I have always loved history, but it wasn’t until I was sitting in my world history class freshman year of high school, watching my favorite teacher share his love of history with our class, that I thought about sharing this love as a teacher. I had no idea where to start, so I held onto the possibility of becoming a teacher, not knowing if anything would come of it.
As I started my freshman year at Notre Dame, I hadn’t forgotten my hope of becoming a teacher. As I met some of my sister’s friends who worked with ACE – and they shared about how much they loved the people and the experience – I began to think more seriously about the program. That consideration of ACE led me to complete a Summer Service Learning Program in Browning, Montana, teaching middle school language arts at their summer school program.
Throughout the summer, I watched my students grow as they read books, improved their grammar, and wrote many short stories – including a couple of short plays that they staged and performed themselves. One of the highlights was helping students who didn't enjoy reading or writing find a book that they enjoyed or a writing prompt that they were excited about. At the end of the summer, I knew that I wanted to teach and help students discover their interests.
While I knew I wanted to teach, I also knew that it wasn't something I could do on my own. In ACE, I found the support I was hoping for in my first couple years of teaching. ACE’s commitment to our professional and spiritual development was what made me know that ACE was the perfect program for me. The commitment to giving each teacher the tools necessary to lead classroom learning was certainly appealing, but ACE’s focus on developing each teacher personally and spiritually set ACE apart from any other teaching program. This was evident from the beginning of my discernment process. ACE staff members were there to answer any question I had and were dedicated to helping me decide whether ACE was the right program for me. Throughout my past couple of months as an ACE Intern, the staff has continued to help me grow by encouraging me to think about my goals as a teacher in ACE and how I might help my future students thrive. They are concerned with shaping not just excellent teachers but thoughtful people who will excel at whatever career path they chose.
While my interest in teaching began years ago, it was not until learning about ACE Teaching Fellows that I had any idea how I might combine my career interests with my desire for personal and spiritual growth. ACE’s commitment to develop the whole person set it apart from any other program that I encountered, and I knew that I would receive the tools and support I needed to help my future students discover their passion, just like I did.