This is part of a monthly “Why I Chose Education” series in which NC State College of Education alumni, students, faculty and staff share why they chose education.
Matin Maani ‘22 spent the majority of his formative years in Beijing, China, and Haifa, Israel, where he experienced firsthand the “transformative effect teachers have on the minds and hearts of young people.”
In China, Maani attended an international school where students were encouraged to look beyond the words of their textbooks. He realized the connection between what he was learning in class and how it expressed itself in everyday life, and Maani discovered that education had its strongest impact and influence when “approached with the intellectual, socio-emotional and moral facets of the human being in mind” — a conviction he has carried with him into his courses and that helps guide his approach to becoming a teacher.
When Maani was in Israel, he volunteered at the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, where he was surrounded by people from a multitude of cultural backgrounds and ethnicities who were all trying to learn the same thing. He learned a lot about “what it means to be of service to humanity — how we can use our unique talents and skills to contribute to the transformation of society — and the importance of adopting a posture of constant learning and listening.”
“While reading stories about various educators from across the globe, I began to see how the role of a teacher was so in line with these notions of serving the world and operating in a mode of learning. My experiences in Haifa really expanded my notion of what it meant to be involved in education and how so much of it involves a two-way street for learning and acquiring knowledge that can then benefit our society,” Maani said.
Those experiences inspired him to want to pursue a career in education.
He was attracted to the NC State College of Education because of the opportunities it provided for future teachers and “it promised an integrated student-teacher experience.” Maani wanted to have the opportunity to get firsthand experience as early as possible. And not being familiar with Raleigh, he saw attending NC State as a great opportunity to get to know the city.
“I love learning from the observations and thoughts of students and find it so empowering to be in a classroom where everyone is working together to learn, analyze and apply new knowledge, especially when that knowledge contributes to the wellbeing of the students and their community,” said Maani.
Majoring in middle grades English Language Arts and social studies education, Maani plans to teach middle school, but he sees himself eventually transitioning into higher education. He would like to earn a doctorate and become a professor to “empower other young educators.”
When he’s not studying and preparing for his career as an educator, he enjoys creating and listening to music. He also loves reading historical narratives and non-fiction, playing basketball, meeting and making new friends, calling and meeting up with friends, or sitting by a body of water to reflect and meditate on life.
He shares why he chose education, how education shaped him, what he enjoys most about being in the NC State College of Education and what others should know about the college.
Why I Chose Education: I chose education because I believe it is the key to so many of society’s most challenging issues at the moment, and I also feel there is a lot of room for the education system to grow, and therefore there is a lot of wonderful potential waiting to be unraveled and utilized. I also chose education because I want to help young students deepen their love for learning and take that forward with them as a lifelong passion and desire.
How Education Has Shaped Me: Education has helped me build a conceptual framework through which I see, interact with and understand the world around me, and all of its moving parts, institutions, unique people and various social forces. Education has helped me understand more deeply the importance of education itself and how it is the responsibility of the whole to create conditions where all in the community can have access to education that serves their intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual needs.
What I Enjoy Most About Being Part of the NC State College of Education: The vibrance, joy and commitment of the staff and students! It gives so much life to the College of Education and makes you feel part of a community. I also enjoy that so many of the doctoral students, teachers and staff are young and from diverse backgrounds, which makes me feel more comfortable talking to them about any questions or concerns I have regarding my academic and/or life journey.
An Experience with the College of Education that Changed Me: My first opportunity to start observing in the classroom was for my ED 204 class at Centennial Magnet Middle School. That was the best experience ever. I loved that I, as a sophomore, got to work so closely and collaboratively with my lead teacher in thinking about ways I could help the students tap into their ever-present sense of community and channel those energies towards keeping their art classroom clean and organized. I learned a lot about how to interact, befriend and listen to students who all strive to reach excellence and may just express their needs and learning tendencies in different ways. I was also able to make strong friendships, even in a short span of time, with some of the students and that really filled my heart.
What Others Should Know about the College of Education: The College of Education has a group of staff specifically focused on helping students succeed, not only academically but also in regards to their life’s aspirations. There are also several opportunities for undergraduate students to meet, talk to and learn from a myriad of experienced professors and teachers in the college and engage in special research-based or internship projects that will bolster one’s learning experience.