3rd Quarter, 2005
Teacher Scholarship Winner
He is a graduate of SUNY Binghamton with a degree in Political Science and an Honor’s in History and has also completed a Liberal Arts Associates degree at Dutchess Community College. As of last March, he is a certified TEFL English Teacher through TEFL Worldwide Prague.
A Portion of Kenneth’s Winning Essay:
When it comes to teaching, I desire to be an open professor who my students can approach with any problem. This openness is a great way for students to feel a bond with a teacher and to gather the answers they desire but are too afraid to ask in class. It has been my experience that students are receptive to their teachers and need to ask questions in a more one to one manner. Teachers who allow this type of communication have a great impact on the learning of their students.
I also desire to be a master of my field, but with enough background in other areas to keep class fun and entertaining. Something I learned in college was that what one studies in one subject has a strange way of popping up in what appears to be an isolated, yet evidently related class. It is these connections that show people the complexity of learning and understanding and is the greatest reason of the importance of debate and a constant exchange of ideas. No one is right all or even most of the time unless that person is open and receptive to people around them. This is what I would want to point to and show my students. The need to keep learning is the only way to truly understand the world, and it makes you the best that anyone can be.
The field of teaching I would like to go into would be history. The main reason for this is my undying love of the subject. But particularly I would desire to teach American history, Constitutionalism and modern American Political thought. This with a well rounded education into other areas can give any student a wonderful understanding of the world and hopefully will open their eyes to the importance of listening and playing devi’s advocate. Challenging one’s argument with the opposite point of view, even if you do not believe it yourself, is an ingenious way to gage how well other people know the subject, or if they are merely caught in an emotional stance that shows no real reason or logic to their argument. I was taught this lesson through my own parents, who always argued the opposite of what I said, showing me points that I had not known or arguments that I could not counter. As a youth, and still as an adult, this method has left an imprint on me and perhaps is a needed technique for other people to learn. If nothing else it shows understanding of a situation and the ability to listen when others speak; something that seems lacking in today’s education of future generations. The importance of this method, in history and political science, is it shows the need to stay logical and reasonable. Emotion in these areas, though good to have, can become blinders to an individual, causing irrational thought and perhaps grave consequences that could be overlooked without a steady mind. This is a gift I would want to give to my students.
My reasoning for wanting to become a professor of history and political science is simple. For starters, I truly believe that people need to know what their culture and heritage means. It is vital for any people to understand themselves and to know what it is that makes them that way. This is especially true for Americans as it seems to me at this moment that a lot of people that I have met do not know what it means to be an American. They do not see the positive side; they only become lost in a modern problem that is going on in politics at the moment, i.e. the War in Iraq. Though quite important, these people to not wrestle with any other problems; one being love of country versus a distrust of government. This seems more prevalent to me, as the war in Iraq may not be changed at the moment, but the need to fight that war may in fact become reality for these people if circumstances dictate it to become so.
People seem to not see any love for the country or its people. This saddens me, for the only way to make change is to understand your own people and the people around you. This is one reason I want to become a teacher. I want to show this to the world, and I want the world to understand that things are not always black and white, and there is room for a lot of grey. Even when it is black and white, there are still other questions that must be asked and understood. It is these questions that produce all grey areas and must have a weight upon consciousness and being. It is no good to become stuck on one issue, for to do so means you really don’t know what is going on. It is important that people learn that everything is interconnected and to believe one thing means understanding in several other areas.
Another reason I desire to become a teacher is that I wish to give back to the world. I have been watched for and taken care of most of my life by my family. To become a teacher would be one way for me to repay that. To teach would be to become integrated permanently into a community, watching people grow and grasp for the heights previously not thought of. If over the career of 25 years I could touch only one student, then at least I will know that I have done some good for the world at large. To help another prosper is a feeling that I imagine can not be summed up in words or explained in thought. It is just to know that you have done good, pure good.
Teaching is a choice for the dedicated I believe. It takes a certain type of person to survive this area of life, just as it takes a certain type of person to be an architect or a printer. In life, happiness is achievable, but only if you know what you are looking for. I know what I am looking for, I only hope for the opportunity to reach it.
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