Week 1 – Barefoot Kiwis

Laine Dolan, an elementary education and communications studies student in the College of Education is spending part of her student teaching semester abroad. She is teaching at Swanson School in Auckland, New Zealand, and is blogging about her experience. This post originally appeared on Laine’s own blog

downloadHello Everyone and Welcome to my First Blog Post!

​I have made it to New Zealand and have lived one full week with the Kiwis. After three flights and about 32 hours of travel, I was glad to get to my host family’s house Swanson, Auckland, on Saturday October 26. We spent the long NZ Labor Day weekend exploring the near by area with our hosts. We saw great views from the Arataki Visitor Centre and the Pukematekeo lookout. We also went to a nice beach, city area called Mission Bay and stuck our feet in some black sand at the Piha beach.

Going into the first day of school here, I knew from my research that Swanson School was going to be a more relaxed style of learning than the States and that there was a big emphasis on play for students. However, I was still extremely shocked — in a good way — by the first day. I am with year 1 & 2 which are the same ages as Kindergarten and 1st graders in the states. A big part of the day was spent outside during their two 40 minute breaks and another 45 minutes for “fitness.” This fitness block happens a few times a week. During this time, all five of the year 1/2 classes head outside, and each teacher runs a station. Currently the stations are focused on track and field activities such as the high jump, which my station worked on. In addition to these breaks and fitness time, frequently when students finish a learning task they are free to go play as long as they stay close to the classroom when outside. This amount of free play is significantly greater than I ever experienced as a student and ever saw while getting my education degree. I am excited to continue to experience it and learn about the benefits.

Now let me tell you the thing I love about New Zealand… BAREFOOT FEET! It was a little startling the first time I saw people barefoot in places that it seemed improper to me, but now that I am used to it I love it! I’ve seen kids barefoot walking the aisles of the grocery store, a barefoot man getting his food at a kebab restaurant, and people at the train station or walking the streets barefoot. At school, all of the students are expected to take their shoes off to come in the classroom. They are also not required to wear them during breaks so majority of students do not put them on again the rest of the school day. Barefoot feet is normal here, and I love it. Although I have not fully embraced it yet, I am sure I will soon be walking around barefoot all the time.

My first week here I have spent a lot of time observing and taking in everything. There are a few other things I found to be different than the States, or at least from what I have experienced in the States. First off, although they speak English, there are a lot of differences in what we call things. I added a new tab called “language” on my blog with a list of a few of them. In addition in the States when students are asked to sit up and show they are listening, they generally are expected to fold their hands. In New Zealand, students are expected to cross their arms. Another difference is when students in NZ raise their hand they point their pointers finger up. Last difference I have noticed between NZ and USA is that NZ includes a great amount of Maori (native NZ people) culture in their classrooms and every day life. The United States does not include a lot of Native American culture in the classroom. This is an interesting topic I will definitely blog more about later.

After the first week of school we hiked Rangitoto ,which is a dormant volcano. We also explored some of the lava caves. The weekend ended with a Halloween BBQ with our host families. Halloween has just recently started to happen in NZ so very few people celebrate. Only five out of my 25 students went trick-or-treating. That sums up life so far in NZ.

If you made it all the way to here thanks for reading my novel of a blog! Sorry for the extreme length! There is a lot to take in the first week! Hope you enjoyed 🙂

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Sophie Tubbin


This year, we are spending time getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Sophie, one of our current freshmen in the College of Education!

Hello! My name is Sophie Tubbin and I am a freshman in the College of Education. I am currently studying Elementary Education and Psychology with the hopes of becoming a School PsychSopT_0093.JPGologist or an Administrator.

I’ve lived in Milwaukee for approximately three weeks now. I was actually born here and lived in Wauwatosa for a few months when I was an infant, but this is my first time exploring the city in recent memory. I moved around the state of Wisconsin frequently growing up, and graduated from Viroqua High School in Viroqua, WI this spring. I lived with my parents, my two little brothers (16 and 6), and my mini Australian Shepherd named Hazel. My house was about two minutes from the elementary school which allowed me to student teach, help in summer school programs, and teach swimming lessons in high school.

All of these experiences, along with living with a brother 12 years younger than me, culminated in the realization that I’m happiest when I’m with children. It’s not hard when they are so full of excitement, energy, and curiosity. Life-guarding and teaching swimming lessons, in particular, are my favorite pastimes in the summer. It’s incredibly rewarding to have 4-year old’s who are terrified of the water on the first day want to jump off the diving board “just one more time!!” on their graduation day. I love having the ability to help them overcome their fears and learn valuable life skills in the process. They’ve also taught me many things and given me countless laughter fits along the way!

