, August 18, 2008
When Hadassah (Rodriguez) Doss received a scholarship from PUC she had already started her freshmen year on the east coast, but still the decision was made to make the move to California. "My Mother just packed me up and put me on a plane," she says of the abrupt transfer. She started at PUC in the winter of 2000. "I had very little reference to PUC,” she says. Hadassah only knew one person when she arrived on campus and she remembers it as a one of the wettest, soggiest winters, with no car and no sun in sight until March. She also notes one way for a new student to make friends is to live in McRenyold's, "I quickly made friends in other dorms and camped out in their rooms."
One Sabbath Hadassah heard Malcolm Maxwell speak about how God accepts you wherever you are and she recalls how liberating it was to hear. “I come from a conservative background and PUC let me explore [my religion] and form my own identity,” Hadassah says. “I wasn’t told what to believe and was able to ask questions and find [answers] out for myself. And that helped me be more accepting and open minded when it comes to bigger issues.”
Hadassah knew she wanted a career in education but she didn’t want to get the liberal studies degree that is offered as the degree for the education program. At her winter registration she remembers how she came to decide on math as her major. “Dr. Waters was in charge of the letter of my last name, you know when they split the alphabet up and send you to different [advisors]. He asked what other interests I had and I told him I liked math. He smiled and said 'Well you’re talking to the right person. I'm one of the math teachers.'"
The year after graduating with a math major and dual teaching credentials in elementary and secondary education in 2004, Hadassah got a job teaching second grade at Countryside Academy, a charter school in Benton Harbor, MI. “A different part of the curriculum was their agricultural course which was interesting living in the fruit belt and also having some inner city kids in the class that didn’t even have a backyard,” says Hadassah. “It was fun to be able to give those kids a chance to see things such as growing corn and watching chicks’ hatch, things they maybe never would have experienced otherwise.”
Hadassah is now the Preschool Director at Little Lamb Preschool a part of Hinsdale Adventist Academy in Hinsdale, IL. The overshadowing parts of her job are the administrative part of managing two teachers and the interfacing with parents. "Sometimes the managing is hard, but I feel that [the teachers] respect me." Sometimes she gets to help out with the 17 kids ranging in age from 3-5 years of age, which she says is the best part of the job.
“I haven’t taught at this level before, the kids are so sponge like which is refreshing after teaching second grade. I didn’t like pushing kids along – I feel learning should be fun and yet it seems that formal education sometimes beats that out of it,” says Hadassah. “There is so much testing and so many things you’re required to do by the state– I just want to teach. Here we don’t have all the grades and scores. We just give kids information, learning about life and life skills more than academics – like learning to share.”
"This is something I want to stick with for a while, but I do miss the classroom." One thing Hadassah loves to do is read to the kids, and she has thought about eventually trying to start a pull-out reading program after getting a Masters in Reading Instruction. “It would just be so fun.”