This semester has been one filled with classes, exams, experience in the field, and knowledge that I will take with me into my teaching career! I have gained so much information this semester regarding elementary education, and I am grateful for this opportunity to learn each and every day. I have learned about different methods of teaching reading and writing, the history of education, the demographics of today’s teachers and students, and even created my own philosophy of education. Out of all of the amazing things that I learn each day at Fontbonne, the thing that has I have learned to be most important is collaboration. Working with others provides a strong foundation for any project, assignment or idea. By collaborating with peers or staff, you are able to view many sides to any given situation and truly understand it better than you could have alone. Throughout our lives we will always be working with others- either adults or children- regardless of what field we are going into. Collaboration is a key component to success as it improves communication skills, leadership roles, pragmatics, and has many, many other benefits. Collaboration does not always have to be in an academic setting either. Collaboration can occur between people of different backgrounds, faith traditions, origins, and a wide range of others. By collaborating with someone different from yourself, you are able to better understand a different culture and value the importance of everybody around you. I encourage everybody to get out there and go collaborate today!
During my time at Fontbonne, I have met some incredible people from fellow students to faculty members to Fontbonne alum. It is hard to single out just one person I have met who has had a lasting impact on me, but Dr. Kelley Barger has been the most influential professor I have had here thus far. Dr. Barger teaches my Methods of Teaching Reading & Language Arts course for elementary educators, a six hour block that includes teaching reading and writing strategies. For this class, we actually go to a local elementary school and read and write with third grade students. Although this course is very heavy in content and material, Dr. Barger makes it fun, exciting, and interesting the entire time. Not only is she a professional in her field, Dr. Barger is a personable and welcoming person who is willing to help at all times. She allows students to come to her with any questions or concerns, she is willing to work with you before or after class, and she gives away some freebies (yay!) during her class that will help us as educators in the future.
Dr. Barger is a professor who genuinely cares for and respects her students and only wants what is best for them. She connects with her students on a much more personal level than other professors I have had at both universities I have attended and makes an effort to get to know her students. Dr. Barger always keeps her students on the edge of their seat, urging them to learn more. She has original ideas, great advice, and is overall simply fantastic. If any current or perspective students (even if you are not an elementary major) get the chance to take one of her courses, I would highly, highly recommend it!
Fontbonne University offers a wide range of major and minor options – covering many different career paths. The path I decided on was education! I am pursuing a degree in elementary education in hopes of teaching second or third grade after I graduate. The reason I chose elementary education as my major is because I want to inspire children and open their minds up to the possibilities they have ahead. I want to teach kids about the many different areas of knowledge from learning grammar to sciences to math to social studies. I love working with kids and I watching them learn how to accomplish new things; teaching is such a rewarding career. What made me want to go into teaching was working with children for the past three summers. I work for a program called Adventure Quest, and it is a day program for school-aged kids where we sings songs, go on field trips, do arts and crafts, play field games, learn about different careers and places around the world, and so much more!
Working with children can be challenging but it is also very exciting; you never know what you are going to get! Kids are so much fun because they keep you on your feet, they have an urge to learn new things, and their laughs are contagious! I would recommend the elementary education program here at Fontbonne because it is one of the most prevalent majors here. The small class sizes allow you to really get to know your classmates and professors so you are able to talk about in-depth topics and fully understand your class context. There are also many elementary schools around the Clayton, Missouri area so you are able to complete your practicum at a school of your preference. I would highly suggest coming to Fontbonne if you are interested in someday working in the field of education!
I always remember sitting in my classes the first day of class, and observing the type of decorating and arrangement of the classroom my teachers had done, but especially thinking of all the different things I would have done if it were my classroom. The most vivid time I recall doing this is my first day of 8th grade, and I think that was when I was at an age were I finally realized “Hey, being a teacher seems like it would be a fun career choice!” Luckily, that thought was true, but it’s also a lot of work, but rewarding work. In high school I had many amazing teachers, but especially my math teachers. I remember geometry class my sophomore year as the year I decided I wanted to be a high school math teacher. I realized this because in our classes we could contract for different levels of classes, and each level had varying expectations of you, I always went for the middle level because I knew I was good at math, but I never saw my self as an exceptional student in any subject area. I was smart, but none of it came super easy to me, so I never wanted to stress myself out by contracting for the hardest levels. My geometry teacher quickly realized that I should have contracted for the higher level because I sat there in class bored because I would be flying through that night’s homework while she was still teaching that material. Because she actually took notice of this, and cared enough to encourage me to change my level and challenge myself more I discovered that having a good math teacher, who cares about your learning is really important.
Knowing my major prior to college certainly made choosing Fontbonne easy, because they have a great Education department. Fall semester of my sophomore year here at Fontbonne I had a class where we had to observe in a school for the first time. Because they generally lump middle school and secondary education majors together (There are not as many of us as there are elementary, early , or special education) I was placed in a middle school just because of space in the high school math classes. I am very grateful I was because I found out how fun middle school students can be, and they are still eager and willing to learn. This is the reason I switched from Secondary Education to Middle School Education, but I am still planning to be a math teacher and I am very happy with my choices to this day.