Committed to becoming a high school English teacher and having a positive impact on her students

LP - Jennifer Russo 2When I was 12, my parents told me that my seven-year-old brother Brent was falling behind in school. They knew I enjoyed helping him with his homework, so they asked me if I could take on the responsibility of tutoring him during the summer. Brent needed help with reading and writing, and as I have always been passionate about both, I jumped at the task. I turned my room into a mini classroom, with a desk for Brent and a whiteboard easel. I made vocabulary flashcards and fun writing activities, and I picked out books to read with him. Although Brent was reluctant at first, eventually he had as much fun as I did. Sometimes he became frustrated when reading, but I kept encouraging him, telling him that he was doing great. After working with him over a few weeks, I noticed that Brent was becoming independent, reading and writing sentences without asking me how to spell or pronounce a word. One day, I saw Brent on the living room couch reading a book aloud on his own. I smiled at him, so proud of how much progress he made. From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a teacher.

At first, I thought I would teach elementary school because I loved working with Brent, and I understood the importance of helping kids learn in their early years. However, during high school, I realized that older students need just as much encouragement and as many engaging activities as elementary kids. I noticed that many of my high school teachers gave up on unmotivated students too easily, thinking that it is too late for them to develop motivation and a love for learning. I disagree; I think all students, young or old, simply need someone who believes in them for them to succeed. I felt compelled to be the high school teacher so many of my peers were lacking: a teacher who gives every student a chance and finds a way for every student to learn, without ever doubting anyone’s potential.

By the time I applied to college, choosing a major was simple. I was set on teaching high school, and because I always enjoyed helping Brent with reading and writing, I decided to major in English Secondary Education. Now I’m entering my third year of college, and I’m committed to becoming a high school English teacher. I was recently accepted into the College of Education at my university, which means that soon I will be student teaching and managing a classroom by myself. Two years from now, when I graduate, my diploma will not just represent my success in college; it will be my key to my classroom, where I will have the opportunity to have a positive impact on every one of my students. Although teaching will never be easy, I will do everything in my power to show my students I believe in them and encourage them to learn and succeed.

We are proud to announce Jennifer Russo is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column) and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.

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