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Jason Stewart is a fourth grade teacher at Edison Elementary School in Detroit. See what he has to say about the education that goes into such a profession.
What led you to pursue a career as an educator?
“I have always enjoyed being around and entertaining my younger cousins–putting on plays, writing raps and just being around kids. Also, I worked at a day camp for many years and knew I wanted a career where I could work with young people in some capacity. Also, I have always had a thirst for learning, so majoring in education in college seemed the best fit.”
What did you learn in college that helped you become successful for your current role as an educator?
“The methods courses I took as an undergrad gave me a solid foundation in beginning to develop an educational philosophy. The most fascinating to me were in regards to multiculturalism, children’s literature and educational psychology.”
What are some ways you prepared for employment prior to entering the job market as a teacher?
“My pre-student teaching and student teaching placements were the first examples of preparing me to become a teacher. I was able to work with students in Farmington Hills and Dearborn Heights prior to working in Detroit, where I have taught since 1999. I volunteered with pre-kindergarten students in a summer reading program, and tutored students between the ages of 8-12 in reading and math. While student teaching, I believe I impressed the administrator as I served as a building substitute a few times in a K-8 school. So I have to say ‘trial by fire’ applies here, and I survived an early test, which was easily the best preparation for future employment.”
How do you use what you learned while attending school in teaching children in a real classroom environment?
“The biggest thing I have found in my career as an educator is the willingness and understanding that I need to be adaptable. Theories, hypotheses and case studies give you a foundation and an understanding about how students learn. But planning, experimenting, collecting data and being prepared to modify the way you teach is something that I feel is crucial to obtaining long-term student successes.”
What has been the best thing about becoming a teacher?
“Working with kids! I joke with relatives that–no offense–being around adults all day long has to be a drag. Working with young people is such an adventure in that their unpredictability may frighten some people, but to me it is something that allows for a career filled with unexpected ‘teachable moments,’ helping to mold the minds of our future innovators and leaders, and just having the ability to infuse joy and fun into our daily learning.”
After receiving a BA in Photography from Savannah College of Art & Design, Nicole Wrona began working with a diverse range of musicians. In addition, she is a freelance writer for numerous publications. Her work can be found at www.metalleaves.com and Examiner.com.