Spectator Sound-Off: What inspired you to become an educator?

Trisha Boone

Campus Reporter

Homecoming is an important weekend and a great time to focus on the many alumni who have spent time on our campus. However, there would be no alumni without educators, which is why we set out to ask professors what motivated them to choose this profession.

Q: What inspired you to become an educator?

“My mother is my inspiration. She was an elementary teacher for 40 years, and her mother taught Latin in public education during the ‘20s. I come from a long line of school teachers, and I initially didn’t want to be a teacher. I wanted to be a nurse. It goes back to my mother demonstrating excellence and dedication to her career as a teacher. When I got into nursing education, I realized that’s right where I needed to be. I love the students. The students are also an inspiration for me. My calling and my inspiration is making sure students are treated fairly and that they are given the best possible education that they can be given. I enjoy the mentoring aspect of education. I want students to have an objective learning environment where they are treated based on their merit and effort.”
-Dr. Johnnie Sue Wijewardine, chair of the Department of Graduate Nursing

“Actually, I just kind of fell into it. It was not my plan. I figured the only way I could pay for graduate school was to become a graduate assistant. And I got into a teaching assistantship, and I liked it, and here I am.” 
-Eric Harlan, instructor in the Department of Communication

“My inspiration for becoming an educator was a conversation that I had at age 14 with my uncle, Charles Dale Cannon, who taught Shakespeare at Ole Miss. I said, ‘What do you do all day, Uncle Charles Dale?’ And he said, ‘I read, I think, I talk to students about books.’ After that, I thought what a wonderful job, because that was what I loved best. From then on, I had no doubt that I would be a college English teacher.”
-Dr. Bridget Pieschel, professor of English and chair of the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy

“I teach health education, and what I really like about doing that is it’s a way of reaching more people. If you teach people to care about health education and health promotion, they will go out and teach people more about health education and health promotion. It is a way to exponentially touch a lot of people.”
-Dr. Irene Pintado, associate professor of Health Education

“Learning involves more of a feeling of accomplishment, so helping children understand that they can be successful by accomplishing something through their learning. That is really my passion.”
-Dr. Brenda Dickey, assistant professor of Education

Do you work in the education field? What inspired you to choose that profession? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook and Twitter with #SpectatorSoundOff!