Alumna Success Story
By Joan Becker, 4th grade teacher, Joaquin Miller Elementary School, Burbank Unified School District
After working in the corporate world for over 20 years, I decided a change was needed. In May of 2004, I left Cal State, Northridge, multiple subject credential in hand, and spent the summer seeking a teaching position. I landed in the Burbank Unified School District teaching fourth graders at Joaquin Miller Elementary School. Some might say that our principal, Judy Hession, took somewhat of a risk hiring such an unusual candidate. Seven years later, I hope she would tell you it was a risk worth taking!
Even as a child, my goal had always been to be a teacher. I had admired the work and dedication of my teachers throughout my education. As I grew up, I began to more fully understand the important role teachers play in our democratic society. Somehow, life happened, and I veered off path, only later finding my way back to fulfill my original dream of being a teacher.
Being greeted each morning by 31 amazing fourth graders is exhilarating! They are clever, funny, intelligent, and thoughtful. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I can’t seem to reach a student and wonder what I am missing, but that struggle is an essential part of the process. Moreover, it helps me not only become a better teacher, but a better person. Oh, and the smiles and hugs are wonderful, too!
Teachers are often included among those who are most admired. I believe that is because, even in difficult times, people understand the importance of education. Teachers really do make a difference in the lives of students! While I may never know the depth of my influence, the idea that I may be playing a role in the betterment of even one child helps me love this job. I am very proud to be a teacher!
[Editor’s note: Joan Becker is seen with some of her students in the banner image atop this e-magazine. Standing from left to right are Kya Seals, Cassandra S. Vargas-Gaona, Julieta Salas, and Ayla Sunshine Machado. Seated from left to right are Joan Becker, Joe-Maxwell Gomez, and Allen Arsenian. The student photographer for this image is Anthony Petrossian, age 9.]