Don’t Stress

By James Teixeira, SED 2018

TeixeiraCollege can be an extremely stressful experience. There are what seems like a million important decisions to make – some that could have a lifelong impact. I’ve met an overwhelming amount of people who all seem to have their lives figured out. From the kids who know they want to be high school U.S. history teachers to those who are on the pre-med track dreaming of a prestigious medical school. Then there are people like me who have desperately tried to figure things out and always come up short somehow.

Every day I decide on a different career. I’ve explored teaching, psychology, law, the medical field, and any other major profession you can imagine. Pressured by outside influences like what my annual salary will be or where I want to live or what I want to be doing for the rest of my life make deciding on a career a daunting task.

Growing up I always wanted to be teacher, but other people don’t always have the best reaction to this aspiration. They say things like “you’re going to be miserable” or “how will you survive on that salary?” People have even asked me “If you’re going to go to BU why wouldn’t you choose a more prestigious career?” It’s unbelievably hard to have a clear head when there is pressure coming from every direction. After a lot of soul searching this year and some help from the Career Development Office at BU, I’ve come to a few conclusions.

First, it’s okay to not have everything figured out at this stage in your life. So many people have told me to find my passion and follow my heart. It turns out that finding your passion isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially when you have the weight of a decision that affects the rest of your life on your shoulders. I’ve always dreamed of being a teacher, but I let myself get lost in the judgment of everyone surrounding me and the worry of what my quality of life will be. It is important to not to let outside factors contribute to your decision making.

Last semester, I attempted to embark on the pre-med track to fulfill the expectations of the people around me. I convinced myself that it was what I wanted to do until I realized that something was missing – that something being the burning flame of passion and excitement for the career ahead of me.

Lastly, it’s okay to explore a subject you’re interested in without having a clear destination in mind. Your bachelor’s degree does not set in stone your path in life. My journey so far at BU has been one of exploration. I know for a fact that I want to work with kids someday, and although I’m not totally sure what I want to be doing, I know that graduating from the School of Education leaves me with more options than I had previously realized.

My one piece of advice is to never let anyone devalue your ambitions – you have to make the right choices for you in order to live a satisfactory life. I have always aspired to make a difference in the lives of children and some day I will attain that dream one way or another. For now, I am making the most of attending the amazing institution that is Boston University.

James Teixeira is a sophomore in the School of Education, majoring in History Education

I Don’t Do It for the Money

By Sarah White, SED 2016

Sarah White“I’m not doing it for the money, though,” I find myself saying yet another time with yet another smile on my face.

But behind my smile, I feel slightly annoyed. When will I stop being told how little money I’ll earn through the education field? When will I stop needing to defend my choice to pursue it as my career path anyway?

And I hope that you’ll ask me why. If not for money, why am I here? Why am I working so hard?

I’ll tell you.

I do it for the real smiles and the hearty laughs of my students. As they find joys in small moments, they often remind me how wonderful the simple pleasures in life can be. Just this past summer, I thought that air-conditioning in the building would be the best thing that could happen on the hottest day of the year, but my students thought differently. All they wanted was a frozen popsicle with their lunches, and when they got it, I never saw more satisfied faces.

I do it for their bad days, too, though. I want to teach middle school, and often I hear “good luck dealing with their moodiness!” when I tell people. For those who think that, I genuinely thank you all for your well wishes. I’m sure that I’ll need them. There will be challenging days. But I was a middle school girl once, and I know for a fact that having an adult who cares enough to turn your bad day into a good one makes all the difference.

I do it to make those bad days a little less bad. Maybe I can even turn it into one of those good days, with smiles and laughter. Or maybe not. But I won’t know if I don’t try.

I do it because that student over there? She was reading well below her grade level when I first met her. Now? She just finished her first chapter book on her own, and she was ecstatic.

I do it for the times a student says, “Thank you, Miss White.” Once, a boy earned a 98 on his history test. I’m his English tutor, and he said his work with me helped him with the short answers. He said he knew I’d be proud. I was.

I do it to tell students that I am proud of them. I want to encourage them, to push them further and harder than they think they can work, and I want them to understand to force them to see potential in themselves, and to challenge themselves as a result.

