People of Poe | Sarah Baker ’09 on Why She Teaches and is Back to Pursue a Master’s
Sarah Baker ’09 graduated from the NC State College of Education with a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education. After teaching eighth grade language arts for eight years in North Carolina schools, she decided to go back to school herself to pursue a master’s degree in K-12 literacy. Find out why Sarah chose to return to the College of Education, and why she loves being a teacher.
Why did you choose to enter the field of education?
My mom and grandmother were both teachers, so I always felt like it was in my blood. In eighth grade I decided I wanted to be a guidance counselor because of the counselor I had. But when I received the Teaching Fellows scholarship and found out counselor education wasn’t an option for the program, I didn’t pursue it. I contemplated pursuing a master’s degree in counselor education, but truth be told, I love being in the classroom. I like being with kids and how my job is different every day.
How do you hope that the degree you are pursuing will help you grow as a teacher?
I’m only half of a semester into the program, but I feel like I already have grown. Being back in school has allowed me to really reevaluate what I’m doing and change things up. I’ve already gained new perspectives, fresh ideas and new technologies to incorporate in my classroom. This keeps things fresh not only for the students, but also for me.
Can you tell us about an experience you’ve had that reaffirmed your decision to teach?
There are so many times in a given week where this happens. When my students have “a-ha” moments, when I see their character or leadership skills developing, or even when we just have conversations reminds me why I do what I do.
What do you wish people outside of the education profession understood about it?
There is a lot of negative talk about being a teacher. I wish people knew that not everyone feels that way. There are so many good things about being a teacher and being in the classroom — you just have to find the right fit.
How is your experience as a graduate student in the College of Education different from your experience as an undergraduate student?
I’m lucky because my graduate program is a cohort, which makes it similar to the close-knit nature of my undergraduate program. But this time around, all of us are teachers already. We’re coming at this with background knowledge so we’re able to go deeper with the things that apply to our career because we are in the thick of it now. I chose to come back to the College of Education for my graduate degree because I was hoping for a small, supportive program with quality teachers, and so far I’ve found that.
What advice do you have for someone considering a degree in education?
My biggest advice would be to remember why you’re going into the field and not lose focus on that — even when things get hard. Every day has its different challenges, and it’s important to not get caught up in negativity. Just remember why you’re there. Do what you love, and do the best you can.