1st Quarter, 2007
Teacher Scholarship Winner
“Hi, my name is Aaron Bregman, and I am a 22 year old born and raised in Danvers, Massachusetts. I attended college at American University in Washington D.C. where I majored in History and minored in American Foreign Policy and Jewish Studies. I will be attending American University this year, as well, for graduate school in Secondary Education.
The reason why I am going for my Masters in education is because I plan on being a high school history teacher after college. I have always had a passion for history, and becoming a teacher is a goal I have always wanted to accomplish. I feel it is an important and respectable job to have. I want to give back to students like teachers gave their time and wisdom to me.
I have always been an active member in the Jewish community, serving as president in my local community chapter in high school and becoming president of American University’s Hillel organization my senior year. I have been to Israel a number of times and am going back this summer as a staff member for a high school group.
My hobbies include, hanging out with friends, playing poker, reading current events, watching movies and just trying to enjoy life. Overall, I am very fortunate for this scholarship and am looking forward to joining the millions of teachers in this country who help make education an important aspect in all students’ lives.”
A Portion of Aaron’s Winning Essay:
The idea of being a teacher is daunting. Teachers are credited with touching lives, molding student’s interests, raising generations and helping to formulate new ideas. Learning about the pros and cons of teaching, the system and what makes a good teacher was initially intimidating to me. I would sit through class thinking to myself, that a 21-year-old college boy who loves to watch baseball and talk about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has no right getting inside the head of a seventeen-year-old student. I would think that I have no right teaching a child about the wonders of democracy, the beauty of American history, the intricate nature of English grammar or the complications of quantum physics. However, upon more careful consideration, it became clear that the tricks to being a good student are equivalent to the tricks of being a good teacher.
Throughout my career as a student, I have had the opportunity to lead clubs, to counsel younger children and to gain a sense of appreciation for knowledge at its most basic state. These experiences I have gained, allow me to understand the different multi-intelligence theories of all age groups. These experiences and realizations are priceless, and universal. Human nature dictates that as an individual grows, learns, and experiences the world, they will start to develop a fervor or enthusiastic craze for a particular subject or topic. For example, many Americans take pride and passion in their various communal organizations and clubs. They find fulfillment in helping to build a vibrant, meaningful and successful community. However, while the ends justify the means, the life of a communal leader, or club president is frequently a demanding one.
I learned this through my high school tenure as president of my local youth group chapter and through being the president of the Jewish Students Association at American University. I learned that holding a position of such magnitude means that people expect you to take yourself and the community seriously. It’s hard work, long hours and at times, people become difficult to deal with. Time management, programming and inter-personal relationships are nearly impossible to manage. However, when I am able to balance the three, the reward is incredible. The satisfaction from being able to relate to my peers and create programs that will help them reach out to one another and help them to discover themselves is priceless. After each successful program, I feel as if I have changed the world by changing one life. I know that that very feeling is the same one that I am going to experience in the near future as I stand in front of a class, eager to learn, eager to explore their relationship with texts, with concepts, with group work and with me. I know that my students will become difficult to deal with–arguing about unfair grades and creating an extraordinary amount of fantastic excuses to justify their lack of timely homework assignments. The hours of being a teacher are difficult as well. Waking up early, working straight through the day, just to return home to write lesson plans and grade papers seems almost not worth the effort. However, the gratification will not come from the sleep, or the paychecks but will come from knowing that I made a difference in the life of a child, that I opened him or her up to a new idea or concept. I know that I will be just as passionate about making my lesson plans work as I am about making my programming work. To teach is to touch a life.
In addition to spending my academic years working with different clubs and organizations, I spend my summers working with children at a day camp. My camp director once taught me that being a camp counselor requires more than just managerial skills. Of course it is fun being in the sun all day, being able to swim and bonding with co-counselors, but that “summer dream” aspect of the job vanishes quickly when one out of fifteen campers is horsing around and gets hurt falling down on the basketball court. The philosophy behind being a good counselor is that your number one priority is to ensure the physical and emotional well being of the campers while being a good role model. However, every now and then, counselors do occasionally need to be reminded that while camp is fun, it is a job. The desire to be a camp counselor stems from my fantastic experiences as a camper. I feel it is my responsibility to give back to the younger generation; to show them what was given to me as a camper. Helping campers grow by using their kinesthetic intelligences, I want to create a camp environment that runs smoothly, and creates growth and successful opportunities for children in the places they would be likely to find them; on the basketball court, in the pool or in arts and crafts. In a lot of respects, being a teacher is just a more “cleaned up” version of being a camp counselor. It is just as difficult to manage twenty-five chatty teenagers, as it is to manage fifteen hyperactive five year olds. The general concept is the same; both thirst for attention and for successful opportunities.
While campers look for these opportunities in obvious mediums–like sports and competitions–educational success is a little trickier. It is certain that students look for success and justification through grades, but there is so much more to education. My job as a teacher goes beyond the physical traits of hard work through deciding a grade (which is little, if anything, more than a squiggle on a piece of paper). I must create success and growth opportunities for them through exciting lesson plans, where they can create and show off to each other in a fun and academic setting. I must also be an intellectual role model for my students, teaching them that it is cool to be able to understand Shakespeare, or teach them that it is not dorky to know all fifty states in alphabetical order. By being a teacher, I will need to teach my students about general literacy, but more than that, I will teach them what it means to be a human being. By being a good student now, fortunate enough to share my education with fantastic professors in college, I am convinced that I, too, will make a good teacher.
The teachers I have had the opportunity to study with have gone out of their way in order to teach me to grow up. I have learned valuable facts and morals from a variety of textbooks and novels. I can calculate my tax and tip when I go out to dinner. I can watch the news and analyze the situations between the biased journalistic words and between the real facts that took place. I know what I wanted to learn as a student, and I am excited to give to the younger generations what I have always craved. I have learned that boring lectures, with long unnecessary vocabulary words are a waste of everyone’s time, so I can’t wait to find mediums of art, role-play and music to express my lessons. I know that I am going to treat my students, as I have always wanted to be treated–with respect, with faith and with dedication. I was never given up on by the system or by my teachers, and I have no intent of giving up on it.
It is really incredible to sit back and think about the fact that through nothing more than life experiences I feel confident to teach others. Each experience I have lived has taught me something that I am yearning to teach. Time management, community relations, creating opportunities, seeing the big picture and realizing the fundamental value of education for education’s sake have been the most paramount keystones of my young adult life. I hope to continue to learn, to continue to grow and to continue to feed off of my teachers and my environment.
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