Class of 2023: Sebastien Le Goff
Taking time during the pandemic to reset some priorities, Sebastien Le Goff decided to make a career transition and will graduate with a master’s degree in Social Studies Education in May.
Sebastien Le Goff spent most of his childhood in Zurich, Switzerland and then moved to Harrisonburg, Virginia as a teenager. This May, he will graduate with a Master of Teaching in Social Studies Education as he pursues a career in teaching.
Q. Can you share a little bit about what led you to change careers to pursue becoming a teacher?
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be engaged in a career where I could give back to the community. After college, I worked in public safety and in the medical field in the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. It didn’t take long for me to realize that I really enjoyed working with young people and supporting them during a critical time in their lives. Also, since I was constantly working evenings, weekends and holidays, teaching offered a better work-life balance.
The pandemic was a period in my life where I could take a step back and reset some priorities, and I wanted to prioritize my family. While transitioning to teaching, I helped coach middle school soccer and taught in the classroom as a substitute teacher. I loved helping students both on and off the field; so I never looked back!
Q. Specifically, why did you choose the UVA School of Education & Human Development for your program of study?
Charlottesville is a great town that has a lot to offer. The location for me felt like it blends the best experiences from the city and the country. With UVA’s program placing us in local schools for both the fall and spring semester, I was confident that I would spend much of my time in the classroom and gain the experience that would prepare me to be an effective teacher. The one-year program also offered a relatively quick turnaround. So, I was looking forward to being able to start the school year sooner.
Q. What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time while you’ve been here?
The professors in the program are truly amazing and there are many positives that have shaped my time here. I would say the most significant has been having the opportunity to deeply reflect and figure out who I am. I heard at the beginning of the program that who you are has an impact on how you teach in the classroom. It first took me a while to understand exactly what that meant.
Throughout our coursework we had the opportunity to reflect on our past experiences and how that has shaped who we are. Our placements in the classroom provided additional opportunities to continue to reflect. I believe having this opportunity not only made me a better teacher but has better prepared me to navigate life and made me a more fulfilled person.
Q. What is one thing you learned during your studies that surprised you most?
Before starting the program, I read reports of schools having a shortage of teachers. While this was good for future job prospects, I was initially worried that there would be a lot of associated work stress and negativity. I was surprised to find that quite the opposite was true. All the professors at UVA were super enthusiastic about the profession and the colleagues I worked with during my placements were equally enthusiastic about teaching. This was not necessarily a major factor I considered when making the career switch, but it was a nice surprise to find that my workday consisted of being in a positive work environment.
Q. What will you be doing next?
I am excited to be teaching 7th grade U.S. History for the upcoming school year and aim to make a positive impact in the community!
Class of 2023 Graduation Profiles
We invite you to get to know a few members of the UVA EHD Class of 2023 as we celebrate the accomplishments of the entire class.