REXBURG — Education is important. In fact, some people go to school to learn how to teach. Such was the case with Mike Christopherson. He knew from a young age that he wanted to make a difference.
“(My teacher) said, okay, you are with Benny at recess. Whatever you're playing, he's playing,” Christopherson remembers. “I went out to recess, and I said, ‘Hey! Benny's on my team and I'm kicking for him.’ I started making accommodations to our kickball game for Benny. And I realized that's what I need to do is helping people with disabilities be successful in life.”
With this, and many other experiences like it, under his belt, Christopherson set out to do just that in his life. His career path has led him here — to BYU-Idaho. It is fair to say that the BYU-Idaho Education Department mission statement fits within Christopherson’s life mission.
“Our vision is to follow the example of the Savior, to become outstanding educators, empower learners to reach their divine potential,” Christopherson said.
To illustrate how the university is fulfilling this mission statement, he told the story of an interaction between a school district in Melissa, Texas and BYU-Idaho’s Education Department.
“(Melissa School District officials) came (to BYU-Idaho), they said, ‘We need to come to your campus and see what kind of students you have. What are they becoming?’ They came here and they toured our campus and they actually said, ‘We felt the spirit on your campus,’” Christopherson shared. “We now have a partnership with Melissa, Texas.”
Much has been said about the teaching profession. Teachers are in high demand nowadays. In spite of the relatively lower pay, if there is one thing that Christopherson has learned over his years in teaching, it is that the impact of a good teacher goes far beyond what they make.
“You’re not in it for the income. You are in it for the outcome,” Christopherson said.
Students who are interested in becoming part of the education program on campus have several opportunities. There are numerous societies, such as the Teacher Education Society, the Triad Society and, even, an ASL club. To find a full list of clubs and events happening in the Education Department, visit www.ibelong.byui.edu.