Alumni Profile - Harry Innacola
Graduation Year: Spring 2013
Major and Degree: Bachelor of Science in Art Education
Q: Why did you choose Millersville University?
When it came time to search for universities to fulfill the needs of my higher education, the decision was pretty clear. I have always wanted to teach in some capacity. I was never tantalized by the nine to five job as a desk jockey, so I began looking into schools that specialized in education. Growing up in the Lancaster area, I always heard about Millersville and how it was a renowned institution for future teachers, so I gave it a closer look. I took tours, talked to people who attended and found that Millersville was a perfect match.
Q: Did you always want to be a teacher?
I have! Growing up I struggled to find something that interested me. Through some tests and trials I quickly figured out that I had a knack for the creative arts, specifically visual arts and music. In those classes I was always quick to help those who struggled, which in turn proved to be a viable career option. I came to this realization in high school.
Q: Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in teaching?
It is safe to say that many of my teachers realized my potential and willingness to help others, but there is one particular teacher who encouraged me to peruse teaching as a career. This teacher was my advanced placement art teacher in high school, Miss Sinclair. It was her ability to break through my teenage shell, full of angst, and touch my heart to push me in this direction. She truly impacted my life in a positive way, which inspired me to do that to others.
Q: Where are you teaching now?
Currently, I am an elementary art teacher in the Manheim Township School District. I travel between four elementary schools: Bucher, Neff, Schaeffer and Reidenbaugh.
Q: Did you feel well prepared for your teaching position?
I do feel like I was well prepared for this job. I knew first of all what I was getting myself into, but Millersville provided me with the tools to succeed in this field.
Q: How do you feel Millersville contributed to your preparedness?
Millersville’s ability to work closely with school districts that contain highly skilled teachers allowed me to work hands-on and learn the nuances of being a teacher. Not only did they provide the theoretical aspects of education in their setting, but also sending students to districts in various placements help put those theories in perspective.
Q: Did you hold any jobs between graduation and landing your position?
I held a couple of jobs between those times. I continued to work at Conestoga Country Club serving and bartending at night, but I also substituted all over the tri-county area during the day. Needless to say I was working close to 70 hours a week to make ends meet. By happenstance I made a good impression substituting one of those long days and it proved to be very beneficial. The teacher who previously had my position broke a bone and was out for 3 months, and I was asked to take her place in her absence. As it turned out, she retired, and I was hired!
Q: How did they contribute to your professional life?
Those jobs provided me with skills I use every day. Working in the restaurant business I learned how to cope with incredible pressure, how to improvise and how best to connect to other people. Substituting provided me with skills I use more in my teaching life such as classroom management and all of the “behind the scenes” work that a teacher is expected to fulfill.
Q: What is your favorite aspect of teaching?
My favorite aspect of teaching is connecting with the students. Sure I love teaching art, but learning about the students, their needs, interests and so on is the real kicker. Seeing a child’s face light up when they’ve accomplished something is the one aspect that I take home every day and hang my hat on.
Q: Were you a part of any clubs or organizations during your time at MU?
During my time at Millersville I was a brother in the Zeta Gamma chapter of the Sigma Pi Fraternity. We have disbanded since, but I will never forget the bonds I forged with those fine gentlemen and all of the great times we shared.
Q: Do you have any heroes or a quote you like to live by?
I don’t personally like quotes, I think they are overused and lose their meaning, but I do have heroes. My heroes are my parents. I never have seen people work as hard as they did for the success of their children and their well being. Thanks Mom, Dad, Bill and Nancy! You never gave up on me when probably most would have.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to students at MU looking for teaching jobs?
You will apply to countless jobs. Many won’t even give you the time of day, but never give up. Act as if every moment is a job interview and you will land your dream job.