Major: Teacher Preparation
When Sarah Jamal was growing up, she enjoyed volunteering to work with children.
“Ever since I was a child, my family has always been involved in my community, which led me to be part of it as well,” she said, “I knew that I had a love for helping children develop, and I wanted to continue this through becoming an educator.”
After graduating from high school, Jamal wasn’t sure which university was the best fit for her. She wanted to further explore education, be close to home and be part of on-campus organizations that would expand her network.
“I chose College of DuPage because it provided me with smaller settings to learn where I could engage with the content productively and, therefore, learn more,” she said. “The courses I took and experiences I had at COD reaffirmed that education was the path for me as I sat through early childhood courses, volunteered, was part of the Student Education Association and did field work along with observations.
“Additionally, I learned to take risks and take advantage of new opportunities. I was able to join organizations on campus that helped me grow as an individual, opened my mind to new ideas and perspectives, and explore the education field further. Through joining Phi Theta Kappa and the Student Education Association, I took on leadership roles, learned more about myself and my passion for education, made achievable goals, and reflected on how I wanted to grow and what I wanted my future in education to look like.”
Jamal cites Associate Professor of Teacher Preparation Shannon Brown as an inspiration.
“She is an amazing professor who helped me grow and pushed me to take advantage of the opportunities that COD had to offer, and she helped me in my education beyond COD.”
After earning her Associate in Arts degree, Jamal transferred to the University of Michigan, from which she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Education with High Distinction. She then moved to Guatemala City, Guatemala, to teach first grade, which she loves doing.
“My first year of teaching internationally has taught me so many valuable lessons and skills that I am appreciative of. I am excited to continue growing as an educator through future opportunities.”
Her goal is to teach in a community that aligns with her values as a teaching professional and as an individual. Within that community, she also would like to be a role model for students. Jamal eventually would like to become nationally board certified and possibly obtain a master’s degree in education.
Jamal advises students interested in the Teacher Preparation program at COD to build relationships with their professors, ask questions, be open-minded and learn from them.
“The professors at COD have a lot to offer if you are willing to put in the time to listen and learn,” she said. “I would also recommend that you step out of your comfort zone, even if it seems scary. A good step in doing this is by taking on leadership roles and jumping at opportunities for professional and self-growth.
“I am truly grateful for the academic and personal experiences and growth opportunities that COD presented to me. I am also deeply grateful for the continued mentorship that Professor Shannon Brown has provided me for years. COD has played a vital role in shaping who I am as an educator. I have learned to not be afraid to fail, learn and grow. Attending COD provided me with the tools I need to succeed.”