Friday, March 13, 2015

Alumni Spotlight: Amanda Eakin

By Amanda Eakin, class of 2012, Integrated Language Arts major

Most teachers will claim that they wanted to become educators (“to fight the good fight,” as they say) since they were little, but I actually had different plans at first. Or rather, no plans at all. I entered college without a clear idea about what my career would be. I considered being in business. Journalism. Even culinary arts. The options whirled in my mind. But I never would have anticipated becoming a teacher, since I had always considered myself shy and the type of person who felt her batteries were drained after interacting with others—not exactly the best fit for teaching! Hundreds of interactions are made a day when teaching, and I can attest that not all of them are pleasant! Nevertheless, I love literature like I love late-night snacking and I felt it was my duty to spread the word (yes, pun intended). Through the process of getting my degree at Ashland University, I have gained confidence in my thoughts and abilities and have been able to share the insights that I have developed with my own students today. At Ashland University, I have learned that I do have something meaningful to say and I’m glad that I have the opportunity to teach my current students the value of contributing to a discussion or finding their own voice in writing. As a matter of fact, I have heard many students comment on how I have challenged them, and I think about all of the times I was challenged through the rigorous courses at AU and how I have steadily developed my skills as a literature student. From intensive small-group discussions to analyzing the etymology of words we take for granted, the courses in AU’s English program have sharpened my abilities as a reader, writer, and even communicator.

On another note, I think it’s a testament to the program when my principal told me one of the reasons he was initially interested in my resume was because he knew I was from Ashland University. It was only until later that I found this out of course, and my principal also informed me that my “well-spoken” demeanor upon our first encounter convinced him that he knew he wanted to hire me (even though he made me go through two more interviews without indicating this to me at all). I would have never guessed, even as little as five years back, that I would grow to become the type of person to appear confident and articulate. Today, my goal as a teacher has been to ensure that my students gain confidence in their own words and learn to appreciate the beauty of language as I did at Ashland University.