When I came to Geneseo, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, but was torn between music and Spanish. After enrolling in one music class, zero Spanish classes, two English classes, Humanities I, and my honors seminar, my focus began to shift. I fell in love. I loved digging into texts. I loved writing and revising, and revising, and revising. And I loved discussing literature in class and taking that conversation home to my four English major roommates. Even more, I began to see how my love for music and language could be weaved into an English class, as Dr. Maria Lima played “If I was a Top Notch Poet,” or Dr. Beth McCoy had us singing to Sweet Honey in the Rock.
After graduating, I returned to Long Island to pursue a teaching career. I substitute taught for one year, completed a one year leave replacement for the Three Village School District and pursued my MA in English Literature at CUNY Queens College. As a teacher, you are required to earn your masters degree in an area related to your certification within five years of receiving your initial certification. I recommend you start looking for a job right away and puruse your masters simultaneously. Most people would also recommend something more marketable than English Literature, like an MS in Special Education, Literacy, or English as a Second Language, but I couldn’t resist. During these times, when teachers are being excessed from jobs they’ve held for several years, and others are desperately seeking full time teaching jobs, or even leave replacements, I have to recommend making yourself as marketable as possible. But, I would not be working where I am without that MA in English Literature.
Great Neck is one of the highest performing schools in New York, and is consistently ranked as one of the best schools in the nation. During my interview process, the interview committee of chairpersons, English teachers, administrators, and parents, took interest in the writing awards I had won while at Geneseo, asking what writing I do now, and how I transfer my own love of writing to my students. They were also impressed by my concentration in African American literature during my graduate studies. Great Neck South is a diverse community and the school celebrates this not only through social events, but also within the curriculum.
I am grateful for the foundation Geneseo gave me, and I owe a lot to my English professors. When I look back at freshman Katie Pearce declaring her English major, I know that she chose right.