Archive for the 'Learning' Category

The Importance of Counselors

counselor-1294858_960_720By Sabrina Bartels

Last week, I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion focused on youth mental health. The event was a collaboration between several organizations, including Marquette Law School, Marquette’s College of Education, and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Individuals from across the country and from many different walks of life joined together to talk about the mental health crisis and what we can do to help support children and teens as they navigate these difficult struggles.

Of all the panels, I really liked the one where teens talked about overcoming and living with mental health concerns. One of the girls was a middle school student. When describing her middle school experience, she mentioned that she sometimes goes to her school counselor, but that it’s hard to see her because she’s so busy. The student said that her counselor’s door is closed a lot because she’s with other students, or “in a six-hour meeting.” It made me crack up (because it’s true, we have a lot of meetings!) but it also made me a little sad. Here was a student who really needed to see someone, but her counselor wasn’t available.

Which made me think of my own students. I’ve been lucky this year to have a slightly smaller 8th grade class, but I’m still as busy as ever. I thought about all the sign-up sheets on my desk, and how sometimes, it takes me one or two days to follow up with these students. Not because I don’t want to talk to them, but because every day can be filled with chaos and crises, and I am never guaranteed enough time. I think about students who like to check in with me, but whom I can’t always consistently meet with on the same day, or even the same time. As one of my kiddos put it, “You just never know what’s going to come through your door next, do you, Ms. B?” And for the record, he’s absolutely right.

I am so incredibly blessed to work in a district that recognizes the importance of counselors, psychologists, and social workers, and why we are so necessary. I’m also really fortunate that my administration recognizes the work we do. They’ve excused us from lunch duty and hallways sweeps. They limit the number of students who test with us. I’m lucky; I can’t say that enough. But I recognize that not every counselor is in my situation. At my school, the student to counselor ratio (on average) is about 310 to 1. In the state of Wisconsin, it’s around 454 to 1. And the ideal ratio? 250 to 1.

Why is this important? Because the more “stretched” we become, the less effective we are, and most importantly, the less time we have for kids. That means students who are struggling with bullying, mental health issues, academics, or trauma may not see us when their need is highest. This also means that we lose a window of opportunity to get to know the student on a deeper level. For some, it’s okay; the student will keep reaching out to us and we will have that chance. But for some who may already be nervous or scared to reach out, if they can’t have us at that precise moment the window closes and may not open up again.

Are we bound to miss students sometimes? Yes, of course. Sometimes, we have another student in our offices, and we have to tell the other one we will talk to them later. That’s part of our job. But the more counselors, psychologists, social workers, and outside agencies that are available, the less time they have to wait, the quicker we can address the problem, and the sooner students can return to class with a less-burdened mind. With their mind at ease, students have more brain power for school, which can help them achieve their full academic potential.

We’ve heard that these things we teach and model – emotional regulation, conflict resolution, and organization – are “soft skills.” These so-called “soft skills” are not that soft. These are skills that are so important to a student’s every day functioning as an adult. Their social/emotional success is just as critical to their learning as reading and math. That is what we are trained in. That is why we’re needed.

The event really sparked my enthusiasm, and continued to stress the importance of mental health professionals. But it was the youth panel that reminded me of why I do what I do, why I advocate for counselors, and why it’s an important job. The most inspiring thing is that these students haven’t given up. Neither should we.

To My Future Colleagues in the Educational Administration Program

downloadBy Oscar Silva

To my future colleagues:

The Educational Administration program in the College of Education and its faculty mean the world to me, so I hope my passion is able to be conveyed through this letter.

When I began looking for a program to get my administrative license, I had a set of expectations that the school had to meet. I needed the courses to be rigorous and relevant, and I needed to work with professors who were dedicated and experts in their field. Marquette met all of my needs and surpassed my expectations. One look at the curriculum, and you will see how relevant the work is towards helping our kids. You can immediately see the difference on paper between this program and others. Once you meet the others in the program, your decision will be solidified. The emphasis on equity and learning about the politics of education promotes the type of thinking to begin the work that is needed in the city. The concepts Dr. Ellwood and her colleagues teach you will seep into your way of thinking. Raw ideas are transformed into methodical plans with each project and research assigned. You are immediately able to put into
practice how they teach you to look at data. Each book and piece of research you will read can be applied to your work. The rigor is balanced with the relevancy of each course. There is not one piece of information or assignment that I was given that was irrelevant to the work I wanted to do in the future.

Let me be clear, the work is not easy. It will take dedication and motivation that is difficult to balance when you are still teaching, but the dividends will be fruitful. You will be working alongside other passionate individuals who have a similar mission. Work with them, confide in them, trust each other and the work becomes easier. The professors have a wealth of information and the resumes to prove their impact in various school districts. You will be learning from the best to become the best.

