Student Story: Marisa LeVeque

I was raised to apply my best effort in school and achieve academic excellence, always with my parents’ support and encouragement. Because of this, I highly value academics, and have been taught to view education as a priority and gateway to opportunities.

Throughout my years in school, however, I struggled in math. This challenge began in elementary school, and grew only more daunting as my academic career progressed. When I was a junior in high school, my battle with math reached a climax. I would frequently go to school at 6 a.m. to pour over study sheets. After school, I would stay until 6 p.m. in tutorial, trying to sort out my confusion. While I was making these sacrifices of time, so was my teacher. He would meet me at 6 a.m. and stay until 6 p.m., too.

He was patient and eagerly faced the challenge of trying to explain the same content in a different way that just might click. His positive attitude and words of encouragement kept me upbeat and confident whereas so many times before, I could sense other instructors’ frustration, and would feel ashamed. His personal time, supernatural patience, and positive attitude left me a more confident student.

I think the professors in Seattle Pacific’s School of Education are gifts, too. As students, we have spent so much time with them. They show that they truly desire our success and are always available and willing to answer questions or hear stories. They have been an invaluable support system. Even during my internship when I wasn’t in their classes, they were eager to answer questions and serve as resources. I feel that these relationships would be rare at a different, or larger, university.

Furthermore, I appreciate that SPU allows us to earn our certificates along with our degrees. This is something that SPU’s Education program offers that other universities do not. At other schools, you earn your major in four years and then have to go on to earn your teaching certificate. Today, I feel fully prepared to enter into my profession as an educator because of my experience in the program. We are expected to work hard and, with the commitment and work ethic this program requires, I feel that I am a successful teacher.

After graduation, I plan to substitute teach so that I can continue to develop my skills, learn from other teachers, and make connections in a few districts. I am also looking into teaching abroad. Five years from now, I hope to have my own classroom and continue to refine my skills as a teacher, apply recent research to my practice, and become comfortable with the curriculum for my grade level. I will hopefully be pursuing a master’s degree, too.

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