BA in Anthropology 2012; Master of Arts in Teaching 2015
School of Education
January 1, 2014
“I never imagined I would be so blessed as to be pursuing a career in education, at such a young age.”
While in high school, I always wondered what life had in store for me. I would ask myself, “Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?” I never imagined I would be so blessed as to be pursuing a career in education, at such a young age.
It was just a couple years ago that I graduated from high school (Santa Ana Unified School District Middle College High School) as the class of 2010. After my graduation I continued my undergraduate career at UC Irvine, where I pursued a major in Sociocultural Anthropology. This major definitely widened my perspective on how I viewed the world. Going into teaching and having an anthropology background not only prepared for the upcoming years of teaching, but also gave me knowledge and skills to better serve my students and community.
I received my bachelor’s degree in 2012 at the age of 20. Feeling really young at the time of graduation, I decided to take a year off and explore life in general–from work to volunteering. It was during my year “off” where I matured and grew as an individual.
During my year of exploration, I was fortunate enough to work for an after school program at Harvey Elementary in Santa Ana. When I noticed that my 25 fourth and fifth grade students rarely had any exposure to science, I decided to change that and started including a planned science lesson at least once a week. At first my students were reluctant to engage and said they were “bored,” but when we started getting creative in the classroom, they became intrigued by science.
My students and students from my coworkers’ class started referring to me as “Mr. H, the science guy,” which I found quite amusing, but it was during that time that I decided that I wanted pursue a career teaching science at the middle and high school levels. Consequently, I applied to become a substitute teacher for the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD), considering this a good way for me to further explore the field. Shortly after being hired as a substitute, I was called in for a long-term biology position for my old high school, where I had graduated just two years prior.
I was nervous my first day of substituting, but my former teachers, who were now my colleagues, thought it was great that I had returned. I knew the whole process would be an incredible learning experience, and I was lucky enough to finish off the year in a freshmen biology class in which I was once a student but now had returned as a teacher.
My experiences have made me philosophical. I believe that everyone faces challenges along the way in this life we call a journey, but the perilous battles we must encounter are what shape us as individuals. I have faced my own set of challenges along the way, but I am glad to have encountered and dealt with them and feel so grateful for the individual I have become, and where I stand today.
Life is all about learning, and I believe that going into a field like teaching I will continue to grow within my own discipline and hope to bring that into the classroom. I intend to make my classroom a place where students feel safe and welcomed to share their ideas and questions, a place where they are free to be scientists and where I show them how science applies to the real world around them. I recognize that this takes time, but I hope that over time, as I grow, I am able to bring more and more ideas into the classroom to be able to offer my students some of the best science education possible.
There are many people who have helped me along my journey, and they deserve recognition. Firstr, I would like to acknowledge and thank my parents for having allowed me the freedom to pursue and chase a dream that I have always wanted; words cannot express what their continued support means to me.
I appreciate every single teacher that I encountered beginning in the elementary grades. These included my fifth grade teacher who wore the babysitter sign around school and worked so hard for her students, to my middle school teachers who saw potential in me. It is true what they say: it just takes one caring person, but in my case I was lucky enough to have more than one.
I would also like to thank say Susan Groff. She was the teacher who sparked an interest in the subject that I would end up pursuing, and she taught me so much. She taught me the value of seeing a student as a human rather than solely as a student. She taught me to always keep challenging and pursuing my goals, which is something that I am carrying with me for the rest of my life. And she emphasized something I am applying as an educator: “My students will continue to enrich my life, just as much as I hope to enrich theirs.” I took away from her classroom the realization that we have so much to offer our students, but they have so much more to offer us and help us grow as individuals within the field.