Student Spotlight

Ruth Tan, elementary education ’18, is still a few months away from earning her degree, but she has already become an advocate for teacher education, holding leadership roles at Tennessee Tech and at the state level.

Tan was born in Kansas, but lived abroad in Malaysia for eight years, where her first school experiences took place. When she came back to the United States and attended school in Nashville, Tennessee, she noticed some of her teachers lacking passion for their jobs.

“I attended a Title 1 high school before coming to Tech where it was hard for the teachers to meet the needs of the students,” Tan explained. “Most of the teachers were not passionate about their profession and were ‘going through the motions.’”

Tan knew she did not want a profession that she was not passionate about and thought that students deserve passionate teachers, so she began studying in Tech’s College of Education.

“All of the education professors support me and believe in me, that I will be an effective teacher,” she said. “They have provided me advice, guidance, and resources for me to be successful. They provide the resources to you and want you to be that teacher who has a burning desire to teach.”

At Tech, Tan has enjoyed serving as a student leader in the campus Student Tennessee Education Association chapter.

“Through this organization, I have been exposed to several conferences, scholarships, and leadership opportunities to deepen my understanding of why we need passionate teachers,” Tan said. “This organization has molded me to be a more driven and effective teacher.”

Tan’s studies at Tech and the experience she gained through attending school events, Tan designed an event that was awarded grant funding and implemented at a Title 1 school like the one she once attended.

Now, she looks forward to not only being a passionate teacher but also to inspiring other teachers with her approach.