From History Major to Middle School Teacher

by   |   mrsidwel@bju.edu   |  

Interest in Napoleon has led to many a history major. As a child, Daniel Lee heard the story of this French military genius who offered a cash prize for a specific invention. Anyone who could devise a long-term method for storing food (needed for military supply chains) would win a large sum of money. A French chef eventually developed a successful canning process and won the prize.

There were many more stories in history, Daniel decided, worth investigating. And investigate he did, first on his own and later as a college history major. Now he wants to help others experience the fascination of history as he starts teaching history to middle school students.

Traveling from a Far Country

When Daniel arrived at Bob Jones University, he was one of many international students but soon met several students also from South Korea. Like most international students, he studied English in high school. However, Daniel says doing collegework in a second language remained challenging. He tackled his studies with enthusiasm and hard work, nevertheless. And he took advantage of BJU’s Center for Global Opportunities, Academic Resource Center, and International Student Organization—campus resources available to help international students.

When Daniel enrolled in history classes, one of the courses he chose covered many aspects of the Middle East. Such classes, he says, helped him better understand current global affairs as well as the past. Because he felt God calling him to teach history, he also chose some education classes. Gifted in languages, he added Chinese and Spanish to his repertoire of Korean and English. His work in languages and education naturally led him to minor in TESOL, Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. Consequently, he also completed classes in linguistics and language teaching methods.

Teaching

Daniel’s TESOL classes opened the door to an opportunity to gain more experience teaching. He volunteered at the Korea Center of Greenville where he taught Korean once a week to Korean-American children. These children, although they had Korean parents, knew only English because they had grown up in America.

Encouraged by his teaching experience, Daniel searched for Christian school teaching positions during his senior year. The best source of job leads came from the Christian School Leadership & Recruitment Conference, a yearly networking event hosted by BJU’s Career Services for education students and Christian schools seeking personnel.

Choosing a School

Sorting through the contacts he made at the conference, Daniel set up visits with a couple of schools. An unseasonable blizzard cancelled his trip to one school. But Daniel felt this was part of God’s leading. He traveled instead to a school in California where the principal also had international experience. This visit included attending services at the church associated with the school to help confirm God’s leading for his future ministry. The 2018-2019 school year will find him as a middle school teacher, looking forward to influencing young lives for Christ.

His advice to future history majors? The most important thing is to pray about your major and to seek God’s will for your life.

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Mrs. Mary Sidwell is the Writing Center Coordinator in the Academic Resource Center at BJU.