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Sarah Hunter | Featured Alumna

Sarah HunterFor starters, if you had told me ten years ago that I would be a high school English teacher, I wouldn't have believed you. From childhood through college, I had only one plan: be an actor. I grew up here in North County and spent every summer performing at Moonlight Amphitheatre. At Vista High School, the drama department was my home, and as far as I was concerned there was no alternative path for me to follow other than a career in the arts. With that in mind, I attended San Francisco State University and got my Bachelors in Drama and my Minor in Speech and Communications with an emphasis on Performance Studies.

It was in 2010 that the path to teaching opened up for me when I began teaching musical theater to kids in afterschool programs around San Diego County. What I initially thought was a great opportunity to do theater and get paid for it turned out to be a discovery of my true passion: teaching. It was through my students, aged 5-18, that I fell in love with the dynamic between teacher and student, learning and growing. After several years of teaching theater, I knew it was time to make my commitment to teaching official, so I began my credential journey through CSUSM.

My youngest son was only six weeks old when I started the credential program. In addition to raising my infant, I was balancing raising my twins, who were four years old at the time. Two months into the program, I became a single mom. Those circumstances, combined with the full course load at CSUSM, prepared me for the rigor and challenges of this profession in ways I did not recognize at the time.

When I first got into the credential program, I was afraid that my theater background would place me at a disadvantage when it came time to interview. I wasn't the traditional English major and my career trajectory had taken many twists and turns, but ultimately my range of experiences gave me leverage. My theater background has proven beneficial to my teaching in a myriad of ways and my experience as a mom has instilled in me a natural understanding of classroom management and the ability to approach others with empathy and patience. In teaching, the more experiences we have, the more opportunities we have to connect with our students from a place of understanding.

I'm in my 5th year of teaching at Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, and this career is more fulfilling than I ever could have imagined. Connecting with my incredible students drives my passion and purpose every single day. 

 

  • What program(s) were you part of in SOE?

I earned my single subject credential in English from CSUSM in 2016. The ten month program prepared me to hit the ground running as a teacher from the moment I stepped into the classroom, and I am forever grateful to the exceptional team of professors that supported me every step of the way.

  • What was something that you learned that you carry with you in your current position?

Equity and advocacy. Those aren't just buzzwords for me, they are a part of my practice that I am constantly working towards. In the credential program, we were introduced to equity through our coursework and challenged to search for ways to build it in our classes. We all have work to do when it comes to making learning accessible for all of our students.

  • What is a tip you would give to current students?

You've got this. It often feels hard and overwhelming, but you're doing it. Leverage your network every step of the way and form every meaningful connection that you can, because the greater your community of colleagues, the better off you will be at every turn. Collaborate every chance you get with as many other educators as you can; you and your students will be thankful that you did. And most importantly, don't be afraid to be fully, authentically you. I remember being terrified and intimidated in my first job interview, and I walked away feeling like I had made myself smaller than I truly am because I was trying to fit into what I thought they were looking for. That was the one and only time I made that mistake. Moving forward, I let my whole self be seen in every interview, and I was offered a position every single time. Trust yourself and interview with confidence knowing that CSUSM has prepared you to do this job well. When you step into your classroom, just do you every step of the way. Your students will value your authenticity and will learn more freely because of it.

  • What is something you recently accomplished?

In 2019 I was honored as the GSA Advisor of the Year by the North County LGBTQ Resource Center's Project Youth. As an out educator, I am proud to share my family's story with the LGBTQ students on our campus because I know how important visibility and representation are to our youth. Advocating for our marginalized student populations is something that I am very passionate about.

  • What is something we might not know about you?

I love adventuring with my wife and three kids, whether it's hiking a trail we've never gone on before or traveling to new places. I am fortunate to have a very tight knit family that is always there to affirm and uplift one another. It is because of them that I am the teacher that I am!

April 2021