“I’m the only teacher I know!” laughed Mitch Augenstein.
Mitch, a junior majoring in middle childhood education, was trying to explain that he had no family role models when it came to teachers. His parents aren’t in the field of education and he couldn’t recall any relatives who work in the classroom.
“I just know that I’ve always wanted to be a teacher,” he added. “I’m an only child, so I used to make up lessons, do the assignments and grade my own papers.”
He does remember a second-grade teacher who may have influenced his choice of a career.
“She was a really good teacher and I wanted to be able to do what she did,” he said.
Scholarships Make the Difference
Mitch had a choice of schools when it came to majoring in education, but he liked UF’s size and the field experiences available in the College of Education. The tuition, however, would have been difficult for his family to pay. Receiving the President’s Scholarship made all the difference.
“I know my parents would have made it work somehow, but the scholarship kept tuition from being a hardship. I was also able to live on campus the first two years and really get involved in activities.”
Currently, Mitch is president of the UF branch of the Ohio Student Education Association (UFOSEA). With his leadership, membership has increased from 13 in 2012-2013 to more than 30 this year. He’s also involved in choir, show choir and had a role in the spring 2014 musical, “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.” A fine arts scholarship and two endowed scholarships have also helped defer tuition costs.
Learning His Craft
Mitch was right about the field experiences that UF provides for future teachers. He will complete his methods class at Donnell Middle School, Findlay, in the fall and plans to do his student teaching next spring in the Olentangy School District, one of the largest districts in the State. His sophomore block of observation took place in a fourth grade classroom at Wilson Vance Elementary in Findlay.
Mitch will be licensed to teach math and language arts and also have a “generalist” endorsement. He’s entering a field that definitely needs more male role models.
According to an August 2012 article in USA Today, boys especially benefit from male role models in the classroom, yet in 2011, the number of men teaching at the elementary and middle school levels was only 18.3 percent. It’s good to know that, because of the generosity of scholarship donors, Mitch will help make an impact on young students. UF donors have made an “investment” in Mitch and he, in turn, will invest his talents in educating the next generation.
When asked if he plans to remain active in UF alumni activities after graduation, he said, “Of course I will. The University has done so much for me, I’d feel like I was cheating if I didn’t stay involved.”