Elyse Terry '11
I was first drawn to education because of the act of teaching itself: I was curious about the dynamics of engaging with another person in that particular way. Once I began taking education courses at Bowdoin, beginning with Education 101, I started to see that education meshed completely with my first academic love: history. I learned how educational institutions both shaped and were shaped by historical trends and forces. I enjoyed examining the different ways that knowledge has been constructed, valued and shared over time.
I have been fortunate to take a number of rewarding education courses, but more than any other, Education 310 was the course that showed me how the study of education and history could be intimately linked, to the benefit and enrichment of both fields. I was also tremendously impacted by the two education-related ASB trips in which I participated: Book It to the Bronx in the spring of 2008, and Counting on College in Charleston, SC, in the spring of 2010. Book It to the Bronx gave me my first up-close look at one type of urban education, and introduced me to the amazing and inspiring Harlem Children's Zone. My time in New York informed the Charleston trip that I co-led two years later with Lindsey Thompson ('10). Working in high schools in urban and rural settings in a region of the US that vastly differed from what I had known before was eye-opening. Education enriches my understanding of how communities work and helps me to be a better participant in the communities with which I engage. Is has taught me the importance of seeking compelling questions rather than right answers and has made me an inquisitive observer of people and places.
This year I am enrolled in Education 301/303 and will be working at a Portland middle school with the goal of becoming a Bowdoin Teacher Scholar in the spring. I hope to teach Social Studies to students in grades 7-12 after I graduate. No matter what path I take, I am confident that the skills and experiences I have acquired through participation in education courses will benefit me for the rest of my life.