ATLANTA—In his 18-year career in law enforcement, Marcus Hodge has served as a patrol officer, worked in the criminal investigations division and disseminated information to the media and community in the public information office.
But it was his six years as a school resource officer – where police officers are assigned to a school to promote safety – that inspired him to consider a different career path. He'll graduate May 5 with his bachelor's degree in middle level education from the College of Education & Human Development.
“I decided to become a teacher because I wanted to make an impact on students at an early age,” he said. “I want to let them know the consequences and the effects one decision can have on them, their families and their future.”
Hodge enrolled at Georgia State and completed a meaningful student teaching experience in an eighth-grade classroom at Couch Middle School in Grayson, Ga., where he felt welcomed by the staff from his very first day.
The school personnel he worked with created a familial atmosphere that was like what he experienced in his law enforcement career. In addition to planning lessons and working with students, Hodge was invited to attend school field trips, learned about social-emotional learning strategies and gave a presentation during Black History Month.
Hodge also made sure his students read for at least 10 minutes a day.
“I think many students get lost because they don’t understand complex questions, or they cannot see themselves in the books they are required to read,” he said. “I believe reading will help facilitate their engagement in other studies and will help prepare them for what they should expect.”
Once he graduates this spring, Hodge wants to continue improving his lesson planning skills in preparation for getting his own classroom and may apply to graduate school.
He’s also considering running for a local school board or political office, where he can make a larger impact on the educational system.
“Georgia State has taught me to take a stance, challenge social justice issues and continue to promote equality for all students,” he said.
by Claire Miller