The road to self-discovery makes for a better teacher

  • Commencement Feature Series:
    Commencement Feature Series:  Anna Wong ’17, M.A.Ed. ’18  
Photo - of -
Graduation is the end of a journey of self-discovery for Anna Wong ’17, M.A.Ed. ’18 as she transitions from a student at the William & Mary School of Education to a full-time career in teaching.

Wong’s personal experience as a student who takes longer to learn and who has a deep curiosity about the world around her drew her to a degree in education. She cares deeply for others and discovered that “the traits I admired in others — patience, selflessness, resilience, kindness, compassion, maturity — were ones that teaching would invite me to develop.”

It takes a village to raise a college student on the road to independence. Wong, like most students, sought help in navigating this process and found many mentors including her parents, professors, yoga instructors and the cooperating teacher who supervised her during her student teaching experience. Recognizing the need to first discover who she was before she could help her students discover themselves, she looked to her mentors for guidance and wisdom.

Part of self-discovery is finding a balance in life by growing and taking on new responsibilities while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle and staying true to oneself. Wong found solace in lessons of resilience from her health, wellness and yoga mentors — insights she hopes to pass on to her students.

As she prepares for graduation, she’s most proud of the personal growth she’s experienced over the last four years at William & Mary. “The transition from student to teacher was one that I took very seriously, and it was challenging,” she said. “No matter what was going on in my personal life, it was time for me to grow up and show up — as the adult in the room — every single day.” The realization that she would be responsible for more than just herself once she began teaching was just the motivation she needed to fully embrace the transition.

While she has found it difficult to “take off the teacher hat” when not in the classroom, she is looking forward to her next journey of self-discovery as an English teacher in Roanoke City Public Schools this fall.