Major: Elementary Education
Year of Graduation: 2011
Graduate Program: Master's, Curriculum & Instruction, Winona State University
Please give a brief description of your current position and where you're working.
I am a resident in the Graduate Induction Program through Winona State University and the Rochester Public School District. Residents in this program teach at the elementary (K-6) level while also taking courses to earn a master's degree in Education. I will be teaching third grade at Franklin Elementary School in Rochester this year while also completing my master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.
What path did you follow to arrive at your current job?
To earn the opportunity to be part of this program, I majored in Elementary Education during my time at St. Ben's and gained experience working with children through activities both on- and off-campus. I volunteered at a KIDSTOP location, helped at a Saturday School program, and taught a Sunday School class. I also worked at a KinderCare center and summer camp. My volunteer work as well as paid positions involving children helped set me apart during the selection process for the Graduate Induction Program.
What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Students who are interested in teaching should take courses in Education and, most importantly, take advantage of opportunities to work with children! Any experience with children will help students learn and grow on their way to becoming passionate and effective teachers.
Students who are interested in attending graduate school in Education should search for programs like the Graduate Induction Program that allow residents to actively and consistently work with children throughout their courses.
What skills are important in your field?
The most important skills in the education field are clearly communicating and modeling ideas and expectations, actively listening to students' thoughts, and flexibly adapting plans to meet students' needs. Of course, these skills don't mean anything without a passion for education.
What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for this career?
The most helpful activities and experiences I found were those where I was given room to be creative in how I worked with children and where I was able to observe and learn from professional educators whose ability to engage and empower children awed me. My most memorable experiences include talking with Education professors at CSB/SJU, participating in practicums and student teaching through my coursework, volunteering at a Saturday School program in St. Paul with other Bennies and Johnnies, and volunteering at KIDSTOP at an elementary school in St. Cloud. These opportunities provided a very important link for me between what I was learning in my Education courses and the real world of teaching and working with students.
What is the most satisfying/rewarding part of your job?
Since the school year is just getting started, I anticipate that the most rewarding part of my job will be watching my students grow throughout the year from children timidly stepping into third grade to children confidently leaping forward into fourth grade and beyond. Watching students finally grasp concepts they've been struggling with for weeks or light up with pride as they grow in confidence makes all the work that goes into teaching worth it.