Pathways to Teaching: Part 1

Posted on: Tue, 03/19/2019 - 09:00

Teaching is one of the most fulfilling jobs a person can have, and also one of the most difficult. Those who have answered the call to teach have taken many different paths. This short blog series will feature 3 different pathways to teaching. I begin with my own journey.

From that first day in my first grade classroom until today, I have always loved school. Learning is a joy for me. I can still remember that day in 5th grade when I had finished my math assignment quickly; my teacher asked me to help another student who was confused. That one-on-one peer tutoring helped me discover that teaching was as much fun as learning. From that day on, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

I followed a “traditional” pathway to teaching. As a high school student, I gained experiences with teaching by volunteering to assist and ultimately teach Sunday School. I looked for colleges with a good reputation for preparing teachers and was accepted at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland (CND). For the next four years, I was trained by the person I consider the ultimate teacher, Sister Marie Xavier Looymans. She instilled an even greater passion for teaching within me, and truly helped me to hone my craft.

The education program at CND required many field experiences; I was thrilled when my first classroom experience found me back in my 1st grade classroom with my own 1st grade teacher! In addition to the many experiences through CND in both Baltimore County and Baltimore City Public Schools, I also worked at a summer camp for special needs students. These experiences helped me to gain confidence in my decision to become a teacher, and they gave me many opportunities to interact with students of varying ages and levels of achievement.

After four years in college, I earned my Bachelor’s Degree and certification in both Elementary and Special Education. My professional teaching journey began in a special school for students with significant reading and language needs. Over the years, I have taught special education and general education at the elementary and middle school levels. I also had the opportunity to teach “gifted and talented” students at a magnet middle school in Baltimore County. In addition to the joy of teaching children, I was fortunate to teach undergraduate and graduate courses in education for aspiring teachers. Inspiring people to become teachers was one of the things I admired about Sr. Marie Xavier, and I was thrilled to be able to follow her example—as I had the opportunity to teach one of my classes in the classroom where she had taught me!

My traditional pathway to teaching has led to more than three decades in a career that I love! Next week, a teacher who followed a different pathway will share his story. Please share your thoughts with me on Twitter @FCPSMDSuper. And if you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it on Facebook or Twitter.