First-Year Teacher: Tom Raffin

Tom Raffin teaches in his classroom
IU freshmen aren’t the only ones starting a new adventure this semester – recent School of Education graduates also began their journeys as first-year teachers. We will be profiling these alumni as they begin a career of changing lives through teaching. This profile is written by Tom Raffin, a high school English teacher at Haines City Senior High School in Haines City, Florida.

Teaching is really going well so far. The other teachers that I work with, and the administration at my school have been incredibly supportive and encouraging as I find my way as a teacher. I have been challenged and surprised so far by the amount of behind the scenes work in terms of grading, and logistics that teachers put in, but I guess worksheets don't print themselves, and papers don't grade themselves.

I've been grateful that the School of Education had me spend so much time in the classroom throughout my degree because if it hadn't been for that I think that I would have seen a lot more struggles in terms of managing my classroom and finding a motivation as to why exactly I teach and what I want my students to take away from my lessons.

In terms of why exactly I teach, I'd have to credit my sophomore year Philosophy of Education instructor Caitlin Howlett for truly inspiring me and instilling in me the beliefs that still guide me today. I believe that teachers and professors alike have the unique privilege of working to promote the ideas and practices specific to their field, while shaping the minds of the future as we constantly work towards bettering the future. I believe in furthering the practices and basic tenets of a democracy through my instruction and I believe that I can help to create a better life for all of us through this. I have yet to find another field that allows me to do those things. Working with young people has always been something I have found great joy in, and being given the privilege of helping them to find themselves as they develop into adults in an ever-changing world is a task that I both look forward to and cherish on a day to day basis.