CalTeach B.S. in Biology/Education, 2014
School of Education
June 1, 2015
“I am so grateful for all my opportunities.”
From a young age, I have always been very nervous to stand in front of a crowd and talk, even if only for a few minutes. I hated public speaking. If someone had told me during my freshman year of college that one day in the future I would no longer be nervous to stand in front of a group of people and present information and facilitate activities, I would have laughed. Yet somehow, with major help from the Cal Teach program that I was a part of, I have definitely moved past that stage of being a shy public speaker and have vastly improved my ability to speak in front of a crowd.
When I joined my first Cal Teach class in freshman year, I did not realize that I would actually be teaching in an elementary school classroom. I really did not know what to expect from the program. Once I realized what was required for the class – especially the hours of fieldwork I would be spending in a classroom and the lessons that I would soon teach by myself – it was too late for me to back out. It is so lucky for me that I continued, though, because I ended up learning so much about teaching, about what a classroom is really like, and about myself as a teacher. All of this helped shape my journey at UCI towards becoming an educator.
My experiences in Cal Teach were the best for me because I enjoy learning things by experiencing them, and it is especially difficult to learn how to teach just by reading books or hearing examples. To be the person who is standing in front of all those children and teaching them requires time and effort. Through Cal Teach, I took classes that allowed me to experience being a teacher at elementary, middle, and high school levels.
I learned that elementary school children were adorable, middle school children were hard for me to get used to, and high school children were fun, crazy, and confused, all at the same time. These real world experiences led me to make my decision to teach high school, and to continue my passion for science by teaching biology. An added benefit: by my fourth year at UCI, I was not at all nervous to stand in front of a group of students!
I currently have the exciting opportunity to teach both Biology and Introduction to Engineering Design at The Palmdale Aerospace Academy in Antelope Valley. I have been teaching for almost a year, and though no program can fully prepare you for that first year of teaching, Cal Teach has definitely made me feel much more confident in my abilities.
Along with the background in education I received at UCI, I am blessed to teach at a wonderful school with great coworkers, administration, and students. I have become involved in clubs such as Robotics and Science Olympiad and been able to teach electives like Zoology and Psychology. I have even been very fortunate to be trained in and teach an engineering course. Thanks to my diverse experiences at UCI with my Cal Teach classes, my various educational internships, and my amazing and supportive cohort and teachers, I have developed the confidence to participate in all these activities successfully.
I am so grateful for all my opportunities, and I hope to continue to use these experiences to grow, both as an individual and as a teacher.