Cumberland University


Anna Syler: Helping Students Shine


To Anna Syler, few things are more enjoyable than teaching children. An easygoing student teacher double-majoring in Child Growth & Learning and Humanities & Social Sciences, Syler is perhaps at her best in a classroom.

Though juggling majors, lesson plans, and children’s personalities can be a handful, Syler sees the rewards every day in the faces of her students.

“I love working with kids,” Syler said. “That’s my real passion, and that’s where teaching comes into play for me. Being able to create relationships with students and help them develop is what I enjoy and want to do.”

Syler has shone in that role as a student and a future teacher since arriving at Cumberland University in 2009. A Peer Mentor and member of Cumberland’s Baptist Collegiate Ministries student organization, Syler has made the Dean’s List every semester at the University since her arrival, cultivating a glowing academic record.

It is a success she attributes in part to the aid she has received from faculty at Cumberland. A native of Lynchburg, TN, Syler graduated as a member of a “tiny” high school class. At Cumberland, the small-town scholar found a perfect combination of an accessible campus and individualized faculty-student attention.

“I come from a very small town, so having Cumberland’s small campus is great,” Syler said. “The very first day I was here, signing up for classes, I was freezing. Dr. Eric Cummings saw that I was cold, and he gave me his jacket. The professors here always have time for you.”

With the help of faculty like Cummings, Syler has developed her pedagogical skills in classrooms on and off of Cumberland’s campus. Between rigorous observation hours and student teaching assignments throughout Wilson County, the Child Growth & Learning student has gained an ever-growing sense of how to handle a classroom.

“There are so many opportunities for field experience here,” said Syler, who recently began a sixth-grade placement. “I’ve been in almost every school in the district and seen so many teaching styles. It’s been so much fun and so educational to do.”

Those classroom experiences have only served to confirm Syler’s love for teaching. Through her studies in Humanities & Social Sciences, the student teacher has also complemented her practical educational experiences with broader philosophical concepts.