Year of Graduation: 2006
Major(s): Communication Minor(s): Spanish
Current Position: Kindergarten Teacher-Spanish immersion program
Please provide a brief description of your current position and what your work entails.
I am a Kindergarten Teacher in a Spanish dual immersion program for St. Paul Public Schools. I teach 5-year olds how to read, write, do math, and how to be all around good people...in Spanish.
How did you decide on your major and career path?
My major was Communication with an emphasis in Speech/Rhetoric. My minor was Spanish. They were both natural fits for what I wanted to do and for my interests.
What path did you follow to arrive as a Kindergarten Teacher at a Dual Immersion School?
I was accepted into the Peace Corps right after college and worked in schools in Honduras. When I returned, I worked as an education volunteer on a non-profit educational/working farm in Massachusetts called Heifer International. From there I got an entry-level job in Fargo, ND working for the North Dakota NPR/PBS affiliate, Prairie Public as an Early Childhood Learning Specialist. It wasn't long after that I decided that my passion was in teaching our youngest learners and it is where I have been ever since.
How has your liberal arts education been beneficial to your career including your current job?
My liberal arts education taught me to be a dynamic thinker and problem solver. It gave me the skills I needed to be a go-to employee at every job I have had.
What skills are important in your field?
You need to be flexible and quick on your feet as far as tailoring your teaching to each student's learning style (not an easy task). For a teacher it is key to be a timely and effective communicator not only with my students, but with their families as well.
What were some experiences and skills that you gained as an education volunteer for Heifer International? What advice would you give to students thinking about volunteering for a year or more right after graduation?
I was able to work with a ton of different age-ranges and learners. I did educational programming for pre-K students all the way up to business folks on company retreats. Our programming at Heifer allowed me to learn from our participants just as they were learning from me. I would 100% recommend volunteering for a year or two before getting into the more settled work world. It is a chance to test out your newfound skills from college and really have a chance to get your feet on the ground and find out more about your motivations and passions. I didn't know I wanted to go into teaching right after college; I wasn't even an Education major. It was through my experiences volunteering that I was able to realize my true passion.
What activities/experiences were you involved with while at CSB/SJU and how have they been helpful in your career?
I worked at the Career Center! What a gem of a job. Really. Working for/with some of the smartest people on campus and my job was to help students create resumes, cover letters, networking, interviewing, etc., all while honing my own job-finding skills. It was a great job and when my daughter someday goes to college, you had better believe I will be seeing if there is a spot in the career center for her :) I was also in the Men's Choir and I was a founding member of the acapella group, Johnnie Blend. These experiences helped me to surround myself with positive people who were helping to keep me accountable and on a good track.
What advice do you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Come to my classroom! See what it is like to actually work with these amazing students and how life- giving a job in education can be. I know that sounds cheesy, but regardless of how tough teaching can be some days, I know that I am making a huge difference in so many lives everyday doing what I do.
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