Q&A: NC State education major Tiffany Russ

Posted January 31
Updated July 11

Tiffany Russ

Hometown: Charlotte

Major/minor: Elementary Education

What made you want to become a teacher?
I want to become a teacher not only because I love working with children, but also because I believe in the power of education. Education is the only sustainable solution to poverty and the many other issues that come hand-in-hand with poverty. The opportunities and hope that education provides can change lives. I chose to be a teacher because I want to make this world a better place, and I truly believe that education can do just that.

Why did you choose N.C. State?
I chose NC State because of the unique Elementary Education program offered here. Unlike many other Elementary Education programs, we take many math, science, and even engineering and technology courses as part of our program. We graduate with a STEM concentration.

What is your dream teaching job?
My dream teaching job would be teaching first grade at a low-income school here in North Carolina.

After graduation, do you plan to teach in North Carolina or another state?
I plan to teach in North Carolina, though I also hope to spend my summers doing educational missions work abroad.

When deciding where you’d like to teach, what factor is most important to you and why? (salary, location, etc.)
The most important factor to me in deciding where I want to teach is really where I think I can make the biggest difference in the lives of the students.

Do you have any concerns about becoming a teacher?
As unusual as this answer may be: no, I don't have any concerns about becoming a teacher. I know teachers are not paid well and are often not respected as the professionals that they are, but I entered this field already having that knowledge. Teaching is a calling. You enter into teaching because you love children and you believe in education.

Enrollment in teacher education programs in the UNC System declined 30 percent from 2010 to 2015. What do you think can be done to encourage more people to become teachers?
I think there are two major problems here: first, we, as a society, do not respect teachers as professionals, and second, we, as a state, do not pay teachers as professionals. If we want more people to enter into teaching, those are the two issues that have got to be addressed. Until they are, teacher education programs will keep shrinking.


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