This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Dr. Sarah Brooks, assistant professor of educational foundations.
Q: Where are you originally from?
Q: What motivated you to pursue a career in education?
I was homeschooled all the way through 12th grade. Since I never went to public school, I was sort of obsessed with the idea of going to school. As a kid, I used to play school all the time with siblings and neighborhood friends. When I went to college, I did not immediately declare a concentration in secondary education. However, after a semester of being a history major, I had to consider the question, “What will I do with history?” Thus, middle and high school teaching seemed like the obvious choice.
Q: From what school(s) have you earned your degree(s) from?
I have a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College, a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut and my doctorate is from the University of Virginia
Q: What is your favorite part about being a professor? Least favorite?
My favorite part is the ability to encourage students and be a part of interesting discussions. I am slightly less enthusiastic about grading…
Q: What is your favorite class to teach at Millersville?
Social Studies Methods!
Q: What is your role as the coordinator of professional development schools?
I help facilitate a collaboration between the educational foundations department and area middle and high schools. The goal of this collaboration is to prepare secondary education teachers. I help set up year-long internships for teacher candidates with middle and high school teachers who serve as skilled mentors. This job helps me spend a good chunk of my week in public schools, which is just the way I prefer it!
Q: What made you interested in studying education?
Well, I sort of just happened on a path to education initially. As I continued in my teacher preparation and in my early years of teaching middle school, I grew to love working in education – specifically social studies education. Graduate courses gave me a chance to refine my rationale for teaching social studies and better align my teaching methods.
Q: Who has impacted you the most professionally?
Mary Coe, a middle school teacher in New Hampshire, helped me understand that it was okay for students in one class to learn different things. Also, Dona Stratton, a middle school teacher in Connecticut, helped me learn how middle level learners might engage in historical inquiry. Lastly, Michael Dintenfass, a professor at University of Connecticut, helped me see that engaging in history is an opportunity to pursue questions of personal significance.
Q: How do you want students to remember you?
Passionate about teaching and learning, caring and funny.
Q: What are your interests outside of work?
When you have three small kids there isn’t much time for interests outside of work, but I do love watching thought-provoking movies.
Q: Do you have a favorite quote?
“Without a struggle there can be no progress.” – Frederick Douglass
Q: What is something you absolutely need to get through your day?
Coffee. (Such an unoriginal response…).
Q: What is your greatest accomplishment?
It’s a three-way tie: Cecily, Tommy and Jimmy – my three small children.