Jose Santana, Junior Early Childhood Education Major, has been inspired to become a teacher by his own teachers throughout the years.

Growing up, the Hall County native says he always enjoyed school and had some amazing teachers who made him want to pursue teaching as his vocation. “Mrs. Leslie Frierson, my fourth grade English and Social Studies teacher, made learning fun and pushed us to do our best. Mrs. Jill Damron, my twelfth grade English teacher encouraged us that with hard work, anything is possible.”

Upon graduation, Santana decided to pursue his calling at Truett McConnell. “I chose to get my education degree here at TMU because the class sizes allow me to get to know my professors and build relationships with my classmates.”

“Throughout my time here,” he added, “the professors have definitely challenged me to strive for excellence. They also take the content we learn and go deeper into real life application.”

The future educator also shares the importance of the biblical-centered education he has gained from the university. “Getting a degree from a Christian university will prepare me to exemplify Christ in the classroom. Even if teaching in a public school, I can pray for my students during the moment of silence every morning, even if I have limitations on how much of my faith I am allowed to share.”

Balancing it all

As a cross country athlete for the Truett McConnell Bears, Santana says balancing academics and his sport was difficult at first. “Remembering that coursework is the priority and not taking too many difficult classes in a semester helped me grow in independence, time-management, and study skills.”

The next two years, the junior will continue to pursue his education path in hopes to teach close to home after graduation. “I grew up in Gainesville and went to Centennial Arts Academy and Gainesville Middle School, so I would like to teach at Gainesville City Schools. I really like being around the fourth and fifth graders just because they are the most mature group at the elementary school age.”

Santana says he is open to teaching any subject but he enjoys language arts and social studies, and he plans on beginning his teaching career after graduation and hopes to eventually become a principal after getting teaching experience in the classroom.


Maggie Reeves is the Content Assistant for the Marketing and Communications Department.


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