I never thought that I would become a teacher, because while I always loved learning, I never loved going to school. I knew that I wanted to work with refugees and recent immigrants, as my mom came to the United States as a refugee, but I didn’t know how I could do that. It wasn’t until my junior year of high school that I volunteered at a magnet school for recent immigrants in Denver that I discovered my passion for education and teaching. I worked in a newcomer classroom, and between lessons I was able to talk to the students and hear their stories. As the only Muslim student, and one of a few students of color, I didn’t ever feel as though my identities mattered at school and never felt comfortable sharing my identities. When it came time to pick a college, I chose CU Boulder in part for the School of Education. Its focus and philosophy match up exactly with my goals as an educator. I want to be a teacher so I can help students like myself see themselves represented in the classroom, and to feel as though their background and identities are valued in the classroom and help shape the classroom culture.
I also chose CU Boulder for the opportunities it provides to experience a small university feel at a large institution. As a humanities major, I have the opportunity to study two fields, English literature and a second field that I created in the department on the ethical treatment of animals.
On campus, I love serving as an ambassador for the School of Education. I am also the student administrative assistant for the Honors Residential Academic Program and a student leader for the program, and in those roles I plan events for first year students. I have also worked with the Denver Dumb Friends League animal shelter and the Native American Rights Fund.
The classes and practicum experiences I have received through the CU Boulder School of Education and my various roles on campus and off campus, have given me the skills and confidence necessary to enact positive change. CU Boulder’s focus on advancing educational equity has given me the tools I need to do just that and be the best educator that I can. I also hope to combat structural oppression, and I believe that teaching is the perfect way to do so. I cannot wait to become the teacher who encourages students to be proud of who they are.
~ Anisah Spahn
Humanities and Elementary Education Teacher Licensure Student, 2018