Pursuing a lifelong love of teaching
Some people spend much of their young adulthood trying to figure out what they want to do in life. Emma Clark has known since the fourth grade. “I’ve always wanted to teach,” she says.
Currently enrolled in the Stanford Teacher Education Program (STEP) at the Graduate School of Education, Clark aims to one day inspire students the way some of her own teachers did, whether it was building a diorama in elementary school or exploring tide pools near her hometown in Bellingham, Washington.
She already has significant experience in learning environments. As an undergraduate at Stanford, she was active in Haas Center service activities—Ravenswood Reads in East Palo Alto, the Habla program helping immigrant Stanford staff learn English and, most influential of all, a 10-week teaching gig in Costa Rica. Clark chose a tiny, rural school in Samara where resources are scarce. “The classrooms had dirt floors and cement walls—all you really had was a chalkboard and some basic tools,” she recalls. “I had to learn to engage students without videos, colorful toys and shapes.”
Those experiences connected Clark to the deeply felt satisfaction she derives from helping students unlock a love for discovery. “I love those little moments, the celebration of mastering a concept. There is that click and that smile, and you see a fire for learning ignite.”