Rachel Elin-Saintine

Group Teacher, Third and Fourth Grade

BA, Architectural Studies, dual minor in French and Studio Arts, University of Pittsburgh
MA, International Affairs, concentration in Cities and Social Justice, The New School
MA, Elementary Inclusive Education, Teachers College, Columbia University

racheles@miquon.org

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When I was a senior in high school, my guidance counselor gave our graduating class one of those tests that connect interests into potential career paths. While in homeroom, one by one, my friends’ names were called to receive their results. They started to open their letters – Doctor; Lawyer; Architect; smiles grew over their faces, and relief set in. My name was next to be called, and I was eager to find out what my future would hold. My heart was racing as I opened the envelope and read, “Your interests are too varied..”; it’s not possible to determine a career path for you at the moment. I was embarrassed that, unlike the others, I didn’t have a specialty. I was also anxious that I wouldn’t know what my college life would be like in six months without a focus or a possible major.

Well, fourteen years later, my varied academic and professional experiences have proven the test to be true. As someone who loves art, I studied architecture in college and took painting classes in France. I’m passionate about languages; I taught middle schoolers in France and worked with a group of deaf kids as an ASL interpreter. As my interests in human rights heightened, I worked on community development in Buenos Aires, earned a master’s degree in International Affairs, became a community organizer in Harlem, received master’s degree in Elementary Inclusive Education, and taught in an urban charter school.

What that test didn’t know is that my varied interests would bring me to a place like Miquon where students are encouraged to develop and pursue many interests. That test didn’t know that my many interests would equip me with experiences and skill sets needed to allow kids to grow as both individuals and members of a community. I feel very lucky to have found a home at Miquon where, in fact, just last week a group of students taught me my first beginning ballet class during Choice Time! Learning from one another’s passions is what makes Miquon unique, and it’s what makes learning meaningful and engaging. It’s been fourteen years since taking that test in high school, but I’ve finally figured where the results were leading me.