In the First Person:
“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.” This quote from author William Butler Yeats is one that I learned to live by during my years at Baylor University.
Knowing the declining rate of teachers continuing in the classroom, I set out to find a college that would prepare me for the rewarding and sometimes challenging world of teaching. Although there are many schools of education to choose from, I found Baylor to possess the qualities that aligned most with my picture of a remarkable teacher. The program consists of a comprehensive approach to teaching that includes everything from learning about theories to an enormous amount of hands-on experience in the classroom.
At Baylor, I learned not only to teach students, but also to ignite a fire within them that will continue their learning experiences beyond my classroom. Three years ago, I walked into my fourth grade classroom at RiceInternationalBaccalaureateWorldSchool in the TylerIndependentSchool District. All teachers new to the district had to participate in a NewTeacherAcademy. During the two years of new teacher training, I realized how cutting edge Baylor’s teaching program is. I was far more prepared than other colleagues coming into our new careers. I learned that I had received more hands-on training in my freshman and sophomore years of college than many of my colleagues.
At Baylor, I earned a Bachelor of Science in Education degree with specializations in early childhood through fourth grade and gifted education. My professors instilled in me the belief that teaching should be inquiry-based and student-centered. The Christian values imparted to me from my friends and professors at Baylor have helped prepare me to work with children. It is necessary to remember that you must attain a child’s heart before you can get into a child’s head. Without these experiences and guidance, my classroom environment would not be as productive as it is today.
Since I have been teaching, my training and knowledge base have allowed me to stand out among my peers. During the summer after my first year of teaching, I was appointed as team leader by my principal. I was also chosen as one of the few teachers to go out of the country for professional development opportunities. Another duty on my campus includes helping others differentiate their lessons for all students. During my second year of teaching, the director of Advanced Studies for Tyler ISD invited me to conduct professional development classes for K-8 teachers on differentiated instruction. Without my Baylor education, I believe that these opportunities would not have come to me so early in my career.
In the future, I plan on going back to Baylor to participate in the Master of Science in Educational Administration with principals certification program. I am assured that this program will fully prepare me in my future roles, just as my previous Baylor education has.
Thinking back over my Baylor experiences, I realized how blessed I am that so many individuals put their efforts into my education. I cannot thank them enough for helping mold me into a teacher so that I in turn can shape the lives of our future.
To read comments from some of Susan’s instructors, visit the Web Extra.