Master of Arts in Teaching, 2013
School of Education
June 1, 2013
“Teaching is an act of trust, an act of social justice, and a choice.”
I have taken direction in my life by working to shape a personal definition of success, and I have learned that sharing my available resources to help others achieve meaningful growth is a powerful form of accomplishment. Through teaching, I have been given the opportunity to have a real impact on the lives of hundreds of students and it is this opportunity that continues to inspire my quest to strengthen individuals and build communities.
During the course of my academic journey I have come to understand teaching as the intersection of seemingly opposing worlds. I am an anthropologist, mathematician, and the son of immigrant parents. I have come to balance the socially-driven learning style of anthropology with mathematics’ attention to rigorous logic. I have developed a devotion to the struggles of the underrepresented, while navigating the system to identify real advocates of equality and social justice. Through tutoring, mentoring and teaching, I’ve found a sense of hope in the classrooms of truly dedicated teachers. These ideals are the foundation of my personal identity and my method of helping others achieve real growth.
My experience as part of UC Irvine’s Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Teacher Credential programs has pushed me to focus on reflection as a means to developing an educational philosophy. With this spirit in mind, I have begun constructing what I consider the foundation of my teacher identity.
* Teaching is an act of trust. I work with a community of students who have begun to question the legitimacy of school. Their view of success has been disconnected from the institution of formal education. Before I can help my students learn I must re-legitimize the classroom in their eyes. I can only teach those students who trust me enough to meet me halfway in building a platform for their future.
* Teaching is an act of social justice. As I work to shape a healthy and productive classroom culture, my focus is on supporting the exploration of content while promoting the values of equity and community building. As students begin developing their sense of self and search for their role in the communities, they are a part of this exploration, promotion, and community building. It is my intention that my students leave my class with a perspective which promotes mistakes as learning opportunities, which views collaboration as a tool to solve open-ended problems, and which holds individuals accountable for the actions of the people who matter to them.
* Teaching is a choice. At the end of the day I teach because it makes a difference in the lives of people I care about, and it is my choice to use my strengths to lift others beyond expectation.
This foundation continues to evolve as my experience grows. It is closely tied to my personal identity and I am proud to say that I believe I have been validated as my students continue to better themselves and as peers and colleagues begin to acknowledge my personal growth as a teacher and community leader.
This year I was selected as a 2013 Mary Roosevelt Honor Scholar, nominated by those who share my passion, and it is truly astonishing to have received this level of support from the education community. I intend to continue my efforts and I look forward to what the future has in store.