Bradley Boven joins FHC’s family for 15 weeks

Bradley Boven joins FHCs family for 15 weeks

Teaching was never on his radar. His big picture never included coming to a high school every day to teach young students and deal with the antics of a teacher’s everyday life. His big plan didn’t really ever include teaching. But then, it all changed.

“I didn’t even think about being a teacher until about two years ago,” student teacher Bradley Boven said. “I was undecided when I was a freshman and sophomore in college.”

His big picture was one to include the studies of chemistry and biology. He spent his childhood and older years entranced by the discovery channel. Beginning his college career with these two similar majors at Oakland Community College located in Southfield, Michigan, Boven began to become undecided. He kept taking classes on many topics, including history and the sciences, but while his studies were fluctuating, one thing always remained constant: his love for sports and his kids.

Throughout his life, Boven played many sports, such as track and field, soccer, baseball, wrestling and football. His passions for these sports made him even more passionate about coaching them. His love for sports he played, as well as his passion for teaching them to kids, led him rethink his love for the sciences and wonder if he wanted to really spend his life doing that.

“Coaching [football and track and field] was the big push for me to look into the teaching route,” Boven said.

After coaching a combined 8 seasons of track and field and football, Boven decided to change his undecided major with a science concentration to an education major. Throughout his life, as everyone does, Boven had classes with great teachers and classes with not-so-great teachers. But all along, he still felt as if he had something to offer to his future students. Through the agony of hard assignments and late night homework, he still felt like he had something new and fresh to give the world.

“[Looking back], there are a lot of people that have discouraged me from going into the profession, but I feel like I have something to offer,” Boven said. “If I can help someone get to where they want to be in their life, I would consider that a win for me and an influence to my work that much more.”

After deciding on his major, he made the decision to transfer from Oakland Community College to Grand Valley State University in order to attend their state of the art teaching program.

Many things go into becoming a teacher at Grand Valley, just as they do at any other college. According to Boven, to become a teacher, one has to complete four years of school, majoring in what they wish to teach. For instance, in April, Boven will be graduating with a double major in Grouped Social Studies, which means economics, civics and US history, as well as Physical Education.

If I can help someone get to where they want to be in their life, I would consider that a win for me and an influence to my work that much more.”

— Bradley Boven

“The thing that pulled me towards the grouped social studies was that you can see it in your everyday life. Whether it’s economics at the gas pump, civics with the political issues going on every day around you, geography with how our location is significant here in the Grand Rapids area or the history that you can find all over the city of Grand Rapids, for instance the Grand River, a big determining factor that led to Grand Rapids to developing how it did. Grouped Social Studies is a topic I knew I could support and show ties to our everyday life,” Boven said.

Then after they complete the “regular” four years, they are required to go to school for one more year. In total, Boven has attended college for five years. His last year was filled to the brim with 15 weeks of teacher assisting and another 15 weeks of student teaching, which is where FHC came into play.

“Grand Valley State sends out requests to different districts within a 50 mile radius to see if anyone would like to host a teacher assistant or student teacher,” Boven said.

Any student teacher that is ready for their second 15 weeks is thrown into a pool of people. The college then sends out their requests as Boven said above. Then, if the college and its instructors get responses from the districts, an interview process is put into place with the teacher wishing to have a student teacher in their classroom, but the student teacher is guaranteed a spot teaching a class that falls under their major, which is how Boven began teaching a U.S. History class. But the student has no say whatsoever on where they teach, as it all depends on what districts reply and what teachers they click with.

When he first began this journey, Boven had such a passion for the content and the job that he ended up really wanting to teach in the middle school area. According to Boven, it is because “of the content that they are able to learn about.” The only problem is that now that he has had a taste of the high school side, he is torn, not because of the age difference, but because of the content.

“I am definitely torn between the middle and high school level. I like having conversations on what we are covering for the content, and it doesn’t matter how old you are because you have an opinion on topics. I’d like to hear what you have to say about it so we can dig deeper into a topic that matters to you,” Boven said. “Being a student teacher is tough, I’m not going to lie. To student teach, we ‘take over’ the classes for a set period of time. We are in the classrooms all day and every day, and then we take classes on top of that with our own homework and assignments that we do.”

To be a student teacher is hard work. Many of them work on top of teaching to pay the bills. According to Boven, he averages around 65-75 hours a week between work, teaching, and class. To anyone, that is a lot, but for Boven it is all worth it.

“In the end, I know it is going to be worth it,” Boven said. “When I think about it, I get to help our entire nation grow every time I get up to teach a class.”