CalTeach Science & Math, 2012
School of Education
September 1, 2012
“The passions I acquired from UCI – biology, political science, and teaching – will remain long after I have departed.”
Coming from a small Riverside County town full of cows, dirt, agriculture, and dirt, I was perplexed and quite frankly hypnotized by Irvine. On my tour of the campus in early spring, I did not witness any signs of cows, agriculture, or even dirt! I realized that if I were to attend UC Irvine, I would be in for a great culture shock both from the environment and from the population. Nonetheless, with a leap of excitement and the overwhelming support from my mom, I joined the ranks of UC biology students.
Starting UC Irvine I had no clear-cut career goal in mind. Two careers that had always sparked my interest were forensics investigator and teaching. I’m not going to lie, TV had indeed influenced the thinking about being an investigator. Being able to collect clues, analyze DNA, take crime scene photos, and perform deductive reasoning just screamed modern day Sherlock. However, this job contained the very same qualm of why I was not interested in being a veterinarian or doctor: What you say has outstanding repercussions on the lives of individuals you don’t know. This problem left teaching as the clear victor, but I was clueless as how to go about earning such a career.
At UCI I came across a small booth attempting to recruit students for a brand new club on campus that specialized in developing teachers within the academic fields of math and science. The representatives informed me of specialized classes I could take that would allow for a teaching credential in four years along with a bachelor of science degree. That was it! That was the absolute perfect program for me. After flip-flopping between fall and winter quarters due to workload, I finally became an enrolled and dedicated member to the UC Irvine Cal Teach Science and Mathematics Program.
Throughout my four years at UCI I have pursued my three passions in life: biology, political science, and teaching. Biology has always held a great place in my heart thanks to my father and his position as a high school agriculture teacher. He never failed to expose me to countless facts, skills, and theories about the world around me. At UCI this passion was reinforced by Lecturer Brad Hughes. While taking research methods I was able to assist in the development and implication of witnessing evolution in the classroom using E.coli. Being involved with E. coli cultures was fascinating.
My passion for poli sci was sparked by a general education course I took with Professor Charles Smith. His lecture style and manner of teaching really drew me into the subject. This interest then was solidified by taking classes from Professors William Schonfeld, P. Kyle Stanford, and Mark Petracca. Each of these professors helped me build critical traits that are needed for improving my outlook and awareness of the world around me, and my ability to make connections between different academic branches.
Finally, my love for teaching was first sparked by father. Watching him teach his class, and seeing how excited he was about the subject matter, started building the idea of teaching in my mind. The only problem was my public speaking. I have been absolutely terrified of the thought, threat, or promise of speaking to a large group of people whether they are classmates or strangers. How was I going to be teaching 35 or more students if I couldn’t handle speaking in front of them?
Cal Teach came to my rescue. Through the courses offered by the program I was able to slowly grasp the idea of public speaking. By practicing speaking in courses and within classrooms, I was able to break through my fear and begin to develop into an orator. Cal Teach and its instructors also introduced new styles of teaching that were completely foreign to me. Instead of the lecture-based learning that I had experienced throughout my whole academic career, Cal Teach instructors introduced the idea of hands-on learning and inquiry. Using their courses as a springboard and reference guide, I have developed and implemented countless lessons that call for students to understand conceptual events and theories rather than defining vocabulary or practicing rote memorization.
From my experiences at UCI I feel well prepared for the future ahead of me. My goal is to teach at either the high school or middle school levels in life or biological science. If I end up teaching at a high school, I would absolutely love to pick up a second prep and teach government or a political science class. The passions I acquired from UCI will remain long after I have departed. I know that these passions will help fuel and inspire me to become the very best that I can be within my new career field.
Yes, teaching is a career. If you view it as a job, it will quickly become very tedious and boring; but if you view it as a career, you will never be bored, never be disconnected, and never want to stop. A career is your dream; a job is the box you put your dream in.