Pioneer Public – Gina Foreman

Written By Hannah Walden, Co-Features/A&E Editor

Photo by Submitted

Inspiration can come in many forms, and for freshman Gina Foreman, her experiences in the classroom and her personal struggles inspired her to become a teacher.

“I became interested in preK-4 elementary because I love working with young children,” Foreman, 20, elementary K-4 and special education major said. “I took a class in high school that taught preschool kids and enjoyed it a lot. I also worked with kids at a daycare and I also enjoyed it as well.”

However, Foreman describes preschool kids as “a little too young” for her and would love to teach in an elementary setting.

Foreman is also interested in teaching special education. Having a learning disability herself, Foreman believes she could relate to special education students.

“They may feel like they’re different and don’t belong and I want to be the teacher to change that perspective,” Foreman said.

Foreman is passionate about helping children grow and follow their dreams, believing that they should have every opportunity to follow their dreams.

“Since they are so young and innocent, I want them to realize from a young age that they can be whoever and whatever they want to be and to just be happy to be who they are,” Foreman said. I also want to help kids learn and by starting from a young age they can learn so many things and grow with that learning capability.”

Outside of her studies, Foreman is a mentor with the Point Park chapter of Strong Women Strong Girls (SWSG).

“My friends encouraged me to join and they thought I would be a great mentor,” Foreman said. “I’ve always wanted to join, but I was so scared because of my anxiety to join something new or I worked during those times.”

Foreman believes that her classes not only teach her what future teachers should be educating their students about, but to also bond with students to help them learn to trust you and be open. She found this technique helpful during SWSG in order to get her mentees to open up and express who they are.

Foreman is able to connect to the girls she mentors in another way through her anxiety diagnosis. When she was 18, she was diagnosed and it helped her to know she wasn’t alone in her feelings.

“For a while I thought I was the only one that thought of certain things, come up with concepts that are likely impossible to happen, have sleep paralysis, being paranoid all the time and overthinking constantly over and over again,” Foreman said.

She believes that by using her experience with anxiety it will help her mentees by knowing what they are going through and how they are feeling, and by using and suggesting techniques that help her to them.

“With anxiety, I sympathize with people a lot because as a person with anxiety, you want everyone to like you,” Foreman said. “If someone doesn’t like you, you will constantly think of what you did wrong. ‘Should I change myself so that they can like me?’ etc. Because I have anxiety, I am more understanding and I put myself in other peoples’ shoes because I would want them to do the same to me if I were struggling with the same thing.”

Out of all of the techniques Foreman has to deal with her anxiety, nothing calms her down and gets her out of that mindset than her dog, Buttons. Foreman describes Buttons as a loyal friend who would never leave, betray or judge her and is someone who she can talk to when feeling alone. Buttons is also described as a good listener, a shoulder to cry on and is a friend like no other.

“She is an amazing support system and I know I could always count on her to be there for me whenever I need a friend and whenever I don’t feel like I have anyone to talk to,” Foreman said. “She loves me for who I truly am, I never feel like I have to be fake around her. I tend to scratch whenever I’m nervous. She was taught in her puppy class to lift my hand up with her nose to stop me from scratching. She normally notices right away and she gets my mind away from other things that are bothering me.”

By keeping Foreman distracted from things that bother her, she says she is able to keep herself and her mind busy.

“Wherever I go, she will go,” Foreman said. “We love to hike, it’s so relaxing for the both of us to be able to connect with one another. She’s honestly my best friend and even though she is a dog to other people, she is more than that to me. Buttons feels like a true friend.”

According to Foreman, Buttons brings her out of her comfort zone and encourages her to be the best person she can be. She feels that, with lots of training, Buttons could bring out these feelings in others.

“I have been thinking about getting her to become a service dog for myself as well as a therapy dog to visit children in hospitals and senior citizens,” Foreman said. “But she’s going to have to go through a lot of training because she is so nervous around people. I believe she can do it because I want people to see what she can do and why I love her so much as well as why she is such a great support system for me.”