As a child, I experienced multiple school sizes, teaching styles, and class demographics. These allowed me to pick up bits and pieces from each school that I find valuable in an effective education. The diverse student population in my elementary school. The value of close, urban connections in my middle school. The close-knit community that is exclusive to a graduation class of roughly 100 students in my high school. There is simply no way to pick a favorite memory. I truly believe they have all had a part in inspiring my path toward education. I would simply like to thank all of the teachers who have been passionate about what they do over the years. Some of the most memorable teachers were the ones who came to class every day with a positive attitude and genuine care for the whole student. Thus, Marquette’s mission of “Cura Personalis” is maybe most applicable to the College of Education (although I admit, I’m a little biased). It is the role of the teacher to inspire their students to be passionate about themselves and each other, and Marquette does an excellent job of preparing us to do so.

I could not be prouder to call myself a Marquette student. I am most looking forward to my service-learning placements and field experience in the Milwaukee area. Marquette’s college of education goes above and beyond in preparing us through these placements to live out the Jesuit mission every day. I have also signed up for Camp Kesem, which is a summer camp run entirely by college students to help children whose parents have been diagnosed with cancer. Their passion for helping children is another incredible example of the effect of a Jesuit education, and I’m very excited to get more involved in their organization. I am thrilled to continue to explore the Milwaukee area and serve the community in any way I can. I hope in the next four years, I can truly Be The Difference in at least one child’s life.

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Jason Curtis

We’re excited to introduce you to one of our alumni, Jason Curtis, this week in our “Getting to Know… ” series focusing on students, alumni and faculty staff of the College of Education. You can catch up on all of our past features, but read on to learn more about Jason!


Jason Curtis, along with two alumni currently teaching at Oconomowoc High School

I have been in the Milwaukee area since I started at Marquette in the fall of 2003, but I am originally from Leicester, MA. I live at home with my amazing wife, Pam and my feisty and loyal dog, Linus. My parents, all my cousins and extended family still live in Massachusetts.

Currently I am the Principal at Oconomowoc High School. I LOVE MY JOB. I love working with teachers; helping them be proud of their job and taking their crazy ideas and making them a reality. The biggest challenge is helping adolescents navigate through this challenging world. Between social media, vaping, and other life challenges…it’s hard to be a teenager. I am so excited about our school’s new vision and strategic direction. Our staff has worked hard to establish our identity and this year we are taking intentional steps to helping our students live that vision.

I LOVED my graduate school experience at Marquette. I enjoyed networking with other aspiring leaders from different schools and developing our leadership skills together. I still rely on their friendship, expertise and advice! My journey to Marquette and the College of Education is a long story…However, I knew I wanted to be a teacher, and I knew Marquette was the school for me- so it all just came together. When it came time to explore graduate programs, I couldn’t imagine looking anywhere else!

Marquette alumni bring the Jesuit values and social justice lens that defines the College of Education to students, families and communities across the city, state, country, and even the world. The College of Education understands their awesome responsibility to prepare each student to be not only a teacher, counselor, or educational leader, but an advocate for those in need, a voice to speak up with those who have been silenced, and a champion for those who have been marginalized. It’s incredible to think that the values of the college live within these teachers, counselors, principals, and district leaders. As a high school principal, my Marquette education guides my work everyday and I now seek out Marquette graduates to staff my school.

When I am not in school, I love to travel. It’s hard to escape from the day-to-day routine of being a principal. You truly serve a community, and it’s hard to shut it off and walk away. However, when I travel- I escape, recharge and sleep in! Don’t think of traveling as exotic and far distances…it can be as simple as experiencing a new place just miles away!

My students, past and present, inspire me. They inspire me to be a better leader, teacher and advocate.


Adventures in Student Teaching: About Swanson School

This fall, one of our elementary education pre-service teachers, Laine Dolan, is completing her student teaching in New Zealand. As part of this experience, she’s blogging about her time. Originally posted on her own blog, the following posts will chronicle along Laine’s adventures!
353500-182089-34_origBy Laine Dolan
Swanson school is a small school in the small town of Swanson which is a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. The town of Swanson has a population of less than 1,500 people and has less than 1% of Auckland’s population. The Swanson School that I will be student teaching at is a charter school, and the students wear uniforms. According to their website, the school population is composed of 29% Maori, 37% NZ European, 12% Pasifika, 8% Indian, and 15% from other ethnicities. Their school year consists of four terms. Each term is about six weeks long followed by a two week break in between each term. After term four, there is a six week summer break. I am student teaching in a classroom with 25 students that are mainly “year 2” students (ages 6-7) with a few “year 1” students.

A unique feature of the Swanson School is their philosophy of “free play”. At Swanson School there are no rules during their break times or recesses. They believe student learn from their freedom. Their website says”in the playground children can be seen to be building huts, riding every wheeled contraption that exists all over the school, climbing trees, play fighting, sliding down mudslides, using stair rails as monkey bars, or just lying in the long grass and talking.” I encourage everyone to watch the videos posted on my blog to get an idea of what free play is and how it works at Swanson School.  

