Teachers of New Jersey: From Homeschooling to Stockton Student Teacher

NJ Teachers’ Lounge is excited to present “Teachers of New Jersey” a series that celebrates New Jersey educators: their joys, their struggles, their personal reflections on what it is to be a teacher. To bring you these portraits, we’ve partnered with photojournalist, Gregory Andrus, creator of the social media series, Portraits of the Jersey Shore. We hope that you enjoy these “Portraits of the Jersey Teacher.” 

“I am in a teaching program at Stockton, and am a student teacher now. I was home schooled before I went to college. It was great—we had tutors, and we had a co-op, so teachers would volunteer their time to teach us their trade or passion, like gardening, sewing, or English. I saw their passion for what they taught, and how meaningful it was to them, and I think that started the spark for my interest in teaching one day.”

“I first started at Ocean County College, I was just 17, and I was so scared. But my very first class of my college career was Political Science, and I had Professor Ghibisi. Professor Ghibisi just blew my world. He was amazing. You could tell that he was on fire for what he was teaching, and everyone in his classroom grabbed on to that. He invited us to learn with him, and I never experienced that before. The more time I spent with the amazing teachers at OCC like Professor Ghibisi, the more I wanted to become a teacher myself.:

“When I transferred to Stockton I started student-teaching elementary students, and last semester I student-taught 7th grade English. Those students were absolutely great. It takes more effort reaching the older kids with the lesson, because they are going through a lot of changes in their life at that stage. But when you do reach them, it is so worth it. When they finally understand something, you can see it in their faces, and that’s why I teach.”

“I believe my own background and experiences will help me as a teacher to understand the kids who act out, where they are coming from. My mom was a single parent while I was growing up. My father exited my life at an early age, when I was around 5. I had a really great mom, who made up for my dad not being there. She had no college degree, and growing up, I saw how hard she struggled at several jobs just to make ends meet. It was she who pushed me to go to college, because she had experienced how much harder life could be without a degree. It was really important to her that I got an education, and that was one of the best gifts she ever gave to me—to push me to go further in life.I don’t think students realize that teachers have a past too, that we had our own troubles growing up. I think them knowing that I am on their side will help a lot.”

I will be graduating from Stockton this May. I am so excited to start my teaching career. I always liked learning. I love reading and discussing and growing, and I am really passionate about wanting to inspire that same hunger for learning in my students. My professors did that for me, and I want to share that passion for learning with my students.”

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