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Evan Perry
February 10, 2021

Trained to Engage Learners in Diverse Classrooms

Evan Perry ’21 says he “stumbled upon education” as a career because of his first job at Berry — classroom assistant at Berry College Elementary and Middle School (BCEMS), where education majors observe and practice teaching K–8 learners in an on-campus lab environment. “The people around me noticed my teaching potential and urged me to consider education,” Evan says. “I went for it, and I love it.” Since then, Evan has taken sure-footed steps into his profession, embracing a variety of experiences through Berry’s education department while taking on leadership roles.            

Evan is currently a student teacher in the third grade at BCEMS. Though he’ll be certified to teach pre-K–5 grades, Evan’s heart is really in K–3. “They have this passion to learn about the world around them because everything is still new to them,” he explains. “Helping them navigate this world is everything to me. They come to school with energy and charisma that make me, as a teacher, have no choice but to reciprocate … which makes for such a fun, creative, spirited learning environment.”

Minoring in Spanish and Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) gives Evan a competitive edge because of his ability to engage English language learners in the classroom. He earned an English for Speakers of other Languages (ESOL) endorsement through field experiences at a local elementary school.

This training has served him well in his role as the two-year student director of Berry’s English as a Second Language (ESL) Program, which provides language instruction to non-native speakers of English from diverse backgrounds. Evan supervises eight instructors and spearheaded the move to online instruction after COVID-19 struck, with the program now reaching up to 100 adult students. “The transition to virtual learning allows us to serve people outside our normal geographical reach,” Evan says.

Evan is also winding up his two-year stint as the student director of the Pathways to Teaching Program, a scholarship program for ethnically diverse education majors that offers service learning, professional development, academic support and networking opportunities. The program’s director, Clinical Assistant Professor of Teacher Education Victor Morgan, has mentored Evan from day one. “I took EDU 102, the intro course for educators to help prospective candidates decide if education is the right choice for them,” Evan says. “Mr. Morgan practically made it his goal to have me declare education as my major, and I’m so thankful he did. I couldn’t see myself in any other major.”

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