Called to Teach

Arian Rutkowski ‘12 always wanted to be a teacher, playing school as a young child with an imaginary co-teacher. As much as she had practiced teaching her dolls, however, she began struggling in the first grade and was retained. Support from her teachers and parents helped her overcome her difficulties and inspired her to answer the call to teach. 

“I believe that all students deserve the same opportunity for a terrific education with incredible educators,” Arian stated. 

Despite growing up in Austin, a member of a Longhorn family, Arian chose to enroll at Texas A&M. She was drawn to the traditions, the quality of education and the friendliness of the campus and community. She wanted to be on her own, put herself through school and get good grades. She succeeded at all three…and then some! 

She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, having been named to the Dean’s List and Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society during her time at Texas A&M. 

In the spring of 2012, the Department of Teaching, Learning and Culture recognized Arian as an outstanding clinical teacher demonstrating exceptional work ethic and commitment to the teaching profession with an “Always Expect More of Aggie Teachers” award. Four years later, she was named the Elementary Teacher of the Year for Bryan ISD, a district of 16,000 students with 15 elementary schools, four middle and four high schools. 

The student who had been retained in the first grade had not gotten over the shock of being named Teacher of the Year for Henderson Elementary and thought she didn’t stand a chance in the district competition. 

“We have so many incredible teachers here that I was truly blown away. I was humbled,” stated the dual language teacher. 

She thought she had no chance at the district honor. 

“I just thought, ‘Okay I'm going up against teachers that have been doing this for 20 years’, but I know that the things that I am doing for Henderson and doing for the community, are making a difference.” 

Apparently, others agreed that her passion for teaching and her work as leader of a K-Kids Club, a club that allows students and teachers to give back to the community, were indeed making a positive impact. 

Arian believes the hands-on experiences she received at Texas A&M prepared her to be in charge of her own classroom. 

“Early on I got to work with ESL (English as a Second Language) learners. I remember going into the classroom for junior methods. My cooperating teachers were always willing to let me get hands-on with the kids, and get started right away. I didn't have to sit back and watch,” Arian explained. 

She also credits her training at A&M with helping her realize that education is always changing; something that will help her continue to be a great teacher. 

“They prepared us with different types of interventions, guided reading and guided math that we would have to do as well as lesson planning,” she continued. “Some of the lesson planning was long, but it helped me write better lesson plans as a teacher. 

Arian believes that every educator can transform a life every single day and encourages other aspiring teachers to accept the challenges and love their job. 

“It's straining, it's exhausting, but it's also so full of love. You can make a difference in these kids’ lives. You just have to put in the work, and it's going to take time, but any child who knows that they are loved will do anything for their teacher,” she explains. “It is the most rewarding profession there is.” 

“I've had a lot of amazing jobs over the years just to put myself through school, but teaching is where my heart is. I want to teach for the next 50 years if they'll let me. I doubt that will happen, but as long as I can I will be in the classroom.”