I do it because the moment a student makes a realization, finishes a problem, understands what you’ve been saying for months – the moment he does it on his own is better than hitting the jackpot in the lottery.

I do it because despite the hard parts – the late nights lesson planning, those same lessons that don’t go as planned, the students, parents, and administrators who may challenge me, the students who challenge each other, the problems I may both create and solve – despite all of that and more, I feel I have a purpose.

I do it because someone did it for me. Someone pushed me to read, to write, to problem solve, to think critically, and to push myself to be a better person. I want to do that for someone else.

I don’t do it for the money, but I am doing it to invest in the future.

Sarah White is a senior in the School of Education, majoring in English and ESL Education

Taylor Harris: Veteran, Coach, SED Alumnus

Boston University School of Education alumnus Taylor Harris talks about how his time at BU and in the Marine Corps prepared him for a career in coaching. Taylor is a former NCAA Division I lacrosse player, and as an assistant coach helped lead the Tufts University men’s lacrosse team to a NCAA DIII championship.

While coaching at Tufts, Taylor completed the School of Education’s masters program in Physical Education & Coaching (Class of 2015). After graduation, Taylor went on to become the program coordinator for Northwestern University’s women’s lacrosse program.

Special thanks to Professor Michelle Porche for creating and editing this video.


Summer Camp 2015

By Sara Toledo, SED 2018

Sara Toledo PhotoFor education majors, it can be difficult to decide what to do with your summer. While internships are available for a lot of other career paths, that’s not as much of a possibility for those pursuing education. Since the academic school year does not run during the summer, it can be difficult to find a position in a school over the summer.View post That was an issue I ran into this year.

Around the end of the Spring 2015 semester, I realized I should probably start looking for a job for the summer so I could make some money while I was at home for 3-4 months. Throughout my life, I have attended a summer day camp program ever since I was 6 years old. When I was old enough and eligible to become a junior counselor, I worked for the summer camp I attended in the previous years called Sesame/Rockwood Day Camp. Unfortunately, I stopped working for the Summer 2013 and Summer 2014 seasons but this year I missed it so much I had to go back to that camp environment that I loved so much. Another unfortunate point in my decision to go back to camp was that I now lived about an hour away from my old camp, Sesame/Rockwood.

I knew I definitely wanted to work at summer camp, however I wanted to find something closer to home. I looked around and applied to a few places in my area and eventually went in to interview at a camp called Windmill Day Camp. After talking with two of the amazing directors, I realized that Windmill would be a perfect fit for me. I gratefully accepted when they offered me a position and came back in a few weeks to start training.

Training at Windmill proved to be a really fun, friendly, and constructive environment. All of my fellow staff members were extremely welcoming and let me in to their little family that they had already built there. Although I had been in a camp environment for most of my summers, it was hard and nerve racking to move to a new camp. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the strong passion for a familial atmosphere that they embodied at Windmill.

When it came time for camp to start, I was very excited to receive my new group of campers! With my trusty co-counselor Abby by my side, we started off on a great foot with our group of six-year-old campers. I was very excited to work with my six year olds, not only because camp is fun, but because I might want to teach first grade one day and that’s what age they will be (after all this job was supposed to give me an “internship” type work experience).

It proved to be a challenging summer when I was given a group of five year olds for the second half of camp, this time without a co-counselor. Although flying solo was nerve racking, to say the least, I think it was a very realistic feel to what teaching will be like. I was appreciative that my directors not only gave me the opportunity to work by myself, so I could gain a little more experience, but I was also humbled that they trusted me enough to venture out on my own with my own group. I definitely enjoyed my summer at camp and I really look forward to next summer. Hopefully, it will bring a lot of new challenges and experiences.

Sara is a sophomore in the School of Education, majoring in Elementary Education

Research (But Not the Boring Kind)

By Debra Regensburger, SED 2017

Debra PhotoAt 5 years old I already went around my kindergarten class telling others that I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up. I have known I wanted to teach for as long as I can remember; but I have also known that I am someone who needs change and growth often. My education at BU and SED so far has been thrilling and extremely informative but I find myself wondering what happens if I ever want to leave the classroom? I know I will still want to work with children and make a difference in education, but maybe not necessarily in the classroom setting. Luckily we have a wonderful thing called summer vacation where we can explore other sides of ourselves.

