Kids dream of being doctors, astronauts, firemen, scientists.
“I came from the womb wanting to be a teacher,” said Morristown native Megan Pennala.
“My mom was a teacher, and still is, and I grew up hearing stories of how she had
impacted the lives of others. As a kid, I was always playing ‘school’ and bossing
my little sister around telling her what homework she had that was due. Education
was ingrained in me.”
This spring, the aspiring teacher is just weeks away from realizing that childhood
dream. In May, Pennala will receive her B.S. degree in elementary education from
the East Tennessee State University Clemmer College.
For senior teacher candidates at ETSU, the final two semesters are designated as their
residency year where they spend the academic calendar as student teachers at a local
school while taking some classes.
“This has been so rewarding,” Pennala said. “I get to experience all that I have
worked hard for and I love it. I’m teaching third graders every day, all day, and
the work has paid off.”
Pennala said after graduation she will be ready to enter the workforce and that she
hopes she can stay in the area if possible.
“I love the mountains,” she said.
As Pennala prepares to graduate and leave the campus of ETSU, she has advice to those
who will arrive in the fall or have just started their journey. It’s advice that
she also gave to her younger sister who is now a freshman at ETSU.
“Get involved with others who share common interests with you, and make sure you stay
caught up with all of your class assignments,” she said.
And for those who are considering a career in education…
“The education program at ETSU is through the roof,” Pennala described. “The faculty go above and beyond. Dr. Karin Keith has been an inspiration, as have Dr. Price and Mrs. Yates and all the others. They all have played a role in me being the educator I am today.”
DID YOU KNOW….. ETSU began as a teacher-training school in 1911? For more than 100 years, ETSU has been preparing future educators like Megan who will transform the lives of others in the classroom.