Violet Yu (she/her) earned her undergraduate Math degree at UCSB. She has wanted to be a teacher since she was in the third grade, and hopes not only to impart knowledge to her students but also to help them become better themselves. Though drawn to reading and logic, Violet is also compelled by the occult, sometimes reading tarot cards for herself.

GGSE: What third-grade experience(s) made you realize you wanted to become a teacher?
Violet Yu: To be honest, there is not any “special” happening that drove me to the path of becoming a teacher, and the initial reason for why I wanted to become a teacher is kind of childish. While I was in elementary school, my initial thought was I wanted to be an astronaut or scientist, and that was the most common answer among the kids.

My parents were very busy. They worked really hard to make sure I could live in good life conditions. While I was in kindergarten, I had no ideas about winter and summer vacations since I needed to go to school anyway, as my parents needed to go to work. Thus, elementary school was actually the first place to let me realize the difference between children’s and adults’ calendars. Although I still rarely stay with my parents during those breaks, they started to ask for leave from their work during my summer vacation and then took me out to play. On the first day of third grade, I told my best friend that I can’t imagine what would happen if I didn’t have summer and winter vacations anymore once I left the school, so I decided to become a teacher in the future, so I could have those vacations forever. This initial reason was childish, but I started to consider becoming a teacher seriously. I had very good grades, and I’m always happy to help my classmates solving questions. As a child, I thought I had everything I needed to become a teacher.

My motivation to become a teacher change several times as I grow up, and I continue to have a further understanding of the importance of a teacher’s job, but that's another story. Every time I think about the first time I wanted to become a teacher, a big smile would appear on my face.

GGSE: What drew you to the Gevirtz School Teacher Education Program (TEP) for your graduate studies?
Yu: As I wanted to become a teacher, attending a teacher education program became my next step after college. However, I didn’t really know anything about that at the beginning. UCSB didn’t have an undergraduate education major, so I added education as my minor. I saw some resources about the Gevirtz TEP in my second year from one of my education classes. I was super interested and started looking at the application handbook right away. The first time, I had a misunderstanding about the requirement and thought all international students needed to provide a valid TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score, which I so struggled with during high school and never wanted to take again. I was very upset at that time. However, two months before the application deadline in my last year of college, the professor of one of my education classes mentioned the Gevirtz TEP again. I learned in these two years that international students who earned their Bachelor’s degree are exempt from the language test requirement. So, I emailed the TEP office and got the answer I wanted. Thus, I started my application right away.

GGSE: When you become a teacher, what population(s) do you hope to work with and why?
Yu: To be honest, I don’t have an answer to this question. I grew up in a country that only has one race, and I’m still in the process of learning about all the different cultures. I don’t know what my future class will look like, but I want to help English learners succeed in my class. I understand how hard it is to learn in an unfamiliar language since I experienced the same thing. Although I don’t know any languages other than Chinese and English, I will try my best to help.

GGSE: When you have free time, what are your favorite ways to enjoy it?
Yu: In my free time, I will do handicrafts or read fiction. Daydreaming is also one of my favorite activities :) I’m the kind of person that is full of imagination. Sometimes I get too deep into the rabbit hole of my imaginary world that I even ignore everything around me. Reading is sometimes like an extension of my imagination. I always think of what would happen if I were in the world the book created or what I would do if I were one of the characters. This is also the reason I like novels more than non-fiction. I fell in love with reading when I was in elementary school, and I still remember that there was one time my friend yelled at me next to my ear when I was reading, and I didn’t even notice.

Making handicrafts is more like a decompression method for me. While I’m paying full attention to the item I’m making, I can keep myself away from all things from the physical world and think more about myself. The process of crafting is the most important for me. I will feel accomplished seeing my finished crafts, but I will always find the processing experience the most precious.

GGSE: What interests you about the occult and tarot cards?
Yu: I’m super interested in everything related to magic since I read a lot of books about magic, such as Harry Potter. When I was in elementary school, I was always thinking what would happen if I had magic. In my first year of junior high, I start to get pocket money from my parents. Compared to magic tricks and real magic, Tarot reading became the most realistic thing that is magical. Thus, I purchased my first tarot deck and started to learn it.

Although tarot reading is famous for predicting the future, I see tarot as a tool to provide advice. I believe the future is in our own hands, no matter what others say. Actually, most tarot spreads focus on advantages, disadvantages, and suggestions. Yes, they will also predict the future, but it is the most possible one, and the final real future relies on our effort. Thus, I won’t pay too much attention to them since the process is the most important. It would be great if the cards provided me with positive results, and I will work even harder to reach that future.

However, if the card provides me with a negative result, I’ll never give up since the worst thing I could get is a failure, but all the experiences I get in the process will leave me with no regression. Actually, when I was applying for TEP, my card told me not to don’t get my hopes up, and I may suffer (which I did have a hard time with before I finally came here). However, I’m here now. The tarot card is like a friend of mine who will always support me and provide good advice, but I’m the one who makes choices and takes responsibility for my life.

Violet Yu