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Wiseman ’21 Bound for TFA: Hopes to Make an Impact on Children

Seamus Wiseman ’21 will join Teach For America in Idaho as a special education teacher after graduation. Here he talks about how Hamilton prepared him, and his future plans.

What drew you to Teach For America, and how did you select Idaho, where you’ll be working next year?

Teach For America first came on my radar this summer, when a friend of mine, John Madigan ’23, suggested I research the organization. Only after my acceptance and subsequent commitment to the corps, though, did I discover that an acquaintance and high-school classmate was the son of TFA’s founder, Wendy Kopp. My hope was to teach in a rural district, and Idaho’s rural districts have a dearth of qualified special education teachers.

Professor Russell Marcus, in particular … assured me that teaching was a difficult but sure path to character growth.

What Hamilton experiences (classes, extracurriculars, research, etc.) helped to prepare you for this endeavor?

I owe a great debt of gratitude to many excellent professors, but most of all to the college’s Philosophy Department. The department’s faculty has seen to it that I will graduate a more morally aware person than when I began my tenure at Hamilton College. Professor Russell Marcus, in particular, offered much support during my application process, and assured me that teaching was a difficult but sure path to character growth. In addition to my professors, many good friends in the college’s Philosophy Club have encouraged my moral and personal development. These peers, along with my advisor, Professor Katheryn Doran, and my brother, Brendan Wiseman ’23, offered immense support as I researched and wrote my thesis last semester, in which I contended governments ought to focus more resources in pursuit of the public good.

What are your plans or goals after you complete your TFA tenure?

Although two years can change almost everything in one’s life (something of which we are now particularly aware), I envision myself remaining involved with education in some capacity. That involvement might conceivably involve future work as an educator, although I intend to spend time in Idaho discerning a vocation to the Catholic priesthood and to the less-noble calling of the bar.

About Seamus Wiseman ’21

Double Major: Computer Science, Philosophy

Hometown: Tarrytown, NY

High School: Regis High School

read about other members of the class of 2021
What aspects of your new position are you looking forward to the most?

In an essay titled “The Idea of an Educated Public,” Alasdair MacIntyre has argued that “Teachers are the forlorn hope of [our] culture.” Although it is quite dramatic, I do believe this quote illustrates the gravity of the situation facing the teacher in each classroom — both the content of an education and the manner in which it is presented will have an incredible impact on children. While aware of this immense responsibility, I look forward to the equally great privilege, and hope to live up to the excellent models set by my own teachers.

What advice would you give to students interested in pursuing TFA?

Before deciding what comes after Hamilton, take some time and reflect on what you want to accomplish. If you can see yourself dedicating serious time and energy to students, then definitely consider education. If TFA appeals to you, email me or any of the other Hamilton alumni in the corps!

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