Master of Arts in Teaching, 2014
School of Education
September 1, 2013
“As a teacher, I believe that every word I speak, lesson I teach, or interaction I have can potentially change a student’s trajectory in life.”
It was not so long ago when I was sitting in a high school classroom, thinking about what college would be like or what career I would eventually be pursuing for the rest of my life. In fact, it was only five years ago when I graduated from high school, and I never would have dreamed that I would be where I am today.
After graduating from high school, I attended the University of California, Irvine, majoring in and receiving a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Biological Sciences. I subsequently earned my Single Subject Credential in Biology in June 2013. Currently, I am working on earning my Master’s Degree in Teaching Biology from UC Irvine, and I am set to finish in August 2014.
Growing up in Irvine, I was privileged enough to experience the best secondary school and college education in the nation. I have always been a very curious student, asking my peers, parents, and teachers various questions about all topics: “How do fish breathe through their gills?,” “What causes the seasons?,” “How do you do this math problem?,” “Why do humans age?,” “What is the best way to learn guitar?”
I was fortunate. Rather than stunting my curiosity, my teachers and mentors believed that there is no such thing as a bad question! My teachers nurtured my curiosity, encouraging me to always keep asking questions and learn. As a result, I enjoyed spending hours after class speaking to my teachers and professors and listening to their stories, life experiences, and wisdom. Eventually, it was these educators who inspired me to become a teacher.
Today, I am proud to say that I am a science teacher teaching biology in Irvine. My inspiration for becoming a teacher comes from my desire to serve and give back to the community that has given so much to me. My teachers have instilled in me the principle of “paying it forward,” and I have found fulfillment by treasuring and passing on to others every act of kindness that I receive in life. I want to be inspiring and helpful to my students, the same way my teachers have been to me, and I want to show each student that comes into my classroom that he or she has the potential to make a difference in this world.
As a teacher, I believe that teaching is not just about educating students about a subject. In a classroom, students also get to learn about the importance of communication, application, and critical thinking. In addition to valuing the teaching experience, I place a high emphasis on mentoring my students to become well-rounded, intellectually curious, contributing members of our community.
Being a teacher is the most rewarding time I have ever experienced. In my life, I have performed at Carnegie Hall, held high school records in cross country and track, volunteered as a dentist on a summer medical mission to Peru, served as Orange County Lieutenant Governor of Circle K – the largest student-led community service organization in the world, and performed research in the science laboratories of world-class UC Irvine professors; yet, the experiences I have had while teaching trump all of these. The effervescent feeling and fulfillment that come from sparking a student’s interest in science for the first time, showing the students how biology is relevant and can be applied to everyday life, or seeing a student succeed in class and grow into a lifelong learner is unlike any other experience. In the end, teaching is all about the students, and that is an incredibly important and rewarding responsibility. Not only do I have the opportunity to teach my students about science, but also the potential to change someone’s life.
As a teacher, I believe that every word I speak, lesson I teach, or interaction I have can potentially change a student’s trajectory in life. One great experience, kind comment, or helpful suggestion could inspire a student to become a future scientist, engineer, health professional, or teacher. That is my incentive to be the best teacher that I can be. I want to instill in my students that school and life, in general, are not always about the “destination” they reach, but the “journey” they experience. I want my students to achieve, but I also want them to know that school is not just about getting a grade, but also about experiencing the joy of learning and bettering themselves.
And here, I want to express my gratitude to my parents. In addition to loving me, they always encouraged and fostered my love of learning. I am incredibly thankful for that. I want to thank my past teachers and administrators, who answered all my questions and not only taught me how to think, but also gave me opportunities to apply my learning. I want to thank all the students I have ever been privileged to educate for being my inspiration to teach every day. I want to thank my friends for making me a better person and always surrounding me with support. I want to thank my UCI credential colleagues for all their help, care, and advice they have given me. I want to thank the University of California, Irvine, for educating me with the best education I could have ever asked for. “Zot! Zot! Zot!” I want to thank my college mentor, Prany Sananikone, for giving me a passion for mentorship and the life wisdom that I have today. And, finally, I want to thank Lillian, my best friend and girlfriend, for giving me the greatest strength and wisdom to pursue my calling and do what I love to do every day, teach.