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Photo of Teacher Robin Getzen teaching three students

aMAzing Educators

An Educator's Story

The Infinite Learning Curve

Robin Getzen, 10th Grade English Teacher,
Lenox Memorial High School, Lenox, MA

For high school teacher Robin Getzen, education represented a 180 degree shift in career choices. At age 43, she left the world of television production, enrolled in a post baccalaureate program and emerged with a teacher's certification.

It was a bold decision, but after 10 years as an English teacher in the Berkshires, Ms. Getzen has no regrets. While less lucrative then her television job, the intrinsic benefits of teaching made the switch worthwhile. "I decided to stay in teaching because, ultimately, money is less meaningful than doing what you love," she says.

One of her biggest challenges at first was to let go of certain ingrained traits and philosophies. "I was a control freak," she confesses. That was before she met a student named Max. His unwavering resistance to following Ms. Getzen's "path" in the classroom triggered an epiphany.

"It was my 'aha' moment," she remembers. "Max taught me that the journey can take many paths and detours. I've completely changed the way I think about the process of teaching."

For Ms. Getzen, the process of change has continued ever since. "The best aspect of teaching is its infinite learning curve," she says. "You can never rest on your laurels." She has adopted multiple methods for teaching English, many of which are challenged each year with a new group of students, learning styles and personalities. This past year, Ms. Getzen's students all passed the required English Language Arts MCAS (Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System) test on their very first try.

"Working in education allows you to be a perpetual student of both literature and human nature," she adds. "Passion goes a very long way in sustaining you in this business."

Last Updated: July 15, 2014

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