In Focus: Tiffany M. Taylor
Tell us about your background and how you knew you wanted to be a teacher.
I did my undergraduate studies at Stony Brook University. I received a B.A. in History. I always had a passion for history. Even as a child, I did programs at Old Bethpage Village Restoration and they are some of my fondest memories. My first career was in the law and I liked it but I was not in love with my job. I also taught at a youth group for 12 years prior. What kept me going every week was knowing I was teaching Saturday mornings.
What brought you to Hofstra University for graduate studies?
Hofstra found me. I originally was looking at the Hofstra Law School, until I realized teaching was my path. I received mail about an open house for graduate students. I went to see what the school was all about. I was impressed! I sealed the deal that night by filling out an application! Of course it did not hurt that I’ve heard so many people recommended Hofstra for a person who had not previous education experience.
How would you describe your field placements/student teaching experience?
I adored my placement. The middle school was so welcoming and the students were amazing. My high school placement was perfect. I was able to teach my content area and special law classes. I took my experiences and brought it into the classroom. Bringing the law to the classroom is very important to me. So many of us outside the legal world have no idea how it works. I was able to teach them about thing that will be applicable to them in a very short time. I cleared up so many complex ideas like what exactly happens in jury duty and what really goes into getting sued.
Were you active in any Hofstra student organizations?
I participated in the Educational Honor Society. I also got involved with organizations that are well known in the teaching field thanks to professors at Hofstra. I participated in events hosted by the Long Island Council for Social Studies and New York State Bar Associations “LYC” group.
Did you find mentors while you studied at Hofstra?
From the second I walked into Hofstra, Dr. Alan Singer became a mentor. He was always there when you needed him. At every corner he gave me encouragement and the attention I needed. Every professor I worked with was so willing to give guidance and advice. Their doors were always open.
How has Hofstra prepared you for the job search process post-graduation?
There were always events to help me with the process. I continue to keep in touch with professors as an alum and feel well connected to their network.
What are your long-term goals?
I am looking for a position that I can use both my passion for law and history. I would love to find a place that mimicked my student teaching experience. Personally, I would also love to obtain a Ph.D. in history. What I’d like to study all started with an assignment at Hofstra.
What advice do you have for those seeking certification at the secondary level?
Make sure you love your content. Students will notice your unhappiness. Also, being a teacher is the last thing you will do. Secondary school students need a lot more supports than other levels. You will become a mentor, a role model, a rock and a “safe place.” Never put that teacher hat on before other “hats.”
What stands about about your time in the M.S.Ed. program?
My journey at Hofstra gave me more than a foundation for teaching. Hofstra gave me my voice. I found my passion and compassion for students and teaching. The most horrifying and scary moment in an education student’s life, became my most cherished and meaningful moment in my life. The minute I started student teaching, I was tremendously scared but I realized I made the best decision in the world.