When you ask a grade school child what they want to become when they grow up, a large percentage will say they want to be a teacher. That makes sense because, in most cases, that’s the only paying profession with which they are familiar. Then, as children grow older and are exposed to more professions, most find a new profession that piques their interest.
That wasn’t the case with Paula Artal. Paula has wanted to be a teacher from an early age. As a teenager she even received spiritual guidance from her Heavenly Father that told her that becoming a teacher would bring joy into her life. Whether in her home country of Peru, her time in the United States, or in her current residence of Brazil, Paula’s passion for teaching has remained true.
Here’s Paula’s wonderfully calming story of how and why she has been led to teach.
You have a lot of teaching experience. Did becoming a teacher feel like something you were “called” to do? What led you to a career in education?
Teaching was always very natural to me but I never considered it a career. My patriarchal blessing mentions that I will find great joy in being a teacher. I started at 16 years old, helping my friends with math. Then, I worked for Ensign College as a math tutor. After transferring to BYU, I continued tutoring one on one. A couple of years after graduation, my family and I moved to Brazil. We were very open to employment opportunities in different areas and industries.
After only a couple of weeks of being in the market, I was offered a teaching position at a British school. That was the first time I considered a career in education. I currently teach math online full time. I feel that Heavenly Father put me in the perfect place at the perfect time for me to see that a career in teaching is what fulfills me.
Talk about your time at Ensign College. Were there certain courses, people or activities that really helped shape and prepare you for your professional life?
I had a great and very positive experience at Ensign College. I recommend it to everyone who is looking into higher education! For sure my math courses and my math instructors played a major part in what I do and how I teach today. I also remember many instructors who are role models for me for the love they showed to us as students. I learned to show my students that I care about them and am there to be a teacher, a mentor, and a friend.
Talk about your educational path. You are currently studying Information Technology at BYU Pathway even though you have degrees from both Ensign College and BYU in other fields. What is driving your desire to learn and to expand your education into new areas?
I have a great passion for learning. For a season, I was very interested in Technology and I believe I would perform well in that area. I plan on furthering my education based on my current interests. I also believe that the more I know, the more I can share with others. That motivates me to learn and expand my education into new areas.
What’s it like representing the Church in Brazil?
Brazil is a beautiful country with very kind people. I am learning to be happier and more relaxed with Brazilians. Representing the Church in Brazil or anywhere is a great responsibility. About 80% of the country is Christian. Most of the people I relate with are Protestants and very active in their faith. I try to be an example of Christ at all times and share with others the way we, as members of The Church of Jesus Christ, live our faith.