by Dylan Lubs - University of Wisconsin-Stout

Growing up, teaching never jumped out to me. I never noticed it as a career opportunity or the career I would end up pursuing. Instead, I always thought on a bigger scale such as sports broadcasting or becoming a sports journalist. However, through many personal experiences and self-reflection, I eventually saw teaching as an ideal fit.

Teaching is not meant for all. A successful teacher is a person who can lead, someone who is confident, optimistic, and shows compassion. As a young student, I went through many phases and adversities that has led me to the present. As early as the beginning of preschool and kindergarten, I loved getting to know new people and the daily routine at school. However, I often neglected my homework and used many tactics to avoid assignments at all costs. This of course wasn’t my parents fault because they preached and punished me many times for doing such things! To put it simply, I just didn’t care. However, the whole idea of school changed when my family needed to upgrade to a new and bigger home. Besides a different home, our move included a new school district and neighborhood. This was a transitioning period for me as I moved also from fourth to fifth grade. Sometimes I can still recall the devastation I felt leaving all my friends at my old school. Nevertheless, fifth grade also meant the start of organized tackle football. The opportunity to play football was something I had looked forward to for years but I was also frightened because I did not know anyone on the team. Luckily, practice started one month before the school year began and I could meet many new friends. Unfortunately, neither the new friends nor home changed my perception toward school however, my fifth-grade teacher did.

For the first time in my educational career, I had a male teacher, Aaron Merconti. The ways in which he managed the classroom, delivered a lesson, and went about teaching differed from all the teachers from my past years. He was someone I could relate to as a father-type figure and look up to as a true role model. Without realizing this at the time, I strived to be like him and attain leadership skills to equal his. Following fifth grade I experienced many more male teachers who played that same role in helping me grow as an individual and become a better person. For me, it developed a mindset about school becoming a home away from home.
Now, as a second-year undergraduate student at UW-Stout enrolled in the Early Childhood Education program, I have become more of who I was meant to be. I also realize that for me, life isn’t about ‘fitting in ‘but more about ‘standing out’. I do my best to be optimistic, and share my opinion and my ideas because sitting back and waiting for things to happen will never get me to the level I hope to reach nor the person I want to become. As an individual, I do my best to embrace life by taking advantage of opportunities that lie ahead. Getting involved through the MEN in Education campus organization has honed my leadership skills by organizing fundraisers and volunteering in community service activities such as Thursday Table. Also, I have been given the opportunity to study abroad this summer as I travel to Kathmandu, Nepal where I hope to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for another culture. I am committed to understanding different backgrounds of children as I strive to become a role model for those I teach and become a more effective educator. The opportunity to study the life and culture of Nepal will open my eyes to the ways other people live and learn. Certainly, the variety and richness of these experiences and opportunities will help shape my colorful personality as I strive to become an effective educator.

I have recognized that I am not like all the other guys my age. I am just different. I love all people equally and strive for equality. I express my love toward others and thus model leadership toward peers. I look forward to meeting new individuals and getting to know them personally. These traits stand out to me because I believe it is exactly what education needs right now. My dream is to someday be the teacher that Mr. Merconti was to me.