To the Class of 2012


In 2012, Ms. Amanda Huffman was named as the Outstanding Middle-Secondary Student. Here’s the address…

This year’s middle-secondary class is truly something special—I would even venture to call them AWESOME (a little inside joke referencing a twitter hashtag). Some of our students will be teaching abroad next year in places like Spain, Turkey, France, and exotic Detroit, Michigan. Others are heading to amazing graduate programs. We have a few friends who will be celebrating their wedding days shortly after graduation, and a few more who have had their research accepted to present at a national conference. This group is special and I know without a doubt they are all ready to go out and change the world. But as it is our tradition to name one student who has over the course of his or her entire program come to represent our college’s vision and core values, I’m ready to share the winner with you. But I thought I’d let this student speak for herself. I’d like to share with you the letter of advice our candidate has written to the incoming freshman class. (This is a senior class tradition–writing a letter for an incoming first-year student to open on academic day the following fall as a way to leave their legacy.) 

Dear Future Educator,

By choosing Butler University’s College of Education you are already setting yourself up for success. Your four years will fly by and you will be in your own classroom in no time at all.  But, you will be more than ready. Speaking from experience, I can tell you that there may be times as you begin an education course when you may not fully understand its purpose or why you even have to take it. Don’t panic. Somewhere down the road you will see how it all connects.

With that, you should also know that your experience at Butler is whatever you chose to make of it. If you are curious or confused about something, the professors are there to help you, but you have to take initiative and ask your questions and voice your concerns or confusion. Your professors care about you and want you to succeed in becoming the best educator you can be for your future students, so they will challenge you to do new (and sometimes scary) things. You must know that these challenges are coming because they care and because they see something in you that you may not yet see in yourself. Take advantage of every challenge that comes your way and every experience you have out in the field, both the positive and the negative. Every experience will help you and will impact your future as an educator.

The last tidbit of advice is to challenge yourself to not fear failure. Challenge yourself to try new things while you have the overwhelming support and guidance in the College of Education. Never be afraid to fail as we learn from our failures. During my senior year, I completed a teacher research project co-teaching a mathematics unit using a novel called The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure story…After completing the unit and while analyzing the data, I realized that teaching math with literature in a cross-curricular approach really could work, and I also realized that there were parts of the project that failed. I wouldn’t have known that if I was afraid to try something new. Our failures teach us even more than our successes. I want to remember that next fall when I have my own classroom full of high school students!

If nothing else, please take from my letter that you are surrounded by support, so challenge yourself, try out new ideas, and make some mistakes!  Enjoy your next four years and be sure to live in the moments!

Best of luck,

Amanda Huffman

In the 5 years since being named the Outstanding Middle-Secondary Student, Ms. Huffman has taught high school mathematics. She presented her mathematical literacy research at the National AMLE conference, she earned her Master’s in Effective Teaching and Leadership from Butler. She developed and implemented a curriculum to support math methods instruction for Butler practicum students and has hosted multiple student teachers. In the fall of 2016, Ms. Huffman participated in the US Dept. of Education’s Teach to Lead Summit bringing together educators with innovative ideas for strengthening our profession from inside the ranks of teachers.


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