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Rachel Ben-Ismail

Hometown: Chicago, IL

"I love working with kids. I started my career as a preschool teacher in inner-city Chicago, but after my children were born I took some time off to raise them. When my youngest son started kindergarten, I decided it was time for me to get back to my passion — teaching.

"I am currently pursuing my teaching licensure in the PK-6 Elementary Education Program and am working toward an ESL/bilingual certificate and a minor in Spanish. School is definitely different the second time around. I wasn’t sure what to expect. My first college experience involved a lot of student activities, ski trips and fun experiences. I may have taken my education a little for granted then. Not anymore.

"I think with age comes wisdom and appreciation. The courses have more meaning now, and I find that I put more effort into them. Going back to school as a nontraditional student has turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life."