Describe a dream job you would like to have pursued but didn't and why --
As I think of my past experiences, I have spent a career in education teaching science in the middle school setting. But I also had a "minor" in religious education at Utah State University through the LDS Institute. The religious education endorsement was under the direction of Brigham Young University. I remember being told that it was important to also pursue a secular career in case things didn't turn out, for whatever reason.
As I worked toward my secondary education licensing, I had the opportunity to also attend religious institute just off campus. Dr. Joel Christensen (who later became commissioner of religious instruction for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) was my mentor and adviser. My dream career was to teach seminary to secondary students at one of the seminaries adjoining the high schools in Utah. The curriculum alternated between Old Testament, New Testament, Book of Mormon, and Church History.
Logan LDS Institute of Religion adjoining Utah State University Campus
My experiences as a student in seminary were enjoyable ones, and through the instructors and the studies I had done, I found the truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and I wanted to share the same experiences with my students. There were four of us who were studying to teach seminary during my senior year at the university. We had completed our course of study and each of us was assigned to 'student teach' at one of the local seminaries in the Logan, Utah area.
I taught a group of high school seniors, and several of the students were members of the high school football team. Not having experience in the classroom, I found it difficult to maintain classroom discipline, especially in a class that seemed to be 'hell bent" to make sure that I would not get a good report and, therefore, not be recommended to teach religion. I found it hard to keep the attention of a few of these students, and they apparently decided that it was their mission to make things miserable for the student teacher. I also found myself in the office of the 'regular' religion cooperating teacher trying to figure out how to motivate the students. When football players have a natural following of their peers, this didn't seem to help either.
As the semester was coming to a close, I also found that the other three who were student teaching were having the same problems. Because the same seminaries were used by the LDS Institute of Religion to give 'student teacher' the opportunity to teach, these students were expert at making it very difficult for us.
It was during the winter, and the snow and cold of Cache Valley made it a bitter time. The wind was always blowing because of Logan Canyon being just east of campus. Further, travel was difficult through Sardine Canyon between Brigham City and Logan. Each of us 'student teachers' were supposed to have a visit from a Brigham Young University (BYU) religionsupervising teacher, since that institution was responsible for hiring seminary teachers. With the heavy snows and the cold weather, none of us were ever evaluated by a supervising teacher from BYU! To make matters worse, at the end of our student teaching experience, an evaluation form was distributed to each of the students and the students were asked to evaluate us. This was an opportunity that the students just couldn't pass up! As a result, none of us were given any type of recommendation that would allow us to teach seminary after our graduation from college!
Without an evaluation from a supervision teacher, it was apparently decided that the students' evaluations would be used to determine whether or not we would be recommended to receive a certificate that would allow us to teach seminary. This was not only unfair, but Dr. Christensen almost resigned because of the situation. I learned, first-hand, why we were told that we should not put all our "eggs in one basket" in teaching religion. So when spring came, I moved to Salt Lake City where I did my biological science student teaching at East High School under Joseph Sperry. That's another story!
Years later, after I had directed genealogical research at BYU, I inquired as to the possibility of teaching seminary. I was told that if I wanted to do so, I would be allowed to re-do my student teaching experience. I decided that I did not want to repeat the possibility of my not being accepted to teach full-time seminary. This was after I had the opportunity to teach "early morning seminary" when I taught junior high school in Burns, Oregon. I believe I had a great impact on the lives of two or three of my religion students and the decisions they made that altered the direction that some of them were headed due to poor choices.
Now you know my dream job, and why I did not go in that direction.
Very interesting Golden. I never realized there were these obstacles in student teaching but it makes sense. Having the students determine the ultimate qualification is definitely unfair. I'm fascinated by your journey through education and genealogy. The two have merged in so many ways, one giving depth to the other. Thanks