Ryan Hamilton: Changing Landscapes through New Ideas and Design

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March 29, 2019

As one of six twins on his family’s dairy farm, Jordan Stallion studied hard in elementary school. Then he took off for college, where he graduated magna cum laude, got his master’s and taught school while still living at home.

Now one year and four weeks into his third year as a Teach for America corps member, Jordan has completed two years in his chosen field. “I think it’s important to understand and to recognize and appreciate how incredible the education system is,” he said. “In my opinion, as people living on farms, our vision of it is just nothing but a dream.

“As far as what I think about, how it affects my life and how I want to positively influence people’s lives, I’m most interested in trying to see what inspires people to think in a new way and to think about education in a different way, and not just as a monolithic idea or a model to look at, but really figure out how this model applies to real lives and real challenges,” he said.

“My dream was always to go to TSU,” he said. “It’s a perfect fit for me — I fit in with the mold of some of the most important people on the campus. I also think that people who walk into the classrooms or the fellowship-sites and interactions they have with students and those around them, I think, makes a huge difference in their lives and the life experiences they get.”

Mr. Stallion hopes to start at a larger school after completing his Teach for America pledge. But he said he likes the idea of becoming a teacher and a colleague for someone else. “What I really enjoy about the job is building relationships and helping people and helping them see what their education can really look like,” he said.

To Mr. Stallion, helping people to see their education can be seen in two different ways.

One is through continuing education, where he said many members of the teaching corps find ways to brush up on their knowledge and skills. “With all the new information and social media that’s constantly in people’s hands, you always get a sense of where you’re falling short in the application of the concepts,” he said.

“But the other is the day-to-day, in terms of understanding how and what impact education really does have in people’s lives,” he said. “That is the real experience of being a teacher. That is really rewarding — especially on a lot of the college campuses where there aren’t a lot of people.”

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