By Victoria George
Students Sarah Comeau and Elisabeth Beverage are ending their time at Fitchburg State to become educators. Both are hard working teachers who are ready to hit the ground running in their fields, but unlike some of their fellow education majors, they have been asked the same question over and over again; “Why did a homeschooler want to become a teacher?”
Both have claimed that they have been asked this more than once and they say that though it may have been a bit of a culture shock, they have plenty to offer their students.
Beverage, a member of the class of 2015 from Lawrence MA, said, “I received a quality education at my own pace from my parents. Not every parent can home-school their child so I hope I can pay that forward somehow.” She claims that she knew early that she was going to work with kids, “I saw the disenfranchising problems that young students experience that can seep into their futures and I want to make a safe place in my classroom.”
Additionally, Comeau, a student teacher from Ayer MA, said, “I was warned about the culture shock of the public school system.” She says that when she entered college she was prepared for a new experience, even a simple one like being around the same people for five days a week. She as drawn through her love of literature and writing.
Comeau also notes her spirituality as being an influential force in her teaching career. She claims, “I wanted to share God’s love with my students. I can bond with them through English and philosophy and I want to be able to foster their thinking through books. And what they can write.”
Both Comeau and Beverage stress that the contact they had with other home-school students and the extracurricular activities that they participated in while growing up were just as enriching for them and could prepare them for the teaching field just as well as their classmates. Beverage was able to enroll in Northern Essex community college at the age of 15 and she knew then that she wanted to be a teacher. She says, “I had the opportunity to volunteer in a kindergarten classroom for almost 4 and a half years and I immediately began to understand a teacher’s side of a classroom.”
“I always had contact with my peers,” says Comeau, “between speech and debate, having science labs with other students, and being part of a strong church community gave me stronger social skills.”
There may be a stereotype that homeschooled students are sheltered, but Comeau thinks that being around peers of diverse ages and backgrounds made her more positive and more polite. These are lessons she wants to impart in the classroom. Comeau thinks she has certain advantages from being homeschooled that she endeavors to bring to a class. She says, “My challenge is knowing that every student needs individualized attention based on needs and seeing that ideal may not be met.”
Beverage is certain that the program at Fitchburg State prepared her exceptionally well. “I don’t feel like I was deprived of any high school memories. I actually remember what it was like to be a student.”
Both Comeau and Beverage know that they have a heart for the young minds in Massachusetts that they are happy to teach and mentor. Comeau confidently states, “I can bring a nuanced and creative perspective to education from being homeschooled.”