Communications Professional Pursues Teaching Dream
by Nancy Stiger (April 2011)
Communications professional Michele Moyer says it was her position as Penn State Dubois’ public information officer that sparked her interest to return to school to pursue her childhood dream of becoming a teacher.
“I thought about becoming a teacher when I was in elementary school, but as my writing received more attention from my teachers, I began to shift my thoughts to a career in communications,” Moyer said. “When I joined Penn State DuBois as its public information officer, I came directly in contact with some very dedicated faculty, and that childhood dream of teaching was renewed. “
Moyer says she was impressed with their work, particularly the impact that they had on students. Seeing them use their talents to change lives for the better really resonated with her.
Another persuading factor to return to school was Penn State DuBois’ high percentage of adult learners. Moyer said seeing adults successfully return to school gave her confidence that she could, too.
Moyer’s son and husband share that confidence in her, and she says they are her two biggest cheerleaders. Moyer’s son, also planning to study education, is a sophomore at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. Moyer says she may have inspired him.
“After years of having sports and other pursuits in common with his father, he now has something in common with me,” Moyer says. “He is doing a lot of classroom observation now at some high schools in Erie, so it’s fun to talk pedagogy with him.”
Other strong supporters of Moyer’s return to education were her advisor, Anne Whitney, and James Nolan. Moyer says Whitney identified class opportunities that would fit within her work schedule, and she has been a source of constant encouragement over the years.
When the time came for Moyer to complete student teaching, Nolan found a mentor teacher who was willing to take on a non-traditional student, while at the same time making sure that she satisfied all Penn State and Department of Education teaching requirements.
“Their willingness to find a way to make this work is directly responsible for my success,” Moyer says. “I could not have done it without their guidance.”
Although Moyer was lucky to have a team of supporters behind her, it is the work ethic that she obtained as a child that also helped her in her pursuit.
Moyer grew up in Clearfield County on a dairy farm that had been in her family since 1880. Generations of her family passed down their work ethic to her, and that ethic has since become a staple in her teaching philosophy.
Moyer defines a good day as one spent on work that gives her a sense of accomplishment. She wishes to impart this same feeling to her students through their work in the English classroom.
Even though Moyer spent much of her life working for newspapers--finding satisfaction from producing something that others valued--she hopes to continue to find this satisfaction in her teaching.
“As a teacher, I plan to use my journalism/communication skills to share with the community the good news about what my students are doing in our classroom,” she said.
As Moyer looks toward her future in the classroom, she can’t help but note what got her there.
“I earned my B.A. here and worked at Penn State for the past 13 years. Penn State has enabled me to support my family, develop my professional skills, and now acquire the new knowledge and skills necessary to transition to a new career as an educator,” Moyer said. “I can think of no other institution that could do that, and I am proud and thankful to be a part of this great community. “