Bill Platt, '12 Alum

Hometown
St. Johns, Michigan
High School
Major
Elementary Education Integrated Science
Title
Teacher, fifth grade
College
College of Education and Human Services
Department
Minor
Reading
Expected
Graduation
Bill Pratt

  • Hometown: St. Johns, Michigan
  • Major: Elementary Education Integrated Science
  • Minor: Reading
  • College: College of Education and Human Services, Global Campus Lansing
  • Graduated: December 2012
Connect with Casie Hansel to learn more about Lansing Community College transfer opportunities at Lansing@cmich.edu.

The road to the perfect career isn't always straight. Often taking the right turns depends on the connections you make along the way. Luckily for Bill Platt, every experience he had helped him understand more fully what he needed in a career, what would be his best fit.

"When I realized I wanted to be a teacher, I talked with one of my favorite professors at Lansing Community College," Bill said. "It turned out that she also taught at CMU's Global Campus location in Lansing. She knew all about their teacher education program and how it was designed to fit with LCC's associate degree program. It was a smooth transfer, and I found a straight path to my teaching goal at CMU."

After finishing a few additional courses at LCC, Bill was ready to complete his bachelor's degree with a cohort of 16 fellow students at CMU. His program was a Bachelor of Science in elementary education with an integrated science major and reading minor. Oddly, he didn't like science in high school. Today he teaches it to fifth graders in St. Johns, Michigan.

And he's loving it.

"A lot of the credit goes to my teachers at CMU," Bill said. "It was an immersion into the reality of teaching. You didn't just learn your subject; you dove into it. You made the connection between subject matter and teaching by teaching what you learned to the rest of the cohort. As one of my professors said, 'If you're going to teach, you're going to start doing it now.'"

For example, in his science major, he had to learn how to dissect something. Then, he had to teach that dissection to the rest of the class. So, he went to the grocery store and bought a bag full of crayfish.

"It was amazing. You think it's going to be 'work up a lesson plan and teach it.' But you have to think on your feet, adjust to all the different learning styles and abilities. Recognize the struggles of the students and deal with how difficult the management of the classroom can be."

Bill found it easy to make connections within his cohort. Many were what Bill calls fellow "second-timers," students who wanted to start a new career. They had been out in world, came from different backgrounds but had one thing in common – a desire to teach. They got to know each other well, taking all their classes together. That comfort level meant great feedback sessions as each student brought their style of teaching into the class.

All that experience and hard work paid off in the end. Through connections with his CMU professor, Bill heard about the job opening in St. Johns. There were 150 applicants. In the end, Bill and an applicant from UofM were the last two standing. Bill felt confident and went into the final interview with a "tell them what you know and put yourself out there" attitude. The committee's final decision was made on the immediate connection they felt with Bill and his teaching style.

Now he's doing what he loves. It's a challenging, inspirational, hilarious and joyous ride that pays off with the positive reactions from his students and the chance to change their minds about science, too.