(June 19, 2007) Amanda Hanson ’06 and Pete Ower ’06, both first-year teachers are featured in the Spring ’07 issue of the Illinois State Alumni Magazine. Hanson and Ower discuss the experience they’ve had as new teachers.

“I walked into my empty classroom last summer with a head full of ideas, a heart bursting with excitement … and a stomach filled with butterflies,” says Hanson, a fourth-grade teacher in Quincy, Illinois. Hanson says that it is the small moments, the ones where she has “had the chance to make a difference in a little person’s world,” that keeps her going through the challenging times as a first-year teacher.

Ower, a seventh-grade science educator at Willmette Junior High, shares his reflections about his first day on the job. “There was clearly a sense of excitement, curiosity, and fear among the new students. This was their first time in a junior high, and they did not know what to expect. Neither did I,” recalls Ower.

These alumni share compelling memoirs of their experiences moving from student to teacher in the span of one year. In connection with this article, the College of Education invites education alumni to share their thoughts and experiences on the topic of “it starts with education,” in a project called, My Life, My Teaching.

The My Life, My Teaching project will be a collection of stories from education alumni for dissemination on the college’s Web site, as well as during special events throughout the year. Submissions will be accepted on an ongoing basis. Submit your own story now.