M.T., secondary science
Current subject area and level of teaching
Biology, grades 9-10
Where are you currently teaching?
Franklin Military Academy, Richmond, Va.
I am a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps who, upon being honorably discharged from the service, decided to attend Virginia Commonwealth University for an undergraduate degree in biology. While at VCU, I was president of the Student Veterans Association as well as a member of the VCU rugby team. As far as volunteer work goes, I was a mentor/instructor for an after-school program run by VCU for Richmond City high schoolers called the Health Careers Exploration course. I taught, mentored and graded assignments for the students, who received actual college credits for their completion of the course. I also taught a three-day module on the carbon cycle for Henrico County Public Schools students.
Why do you want to teach?
I want to teach because it is, much like the Marine Corps, more than just a job, but a lifestyle. I enjoy working with a diverse range of individuals, both teaching and learning from them as well. As a sergeant in the Marines, I had to not only supervise my men, but also serve as a teacher and role model; I feel that teaching demands similar characteristics of loyalty and honor to one’s profession. My mentoring/instructional volunteer work with high school-aged students while I was at VCU further cemented the fact that I enjoy teaching and want to make a positive impact on the students’ lives.
Please tell us about a memorable teaching experience and why it stands out in your mind.
During my observations of other classes at various schools, I witnessed some classrooms where the students were not at all engaged: either sleeping or goofing off. I wanted to make sure that I did my best to captivate my students when I began student teaching. I decided to do this by being very charismatic and through my words and actions, show the students that I fully enjoy the content I am teaching. I remember one particular class where I was lead teaching and I posed a thought-provoking question to the class. Many kids’ arms shot up in an effort to get me to call on them. One student was so excited he stood up and strained his arm as high as he could! I laughed and called on him, saying, “Okay, okay – answer the question before you explode!”
What has the Noyce program meant to you?
Our VCU NOYCE program is run by a group of fantastic professionals, and I feel fully supported by them and their efforts. VCU NOYCE not only provides needed financial assistance, but also a library of books and educational tools we are encouraged to borrow in order to make our classrooms that much more engaging.