A Mid-Career Goal Achieved

I started my internship at UVEI at age 34. Despite a promising career in book publishing and mothering a four-year-old, I had always wanted to teach, but going back to school seemed unrealistic. When I heard about UVEI, my desire to become an educator was reignited—and the possibility that I could actually become one was within reach.

UVEI’s teacher internship program was attractive to me because it allowed me—as an adult learner—to apply my work experience while developing an entirely new skill set geared specifically for teaching.  By the time I was hired for my first (and current) position as a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher, I already had years of experience working with all types of people. Also, I could multitask and communicate with colleagues under constant pressure of time and multiple priorities (which, I soon found out, book publishing and teaching have in common).  My career in publishing—the schedules, marketing demands and constantly shifting priorities—had already developed in me an internal flexibility that allowed me to weather change with aplomb and efficiency.  Certainly, my years of working in a demanding environment was a real plus in becoming a teacher.

But as I think about what really made all the difference in transitioning from my career in publishing to teaching – at the heart of the internship experience -- were the veteran educators who mentored me.  They were the ones who instilled in me the courage to teach in a way that is in the best interest of my students.  From my mentor classroom teacher, my UVEI coach and the faculty, I learned to push myself to explore more cutting-edge teaching techniques, engage methods of teaching that spark my students’ imaginations and to go beyond national and state mandates to discover with my students what is rich and exciting about our world.  While at UVEI, I was able to nurture my passion as a lifelong learner – a passion that I am blessed to share with my students and hopefully, instill in them.  In retrospect, I wouldn’t be a teacher any other way.

Story by Jennifer Thompson

Jennifer Thompson graduated from UVEI’s Teacher Internship Program in 2009.  She lives and teaches middle school Language Arts and Social Studies in Unity, NH, and serves on UVEI’s Board of Directors.