Since starting at ECC in 2004, Parul Raval, Ed.D., professor of education, has dedicated herself to raising the next generation of working professionals in the field. Although she is now the teacher, Raval believes learning is a never-ending quality to help us succeed in our personal and professional lives.
"Always keep learning! Especially in the field of education, I am one of many who believe in the idea of lifelong learning," said Raval. "As I experience life, I think it teaches us a great deal when we reflect on experiences, so I find this to be very true."
She adds, "I often share this quote by an American educator and a philosopher, John Dewey: 'Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.'"
Read on to learn more about how Raval takes her advice to learn the many different ways of educating by traveling to other schools across the country and around the world:
In your words, what do you do at ECC? What do you want others to know about your job? I prepare students to pursue and develop careers in education at the K-12 level: teachers, teaching assistants, paraprofessionals, and tutors. As one of the Education Instructional Coordinators, I help build an education program including professional development opportunities and teacher licensure (PELs) in collaboration with area school districts and colleges of education. I also work with ECC students, faculty, administration, and staff on curriculum, assessment, and the university transfer process.
What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been at ECC? Teaching and working with students. It brings me great joy to be part of our student's academic journey to impact their future students. I have enjoyed seeing my former students teach, guide, and mentor their own students in their own classrooms. Being a part of this process is my greatest accomplishment at ECC.
If you could instantly be an expert in one thing, what would you choose? Gardening. There is just so much to learn about a wide variety of plants. Right now, my goal is to learn to grow peppers, especially serrano, habaneros, and scotch bonnets.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)? I love spending time with my family and friends! I also enjoy reading, cooking, movies, traveling, attending local community events, and listening to music.
Where is the best place you've traveled? Or where would you like to visit? There are so many incredible places I have seen. The best places I have visited have been schools in various locations—I love to learn about the people and how school/education happens in the U.S. and abroad. I have been in many schools in Illinois, New York, California, and abroad in Mexico, Jamaica, China, Australia, India, and Singapore. Seeing and listening to how schooling happens from various perspectives - these experiences have provided me with a deeper understanding of the role and function of the teacher and education in general. I love to travel; my bucket list includes visiting schools in Ghana, South Korea, and Peru.
You have to wear a t-shirt with just one word on it for an entire year. What would that word be, and why? Hopeful. This past year has been challenging for many people, but I try to remain hopeful.
Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn. When my family and I visited Alaska, we took the opportunity to go ziplining in Denali National Park. It was an exciting and exhilarating experience that really made me appreciate the spectacular natural beauty of Alaska. I had no idea what ziplining was, but I am glad that I got out of my comfort zone to try it.
What job have you held (besides ECC) that was the most fun, interesting, or difficult? Explain why. Being an elementary school teacher is the most fun and rewarding job. It is truly a humbling experience when you have empowered someone through literacy and education. Teaching my second graders taught me that education is a profession that requires passion and dedication for teaching and learning, along with knowledge and some humor. I deeply value the shared learning experience! I am very fortunate to have another opportunity to teach students here at ECC and share those experiences, both fun and rewarding.
Complete this sentence: "I enjoy working at ECC because … “of the amazing people here! At the heart of education—it's about the people. I feel grateful to have an opportunity to serve our community and be a part of the ECC family.