Beyond the curriculum

Teaching a subject such as Math or English is the daily task of a teacher. But our future educators see a greater purpose in their training and career path. Here are stories by future educators who want to go beyond the curriculum.

The Power of a Great Teacher

by Chelsea Rogers

At USC Upstate, I am studying to be a Secondary Education Mathematics teacher. The math courses are not easy and the education courses pushes you to challenge yourself. The thought of being a future teacher is what motivates me to keep pushing.

Although I do not know any of my students, they are precious to me and I believe it is my job to change their lives for the better. Teaching math is my job, but looking beyond my content and into the wellbeing of my students is my passion.

The question I always ask myself is how can I teach students who may not trust me? I have to establish a connection with each student so that they will see I care about them academically, physically, and emotionally. Once students see that you care about them in these areas, it becomes easier to teach them and they are willing to perform to the best of their ability because they know their teacher supports them 100 percent. Being a great teacher is what motivates me to continue striving for my degree.

My Spanish Dream

by Melissa Shea

When I was growing up, it was difficult for me to always think ahead and plan out my future. By the time I was a junior in high school, I still had no idea what I wanted to do in life, which was insanely rare for my well-organized family. I decided to sign up for the school-run career fair to see if I could figure things out when I had a realization: I can honestly do what ever I want.

I enjoyed helping others, and I loved learning about Spanish, like the language, culture, religion and more. It was then, before even the fair, that I realized I wanted to teach. By teaching, I could ensure that I help people- my future students. I dream of one day being able to help them figure out what their own goals in life are. I want to let them know that it is okay to not know, to go into university without an intended major, or to skip college and work for a specific job or company.

I realize that one dream came true: I have direction in life. But now, I have a new dream: to teach my students not only about Spanish, but also about worldly issues and life lessons they can take with them wherever. If I can make a difference, or help someone figure out their direction in life, I’ll be happy. My dream will come true.

A, B, C’s and Equity

by Micayla Watroba

One plus one is two. Phone is pronounced with an F sound. 60 divided by 15 is 4. An essay typically has five paragraphs. I know all these things because I got to go to school. I also had teachers that helped me understand it even when I didn’t get the same opportunities as everyone else.

See, when I was in first grade I was diagnosed with ALL Leukemia. This made school very hard. I was either out of school so often that I missed entire chapters or I was bullied so badly that I couldn’t focus because I was so scared. Having cancer also made it hard for my mom and dad to pay for food and rent much less after school activities and tutoring. I grew up knowing that there were some things that were just not in reach for us. 

For as bad as I had it, I can’t imagine having to live on the streets, going hungry, or even being taught in a language I don’t know.

My dream is to be the teacher that makes sure that every student gets an education that helps them succeed. I want to make sure that my students not only enjoy being at school but feel safe while there. My students will know that it doesn’t matter where they came from or what background they came from I am going to be there and I will not leave them behind. This is my dream.

Doors in the Walls

by Daniel Kent

My relationship with education has always been strained: I love learning, but I hate school. I barely graduated high school, and I dropped out of college several times—not because I struggled with my classes, but because I struggled with the standardization and structure of a system in which I did not fit. My parents and teachers mistook a lack of motivation as laziness, accused me of daydreaming in class, and said I was “too smart to be this stupid.”

All of this is to say that I was meant to be a writer. Whether it’s poetry, fiction, or narrative, written or spoken, putting words together is the most difficult and rewarding thing I have ever done. Once I admitted to myself that I would never be satisfied doing anything else, I saw school no longer as a series of barriers, rather as a labyrinth.

Discovering the links between creative and academic writing opened doors in the walls, and curiosity led me down paths I would have never explored. When I began tutoring English, I discovered another calling: teaching. In leading other struggling students to the intersection of academia, personality, and passion, I came to realize that I had never really failed in school; school had failed me.

My dream of making a living through words came to include pedagogy: to work on the inside, to become an admissive gatekeeper for others like me. In the face of difficulty, purpose makes this path not only bearable: it makes it meaningful.

A Dream to Teach

by Aaron Banta

Since I was younger, I have had the dream of becoming a history teacher at the high school level. The reason I am striving for this career is thanks to a teacher I had that held such a passion for history and taught it so well that it made me want to keep learning everything I could about it.

In college, I have had to work multiple jobs and attend school full-time. I would wake up early in the morning and not get home until late at night. The one thing that kept me on top of my studying and work was the dream I have to be able to teach history and express my love for it by teaching the next generation and being able to impact their lives for the better just like mine was.

Being able to pass my courses and get a degree and teaching credentials is the first main goal I am striving for. But being able to have a positive impact on students I have will be an even greater goal that I want to accomplish. I am hoping to guide them through their study of my favorite subject so I can teach them about the world and help them just like my teacher had helped me.

Teaching Changes Lives

by Savannah Luree Weverka

Teachers are the ones who ignited my love for learning and there is not a day that goes by when I do not challenge myself to a personal goal of lifelong learning.

My mother is a teacher, so I was a student educated in an institution filled with support and a home that also supported education. I recall many teacher “get-togethers” and Husker parties where an informal invitation led to my presence.

Due to all of this support and interaction received throughout my elementary and high school career, Elementary Education continues to be at the top of my career choices. And now, as a senior looking forward to graduating from high school, teachers remain my role models.

In considering a focus in Elementary Education, I now realize that teachers not only teach children eight hours of the day, but become doctors for scraped knees, dictionaries for challenging words, mediators between students, and parents away from home.

Now, as I am taking the steps to make my dream come true I hope to make school an escape to free their minds and expand their knowledge. I want to share my love of learning with my students.

Additional student essays by theme

my dream to become a teacher, making a differenceinspired by learning experiences, joining the teaching staff