A Positive Influence for Future Students
A negative experience with a teacher in high school propelled Brittney Anderson to become a teacher herself.
“I had one teacher growing up and she told me ‘you might as well give up, you’re not going to be able to do it, you can’t keep working on something if you’re not going to understand it,’ and that kind of pushed me to stick with it and keep going,” Anderson said. “When I was told that, I wanted to make sure that I could tell students at a young age that they can do anything, and they’ll never forget it no matter what someone tells them in the future.”
Anderson will graduate with her bachelor’s degree in early childhood development and education from the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences in December 2020 and hopes to positively influence students as a second-grade teacher.
Early Childhood Education
Anderson’s family moved to Athol in 2016 after she earned her associate degree in behavioral social science from Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, California. Her sister had accepted a scholarship to play softball at North Idaho College and the entire family fell in love with the area. Anderson had learned about U of I’s early childhood development and education degree from a counselor at Mt. San Antonio and knew it would be the perfect fit for her.
“I knew I wanted to work with younger children, and I didn’t want to take classes to teach up to middle school when I knew I wasn’t going to use it,” Anderson said. “I looked online and got different ideas about what people had to say about the program here and it sounded really awesome, so I decided to give it a try.”
For Anderson, the opportunity to influence children at a young age is her biggest motivation.
“I just love where their brain is at in the moment,” she said. “They’re open to anything. They’ll try anything and they’ll give you their most honest answer to anything. There’s no limit for them and I think that’s the most rewarding thing.”
The College Experience
Anderson originally planned to spend one year on the Moscow campus before completing her degree at U of I Coeur d’Alene. But she quickly fell in love with the college experience.
“I told myself I was going to do a year down here to get that college experience and then I was going to go back to Athol and commute to Coeur d’Alene every day,” she said. “After my first year I was like, no I’m going to stick with it down here, I love it.”
Anderson became involved as a peer leader in the Margaret Ritchie School of Family and Consumer Sciences, a CALS Ambassador and a member of Phi Upsilon Omicron, a collegiate focused honor society in family and consumer sciences. She also volunteered at local elementary schools to gain more experience working with children.
“We have so much to offer here,” she said. “There is something for everyone here. You can find anything and if there isn’t something that you think is super interesting, you can be the one to step out and create it.”
She also took advantage of services offered by U of I’s Center for Disability Access and Resources. Anderson was diagnosed with ADHD in the third grade.
“It was difficult when I was young, I always wanted to hide it,” she said. “Once I got to the point where I acknowledged that I had it and that I need to take extra roads around things, it definitely paid off to get the extra help. Some people aren’t big on expressing that they are part of something like that, but for me I think it’s helped me make connections with other students.”
Anderson is looking forward to having her own classroom, hopefully near her family in Athol.
“I cannot wait to have my own classroom,” she said. “I just want to be the change for a lot of students. I know, especially in Athol, some of those students don’t have the best home life and a lot of it is a lower economy. I want to make sure they have a place that is theirs, that is safe and if they ever need anything they can go there.”
Article by Amy Calabretta, College of Agricultural and Life Sciences
Photos provided by Brittney Anderson
Published in April 2020