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Mother eager to start teaching

By : Rachel Coker


Tiffany Daniels graduated early from Union-Endicott High School and planned to work, save money and go to college. Instead, she took a job in a bank and got married and put off school for several years.

When she finally enrolled at Binghamton, she was a part-time student with a 3-year-old son.

“I just wanted a degree,” she recalled. “I wanted leverage to say, ‘I don’t make coffee.’ I thought a degree might give me that.”

Daniels graduated Phi Beta Kappa last year with bachelor’s degrees in biology and anthropology. She began graduate classes last summer with an eye toward a career in teaching.

This month, she’ll leave the University with a master’s degree and dual certifications to teach biology and earth science.

Daniels, now 37, can still pull off jeans and Chuck Taylors. She said she relies on laughter to get through tough times and credits faculty members including C.J. Zhong, Stimson Wilcox and Robert Demicco with providing crucial encouragement during her time at Binghamton.

Daniels, who this year was a substitute teacher in Union-Endicott schools, also worked at Kopernik Observatory and Science Education Center and served as president of the Board of Directors for the Campus Pre-School.

In the fall, she has a long-term substitute position in the earth science department at U-E High School. Daniels said she looks forward to having a routine with just one job to go to.

She prides herself on her flexibility in the classroom and isn’t afraid to let students go off on a bit of a tangent now and then. “If you can interact with kids,” she said, “you can teach anything.”

Daniels’ son, now 6, is named Sawyer Ace Jag Daniels.

His mom describes him as both mischievous and sweet. He’s creative, just like her, and enjoys an unusual approach to projects. He has been an important influence on her teaching style, she said.

“I know how I want teachers to treat my son,” she said, “so I try to keep that in mind. I remember that they’re kids. I think a lot of teachers forget that.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08