Aukeem A. Ballard
M.A.T. ’12 (Middle-level/high school social studies)
You’re still near the beginning of your graduate M.A.T. program. Why did you want to become a teacher?
For a bit I wanted to go into law and I actually did a summer internship at a law firm. It was great but it became obvious that the people who we were helping were in that position because some didn’t have an education. I wanted to do something where I felt I was contributing to the world, I was leaving it a little bit better place than when I encountered it.
Who inspired you to become a teacher?
My mom always pushed education. She was a single mother who raised five of us on her own with no help whatsoever. For someone that barely graduated high school to have such a passion for her children to get an education…it sort of lit a fire. Another person that inspired me was my seventh grade history teacher Ms. Petridge. Here’s a lady who started out as an interior designer. It was sort of intriguing to me that she didn’t have one set path. She was willing to help us find our own way. It was so inspiring the way she taught and the passion with which she taught about slavery, the Revolutionary War, the Oregon Trail. She always asked us questions about our lives, about other courses, how school was going, and she was always there for us. She always believed in me from day one. If I can do that for just one student, that’s definitely going to be worth it for me.