This summer as a member of the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), I signed on as a research assistant under the mentorship of Dr. Zachary Rossetti, an assistant professor in the Special Education Department of SED. He was beginning a project, along with two doctoral students and a grad student, about culturally and linguistically diverse family’s experiences in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. The title of the project itself intimidated me and I was aware of the fact that I was the youngest member of the team. Maybe I had gotten myself in too deep. How would I understand all of the fancy research terminology? Would I be able to contribute anything?

At our first meeting, I and others were encouraged to speak up if we had any questions, and when I did ask my questions I was often praised for inquiring and thinking deeply about the project. I even asked questions that seemed irrelevant but in actuality connected to the theme or instead became a good conversation starter, which enabled me to learn even more about special education and research in general.

My tasks began with reading articles and discussing them with Dr. Rossetti in order to ensure that I fully understood our topic and how to conduct the research. I then began helping with the preparation for focus groups with parents. This led to attending the focus groups and transcribing the conversations that followed. Towards the end of the summer I began coding the transcriptions and now as the summer turns into the fall I am beginning to analyze with the research team and will hopefully be present for the writing of the article. I never imagined I could do or understand this much, but the guidance I received increased my confidence and allowed me to grow and learn.

As I look back on my summer I am amazed at the experience and mentorship I was fortunate enough to have. I still want to be a teacher and look forward to many years in the classroom. However, through UROP I discovered another opportunity that combines my passion for education and positive change.

Debra Regensburger is a junior in the School of Education, majoring in Elementary and Special Education

Mathematically Thinking

By Navraj Narula, SED 2016

As an English Education major, you would not find it surprising that one of the reasons why I picked literature to be my subject matter of expertise was because of the fact that I disliked math with a passion.

In middle school, I was required to take an exam that would determine whether or not I would be placed into the Algebra I class come eighth grade or whether I would remain in the standard math class. I did not pass this exam and ending up taking Algebra I my freshman year of high school instead. I felt as if this was the right fit for me because I was “bad at math.” Unfortunately, I chose to label myself as such for the remaining years of high school and first couple of college.

I did not neglect to study the material, though. I made a conscious effort to try to understand polynomial functions and I can tell you any day what F.O.I.L. stands for and when it should be used. However, math was taught to me in way that only served to promote my disinterest in the subject and made me feel like number theory was a necessity that I could lack.

I only came to discover the real-world applications that math could have when I began to take computer science courses within the College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). I was taught about the usefulness of statistical data, and how numbers can be used to highlight abnormal trends in medicine—maybe in an effort to even save lives. I learned how mathematically thinking about a problem can lead to clear-cut proofs and deliver messages that are hard to argue—that has got to be the art of persuasion at its finest. Functions itself, even if called upon recursively, can even be used to produce elaborate designs such as that resembling a Sierpinski carpet.

I am so excited to keep learning more about this new field I never felt the need to explore. All education should be stimulating as this!

Jessica Deshler and Elizabeth Burroughs, both mathematics university professors, collaborated on an article entitled “Teaching Mathematics with Women in Mind.” While I am in no way implying that (young) men in classrooms should remain amiss in the mind of a teacher when it comes to STEM subjects, I do think this article was a worthwhile read nonetheless.

Deshler and Burroughs claim that there are a minimum number of women in STEM fields for three reasons:

  • the existence of perceived gender differences (i.e. men are “smarter” than women in the field)
  • the lack of interest in STEM by women
  • the influence of the STEM workplace environment

As a female newly learning math, of course, I am thinking about such things as well, but more so about teaching mechanisms related to the topic. Deshler and Burroughs bring up another strong point regarding the fact that what is missing from the mathematical experience in classrooms—to all genders, I might even add—are explicit discussions about the opportunities they may one day have when they’ve taken more courses involving mathematical content.

This was certainly the case for me and I wonder how different the lives of some of my future students would be if they were taught in this more active manner. The idea of discussion, debate, and argument is certainly more so associated with the humanities and social sciences. Why not be more progressive and encourage it in all subjects as well?

Navraj Narula is a senior in the School of Education, majoring in English Education