This is post is dedicated to two very important professors who deserve some recognition. They helped me make it through grad school (I officially have my Master of Arts in Teaching as of May, 16, 2017).
The first is Professor Sue Jackson. She taught at Hackensack High School in Hackensack, New Jersey as an English teacher for many years before starting as a professor at FDU. She now works as an education professor, teaching others how to implement lessons, run classrooms, and be great teachers. She is also an adviser to students going through the process of getting their teaching certificate.
She seems intimidating at her first because of her extreme height, but she is a gentle giant. Professor Jackson was my adviser during my student teaching. This means she came to observe me every couple of weeks and gave me advice about my lessons and teaching practices. I also reported to her for any problems and concerns I had during the process of my student teaching. At the beginning, I admit that I was very nervous and did not have much confidence in myself. Instead of assuming that I didn’t have what it took to be a teacher, Professor Jackson pointed out my good traits, such as being gentle and understanding. She taught me how to use these as strengths in my teaching and I gradually became more comfortable in front of the classroom. By the end of my student teaching, I was confident. Professor Jackson told me it was like a complete transformation, but I couldn’t have done it without her help. Even after my student teaching, she was willing to support me. When I was offered my first teaching job, she was able to give me advice, and when the new job did not turn out so smooth, she still gave me the moral boost I needed.
This educator is one of the most caring that I know. She is open about special education, mental health, and LGBT issues. She also goes out of her way to help her students. There were times when she called me late at night to discuss lesson plans and check in on my progress. If every educator was as wonderful as Professor Jackson, we would have a much better education system. And although I have decided to pursue educational writer rather than being in the classroom, I am still eternally grateful for all of the support she gave me.
Next is Doctor Miriam Singer. She is an associate professor at FDU and also the director of the QUEST program that helps to certify teachers. Doctor Singer has taught at all different levels in both mainstream classes and special education classes.
I first met Doctor Singer in a regular grad class where she was my professor. I loved how vivacious she was- so bubbly and excited to be in the classroom. I thoroughly enjoyed her class, and it is still one of my favorites to this day.
A year or so later, she would also be my instructor for a class about student teaching. Professor Jackson went into the physical classroom to meet with us and watch us; Doctor Singer held a class at FDU for students who were currently doing their student teaching. In this class, we discussed how each of our student teaching was going and compared our experiences. Doctor Singer collected any papers or assignments that were due, such as our teaching portfolio at the end of the semester.
Toward the last quarter of my student teaching, I became very stressed. I was overwhelmed with personal and financial issues, as well as the stress of student teaching and grad school. One time during this class, I became very upset because of all of the stress. Dr. Singer took me out in the hall and comforted me. Ever since then, Dr. Singer always checked up on me to see if I was doing okay. She was also very supportive whenever I came to her for advice. She helped me research career opportunities, possible PhD programs (I am still considering this), and wrote recommendation letters for me. She even called me late at night to discuss a job she had heard about.
Dr. Singer is another wonderful educator. If only every teacher were as caring and dynamic. I aspire to be just like her.
These two professors were my support during grad school and I cannot thank them enough.