Becoming an Elementary School Teacher – Chris Doi

When Chris Doi, ’16, M.A.T., graduated from James Madison University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, becoming a teacher was the furthest thing from his mind.

The Sidney, N.Y., native had always enjoyed working with children in his spare time, but usually in the role of an athletics coach. His desire to work with children as a fun and exciting way to give back to the community eventually became his professional career – sparked by his experience as a father.

“When my first daughter was born, I was struck by the impact that I could have on a young mind and decided to turn what used to be an enjoyable pastime into a profession,” said Chris.

Chris enrolled in the North Carolina Teach Program through the University of North Carolina at Greensboro to jump start his career as a teacher. After earning K-12 licensure in French education, Chris knew he wanted to further his education and increase the opportunities available to him.

Not having an education degree or experience in the field, Chris enrolled in the Master of Arts in Teaching (M.A.T.) program at Meredith College, where he was confident he would gain the skills he needed to become an elementary school teacher while still being a husband and father.

“The M.A.T. program at Meredith has an unrivaled reputation for producing high quality educators,” said Chris. “When combined with a schedule that fit my busy family calendar, it was really an easy choice to come to Meredith. The moment I started communicating with people at Meredith about the M.A.T. program, I felt welcomed and appreciated.”

Chris completed the M.A.T. program in December 2016 with a Master of Arts in Teaching and a concentration in elementary education. He was asked to serve as the graduate commencement speaker, a great honor.

“What excites me most about working in elementary education is sharing those moments when a student comes to an understanding of a difficult topic that they have been struggling with,” said Chris. “It is simply magical when you see the reaction of a student who has a light bulb or a-ha moment in the classroom.”

Now, Chris spends his days as a sixth grade English language arts teacher at Hawfields Middle School.

“Fortunately, I was able to get a job even before graduating,” said Chris. “The people at Meredith went above and beyond to help facilitate my transition from student teacher to full-time employee at a local school, all while finishing my degree.”

Though he never imagined being a school teacher, Chris is enjoying the opportunity and is confident in the skills that he learned from Meredith. The support that he continued to receive from the Meredith community even after he completed the program was second to none.

“The relationships that I built with the faculty and staff here filled me with the confidence that they will continue to support me,” said Chris.

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