By Jennie Kroeger | July 26, 2017 | Posted in: COE Spotlights
Major: Special Education
Graduation Year: 2017
What made you choose FSU COE?
I have known since 9th grade that I wanted to teach special education. My family came to tour FSU because my twin sister was interested in attending. I originally wasn’t considering FSU, but after touring, I liked what I saw and heard and I looked more into the College of Education. I found information on the special education program and I was sold when I read about the BS/MS set up the program offered.
What is your favorite FSU COE memory?
I enjoyed my whole experience in my program – even the tough assignments! One of the best parts was that I had all of my classes with the same group of people, so we all were going through the same things and able to bounce ideas off of each other. We became a tight-knit group. My absolute favorite memory, however, was during graduation. A , . fter we walked across the stage, one of our professors, Dr. Hanline, was waiting for us to give us a hug and send us on our way. She came just for us and it was exactly what I needed to mark the end of my FSU experience. She was with us from our first semester in the program; seeing her there to support us and recognize all of our hard work was really special to me.
What’s the most valuable thing you learned or experienced at FSU COE?
The most valuable thing I have experienced is my time spent at a low-income school. The students at this school sometimes came to school hungry or wearing dirty clothes – they needed more than just academics. My time at this school was difficult for me emotionally, but it was valuable in my growth as a teacher. It led me to understand that my job wasn’t only to teach; my job was to make sure these students had even the most basic needs met. When students doesn’t have their basic needs met, I cannot expect them to be ready to learn. I learned a lot about how as teacher, it is my job to create a classroom environment that is physically safe, emotionally safe, and intellectually safe. It was my goal to make sure that the students knew that they were cared for and were capable of succeeding.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
In five years, I see myself staying in the classroom. I don’t think at this point that I see myself anywhere but with the students every day. I think that I may go back to school part-time to pursue another graduate degree in education. Maybe in ten years I will be thinking about moving to an administrative role, but for now I am sticking to the classroom!
What advice do you have for future FSU COE students?
Take it all in and learn from every placement. I have had placements that I didn’t enjoy too much, but they taught me that I didn’t want to teach in that kind of classroom. The placements are designed to help you figure out what grades and students you want to work with.
Talk with the professors about your concerns, too! They are the most valuable resource you have. Overall, you will learn about yourself and what your strengths and weaknesses are. Use that information to grow and become a better person.
What is something interesting that not many people know about you?
I am a black belt in karate and have competed at the national level multiple times! I did martial arts with my dad and my sister for 12 years. Another little fact is that I am part Spaniard, although I cannot speak Spanish fluently.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I will give you the two most influential pieces of advice I have received in my life. The first one comes from one of the greatest teachers I have ever had. She picked up on the fact that I was hesitant about going into education because some people had told me it was a mistake. She told me to “never let anyone talk you out of doing what you love to do.” I have carried that advice with me ever since. Now, I have my own class and I couldn’t be happier!
The second piece of advice comes from my grandfather. He always told me, “if you’re going to bring an attitude, bring a good one.” Initially, he told me this because I was a moody kid who had a bit of a temper (sorry mom and dad), but this advice has become my motto and has opened my mind to taking on new challenges with a positive outlook every step of the way.