Who reassures and stretches you as an early childhood educator?
The people that reassure and stretch me as an early childhood educator are my past teachers and teachers that I have interned with and learned from through their experiences. I have fond memories of my experience as a student in elementary school. The teachers that have made such an impact on my life are Mrs. Crist, Mrs. Henderson, and Mrs. Leonard. These are the teachers that made my education enjoyable and engaging. I had a difficult time going to school as a child because I had such severe separation anxiety when being away from home. These teachers that I mentioned went above and beyond to build a relationship with me that made me more comfortable at school. They would attend my soccer games, make time to talk to me individually and even invited my mom to volunteer in the classroom. To this day I keep in touch with these teachers because they completely changed my educational experience. My fifth-grade teacher Mrs. Crist actually has a letter from me that I wrote when I was in fifth-grade that she has hung on her personal bulletin board that says, “I have always wanted to be a teacher but now I want to be a teacher just like Mrs. Crist.” She continues to reassure me as a future educator. I have volunteered in all of their classrooms throughout the years to observe the ways that they still are changing students’ lives in their classroom by showing an interest in the child as a whole rather than just working to educate them. These educators inspired me to become a teacher to make an impact in children’s lives in the way that they have impacted mine.
Whose pedagogies are shaping your path?
Throughout my experience at Millersville University, all of my professors’ pedagogies have begun to shape my path as a future educator. I really feel that I have received a very rich experience at Millersville because I have been taught by so many professors with such great experiences and different views. Dr. Bower has made a strong impact on my educational path because he shared so many methods and ideas for how to incorporate technology into the classroom in a purposeful way. His class was so meaningful to me because he is a current teacher, so he was able to share his experiences from his week and the ways he adapted to make a difference for students. He shared the true meaning of differentiation and provided so many examples for unique ways to reach all of your students’ needs and potential. As a STEM minor, he really helped to guide me with his methods of how to make projects come to life for students so that they can show their knowledge in a way that best meets their own learning needs. All of my professors have so much experience in the early childhood field, from teacher, preschool director, principal, ELL teacher, and special education teacher, I have been provided with so many perspectives and philosophies that I strongly believe in.
Who is teaching you about the Why and the How in the field of early childhood education?
Someone that teaches me about the why and how in the field of early childhood education is Cristi Edwards. She is great friends with my mom and I babysit for her family. She has a lot of experience in the field as she has taught many grades in public school, ranging from kindergarten to sixth-grade but also worked in a preschool for many years as well. She now has a certification in special education, so she has a cotaught classroom. She has 16 years of teaching experience and has worked in many roles. She is able to discuss with me how education is changing and what would be best to do in order to adapt to the changes. She is someone that is not afraid to take risks and make mistakes in order to try something new that could be beneficial to her students. When I design a lesson for assignments throughout my time in college, I typically go to her for advice on whether or not it is developmentally appropriate for the age group and what I can do to differentiate because she has so much knowledge from the many grade levels that she has taught and on how to differentiate. She has definitely helped to shape me as a future educator by always providing feedback and insight on the why and how of early childhood education.
Who speaks truth to you? Shares new insights with you?
My mom is an elementary school teacher and she is always striving to learn more and be the best teacher that she can be. She is the most inspiring person in my life because she lifts everyone around her and helps them to reach their highest potential. The relationships that she builds with her students are incredible, her past students and parents reach out through emails very often to thank her for everything that she did for them. This past year, her school district put together a video of multiple students from graduating class and each thanked a teacher that impacted them the most and so many students talked about the impact she had on them. She is a phenomenal teacher, when I observe her class it is so engaging, all the students are involved, and each lesson has been differentiated to meet their individual needs.
My mom also keeps it real with me. She tells me how challenging it truly is to be an exceptional teacher that reaches each student in a purposeful and impactful way, but it is the most rewarding career that you could have. We are always discussing different practices in the classroom, specifically STEM because my mom continues to challenge her own practices to expand her lessons to become even more engaging.