Teaching and ASU are hereditary traits in this alumna

By

Jennifer Priest Mitchell

Being a fourth-generation Sun Devil is just one thing Samantha Moffitt is proud to share about her personal history. “I’ve always loved teachers, and teaching, and being around teachers. It’s just a part of me,” she shares with joy in her voice. “My grandma taught kindergarten for 36 years. I have two aunts who are teachers, and it just comes to me naturally.” Moffitt graduates this December with a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education and special education from ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College.

Though her passion for teaching is strong, her path to her current role was a bit long. “Well, I started in another major … I was planning to be a physician’s assistant," Moffitt explains. "I ended up working for about seven years in various agencies providing services to kids with special needs while I was going to school. I loved that work and felt so lucky to be there every day and be supporting kids, teachers, and families. I worked for six years in various capacities with one child who has autism. I loved providing support and guidance with speech, social skills, academics and even just basic life skills. I really enjoyed working with kids and families, and I decided I would actually become a teacher. It was natural.

“I decided on ASU a long time ago," Moffitt says. "My great-grandmother, my grandma, and my dad all graduated from ASU, and I knew it was the only place for me. They have a great program, too. I knew it would be the right fit for me as I trained.”

Moffitt says she was well-prepared by her iTeachAZ experience in Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College. “They show you so much. You learn in the classroom and then on the job, and you learn how to handle or approach so many different types of situations. The way iTeach is set up, it is applicable to everything you do as a teacher. I have my own third grade classroom right now. I have for four weeks, and I am doing great. I feel completely comfortable and able to handle what needs to happen.”

Moffitt says iTeach taught her how to assess situations immediately and identify the resources she would have for students with special needs. When she sees an issue, she can quickly address it and make sure students are being served and learning.

Moffitt also credits iTeach and her coursework at ASU with helping her develop skills for writing lesson plans. She already receives compliments from teaching colleagues and her principal on her preparation of learning standards and objectives in the lesson plans.

What’s most important?

“For me, what is most important as a teacher is the love of education,” Moffitt explains. "Teachers must have a love of learning or else the kids see it. Your excitement for learning makes them excited about learning. When the students are excited, deep learning occurs, and of course you really want all of this to reach outside the classroom. I don’t just want to teach them about a subject. I want to teach them to be lifelong learners and to know how to teach themselves.”

Moffitt is equally passionate about connecting with parents. “The parents are really the kids’ first teachers and I love working with parents of kids with special needs. I like helping them see how they can support their children’s education … what they can do at home to teach communication skills and life skills that relate to academics and more.”

With this much energy devoted to teaching, Moffitt says her biggest challenge right now is balancing her personal and professional lives. Her commitment to her students’ progress often extends beyond the end of the school day.

Her passion for teaching started when Moffitt was very young and would accompany her grandmother to the kindergarten classroom where she taught. “My grandma had a reading nook — a corner of the classroom with shelves of books on all sides. There was a little ladder kids could climb up to go into a loft where they would stretch out and read. I loved that place, and I climbed up there, too. I want to create a love of reading and learning in my students, just like what was instilled in me so many years ago.”