosopher Aristotle. My interpretation of this quote leads me to believe that it applies to modern teachers and educators of this world who have a great responsibility. Teachers must know not just the respective subject they teach but their students as well. Teachers who understand their students beyond the textbook, “teach.” I attended high school at American senior high school in Miami, Florida and my experience going to school is what motivated me to pursue a teaching career. The best times of my life happened throughout my entire school career, school built me as a leader, allowed me to go places I could not have imagined ever going and helped shape me as an individual today. I want to share my experience with students of my own to give them more options in life and to ultimately educate them.
According to Dictionary.com the first definition for aspiration is “strong desire, aim or ambition.” Growing up I never really had an ambition, a career in which I wanted to pursue and as much as I thought about what my aspirations might be, it was always just an empty cloud in my head. It was not until my senior year in high school when that empty cloud in my head would be filled with the perfect image by an unforgettable experience. As a student-athlete, I was a part of a group who was sent to Country Club middle school to talk to several classes and read a segment of any book of interest to encourage kids to read more. The reaction of the kids after I introduced myself was very overwhelming and surprising to me because I could not quite understand how a middle school class could be so anxious to hear what a stranger has to say. The joy I felt inside was nothing like the joy I feel when I played basketball or getting an “A” on a test, it was different, not new but rather latent, an emotion waiting to be triggered. I found that strong desire I was desperately searching for, the perfect image in my head was me standing in front of a class that would be my own as a teacher. My will to be a teacher is greater now than ever, I want to influence as many lives as possible by sharing my diversity with my students and providing the best learning conditions so that they can become the best individuals to society they can be and that is my motivation.
My freshman year in high school I had a teacher by the name of Mr. Turnipseed who taught my regular biology class during sixth period. His lectures were mind captivating, amazing, it was my favorite class of the day because the way he depicted his love for biology and teaching it only motivated me more to learn and acquire and eventual love for the subject. He used to say, “Some of you might make A’s and some might make F’s but all of you will learn in this class.” Mr. Turnipseed motivated me to pursue the teaching profession by not only informing me about biology but by demonstrating tremendous effort in doing so. The late great basketball coach John Wooden said: “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” The responsibility given to teachers is a tremendous challenge and that drives me to becoming a great teacher knowing that I can make a difference in someone’s life. Altogether, my desire to teach is unmatchable; it is what I hope to do for as long as I am allowed. John Wooden also said: “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.” I completely agree and I am looking forward to the challenge.
It is said that every aspiring educator has had an influential experience with an inspiring teacher of their own. This has definitely proven to be the case with me. My motivation to enter the teaching profession stems from my elementary years as a 5th grade student. My experience was with my science teacher. While she was an awesome science teacher, she taught me so much more. She taught me to inquire; to actively pursue more knowledge. She taught me to interpret, analyze, and to explore conditions beyond the obvious. She motivated me to be and to do my very best and expected me to be creative, while inspiring me to be great. She was so much more than just a teacher. She was a counselor and an advocate. Her influence in my life is a big portion of who I am. Even today, she is still my friend. Her continued interest in my well –being is my reason for choosing education. Just as she did, I want to make a difference by challenging students to become leaders and innovators of today’s world.
As a science educator, I am an advocate of hands- on learning. I aim to engage students in the classroom, much like I was. As an educator, it is my responsibility to educate, to empower, and to encourage our youth. My philosophy is that students learn concepts and retain information with ease when a hands-on approach is used. In my classroom, I aim to empower the student by encouraging him or her to become the “creator. Along with guided practice, I encourage students to explore scientific themes and objectives. Through trial and error learning, the students indirectly become “student teachers” and are more responsive to challenging themes and concepts. This approach is innovative, cool, and a refreshing alternative to the traditional classroom. Ideas, successes, and failures become tools that transition the science classroom into a meaningful experience.
Professionally, I plan to complete my studies and to receive a Masters in Secondary Science Education. From there, I would like to work in the Mobile County Public Schools to provide an enriching and rigorous curriculum to challenge our students to compete with students world-wide. I seek to instill in our youth the same passion that I have for learning. I also hope to be more than just an educator to my students. I hope to become their advocate, their counselor, their mentor; assisting them to reach their goals and to develop a vision for their futures.
My name is Allison Sells and I live in the small community of Irvington just outside of Bayou La Batre, Alabama. To teach someone is the greatest privilege that can be bestowed upon an individual. It is a great honor to have been chosen as a scholar by the NOYCE Pathway to Science program. My greatest motivations for becoming a science teacher are that I have always loved science and I love working with kids. I see children as canvases that are ready to paint. Children are inquisitive and absorb knowledge like sponges. As a non-conventional student I can appreciate the ability of the young to learn and I hope that I can impress upon them how lucky they are and how important it is that they take advantage of the educational opportunities that they are given.
Teaching is a second career for me and I can only imagine what I might have done if it had been my first. I attended South Alabama 23 years ago and was a psychology major hoping to one day to be an adolescent counselor. At the same time, I was working for a local tack store that was offered to me for purchase and thus began my life as a retail business owner. I loved working with the kids that that came in the store everyday but, I missed the opportunity teach as I had done in the past as a horseback riding instructor. When I was an instructor, I was told that I had an innate skill for communicating with adolescents and that I should go into the teaching profession. At that time in my life, I could not see how fulfilling teaching could be. I did not understand how prestigious a position it is to have the responsibility of educating the young citizens of our future. Hindsight is 20/20 and I can see that enough time has been wasted in the past.
I am very fortunate to have this opportunity to change the direction of my future and finally become a teacher. My life experiences and years of experience with my own children have given me the maturity and the ability to relate to children and I fully believe this will help me to be a great teacher. Teaching has become a passion for me and I know that I will do my best to be the kind of teacher that my students deserve. I want to be someone that can instill knowledge upon them and also be someone who will honestly care about and guide them.
