When I was a little kid, I wanted to grow up to become a teacher. My career goals fluctuated quite a bit in the ensuing years, but I’ve found that I’ve come around full circle to once again hoping to become a teacher. Partly on purpose and partly by accident, I decided to come to Swat, which has amazing departments in the two subjects that I need to master on my pathway to becoming a high school biology teacher.
First, of course, I need to sing the praises of the Biology department. My first year at Swat, I took Bio 1 and Bio 2, the two introductory biology courses at Swat. I had the option to skip one of those classes using my test credits, but taking both was the right decision for me because it gave me the chance to adjust to Swat classes and to meet most of the professors in the biology department. One of my favorite things about Bio 1 and Bio 2 is that they are taught by a team of professors, so you get to learn with different teaching styles and with professors that specialize in different topics.
As someone interested in both biology and education, I was also really excited about the SGM program (Study Group Meetings). Bio 1 and Bio 2 both have a collection of student peers called SA’s (Science Associates) who host SGM’s and are generally available to answer questions and act as liaisons between the students and the professors. I found them to be very helpful for Bio 1 and 2, and am excited to work as an SA for Bio 1 this fall semester. Not only will this give me the opportunity to practice helping students with concepts in biology, but it will also allow me to connect to new students entering Swat and possibly the Biology department.
I could go on about the Biology department more, but I need to leave space to praise the Educational Studies department as well. Going into Intro to Education, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I felt very comfortable with the format of STEM classes, but didn’t have much experience with Social Sciences before. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the discussions were accessible but also pushed me to think more critically, and I loved the opportunity to hear about the diverse experiences that my different peers had with education.
For me, one of the best parts of the Educational Studies department is the placement program. When I enter the teaching program, I will spend a semester student-teaching, but before I get to that point I will have many-semesters-worth of experience in local schools. Most of the education classes include a placement component, where you go and observe or participate in a classroom once a week. It really helps supplement what we learn in class, but for me it’s especially helpful because each time I go to my placement I am able to learn about what it is like to be a teacher and can pick up tips that I hope to use.
I’m still nervous about getting closer to my career goals, but I also feel well prepared by the support and rigor that I get from both my biology and education classes.