Teaching English was not Trina Sotirakopulos' first choice for a career.
She instead studied journalism at Columbia College Chicago, where she landed an internship with Walter Jacobson at Fox News. Later that summer, he hired her as his assistant producer.
"I had wild dreams of becoming a lead anchor in a top market. To do so, I had to move to Rockford, where I was given my own morning show to produce," she said. "Once I was handed the microphone to report, I realized it wasn’t for me. It was hard to follow the trail of a dead body found in a frozen lawn. Once I saw a horrific accident, arriving before the paramedics, and I knew I had to get out of news."
Sotirakopulos began to write for children and young adults. Wanting to learn more about writing, she returned to school and earned her master’s degree in literature. While doing so, she was a substitute teacher at Lake Park High School.
"I fell in love with sharing my knowledge and learning from students. I found myself gravitating toward the seniors and honors students while teaching 'Huckleberry Finn.' I knew I had to teach young adults — the gateway to our future," she said.
Now Sotirakopulos is teaching English at College of DuPage and finds inspiration daily in her students and their abilities to run through barriers and jump over boundaries, both social and academic.
"I hope my students leave my classroom with confidence to write anything they are assigned in school and in life," she said. "My students know more than they know they do. My job is to get them to articulate their knowledge on the page, sounding credible while doing so.
"I did not choose teaching; teaching chose me, so it is difficult to answer why I am in this career. I found myself in a setting that I missed when I was away. I suppose that’s how we know we’ve made the right decision, when we feel less complete being apart from our heart’s greatest desires."