Write an essay where you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to become a teacher.

When I tell my colleagues of my plans to become a high school teacher, I hear typical responses like, "Why would you do that?" or "High school kids have too many problems!" After a twenty-two year career in the military as a technician and scientist, it would be easy to transition into corporate America within my field of expertise. The pay alone certainly would be a relevant point of argument, as teaching careers are known to be relatively low-wage. For me, becoming a teacher is less about pay and more about passion.

Since I was a kid, I have been an academic at heart. The love of learning has guided me through many challenging and tragic experiences. Focus and dedication to knowledge and application of knowledge have served me well through my life, career, and education. To become a great teacher, one must first seek to become a successful student. Through high school, college, and graduate school, as well as navigation of a successful professional career, I have become well versed in the mindset of the student. It is my hope and desire now to bring this passion to my students and share with them valuable techniques of successful learning.

To my colleagues' points, I agree and understand that high school students will challenge me beyond simple academics. As a father of a teenager, I know and embrace these challenges well. Teachers should know that education involves much more than presentation of academic material. We are charged with preparing our students with critical life-skills necessary to succeed in today's ever unforgiving economy and society. In this way, I feel that my unique combination of life experiences and academic passion can provide valuable insights in the learning environment.

To make the career transition to teaching, I must return to college in pursuit of required courses in education. If chosen for this scholarship, it will be applied towards the program tuition at Old Dominion University.

Heath from Virginia
College Junior
Old Dominion University