After 14 years working for FedEx Office, an Associate of Science Computer Science degree, two certificates and a Bachelor of Science Computer Science degree from California State University, San Bernardino, Ian Lasky discovered his true passion: teaching.
“When I was getting my bachelor’s degree, my kids were in kindergarten and second grade and we used to have homework parties,” Ian recalls. “They’d ask me all kinds of questions and I remember saying, ‘I’m not a teacher, guys, but I’ll find out the best way to answer your questions.’” Ian volunteered at his children’s school and read books about great teachers. Before long, he was inspired to become one himself. Three months after graduating college in 2005, he started teaching at ITT Technical Institute.
Advancing His Teaching Career by Advancing His Education
In 2009, Ian earned his M.A. in career and technical education from CSU, San Bernardino—a degree he says “made me a better teacher”—but learned from his dean that he would also need a master’s in computer science. “The demands of a brick-and-mortar school were too much,” says Ian. “I chose American Sentinel because of the great people I spoke to from the first time I called, and because it is very affordable. That matters when you’re paying for school out of your pocket.” He enrolled in 2009 and will graduate in 2012 with a Master of Science Computer Science, information security specialization.
Learning to Believe in Himself
The road to his master’s hasn’t been easy, Ian admits. At times, he even considered giving up. “I had one class that was difficult, and I really struggled to understand the subject matter,” he says. Ian failed the class and took two semesters off to regroup. But to stay at ITT Tech, he needed to finish his M.S. So at the encouragement of his wife, in fall 2010, Ian picked himself back up and re-enrolled. “I thought about what I would tell my kids if one of them had my attitude. I realized I needed to try again.” He did—and this time, he got an A. “You can give up or you can get over it and do it. I just couldn’t let myself get discouraged from being a teacher, the thing I love doing.”
Direct Application to Work and Life
“My classes are solutions based and that’s very valuable,” says Ian. “I apply my course work to my life every day, whether I’m coding from my iPad or teaching Linux Administration.” An added bonus, Ian says, is that some professors go above and beyond. “I have a professor who writes paragraphs when answering my questions. It’s wonderful and invaluable. If you’re willing to put the time and effort into American Sentinel, you’ll get a lot out of it. The programs are very practical.”
The Sky is the Limit
While Ian loves teaching, he has a long bucket list that includes writing a novel about the end of the world and technology’s role in human survival. “I can see this story in my head, so we’ll see! One day I’ll write it down,” he laughs. For now, Ian is excited to earn his M.S. and move up to senior instructor at ITT Tech. Eventually he hopes to become chair of his department. “As a teacher, I take a ‘human’ approach. I know from my own experience that you don’t always have the same types of learners in one class. So I try to get people excited. I’m always fine-tuning.”