Grand Rapids, Michigan
Hi! I'm Ashleigh and I was raised in Brighton, Michigan, a town about 50 miles northwest of Detroit.... You've probably passed it on the way to a Tiger's game or perhaps you've stopped to shop! I moved to West Michigan in 2005 to attend Grand Valley State University (GVSU). While I was skeptical at first, I love West Michigan and cannot imagine leaving! In my free time, I like to spend time with my family and friends, ride my bike on the plethora of trails GR has to offer, and dine at local restaurants.
My first meaningful experience with social studies occurred during my junior year of high school. I enrolled in Close Up Government, a class that traveled to Washington, DC in the spring. I was excited to take the class because I didn't know much about government or politics, but I was interested to learn more. The culminating trip to Washington, DC was truly life-changing. I observed democracy in action by meeting with members of Congress, sitting in on meetings regarding the war in Iraq, and watching debates on the House floor. I spent most of the week in awe at the work people in and around Washington were doing; they all seemed so enthusiastic about their field and what they were trying to accomplish. I left Washington energized and with a sense of purpose; I somehow wanted to be involved with social studies and government whether it was working in Washington or teaching.
I started at Grand Valley State University with a major in Political Science. Through volunteer experiences in Grand Rapids Public Schools, I decided that I wanted to go into education. I changed my major to Group Social Studies and I didn't look back. GRPS exposed me to the trials that students face, whether it be academically or in their personal lives. Those experiences made me feel like I needed to work with secondary students to help them become successful and active citizens.
As my graduation from GVSU arrived, I reflected on everything that I had learned during my time at school. I am a successful teacher because I am passionate about my subject area and my students. Passion for my subject area allows me to make a greater connection with my students. My love of social studies engages students and shows them why the given topic is relevant to their lives. I truly enjoy working with young adults. Middle school and high school students are learning about themselves, the world ar