Filling a need
Mr. Hardaway is prepared for the future
Edward Hardaway ’23, a middle childhood education major from Englewood, Ohio, had his lesson plans ready and was prepared for student teaching at the beginning of the fall semester. Then, someone called him by his name.
“It’s weird hearing Mr. Hardaway. That’s my dad’s name,” explained Hardaway. “I realized I’m almost into my career and starting the rest of my life.”
Hardaway is completing his student teaching experience in sixth grade social studies and eighth grade language arts at Glandorf Elementary school, which serves students from kindergarten through eighth grade.
Middle childhood education majors are certified to teach grades 4-9. Between field experiences and student teaching, he’s had experience in every grade level, but he’s most enjoyed working with the eighth graders this year.
“We just finished reading the book ‘Nothing but the Truth,’ and engaging with them and working with them on answering questions has been a wonderful experience,” said Hardaway.
However, education wasn’t originally the plan when Hardaway committed to Bluffton. He’s explored a variety of majors from business to history, but people kept telling him they thought he’d make a good teacher. When he talked to Dr. Gayle Trollinger, professor of education, about middle childhood education, she told him to “take the weekend and talk to God.”
“Those words stuck with me, and this is the career I want,” said Hardaway.
With a population of about 1,000 in the village of Glandorf, Glandorf Elementary would certainly be considered a rural school district, but Hardaway also enjoyed the insights gained during an urban seminar experience in Chicago.
“Especially being African American in this field, the kids need you,” said Hardaway. “People with backgrounds similar to you need you because yours is a face that’s not common in the teaching profession.”
In the future, he’d like to work alongside some of the influential educators he learned from as a young student and hopes to reconnect with his host family from his summer 2022 cross-cultural experience to the Czech Republic.
“I’ve always wanted to explore and enjoy all that life has to offer but didn’t think it would come this early in life,” he said.
Hardaway chose Bluffton because of the small class sizes as well as the overall aesthetic of the campus.
“I just fell in love with the beauty—how easy it was to walk everywhere, how quiet it can be,” said Hardaway. “I took a creative writing class and one of the assignments was just to take a walk and write what you noticed about the scenery. The scenery here is something you wouldn’t get in a big city or from a big university.”
Hardaway will get to enjoy campus for a few more years. While he completes his undergraduate degree requirements this fall, he’s staying on campus to serve as the graduate assistant in Bluffton’s Office of Student Success while earning his master’s degree.
“We get them in the schools early and provide them with support and mentorship. We prepare students to become highly effective teachers and they get jobs.”