Connor Sullivan

Connor Sullivan, Western Illinois University, student participant at the Great River Teacher Corps shares his story, Macomb, Illinois

November 11, 2018 |

I am from Colchester, IL, a small, rural community in Western Illinois. My community can be (and often is) described as a family; everybody knows pretty much everything about everyone else and, for the most, there to support each member in the community. We may not have much in terms of businesses and people, but those that we have pack quite the punch.

I want to teach in a small town for the stronger relationships I’ll build with my students. Small towns bring smaller class sizes into classrooms. With smaller classes, I’m able to build a stronger bond between students and spend more time crafting this bond with each of my students. I also think that smaller communities set students up to become more successful, given their support system — at least that’s what it was like for my own experiences.

I see myself teaching 9th and 11th grade English Language Arts as well as Creative Writing. For me, it’s always been a hard decision to make. I’ve always just wanted to be a teacher who was there to support his students through their struggles and successes. As I went through the public school system myself, I would change my mind based on the grade level I was in at the time, never really having one stick out to me. Being a teacher, to me, isn’t about the subject or grade you teach, it’s all about who you are teaching and why you’re teaching them. I’ve always been told by family, friends, and colleagues that I could be a successful teacher in any grade level and I think that all lies on the passion for your students’ success in the classroom. I’ve learned recently that it doesn’t matter who or what you’re teaching, as long you’re teaching your students with a genuine passion that’s true to who you are and what you are for them.

Oh my gosh — I so look forward to the relationships I’ll build with my future students and how I can impact and shape their futures for the better. To be a successful educator, you must truly be in it for your students and to do that, it all comes down to establish rapport with your students. I can’t wait to support them in all facets of life — from sports to play productions to scholarship applications to career choices too; whatever it is they’re doing, I can’t wait to back them up and give them the encouragement they need to be successful. Doing this builds a trust system and ultimately pushes them to put forth an effort in their schoolwork. Recently I’ve come full circle with this thought in mind, in that I hope to be the teacher that inspires my future students to pursue education as a career. I’ve been lucky to have had a handful of teachers to inspire and push me to become a teacher of the same caliber, so that I may do the same for my students.

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