Graduate Spotlight: Michael Tillman, Teaching of Social Studies ☆

Michael Tillman graduated with his Master’s degree in Teaching of Social Studies and “loved every last minute of it.”

That’s not to say it didn’t take some adjustments early on. “When I began the program, I felt completely overwhelmed and in over my head.  I’ve never considered myself an intellectual, just a guy who likes to think about things. My classmates here at TC were extraordinarily intelligent, articulate, critical thinkers.” But with the encouragement and support of his peers, instructors, and professors, Tillman found his place philosophically in the realm of social education and gained confidence as both a student and a teacher.  “I’m thrilled that I am finally at the end of my program, but I feel a bit sad about leaving a place that fostered a new phase in my personal and academic life.”

The biggest thing Tillman will take from his time here comes from his student teaching experience.  “As much as we spend time talking about educational theory, classroom practice, curriculum development, and lesson content, this whole teaching thing really comes down to our students.  If you teach with your students as the driving force behind your practice, you’re going to be okay.  Teaching isn’t about me, it’s about the kids.”

Tillman has a long term substitute teaching job lined up for the rest of the school year, and after that he will join the job search.  Long term, he hopes to move back south and bring some of the educational ideas he’s practiced here to the schools back home, as he will “always be a Louisiana boy…”