Lara, BS in French Education '09, MEd in Multicultural Education/TESOL '13

PA Teacher of the Year Finalist. Innovator. Traveler.

How would you describe courage in 1 sentence? 

Courage = Working daily with the belief that you can shape a brighter future, and believing you can make a difference in someone’s life.

How did getting your degree require courage? 

During my second year as the only French teacher in my district, I was busy building a curriculum, and it took courage to consider taking on another time-consuming endeavor. Additionally, during the first year of my MEd program, I traveled to France with a student group. This is a huge responsibility and it took courage to stay focused on coursework while the details of preparing and executing a trip were overwhelming at times. 

How does your current job or career path require courage? 

My job requires courage to be flexible with an unpredictable classroom environment. Also, because I identify more as an introvert, I muster up the courage to leave my comfort zone in order to convey lessons in non-conventional and sometimes wacky ways. Teaching at a small school, I am with the same students for up to five years of their education. Because of this, I need a resilient courage to walk alongside students through various stages of their lives and education until they find success. Lastly, it has taken courage to move to a new community and attempt to establish myself as a leader there. 

How did EU help you become more courageous in your thinking and actions?

Eastern helped me to become more secure in my beliefs, and myself, and to appreciate the beauty in diversity. During my MEd, Eastern also offered great support that provided me with the courage to finish my degree during a hectic time in my life and career. Also, a year after I finished my degree, I was inspired to apply for a grant through the French government to study with teachers of French from around the world. Eastern’s program inspired this drive and curiosity to spend time learning alongside of a diverse group of educators. During this experience, my contributions were well informed and richer because of my time in Eastern’s M.Ed program.  

Where do you hope courage will lead you in the future?

I hope that courage continues to push me outside of my comfort zone. In my career as an educator, I see implications of this in the domains of curriculum, professional development and as a student advocate. I want to always be willing to try new concepts and methods even when they’re daunting or unfamiliar. Moreover, I hope courage will open the doors to do research and curriculum development in parts of the francophone world. Just as important, I hope that I will always have the courage to make my classroom a safe place for students and to stand up for their best interests. 

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