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Celebrating Thanksgiving as an Educator

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By Marjaneh Gilpatrick, EdD
Executive Director of Educational Outreach and Chair of MEd in TESOL

At a faculty and staff meeting in Grand Canyon University’s College of Education, Dean Kimberly LaPrade, PhD, asked everyone to share their thoughts about Thanksgiving from an educator’s lens.

Some reflected on how Thanksgiving provides an opportunity for educators to make meaning of it with their students:

“Thanksgiving as an educator is a unique experience. I would even consider it an opportunity. It is an opportunity to experience and discuss the meaning of the holiday with young minds. Much of learning comes through communication and discussion. In a classroom, you have endless opportunities to do just that. To hear what my students are thankful for, to hear their ideas, their traditions, etc., it allows me to share that thanks with each and every one of them. It is almost as if it becomes contagious – the joy, the family, the warmth and the thankfulness.” – Emily Bergquist, Full-Time Faculty Manager

Others expressed their thoughts in verse:

“To impact is too light to say,
The integral part you actually play
In the role of children’s lives

The hours spent, the tears shed,
Are evidence of the path you tread
In the name of education

Lesson plans, assessments, reading, writing, math,
Parent conferences, PLCs and administrative craft
Your commitment is an inspiration

Keep your lively spirit, passion and love
In the name of Christ Jesus above
Eternity is our motivation

Be thankful for the gifts He has given
Honoring our Father in heaven
All praise to Him who reigns”

–  Beth Riske, Field Experience Specialist for the Southwest Region

A few reflected on their appreciation for our teacher candidates as well as classroom teachers:

  • “I am thankful for teachers who understand the big picture of education and their role in developing young people. During this time of year, teachers are tired, somewhat burned out and/or too busy with all of the forthcoming school events. Keep the faith, remember your purpose, find the value in your calling and establish balance. Thank you, teachers, for remembering why you do what you do.” – Brandon Juarez, Assistant Professor
  • “I am thankful for students who have fire and love in their hearts for teaching. Many of them know that teaching is a tough career, but they persist in spite of this. It’s beautiful and inspiring.” – Meredith DeCosta, PhD, Assistant Professor
  • “I am thankful for my experience as a guest speaker earlier this semester in a social studies methods class. As a former middle school social studies teacher, I was able to share some ideas and strategies that I had successfully implemented with 7th and 8th graders. I was reminded of why I entered the field of education in the first place: my passion and love of history and the fulfillment of working with young students. Our GCU students are so excited and ready to change lives. Their love of education and their passion to have an impactful influence on their learners’ lives has inspired me to change my path in life.” – Meghan Arnold, Former Field Experience Specialist for the Southeast Region

So, how is Thanksgiving relevant in the College of Education? Thanksgiving means that we have the unique opportunity to impact the lives of our students and share in their journey of becoming lifelong learners, leaders and servant educators.

GCU students, faculty and staff are sharing why they are thankful this holiday season. Learn more about our university and education degree programs by visiting our website or using the Request More Information button at the top of this page.

About Marjaneh Gilpatrick, Ed.D.
Executive Director of Educational Outreach and Chair of M.Ed. in TESOL

In addition to being an executive director and chair of TESOL, Dr. Marjaneh Gilpatrick is the counselor for GCU’s Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education as well as Educators Rising of GCU (ER GCU). In her role, she oversees the adjunct faculty and Lopes for Literacy, which is the college’s service outreach initiative. She has fulfilled a variety of roles as an educator for over 20 years. At the beginning of her career, she was a third and fourth grade English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher. Prior to joining GCU, she was the instructional specialist, chair of the reading department and coordinator for Advancement via Individual Determination (AVID) at a junior high school. Furthermore, she was an adjunct instructor in the Maricopa County Community College District where she taught the Art of Storytelling, ESL courses and education courses to pre-service teachers.

Read more about Marjaneh Gilpatrick.