BA English Language and Literature, Minor in History, University of Washington, 2016
Why I Became a Teacher
Around tenth grade, I decided to aim my career path towards education. Firstly, my family contains many educators; my grandmother opened, managed, and taught at a day school in Connecticut in the late 1960s and 70s, and her son, my uncle, became a high school social studies teacher while her daughter, my aunt, became a special education teacher and now directs elementary education for her district. Family gatherings always held heavy air filled with conversation about education and classroom stories. Secondly, my public school education blessed me with many great teachers including Mr. Jack Simonson, my World Mythologies and AP Literature teacher who provided the most valuable instruction on how to write, and Mr. Stephen Pagaard, whose storytelling ability is second to few and told me of the “greatest success story of all time,” that is the history of the United States. So connected to the historical narrative, he nearly cried upon informing us of Lewis’s death after such triumphs in American exploration of the West. Until twelfth grade, I planned on teaching history, yet the inspiration of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, which expertly finds, in my opinion, the perfect medium between narrative realism and artful symbolism, led me to pursue literary research and my path has been rerouted slightly since.
In college, I focused my studies on composition as much as possible, and by my second year, I was volunteering at Roosevelt and Franklin high schools. The following year I was hired as a tutor at both BE Learning Center at Seattle Central College and the University of Washington’s Center for Learning and Undergraduate and Enrichment in writing and humanities. In my final year of college, I also participated in departmental honors and completed a thesis on Thomas Pynchon’s 1990 novel Vineland. Apart from composition, I, too, focused on post World War II American literature which I still maintain, as well as a focus on Pacific Northwest writers. These experiences in learning environments not only provided models for instruction but also confirmed the importance of a healthy and constructive learning community to all.
I attended college to become a teacher, and though I learned and experienced the necessary qualifications to become one, it also offered the opportunity to learn that my love of English was meant for the classroom and not academia. I believe that that group of people who debate, write, discuss, travel to conferences, lecture, and perform suffocating departmental administrative functions, and I mean intellectuals and professors, are very valuable, and I read and study their material constantly. I respect them and admire their dedication, but alas that duty is not for me–my job lies with young adults learning the ropes; the middle school English classroom is where all this admiration starts, and I cannot bear the thought of losing it.
All in all, I became a teacher because I respect young adults, their curiosity, their energy, and their eagerness to do what’s right. They know they have possibility to do something extraordinary just ahead of them, and I want to do my part to fulfill it. I like working with kids, absolutely, but its not the only thing that gets me up in the morning. It’s a hot cup of coffee and the knowledge that I’m resource to help young people grow enriched and successful lives driven to providing access, equity, and equality for all to achieve as they have. My teachers and my family taught me that early on, and I aim to teach the same.
At ASB Since
Why I Like Working at ASB
Though I am not Catholic, I was raised and continue to practice Christianity as a non-denominational Protestant. The fundamentals of Christianity, including love for others, peace, and service, to name only a few, are all that humanity holds onto for security. As a Christian, I aim to be a vehicle of God’s grace through his teachings. As a sinner, I desperately need the grace of God lent by my peers in humanity.
The Christian faith provides the way of a redeemed life, and though I believe that to be saved one requires only to accept Christ’s sacrifice, to spread his grace requires a deep connection with his spirit by demonstrating its presence through our lives. The staff and students show me this grace everyday, and I am thankful that I am accepted to a school which situates it from the periphery to a central focus, where it deserves though too often is removed.
“What harbor can receive you more securely than a great library?” Italo Calvino, If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler
The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon
Gravity’s Rainbow by Thomas Pynchon
Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson
Gilead, Home, and Lila by Marilynne Robinson
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
The Catcher in the Rye by JD Salinger
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
If on a Winter’s Night a Traveler by Italo Calvino