Teaching & Learning

Why Do You Teach: April Duckworth

Before the 2023 semester started, the faculty at SMCC all got together for a convocation and one of the activities was to discuss why they decided to be teachers. The SMCC Beacon decided to follow up with a few teachers to dig a little deeper into that question. We’ll share their responses with you now. 

April Duckworth is a Education and FIGS teacher. She says that she discovered her love for learning at a very young age. I learned that the connection to my world was, in itself, an opportunity to learn. I found that nature, my home, my school, and my relationships with family and friends were all learning experiences. I developed an interest and found fulfillment in my education. I recall being a pensive child. I was interested in the “why’s” and “how’s” of what was presented to me. I enjoyed delving deeper. I also began at quite an early age to ponder upon my relationship with the world at large. Therefore, I began to explore philosophical questions as an adolescent.”

Her learning and interest in philosophy carried on into her adulthood, where she went on to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and complete her Master’s in education. She said, “I found my niche in teaching higher education. I discovered teaching at the college level allowed me to weave critical thinking into the classroom and; therefore, into my curriculum design and teaching methods. I discovered that I was able to inspire while being inspired.”

Something notable that Duckworth said was; “We all evolve. I feel that I evolve, certainly, year to year. However, I feel that there are also evolutions and changes that arise day to day. These may be small realizations throughout the day, or larger and more impactful realizations. We may come to these realizations through individuals, reading material, or through nature; all of which are learning experiences. I believe that in order to understand others, we must recognize their individuality. I feel that having a keen awareness of human development as it relates to cognitive, social, and emotional development allows me to be a successful educator.” This to me is important, for every student is different, ranging from learning skills, to how they work best, to if they’re neurodivergent; everyone is different, no two brains are the same and when it comes to learning it’s often hard for teachers to understand that in my opinion. Some are really good at understanding that while other aren’t. Later on she went on to discuss this more; “I have been teaching college courses for six years. As a college instructor, I read a great deal about methods of teaching, as well as relevant material to my courses. I work to improve and expand upon my research skills, which allow me to remain better connected to current and innovative teaching practices and curriculum design. My programs of study have inspired me to rise to a level of academic success that I am proud of and also give me a sense of preparedness.I want to create a learning environment that encourages similar transformations among students.” 
April is another example of the evolving system in teaching, those who are dedicated to not only their work, but the impact it’ll leave on their students, being a neurodivergent student myself, teachers like April are truly valuable to the SMCC community, because she goes the extra mile to ensure every student has a chance to succeed, going the extra mile to ensure every student has a chance to succeed. Ending off with a beautiful quote from April herself, “I want to inspire the love of learning and teaching. I want to educate in a way that creates and evokes this in students. I believe that being an educator, we have the opportunity to create change in the world. I hope this does not sound cliche, because I know it to be the truth. I have over ten years of teaching experience, and I have witnessed transformation among students that is inspirational to me, and that I feel will be welcomed by the world at large. I want to help create a world where education is not an abstract concept; but an embraced and welcomed reality.”

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