Master of Arts in Teaching, 2011
School of Education
October 1, 2009
Teaching Others a Consistent Theme in Professional and Personal Experiences
When I began my career as a UCI undergrad in the Fall of 1990, I had no idea I would end up back here 19 years later. Much to my parents’ chagrin I had no idea of what I wanted to do with my life so I had mentally categorized myself as: Undeclared, Confused Student QTY- 1.
By the time I graduated with a history degree, I had met my wife and was determined to become a teacher. Fate, however, interfered with my plans in the form of a beautiful baby girl. The need to feed, clothe, and care for a new wife and daughter (in addition to the need to move the HECK out of my in-laws’ house!) forced me directly into the workforce where I embarked on a 12 year escapade into the world of hi-tech sales and distribution. In that time I worked for everything from Mom and Pop shop computer makers to Fortune 100 companies like Kingston Technology and D-Link Systems. It was good money, kept a roof over our heads, and allowed my family the financial freedom to send my wife back to school. She attended UC Irvine’s teaching credential program and earned a multiple subject credential. She has been teaching elementary school for nine years.
Somewhere in the midst of all this I got a strange burr under my saddle and decided to serve my country and community as well. I enlisted in the California Army National Guard in March of 1997 and began my military career as a Calvary Scout, learning to see and not be seen and generally having a blast. I soon became a victim of my own success and my unit sent me to Officer Candidate School where I became an Infantry Officer and graduated at the top of my class of 24 Lieutenants. It doesn’t really sound all that impressive until one realizes that the class began with 109 Officer Candidates…the rest all dropped out. I eventually became a Captain and commanded a Headquarters Company with over 200 soldiers.
With two careers in sales and the military going on simultaneously, and a wife, a kid and a mortgage to boot, there seemed to be little chance of me getting back on track to becoming a teacher again. After the 9/11 attacks and the massive increase in the US military’s operational tempo, what little chance I may have had disappeared altogether. After training several different units to deploy overseas, my turn came, and I spent 16 months working full time for the US ARMY in Kosovo. After returning home, my wife convinced me that the Army was not for me and I resigned my commission as an officer after 11 years of service. After working in sales for another year, I convinced me that workingmy butt off to make somebody else rich was not for me and I decided to come back and finally pursue a career in education.
What prompted my decision was that I realized the best times of my careers all involved training others. Whether it was training customers on a new computer system or training soldiers how to prepare for combat, I realized that I truly enjoyed training people, teaching others, imparting new knowledge, and connecting with the people in my classes. I loved seeing the spark in a student’s eyes as he or she got something for the first time.
Sometimes you could almost hear the gears turning in a student’s head. I realized that teaching was what I loved the most about both my careers.
When it came to deciding which program to apply to, I knew immediately what my first choice was going to be: the UC Irvine Credential Program. I remembered much of what my wife went through during her time in the program, and returning to the Irvine campus just really appealed to me. With the help of folks like Teri Tosspon, Judi Conroy, Susan Meyers, and Bhasha Leonard I was able to get my application in and my CSET tests out of the way, and now I’m in classes and having the time of my life. It isn’t easy — if it was EVERYONE would do it — but it is rewarding and very satisfying to finally be back on track.
So here I am, following in my wife’s footsteps and completely excited about the next part of this journey. It’s been a long road…definitely the road less traveled, but I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m just happy to be here!