Beyond the Classroom : Dr. Marva Jeanine Solomon

ASU Professor shares her passion for students of all ages

By Aubree Bailey
On January 25, 2018

Photo by Brit Raley
In her free time, Solomon enjoys going to the gym. Two of her favorite activities there are body pump and body combat classes.

Dr. Marva Jeanine Solomon, a native of West Texas, has been an Associate Professor in the Department of Teacher Education since 2010.

Solomon began her higher education at Texas Tech University, where she participated in two university organizations- the High Riders and the Speech Team. "High Riders," she explains, "Is a school spirit organization. We supported men and women’s minor sport. I really liked women’s volleyball, and we got to shag the balls, which was fun."

"I was on the speech team, and we did Reader’s Theater, kind of like plays, and my favorite piece was C.S. Lewis’ The Singer, the Songwriter, and the Finale. I was Saint John, and I was also the mother of Jesus."

Solomon didn’t intend to pursue education, however, and first tried her hand at journalism. "I graduated with a degree in journalism because I wanted to be a writer, but then I did my internship and there were ladies there who had been there for twenty years, and they were making $12,000; after that, I switched to education and went to UT and got a Master’s in English because I still wanted to be a writer, then a Doctorate in Education, and I taught all that time."

During her 18 years of teaching elementary school, Solomon taught 1st-3rd grade and now instructs college students planning to become educators. "I teach literacy skills- reading and writing. I get to teach the Children’s’ Literature and the Teaching Writing class, where I hope that I help create teachers that make writing joyful for students."

When asked what her favorite children’s book is Solomon answered, "I’d say it’s a toss-up between Because of Winne-Dixie and Bud, not Buddy."

Solomon says she’s learned a lot from teaching university students versus elementary students.

"One thing I noticed from most of them is that if you have the students early they’re just trying to get through school, and it’s very motivated by grades. But, as they get into almost the student teaching, they really do make a change into someone who wants to be a teacher; they’re more professional, and it’s about being a good teacher to them."

Solomon says her students’ natural talent with children of different ages surprises her. "Two things that are scary to me are the little ones and middle school. I’ve noticed there are students who really want to be kindergarten teachers, and they get in there and are really great, and same with the middle school teachers, they get in there and are natural with it."

Solomon hopes to not only teach her students practical teaching skills, but also how to be a passionate teacher. "There’s so much testing today that I’m hoping they can think for themselves and want to do what’s right for the kids. You can play and have fun and enjoy being around kids, but you have to have that bottom line of making sure they come out of your room in the right place."

When asked what she enjoys about ASU, Solomon said, "I went to UT and Tech, which are great, but I like that ASU has everything they have but it’s containable."

Solomon also has a piece of advice for future teachers: "Take care of yourself because as a teacher you’re never finished, so you just have to set a clock and say at 4:30 I’m leaving no matter what,’ and you have to go home, otherwise you’ll be there all night."

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