BA in Social Ecology, Minor in Educational Studies 2013
School of Education
November 1, 2011
“It was just a year ago when I discovered the beauty of the ripple effect that is education and decided that being a teacher would be the best way to serve, love, and foster growth in my community.”
Three thousand miles, seventy students, eight weeks, three classes, and one summer that I will never forget: teaching at Breakthrough Manchester in New Hampshire, summer 2010.
Breakthrough Manchester (BTM) is a year round tuition-free academic program that focuses on helping underprivileged middle school students gain the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in high school and college. Students choose to participate in the program through a rigorous application process that includes attending two summer sessions in which classes are taught strictly by high school and college students.
Last year I was blessed to be a part of the Breakthrough Manchester faculty where I spent two weeks in training and six weeks teaching sixth grade math as well as sixth and seventh grade photography and theatre arts. At BTM, I learned skills such as how to manage a classroom, how to cater to different students’ needs, how to get my point across to students in various ways, how to lesson plan effectively using the different learning styles, and how to make the subjects I was teaching more interactive and easier to understand.
When I was not in the classroom teaching or being observed by my mentor teacher and directors of the program, I, by myself, was being a mentor to the seventy students attending the summer session. I was spending time with them at lunch and snack, getting to know their stories and future goals as well as planning weekly activities for them: the spirit day, the Boston field trip, the Workathon day of service, and the end of the year celebration in which the students’ families and friends were invited to celebrate the completion of six weeks’ worth of hard work and positive energy.
Because Breakthrough was so far from just “playing teacher” it challenged me to create an environment of the importance and need of academic success within my classrooms and students. Since I was encouraged and expected to perform my best with each passing day, something about being able to devote myself wholeheartedly to the students, whose smiles brightened my day as they finally understood a foreign concept in class, gave meaning and purpose to my own life. Thus, it was just a year ago when I discovered the beauty of the ripple effect that is education and decided that being a teacher would be the best way to serve, love, and foster growth in my community.
My involvement with the Teachers of Tomorrow Club at UCI (TOT) and the Department of Education has further helped me shape my goal of being an educator. I joined TOT after my summer internship and am now honored to call myself its treasurer. Through TOT I learned about the opportunity of being a Peer Assistant (PA) in which I was able to assist Professor Joseph Mahoney in teaching his Education 160: Foundations of Out-of-School Learning, which I had taken the quarter before I did the PA program. I planned and facilitated group activities and discussions as well as midterm and final review sessions. I held my own office hours and took care of the class’s logistics. Having weekly meetings with Professor Mahoney and gaining teaching experience in higher education has even inspired me to consider working towards an Ed.D.
Not only does the Department of Education offer exposure to such enriching programs but also it makes sure that the instructors are among the best on campus. Most of my favorite classes thus far have been education classes; I can tell the professors genuinely care about the subject they teach and their students. Even the office staff is warm and friendly: They always make sure that I am being assisted with any question or concern I may have.
I can now gladly say that I have completed the coursework for my Minor in Educational Studies along with my fieldwork requirements at KidsWork in Santa Ana—another great experience I had of tutoring and mentoring underprivileged students, all thanks to the encouragement of the Department of Education.
Working with younger students has always been a passion of mine. Whether it’s being a Resident Advisor to 80 freshmen females in Middle Earth, doing college fairs at high schools as a Student Ambassador under Admissions, or giving campus tours to prospective students, there is nothing more fulfilling than passing on the little I do know and learning the plenty that I don’t know, hoping that maybe someday these bits and pieces of knowledge will create a ripple effect in changing the lives of others through education.