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Student Profile: Darrick Hartman
Darrick Hartman graduated in 2003 from City University of Seattle with an M.Ed. in Educational Leadership, as well as a Principal Certificate. He’s been a teacher at Meeker Middle School in the Tacoma Public Schools for the last four years, and has had his teaching methodologies covered by places like The Seattle Times:
We had the chance to catch up with Darrick and ask him some questions about his time at CityU, and get his insight on what keeps him coming back to work each day.
City University of Seattle (CU): Why did you become an educator? When did you know education was the field for you?
Darrick Hartman (DH): After quitting my job as a forklift operator at Nalley’s I decided to go to school at 27 years of age. I didn’t know what I wanted to be I just knew I couldn’t work in a warehouse for the rest of my life. When I entered Pierce College, that’s when teaching first became a realistic option. As we sat around in our study groups, many of the younger students would comment that I should be teaching the class due to the fact that they understood the material much better when I explained it to them. It was at that point I felt I had found a career path to pursue.
CU: How do you approach your job? What brings you back every day?
DH: My approach is simple. Forget the term du’ jour in education, and help your students learn to become critical thinkers. In my opinion, the most important tool you take away from school is learning how to learn. As a science teacher, we know to be prepared for change. Don’t place yourself into a mindset that impedes your intellectual development.
The thing that brings me back is the students. I am constantly amazed at what they are capable of doing when you give them some freedom. Sadly however, education revolves around the dissemination and regurgitation model which tends to stifle creativity. It is important that the young people of today be armed with critical thinking skills in order to challenge the status quo. After all, isn’t that the main duty of an educated citizenry in a Democracy? The hope that they will make a change is what brings me back.
CU: Do you have any words of encouragement or advice for educators looking to make the kind of impact you’ve been able to enjoy?
DH: If you are going into teaching today, make sure you like teaching. There is a huge difference between being a teacher, making unseen connections, and being an instructor, someone who delivers information in a logical sequence. Also be prepared to have your curriculum laid out for you step by step. It seems as though the creative side of teaching is being sacrificed for continuity and conformity. Lastly, never go into teaching because you like kids. If you like kids go work at a daycare. If you want to teach, do it because you want to help students reach goals they didn’t realize they were capable of reaching. Do it because you want to give someone the power and skill set to change things in a positive way. Do it because there is no more admirable job than helping someone become who they were meant to be.
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