Erin McIntyre’s passion for education didn’t stop when she earned degrees from St. Clair County Community College and Saginaw Valley State University.
McIntyre, a kindergarten teacher at Thomas Edison Elementary School in Fort Gratiot, continues to use her love of learning by forming the minds of children in our community every day.
“I teach my little ones, ‘You are going to college, it will happen, but you have to work for it,’” McIntyre said. “You can do so much with a college education and I feel it gives you a more secure life because no matter what happens you will always have a degree to fall back on. I’m trying to make this generation see that nothing should stop them from an education.”
McIntyre said the importance of a college education was instilled in her by her parents at a young age and she decided to start her education at SC4 in 2000 favoring the smaller more intimate experience the institution offered.
“I wanted to stay in town to figure out what I wanted to do,” she said. “When I first started at SC4 I wanted to go into social work and it wasn’t until after my first semester, when I began working at the YMCA with school-aged children, that I realized I wanted to purse teaching. I was able to change my degree and still stay at SC4 because the college offered so many options.”
McIntyre took advantage of the partnership between SC4 and SVSU where she was able to stay on SC4’s campus and earn a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education with minors in Social Studies and English from SVSU, as well as an Associates of Arts from SC4. Attending college near home also allowed her to save money on tuition and work while pursuing her degree.
“It was a big benefit that I could take so many classes on SC4’s campus and I liked that the class sizes were small. The professors knew who you were and it was especially nice when you got to know the people going on the same path as you,” she said. “There was a comfort level to being in classes at SC4.”
McIntyre said she enjoys shaping the lives of our youth and feels her role as a teacher provides her with the opportunity to not only inspire her students but also be a positive role model.
“So many of these kids need someone who loves them even when they make mistakes,” she said. “They need someone who teaches them to push through their mistakes by problem solving and using self-reflection because those are skills they will need their whole lives.”
McIntyre feels there are many similarities to the life lessons she is teaching her kindergarten students that college students are also experiencing.
“My little ones are branching out into something brand new, just like college students are. With my kindergartners I’m teaching them the most basic things like reading and they can use that skill to pursue a love of learning,” she said. “This all correlates to when they go to college because they will have to have that same passion to learn new things and that starts with the foundation they build as a child. It is why school is so important and reciprocal, at different points you are starting a different branch of your life, but one can’t exist without the other.”
What is McIntyre’s advice to current students?
“Be patient with yourself and know that it does take time to decide first what you want to do and then see it through to fruition; where you step in the door of that first job after graduation,” she said. “I had to have so much patience’s to get to where I am today. At one point I thought I am never going to get a job, but I held out hope knowing it would come. I love what I do and I wouldn’t change the time it took to get here for anything.”