Why did you choose the field of education as a career?
I started IUB as a business major...off to conquer the corporate world. Even though the Kelley School of Business is top notch, I found myself unsatisfied with my studies. It was unsettling as someone who always had a plan to feel unsure about their future. As a Lilly Scholar, one of my requirements was to volunteer in the community. I signed up to volunteer at the local hospital, hoping that I may find a desire to work in medical administration. When I arrived, they asked if I would mind working in their childcare center. I figured this placement would keep me away from blood, so I happily accepted. At the center I worked with the classroom teachers in ages 2-5. I prepared lesson materials, organized lunches and snacks, helped with toileting and handwashing, and worked one-on-one with students. For the last hour of each volunteer session, I found myself working in the pre-K room. I read stories, sang songs, played games, and helped students with basic writing skills, and I loved it. I soon found myself spending just as much time searching for new children’s books and learning new songs, as I did studying for my classes. By the end of the semester, I realized that the best part of my week was my volunteer session. I enrolled in the School of Ed. the following semester.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing students today?
I feel the greatest challenge facing students today is the same challenge that we have always faced...we are preparing them for an ever changing world. We teach them the basics, the foundations, character skills, but we are also preparing them to work with technology that hasn’t been invented yet, jobs that they have no interest in yet, and to live/work in times that are unknown. It’s not a new challenge, it’s the need for continual growth and change, accepting new challenges, and being prepared to learn.
What is one piece of advice you would give to a person entering into the education field during unprecedented times?
Have patience! Be patient with your students, their families, your colleagues, your administrators, and especially yourself. Each year will be different. You will improve and learn something new. You will have new needs and new challenges. Be patient with the fact that the field of education is always evolving to keep the students’ best interest at heart. Learn from the best and give your students your best.
Who was the most influential teacher, coach, principal, etc. you had growing up? What made them influential?
I have been blessed to work with many influential people. My love of reading started with my mother. I honestly was taught to enjoy reading in my mother’s lap. My love of school, I owe to my second grade teacher, Mrs. Thomas. She made every lesson engaging, and our time at school enjoyable. I hope each year that is how I am remembered by my students. My love of teaching reading, I owe to my IU professor Leanna McClain. She shared with me some of my favorite children’s stories that I still use today, and taught me how to include books/stories into all school subjects. My love of storytelling, I owe to our public children’s librarian (retired) Miss Stephanie. During our kindergarten field trips to the Ellettsville MCPL, I watched Miss Stephanie bring stories to life for the children. I was amazed!
What is the most rewarding part of your profession?
It’s the pay. Ha! That’s a little teacher humor.
The most rewarding part of my profession are the students I work with, and the growth/gains they make. I don’t know a teacher, especially in early-elementary or special education that doesn’t take pride in their students. I have the opportunity to teach/help develop the skills of reading and writing, goal-setting, citizenship, and friendship to a new group of children every year. Some years are easier than others. Some students are more challenging than others, but the successes are always rewarding. With young children, I get to celebrate the small victories...writing their name, reading their first sentences, tying their own shoes, or making new friends. Not everyday is sunshine and roses. I have dried many tears, taken calm-down time with many friends, and supported many students during difficult times. All of those experiences make me grateful for the smiles, high-fives, cheers, and scented stickers that I get to give. I go through a lot of stickers!
Anything else you would like to share?
I have had the opportunity to work with so many influential teachers. My mentor teachers, Mrs. Ogren, Mrs. Cowden, and Mrs. Gallagher, were all a constant source of support as I began my career. My current kindergarten team are a joy to work with, and always welcome me into their classrooms to work with our students. My special education team of Mrs. Lantz and Mrs. Burns can always be counted on to support and encourage each other. And last, but certainly not least...Mrs. Abel. She is a constant cheerleader, role model, and friend. I truly appreciate all of the wonderful teachers, therapists, support staff, and administrators we have at Edgewood Primary School. It is an honor to work with all of them.
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