Amaya Dicker ’21: ‘I’d Much Rather Be That Person Who Shows Up Every Day and Is There For Their Students and With Them Every Step Of The Way’
Amaya Dicker ’21 always enjoyed working with students, which is why she chose to participate in the NC State College of Education’s Students Advocating for Youth (SAY) Village. Through her experience with SAY, she realized her passion for teaching and is now pursuing a career as a middle grades English Language Arts and social studies educator. This is edited for length and clarity.
Why did you choose education?
People pinpoint a lot of problems with education and I want to be a solution. My role as a teacher can have a direct impact on students every day. I’d much rather be that person who shows up every day and is there for their students and with them every step of the way. I want to be a teacher because I know the kind of impact I can have and I know that showing up for them is what I do best. And I want to change the world.
Why did you choose to enroll in the NC State College of Education and study middle grades education with a concentration in English Language Arts and social studies?
I was originally a student in exploratory studies, so I had opportunity to look at all the colleges at NC State. I lived in the Students Advocating for Youth (SAY) Village, so I was directly connected to a lot of students and staff in the College of Education. I got to see their experiences, and I got to see the impact that a seemingly small college can have on a big campus and how involved the people inside the college are with each other. That definitely had some bearing on my decision. I also love language arts and social studies, and I knew working with children and youth was something I always wanted to do. The College of Education ended up being the perfect fit for me.
What did you choose to participate in SAY Village and how has it impacted your experience?
I’ve always enjoyed working with students. I saw it as an opportunity to do what I already loved and it exposed me to the College of Education. Through SAY, I have been able to grow professionally. I serve as an education advisor, where I plan and execute programs and socials for students coming into the program.
My experience in SAY has made me a person who considers others’ perspectives when I’m making decisions. It’s made me a person who is more caring and sensitive to different situations. Living in the village has offered me the opportunity to not just live, but to experience college with people who I know and trust. So, it’s made me a more outgoing person.
In my classes, I am able to offer a source of knowledge and speak from a place of experience rather than a place of theoreticals and ideology.
How did your experience at the School of New York Times help shape your future as an educator?
I interned as a residential assistant for the School of New York Times, a program for high school-aged students who are interested in art. They take classes with journalists and staff from the paper during the day and, in the evenings, they take field trips and participate in socials. I was in charge of planning and executing socials. I took my experience as an education advisor and working with teenage students to New York. And I’ll be able to take my experience from New York into my classroom. We tell students to take risks and bet on themselves, and I feel that I can speak from experience now. I am a person with more perspective.
What are you learning in your College of Education classes that will prepare you to be the educator that you want to be?
We have a strong focus on learning who our students are, learning who we are and learning what that means for teaching. The College of Education has taught me how to lesson plan, how to pull resources and how to interact with parents. I am learning how to stand in the shoes of a middle school student and what that means for me as a teacher. And, I am learning how to pull out the strengths and weaknesses of my students so that they leave my classroom as a different person.
I am also learning how to look at a student in a holistic way. If I do that, I’ll be remembered and I’ll have an impact on that student beyond what they learned. I’ll be a teacher who is there for her students and shows up for them every day. That is way more important than anything else.
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A future teacher takes on the big apple 🍎. . Amaya Dicker, a middle grades education major, is interning at the @schoolofnytimes this summer. As a residential assistant, she helps develop programs, field trips and service learning projects that complement the content students at the summer academy learn during the day.