My education at Queens College, both undergraduate and graduate, has given me many different tools to apply to my career as a teacher. However, none has been more important to my students’ and my own growth as the principle of self-efficacy. Without the understanding of this, I could not have learned to regulate myself nor could I have taught my student strategies to self-regulate themselves. Belief in one’s ability to accomplish a task is the keystone to self- regulation and delay of gratification. Whenever my beliefs in my own abilities are shaken, I reflect on the belief I have in myself to accomplish anything and that has made me a better student, a better teacher and a better person. All this began at Queens College and at the Secondary Education Department, where I began to be a proactive learner, monitor and adapt my thoughts, behaviors, and feeling while pursuing a teaching career that has been up to this point a triumph of developing teacher’ self-regulation.
Education, courage, self-determination, self-regulation, self-efficacy, and inspiration have been the glue that has held me together to achieve my dream of being a teacher. I have a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History with a major in Secondary Education-7-12 from Queens College. Currently, I am in the process of obtaining a Masters in Adolescence Education: Social Studies 7-12 at Queens College. I teach at Williamsburg Preparatory High School, which is located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. I am more than just an educator who only teaches social studies; I am a teacher of morals, ideals, values, guidance, knowledge, and a model of behavior for all of my students. I help my students to believe in themselves with high self-efficacy and to develop self-regulatory skills.
As a self-regulated and self-efficacious teacher, I provide my students with the most innovative and inspiring lessons based on the New York State Learning Standards, National Council of Social Studies National Standards (NCSS), creating an ideal learning experience for the students to discover knowledge and expand their minds to higher order thinking. I am passionate about educating the students of the 21st century by using a unique combination of various types of self-regulated instructional practices and learning modalities about the fascinating historical aspects in social studies. In addition, I modify my lesson plans to meet the students’ diverse and multicultural interests, as well as demonstrate direct connections between classroom and everyday current events.
The influence I can have on students is tremendous. My teaching can change the lives of so many students if I can figure out ways to push them to new heights. I can end racism throughout the world just by educating students. With all of the responsibility within my life, all I need to do is be “brave five minutes longer” and take risks! As Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, “A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is brave five minutes longer.” Or, as posited by The Duke of Wellington when talking about his British soldiers, he observed that his soldiers were not braver than the soldiers of other nations, but they were brave five minutes longer. To be brave five minutes longer has been my motto since I heard Dr. Héfer Bembenutty citing it in one of the undergraduate classes. I want to instill that confidence and self-control beliefs to my own students.
At Queens College, I learned from Dr. Jack Zevin and Dr. Héfer Bembenutty that the best way to allow students to achieve their own identity, and develop themselves for the future is by allowing them to discover knowledge on their own, and achieve higher order thinking. Giving students the autonomy over their own learning will encourage them to have a higher level of self-efficacy. When students hold a high level of self-efficacy within themselves, they begin to believe that they can complete specific tasks. Some goals and tasks may be difficult, but with a high self-efficacy and self-regulation students can overcome any obstacle that comes their way, as long as they work hard. Within my class, I look for opportunities to build students self-efficacy. I make sure I create lessons that challenge my student’s mental capacity to heights they never dreamed of. Giving students the ability to learn and feel joy within themselves also gives them the passion to want to learn and achieve as much knowledge as possible.
I have been a person who always strives for greatness in everything I do, and I want my students to achieve greatness as well. I want to be remembered as that teacher that made a difference, a teacher that took a risk to help the new generation. Since I was in elementary school, becoming a teacher was my dream. But my mother was diagnosed with cancer, when I was in 7th grade. Not knowing if she would live, instead of becoming strong during hard times, I became weak. She did the impossible and survived. Then, my grandfather died unexpectedly. I finally realized that I needed to make something out of myself for my mother. Thus, I enrolled into Queens College in 2009. This is when I knew my dream of becoming a teacher would happen. The professors there took me in and helped me believe that I could be anything I wanted to be in life. My mother on one side and my professors on the other side, I knew I could change the world, and that no obstacle would come my way again! My self-efficacy level was at an all-time high, and I realized if I wanted to be the greatest teacher in the world, I needed to keep a high level of self-efficacy. Because of my high self-efficacy levels I am able to push myself to heights that I never knew possible. My mother, my family, my friends, and Queens College professors have taken away the darkness from my life. They allowed me to believe in myself, no matter the difficult obstacles that entered my life; I knew I would achieve my goals for them. All I know and can see is greatness, and that’s because I’m five minutes braver.
Queens College helped me realize that teaching is an art form that not just anyone could master it. As a teacher, I must have passion and a high level of self-efficacy. The professors within Queens College have showed me that I can destroy the views on racism and create a new outlook of the world in the classroom. To all my Queens College professors, my mother, my family, and friends, thank you for giving me the strength, passion, and courage, to believe in myself, and to defeat any obstacle that comes my way. My high level of self-efficacy, my passion for teaching, knowing that I will make the people around me proud, is all I need in life, and I know I will become the greatest teacher I can be. I believe that by being brave for five minutes longer, I will achieve greatness.