Ready to teach with meaning and joy

May 28, 2020

Support from the CEHHS Student Teaching Scholarship, Roger F. and Norma J. Verhey Math Education Scholarship, and American Association of University Women Scholarship made it possible for Candace Ismail to pursue her dream career in education

Candace Ismail had always dreamed of earning a University of Michigan degree and becoming a teacher. Thanks to UM-Dearborn, and the scholarship support she received, Ismail was able to make her dreams a reality when she graduated from College of Education, Health, and Human Services (CEHHS) this spring.

Ismail knew she wanted to be a teacher from a very young age; she was grateful that her teachers were so invested in her success and she hopes to be the same positive influence in her students’ lives that her teachers were for her. “I’ve always appreciated the teachers that surrounded me throughout my education. I became passionate about helping students the way my teachers had helped me,” she explains.

Among the teachers who impacted her time at UM-Dearborn, Ismail specifically mentions College of Arts, Sciences, and Letters lecturer Patricia Hartshorn and CEHHS lecturer Jeff Bouwman, both of whom she says “really ignited the desire to teach with meaning and joy.” She also recognizes the benefits of experiential learning opportunities, which allowed her to gain practical experience and apply concepts she learned in her classes to her own classroom setting.

Ismail describes her student teaching placement as “beyond amazing” and anticipates how it will inform her future teaching career. Reflecting on the experience, she especially appreciates the Field Placement Director Danielle DeFauw and coordinating teacher Traci Middleton, who she says “truly impacted the way I will conduct my classroom.”

While her time at UM-Dearborn helped her pursue her dream to become a teacher, it has not been without challenges. Ismail and her husband, who graduated from UM-Dearborn’s College of Business in April 2018, attended classes while working full time and raising their four young children. “It has not been easy to strive for our dream,” she admits.

However, receiving the CEHHS Student Teaching Scholarship, the Roger F. and Norma J. Verhey Math Education Scholarship, and the American Association of University Women Scholarship helped reduce some of the worry that inevitably comes with pursuing a college education and raising a family. “These scholarships have been a life-saver for me,” Ismail says, noting that without their help, “I would not have been able to receive my degree debt free."

Ismail is “beyond thankful for the professors at UM-Dearborn,” who have inspired her and demonstrated the level of dedication for their students that she hopes to emulate. “Their flexibility and sacrifice into many students’ lives has just shown how much teaching has to be a passion,” she says.

Now that she has received her bachelor’s degree, Ismail says she plans to “look for a part-time teaching job within the next year and slowly transition into a full-time position as a middle school teacher.” Two of her children are still at home, and while she is home with them she will also look into master’s programs. Overall, Ismail is excited to begin the career she’s dreamed about since childhood. “I am grateful for the education I received and I cannot wait to impact lives in this field,” she says.

Pictured below: Candace Ismail student-teaching in Mrs. Middleton's 4th grade class, Jefferson Elementary School, Redford Twp.

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