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Why I Educate: College of Education Alumnus On His Motivation to Teach


We’re highlighting the accomplishments of College of Education alumni and learning more about why they choose to educate.

Douglas Marquis McCullough is a 2010 Science Education graduate who teaches chemistry, forensics and physical science at Cary High School.

Here’s what Douglas had to say about his motivation to be a high school educator.

When did you know that you wanted to be an educator? What was your aha-moment?

I knew I wanted to teach when school became a place that I wanted to be more than home.

As a student, I found educators who valued my capabilities and curiosity, and I knew that was something I wanted to provide for others.

What continuously motivates you to teach?

Knowing that even though I had supportive teachers and parents, I have the intrinsic motivation to do well.

Many students have circumstances and experiences that keep them from finding this intrinsic motivation and school can sometimes be prohibitive for students seeking inspiration. I try to make sure that my classroom and school in general are places that students can find motivation when they can’t get it anywhere else.

What has been your most rewarding moment or success as a teacher?

I find it rewarding when working with a student and in the midst of their adversity they develop the resilience to try.

This is the ultimate success because I know there’s been a shift in the mindset of this student and they will hopefully carry this motivation with them for the rest of their life.

It may not happen often, but when it does, it makes everything worth it!