Experience in South Korea leads to teaching career

Sarah Slater (BA, SED ’17) is an English major who knew she wanted to teach, but wanted to keep her English degree separate from her teacher preparation because she wanted to “emphasize her content knowledge.” She said, “I was almost done with my English degree when I added the secondary education certificate, so it didn’t make sense to change my major. I feel just as supported and prepared as the education majors, and everyone in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College was extremely knowledgeable and has every student teacher’s best interests in mind.”

Slater, a Tucson native, said that while volunteering in South Korea recently, she decided she wanted to pursue a career as an educator. “That experience was one of the defining moments of my career path. I spent more than 12 hours a day teaching English, playing games and getting to know young students. One of them was a troublemaker and encouraged others to join in his misbehavior. I sat next to him during an assembly, and he agreed to teach me some Korean phrases. After that, he used his leadership role to corral the other kids and remind them to pay attention. That little victory sealed the deal. I realized that I love teaching!”

Slater had a passion for English since she was in elementary school, and decided to teach high school English while working as a writing tutor for students at the ASU Disability Resource Center. “One of my students graduated from high school with a third grade reading level. After just a few weeks in tutoring, he completed his first college essay. When he turned it in, he was so proud, and we were both ecstatic when he received an ‘A.’ I am excited to see where I end up teaching after this year, and I hope to go on to complete my master’s degree in education.”

Tales Out of School

A lightning-round interview that introduces you to members of the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College community.

What three things are always in your fridge?

Chocolate, cheese and lunch meat.

Coffee or tea?


Last movie you watched that made you cry:

“Me Before You.”

Last book you read:

“Reading Reconsidered” by Doug Lemov.

Teaching is the most important profession because …

Teachers are often the most influential people in children’s lives. A teacher can change a student’s perspective of a subject, mold their character and create a lifelong learner.

The real-life teacher who most inspired you was …

My elementary school teachers. I was in a multi-age program, so I had two teachers in elementary school. They encouraged us to take leadership roles and grow in our interests, two valuable approaches that I rarely saw after I went on to middle school.

Favorite fictional teacher:


What are you most grateful for?

My family.

Why did you choose education as a major?

I knew I wanted to do something with English, but once I began tutoring I realized the impact I could have through teaching. I also recognized that I looked forward to going to work each morning and could not stop talking about the progress of each of my students.

Who inspired you when you were young, and why?

My mother is the strongest woman I know. She works harder than anyone I know and never complains. She is completely selfless, something that I hope to one day inherit.

Who inspires you now?

My students. So many of them face challenges outside the classroom and still maintain a positive attitude and strong work ethic.

Three historical or fictional people you would have over for dinner:

Jane Austen, Hermione Granger and Rhett Butler.

What’s your favorite mode of transportation, and why?

My car because I can escape the heat.

What’s your go-to food?

Chocolate (it should be its own food group).

ASU moment to remember:

Watching the Pac-12 championship against Stanford my freshman year.

Biggest change in classrooms from when you were a child to today:

Technology has vastly changed the way to engage students and how to approach management of various devices.

Biggest mistake:

Not starting the teaching certificate program earlier.

Biggest accomplishment:

Connecting with a disruptive student through a language barrier.

Most adventurous thing you’ve ever done:

Teaching in South Korea for a month.

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self:

Do not be afraid to try new things and explore other interests.

Favorite movie quote:

“We accept the love we think we deserve” –“Perks of Being a Wallflower”

Pet peeve:

Dirty dishes.

App you can’t live without: