Becoming a professional educator is a true vocation, requiring passion and a sense of purpose to pursue an expert knowledge base and the skills to pass that knowledge along. Committing to a full-time teacher licensure program while working full-time and raising a young family isn’t easy, but Middle Childhood Education major Matt Schultz didn’t want easy. He wanted a program that would work with him and make him as prepared as possible for the career he felt called to. With the support of the University of Findlay’s College of Education (COE) faculty he was able to work full-time, spend time with his family, and graduate on time with a full-time job offer from the Toledo Public School system.
The best way to exemplify how Findlay impacted Schultz’s path is through his advice to students making their college decision.
“If you are serious about teaching, don’t go anywhere else but here.
You will be taught skills you didn’t know you needed by people who have been teaching for decades.
If you are serious about teaching, don’t go anywhere else but here.
This staff has inspired me to not just be a good teacher, but the best in every aspect of the profession.
If you are not serious about teaching, don’t be a teacher.”
As a high-need student, Schultz believes that coming to Findlay was one of the best decisions he ever made. “I have never had an organization work harder to help make my goals possible,” said Schultz. The flexibility and dedication of the COE faculty gave him support through every step of his collegiate experience and helped him to feel like a part of the COE family. Schultz recognized licensure officer Mark Wileke and faculty advisors, Elizabeth Raker, Ph.D., and Allison Baer, Ph.D., as going above and beyond in contributing to his success. One of his most memorable moments at Findlay was watching an almost retired Dr. Raker design his schedule to ensure he could meet his graduation requirements during two, hour long, advising sessions. “She worked so hard, she broke a sweat,” Schultz commented good-humoredly. “I felt bad and kept thanking her afterwards, but she just smiled and said you’re welcome.” Throughout his schooling, various professors supported him by providing him with a computer for classwork, taking care of his graduation process, and having deep and meaningful conversations about his career goals.
In addition to support in his classes, Schultz found the field experience at Findlay invaluable. Placed at Donnel Middle School in Findlay, Ohio, Schultz gained first-hand experience in classroom management under the guidance of field placement supervisor Jim Taylor, a Findlay alum and former high school teacher. “It’s as if the COE thought about everything that I might encounter as a teacher and taught me how to handle it before going out into the field,” said Schultz. “From classroom management classes to education psychology, I could not have been better prepared.” Meeting with his supervisor once a week, Schultz felt that Taylor truly cared about his individual success as a teacher and a person. He stated that Taylor directly impacted what kind of leader he wanted to be, inspiring him to be strong in the classroom without becoming confrontational. During his time student teaching, he was most moved by watching students light up and be challenged by content, inspiring a student to spend less time on electronics and focus on investing the time on personal relationships, and mentoring a fatherless child in his classroom who was struggling through two separate personal issues.
Coming from a family of educators, Schultz always wanted to be a teacher. However, after graduating high school with a wife and new child, he made the choice to support his young family by accepting a full-time position as a maintenance man at Owens Community College. During that time, with his wife’s support, he began taking classes at Owens and continued to work towards his dream. After two years, he made the bold decision to transfer to Findlay and complete the courses needed to take the Ohio Assessment for Educator licensure test. Now a Findlay graduate and licensed teacher, Schultz would like to teach in the inner city and is considering a career in educational administration. He wants his impact in the community in which he teaches to be more than great test scores; he wants the lives of his students to be positively altered in a permanent fashion. He is looking forward to the relationships he gets to have with students and teaching them not only the content standards, but lessons about life.