K-12 teacher teaching students
Story Teacher Preparation

'How the CSU Prepared Me to Be a Great Teacher'

Michelle Baik

In celebration of American Education Week, CSU alumni in education share how their CSU campus equipped them for a career they love.

K-12 teacher teaching students

The CSU equips teachers and education professionals to teach and serve students of all backgrounds and ages throughout the nation. Photo courtesy of CSU Fullerton


​It's an impressive statistic: The California State University is California's and the nation's single largest producer of teachers. As such, the 23-campus system is recognized as a true leader and innovator in preparing educators across the U.S. 

As American Education Week winds down, now is the perfect time to share the words of a few of our teaching program alumni on what their CSU education means to them as they made, or are in the process of making, the transformation from student to educator.

"Throughout my time at the Charter College of Education at Cal State LA, I was impressed and excited by the progressive and inclusive approach to education that is promoted there. In particular, my graduate studies through the Educational Foundations master's program have pushed my thinking about both the practical and the theoretical facets of education. I believe it has made me a more thoughtful and socially engaged practitioner now that I am teaching daily in the urban public school setting. I feel grateful to have had the opportunity to study in-depth and with rigor the best practices, history and range of theories that inform our country's school system so that I can contribute to that system and, most importantly, the students it serves, in the most compassionate, inclusive and engaging ways possible. I feel this is essential now more than ever." 
– Liz Vacco, Echo Park, California


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"Receiving both my bachelor's degree and multiple subject teaching credential from San Diego State University was the perfect combination to prepare me for the education field… Transitioning into my credential program, I saw immediate connections between my undergraduate and credential work and learned more than just curriculum design and pedagogy. I learned the necessary soft skills that helped me foster lasting relationships with my students… I am a proud educator and SDSU Aztec. However, I am especially proud to be a product of the CSU system, the system where I found my inner firework. I am ready to burst my 'colors' and leave a positive, lasting impact on my students for years to come!" – Brandon Ishikata, currently pursuing a master's degree in education

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"I always knew that one of my life callings included teaching… I attended California State University, Los Angeles and… for English majors there was a unique field of study that included additional coursework to prepare us for careers in teaching—the single subject English credential option. This option for the English major allowed me to take courses in literature lesson plan design; integrating literacy and teaching literature before graduating with a degree in English… The courses and seminars challenged us to adapt the literature studied as English majors for secondary students; they caused us to reflect and consider how to activate students' prior knowledge… All of the courses were geared toward teaching English to urban students of color and from diverse backgrounds… No wonder I felt then, and feel now, so well prepared to teach English at the secondary level. The Cal State LA Single Subject English Option is a model for preparing future educators to teach literature and literacy." 
– Latosha Renee Guy, Los Angeles, California

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"I attended CSU Fullerton and received my secondary single subject credential in mathematics, followed by my master's degree in education with an emphasis in teaching foundational level math. CSU Fullerton provided me with the most innovative teaching strategies and technological skills, which I continue to cherish and rely on after five years of teaching. Crucially, it prepared me for my first job right after graduation at a greatly diversified high school in Los Angeles and two years later at another high school in Orange County… In my training at CSU Fullerton, I learned how to provide tools of success to all students, regardless of their background, for a dynamic and challenging world." 
– Sohayla Meknat Lajevardi, Garden Grove, California

"As a
student of Cal State LA's Charter College of Education, the instructors took into account my unique strengths and needs as an educator-in-training and adjusted their instruction to meet my level of need… The professors within the College demonstrated their interest in my career pathway even after I graduated, which has led to valuable, life-long professional relationships… Cal State LA's Charter College prepared me to be a dynamic, urban educator and to meet the challenges of the field with strength and understanding." – Rebekah Ruswick, currently working as the special education program administrator, Downey, California

Education; Made in the CSU; Impact; Alumni