I always wanted to be an adolescent counselor. I have always wanted to help kids who were troubled or less fortunate than others. This along with the fact that I live in a high needs community are strong motivations for me to work with kids in high needs schools. I want the kids there to see that they have choices. I want to encourage them and empower all of them to excel and achieve to their fullest potential. I want them to know that no matter what obstacles may be in their path that they can be overcome.
I’m a single mother who has faced many challenges and obstacles over the years. The process of earning my degree while working, raising three kids on my own and going to school full time has been very difficult but I never gave up. I hope to be able to guide my students and help open doors for them that they might not even know exist. A very small percentage of the people in my community have attended college. I want the students here to know that just because their parents did not finish high school or go to college is not a factor that should stop them from achieving their dreams. I want to help my students to dream big, to set goals, and to figure out what it will take for these goals to be achieved. I am so very thankful for the NOYCE Pathway to Science program for allowing me the opportunity to follow my dream to help broaden the horizons of my future students. Through the Biology degree that I have received from the University of South Alabama, coupled with the knowledge, skills and experience from the Alternative Masters in Science Education, I will have what it takes to be a highly qualified teacher. I hope to be instrumental in developing many young students interest in becoming the scientist of the future.
I would like to introduce myself as Bridget Wells, a prospective student aspiring to pursue my Alternative Master’s degree in Secondary Science Education through The University of South Alabama’s NOYCE Pathway to Science program. Ironically, I’ve spent the majority of my 24 years claiming I would never become a teacher. This was not because of an aversion to teachers, schools, or learning, or due to a fear of spending my days with hormonal teens, but it was all because my mother is a middle school science teacher. There’s always that place of defiance in most youth that screams, “Do the opposite of your parents!”. That’s not to say I discredited my mother’s line of work. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. I grew up observing the tremendous amount of work and commitment that goes into teaching, and I understand that an educator’s job is not over when the dismissal bell rings. It’s never over! I have always admired my mother and her dedication to her students. Only now do I realize the depth of that admiration, and the value of all she’s taught me about life and learning. When it comes to her job, her students have always come first and she has always done what she believed to be in their best interest even if doing so was difficult for her. So here I am, after years of avoidance, with high hopes and dreams of ultimately becoming, dare I say it, just like my mother.
I hope to gain the knowledge and experience needed to become a one of a kind educator that only The NOYCE Pathway to Science program can produce. I know school systems across the country are suffering and I believe, as someone who holds science and education to a high standard, that it is my responsibility to help it improve. I have been blessed with opportunities to attend schools and be taught by teachers who have driven me to reach my goals, given me the tools to succeed, and now is the time for me to pay it forward. All students should have those same opportunities and I’m confident, once I complete this program, I will have the ability to offer those to them. Middle and high school are crucial times for a young person to start making serious decisions about their academic future. Students spend a great deal of time in the classroom and should be provided with the best education possible.
My ultimate goal is to provide students with a learning experience that excites them about science and interests them in as well as prepares them for further education. I want to inspire students who come from less than opportunistic situations to take advantage of wonderful opportunities to build themselves a better future through education. I learned from my mother that the easy part is giving your students the tools they need to succeed but the hard part is getting them motivated to use those tools. I have been truly inspired to learn by the teachers who have taught me. and to teach by the teachers I have observed. Now, I want to motivate and inspire my students to create goals for themselves and guide them in the achievement of their goals.
I look forward to all challenges, learning, and accomplishments that lie ahead of me and I am truly excited about the possibility of earning a master’s degree from The University of South Alabama through the NOYCE Pathway to Science Program.
George Washington Carver once said “Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.” Growing up I always enjoyed going to school and receiving an education. I knew in order to become successful in life I must have an education. Education is one thing that no one can take away. Everyone has a purpose in life. I believe my purpose is to not only be an educator, but to also inspire children to love learning new things.
I have firsthand experience knowing what the students need in today’s world. Attending a high needs school was my motivation in becoming a teacher. Being a product of a high needs school, when I entered college, I was not prepared to enter a four-year university. I would like to teach at a high needs school because I would like students in these schools to have the same opportunities that the non-high need schools have. As an aspiring educator, I believe that every school should be offered the best teachers and education possible
Becoming an educator has not always been a dream of mine but a person who came into my life at an early age and followed me throughout my college career motivated me. Dr. Andre Green inspired me to want to become an educator. Throughout my high school career, Dr. Green was my mentor. He allowed me to volunteer and work with children throughout the summer. He also gave me the opportunity to learn more about science. Allowing me to work with kids in high needs areas allowed me to realize just how badly the school system needed young energized teachers. Not only did he allow me to work with children but he also gave me the opportunity to meet other teachers. He also allowed me to see that there were African Americans who earned their college degrees and inspired me to pursue the same route.
Growing up, science was the one subject that was always fascinating and full of imagination. I believe that if students have a young and motivated teacher they would get excited and become more interested in science and technology. I believe that as a young teacher I can create more ways to make science exciting. I always viewed and learned science through a visual prospective and by becoming a teacher I would like for the students to view and see science how I visualize things.
I always knew in life that I wanted to help and inspire a new generation. Like my mentor, Dr. Green, I would like to create math and science programs for children in urban city schools so that they can experience and receive insight about other educational programs. In hopes of creating those programs, my goal is to inspire and motivate children to learn more about math and science.
I love the field of education. Education is the one thing that you can always continue in life. I would love to motivate and inspire children to see education from my perspective. In the end it’s not about the money for me, but it’s the reward of knowing that I have the opportunity to mold the minds of the next generation.