Thirteen. That is the number of countries junior elementary education student, Jenna Hussey, has visited. During each of her trips Hussey fulfilled her personal motto of serving others by volunteering to teach at local schools. Through these trips Hussey gained experience teaching, however, education was not her first major when she started at East Carolina University. "I started as a business major but quickly realized that I wanted to devote my life to serving others," she shares. Hussey researched the College of Education's website and learned about all of the opportunities teacher education students have to help others. After enrolling in ELEM 2123-Early Experience for the Prospective Elementary Education Teacher, Hussey "just knew that [teaching] was what I wanted to do and young children were the age group I wanted to work with."
Although Hussey's focus will be on teaching elementary students, she cites her high school business instructor, Ms. Tammy Vail, as her most influential teacher. "Ms. Vail knew her students outside of the classroom and knew how each of her students learned inside the classroom," she shares. With Ms. Vail's support and guidance, Hussey was able to attend and compete at several DECA conferences. Through these conferences Hussey was able to extend her knowledge outside of the classroom by connecting with business professionals and learning industry-related trends and content through engagement.
While at East Carolina University, Hussey's favorite class has been MATE 3051-Field Experience in Mathematics, Grades K-2 with Ms. Leigh Belford. According to Hussey, "math is not a subject I enjoy and I've always been nervous about teaching math. Ms. Belford was our partner in learning. She made all of her students feel comfortable and gave us new teaching strategies and ideas on how to teach math to our students."
When contemplating what she will like the most about teaching, Hussey is excited about engaging her students' families in the education process. She shares, "if I can get to know my students' families I can better understand why my students learn the way they do. For example, I can find out if they have help with homework at home. I don't think any parent wants their child to fail-they may just not know how to help their child succeed."
Hussey's dedication to serving others is also reflected in her future goals. After teaching she is interested in obtaining her master's degree in counseling because, "with a background in counseling I believe I will become an even better teacher, advisor, colleague, and advocate for others," she states. Even without a degree in counseling, Hussey can provide guidance to new students entering ECU. "It is important to get to know the people in your classes and your teachers. Building those friendships and relationships does nothing but make your time at ECU more enjoyable, fun, and exciting. I've met the most incredible men and women in my classes!" The College of Education would have to add that you, Jenna, are one of the most incredible people in our College and we look forward to seeing you live out your motto, Servire!