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Jasmine Gonzalez

This fall, we are continuing our series getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Jasmine Gonzalez, one of our undergraduate students at Marquette!

thumbnail_jasmine gonzalez.pngMy name is Jasmine Gonzalez. I am a freshman at Marquette and I am studying Elementary Education and Psychology. I grew up in multiple suburbs of Chicago. I spent most of my years in Hanover Park though which is about 50 minutes away from the city. My family is very big, however, we don’t all see each other. We live an hour or so away from my other family, so we don’t visit often and at home my parents are almost always at work. I have three younger siblings who are currently a freshman in high school, a 6th grader, and a 3rd grader. I get along very well with them since I normally was always taking care of them and helping them with their school work.

The reason I picked Marquette and the College of Education was because of how welcoming everyone was when I visited. Marquette is a big school with the small school feeling to it and the campus is amazing. It is not that far from home, where it wouldn’t be hard to come back if I ever needed to, but it is also far away where I knew I can be independent without having my parents and family members on my back about everything. The College of Education had everything I wanted in picking a school. They make it super quick to be put into a classroom if you are studying to be a teacher and I think that’s very crucial to have right away to make sure that is what you like to do or not. Outside the classroom, I really enjoy going on adventures and exploring different places. I was amazed to see they had a rock-climbing club which reminded me of my adventure education class in high school. It might be scary at first learning how to rock-climb, but it’s about being adventurous in trying new things. It might be completely different to what you might originally think and that’s what makes it so fun. For those who are interested in trying rock climbing, sometimes you might be scared but it’s the feeling you get after you get over your fear that proves to you that you can do anything you set your mind to.

My inspiration for wanting to teach is from all the teachers in my high school who are apart of Project Excel. Project Excel is a group for minorities and its goal is to help students achieve success and push them to trying to go further than just high school. All the teachers there continually helped throughout all four years of high school, and would even take us on college visits. They even would help push us into higher courses to help prepare us for becoming college students. They were always there to support us and we went to them whenever we needed advice or extra help on anything. I went to them to help me with college applications. Specifically during senior year, they would help me get through the year itself, not only with my classes, and also helped me decide where I wanted to go for college. All of them are the reason why I want to teach, especially because some of them were my actual teachers and they were the ones who pushed me to be better. They showed me that teaching was what brought them happiness and they always made me feel welcome and accepted for who I am.

Getting to Know Our Alumni: Meet Natalie Collins

This fall, we are continuing our series getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Keep reading to get to know alumna Natalie Collins, Manager of Assessment and Data in the Department of Research, Assessment, and Data within the Office of Communication and School Improvement for Milwaukee Public Schools.

natalieI am originally from Arlington Heights, Illinois, and I have lived in Milwaukee for 25 years. I live in the Bayview neighborhood and have been there for 19 years. I have been married to my wife, Robin, for 2 years. We have 8-month old fraternal twins who were born in January: Rosalie and Clayton. I found myself drawn to Marquette University and the College of Education by the idea that we would be in classrooms every semester.

Currently, I work for Milwaukee Public Schools as the Manager of Assessment and Data in the Department of Research, Assessment, and Data within the Office of Communication and School Improvement. I like the people that I work with and their professionalism and passion for creating the best educational experience for the children of Milwaukee. We have an opportunity to mold our story to change the community’s perspective about the quality education we can provide for their children. Student attendance and academic achievement are the biggest challenges.

When I’m not in the classroom, I like to be around friends and family enjoy a good meal or just a good time. I am an avid reader and frequent the library on a weekly basis. I love to travel and have new experiences, whether their close to home or far away. In thinking about who inspires me most, it’s my own children.



Adventures in Student Teaching: International Edition

This fall, one of our elementary education pre-service teachers, Laine Dolan, is completing her student teaching in New Zealand. As part of this experience, she’s blogging about her time. Originally posted on her own blog, the following posts will chronicle along Laine’s adventures at Swanson School! 


My name is Laine, and I am majoring in Elementary Education and Communication Studies at Marquette University. Over my four years at Marquette I have been in various urban and suburban classrooms in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I completed the first two months of my student teaching at a private urban school and am fortunate enough to finish the last half of student teaching in Auckland, New Zealand. Through St. Norbert College’s Global Teaching Program, I will be able to spend two months student teaching in a year one classroom in New Zealand. I am extremely excited for the incredible experience I will have in New Zealand.


  1. Go out of my comfort zone to make the most of my time.
  2. ​Experience the traditional New Zealand culture.
  3. Live as much like the kiwis as possible.
  4. Try all of the New Zealand food.

​Cultural Development Objectives​​

  1. Embrace new teaching styles and perspectives.
  2. Reflect on how to better my teaching style from what I learn in the NZ classroom.
  3. ​Buy into everything every day.

What is a Marquette Educator?

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