What Brought Me To Teaching

My favorite teacher coincidentally happens to be the person who inspired me to get my masters in education. He was my high school AP Physics teacher, but to me he was far more than that. His name was Mr. Burrows. He taught my oldest brother, who is twelve years older than me and still remembered his first name. I first signed up for his class on the basis of his reputation as an outstanding educator and my love of science. I was in for a major surprise and many challenges.

You see Mr. Burrows was all business when it came to Physics. He possessed a great sense of humor. I had never had a teacher who could negotiate with students to sneak out of school across the street, get McDonald’s for him and the class, and then administer a mind numbing hands-on lab experiment in centripetal force. He showed us a new style of teaching, which put us in control. It was physics based on inquiry; he was the problem poser and we were the investigators. Never before had any of us seen teachers relinquish their role as fact provider, and assume a mature authority as the facilitator of inquiry and problem posing. He turned our worlds upside-down. He altered my perspective that teachers can be “cool”, human, and balance friendships; they don’t all have to be disciplinarians and drill on facts and procedures without emphasizing understanding. He exemplified learning, because he was relentless. In his class it was never about rote memorization, but rather about thinking and reasoning, it exemplified real world applications.

We not only became disciples of Physics, but we learned life lessons from him. I remember the first week in his class when he said, “Look people, where do you see yourself in five years, ten years, we need leaders”. This was something I had never really deeply contemplated. I have always loved learning, but Mr. Burrows instilled in me a purpose to become something greater, an aspiration to make education fun again. He challenged me to make a difference with my life, to believe that I am here for a reason, and called me to instill this conviction in my pupils.

When I think of myself five years from now; I see myself teaching a young group of minorities in South LA and inspiring them to become someone great, as did Mr. Burrows for me. I look forward to bringing a group of students to life with my knowledge, passion for learning, energy, and ability to engage them in the processes of learning.

The reason I chose the MAT@USC is, besides the fact that it is revolutionizing the way we learn, is the fact that the program’s focus is in addressing the inequalities in education. Specifically the inequalities we see for minorities and inferior socioeconomically disadvantaged students. This is something I feel very passionate about, being that I am a minority from a broken home, who can empathize with students who no-one expects anything out of.