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need more information about the program. I could go on for days, but I wanted to keep it short. Best of luck in your decision-making, and I hope to see you around campus soon!


Interested in learning more about our graduate programs in Educational Administration? We offer a supportive cohort model and generous financial support to teachers in the greater Milwaukee area and Catholic school personnel!

On the Tenth Anniversary of the College of Education: Hannah Jablonowski

This year, the College of Education is celebrating its 10th anniversary since becoming a college! In commemoration, our undergraduate students were invited to participate in an essay contest with the following prompt:

Given our rich history, (1) Why do you think it is important that we are designated as a College (for instance, within the University and to our community partners) and (2) Why is our being a College important to you professionally and/or personally?

We’re continuing to share our students’ essays below!

downloadBy Hannah Jablonowski

Since 1881, Marquette has proven what it means to be the difference. From the many accomplishments the university has had as a whole to the everyday accomplishments by current students and alumni, Marquette is full of success. I believe that creating the College of Education is one of those accomplishments. Creating a College of Education was a way to help aspiring future educators feel a sense of belonging and importance in the community, while also creating an unlimited amount of opportunities for them.

When I considered Marquette for my college path, I was blown away with the College of Education. From the Service Learning opportunities during the first semester of freshman year, to the happiness I felt knowing it was a tight-knit community, I truly felt like I was home. If Education were merely a school, I am not sure if I would feel the same way or even have chosen Marquette. Having a College of Education is important for not only the university and its students, but for the community. Teachers are everywhere in our daily lives. Everyone has been impacted by teachers throughout their lives. The amount of work that teachers and other educators do for their students often goes unrecognized. It is important for communities to know that we are designated as a College because they know that education is something we value. We value students who are studying to become educators so much that Marquette wanted to have Education to be a College. Communities know that we are passionate and strive to be the best educators possible. Having a College for Education proves that.

Being a part of the College of Education is very important to me. I am the eighteenth member of my family to attend Marquette University. My mom, sister, aunts, uncles, and cousins have all studied in various majors at Marquette. The reason why I wanted to be involved in education is because of my three aunts. They attended Marquette and graduated from the School of Education. They are incredible teachers and I have always looked up to them. They were taught everything they know about being a teacher from Marquette University. I knew if I were to go here, I would be just as great as they are one day. I remember discussing with them how I was excited to be a part of the College of Education at Marquette. I specifically remember them becoming so excited that I would be the first member of our family to be a part of the College of Education.

It truly is an honor to be the first family member involved in the College of Education at Marquette because this university means so much to my family. My aunts knew how much the School of Education did for them, and they cannot wait to see what the College of Education will do for me.

Interested in learning more about the College of Education and our ongoing service to our community? Check us out online today!


Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Ashley Kearns

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 Ashley, one of our current freshmen!

downloadI’m Ashley Kearns! I am a freshman studying Elementary Education with a second major in either Communications or Psychology. I grew up in Kildeer, Illinois. I moved to Milwaukee just this year. I have never lived anywhere else other than my specific house in Kildeer since I was born, so this is definitely a new experience. My family is one of the most important things to me. I have an extremely encouraging and loving mother, a supportive and helpful father, an inspiring and caring brother all the way from California, and a white fluffy dog named Sam that I miss every day I am away from home.

My favorite educational experience would most definitely be service learning.  I was able to be emerged into a kindergarten classroom right away in my first semester of freshman year. It was not only the most fun and relaxing Thursday night activity, but it also reconfirmed that this was the occupation I wanted to follow through with for the rest of my life. The kids were so sweet, and the teachers gave me amazing insight into my future. Through this, I grew more and more excited to continue my classes and the various experiences I will have here at Marquette.

An amazing opportunity for me in this upcoming year is deciding my second major. I am currently taking both a Communication 1000 course and a Psychology 1001 course. I can’t wait to learn more about various subjects and decide my second path I want to follow here at Marquette.

I was drawn to Marquette the moment I stepped on campus. I fell in love with the environment, the people, and just overall the vibes of the campus. Everyone seemed so happy and excited to be here, and it made me feel at home. I also was incredibly drawn to how small and close the education department was. Everyone knows one another and through this we can learn from others’ experiences. At other schools, I felt like I would just be another person in a huge program that would be overlooked in all of my classes. However, at Marquette I felt like I would be appreciated and helped through everything.

Want to learn more about our undergraduate education programs? Head on over to our website for more information– or, even better, come visit us on campus!

On the 10th Anniversary of the College of Education: Alli Bernard

This year, the College of Education is celebrating its 10th anniversary since becoming a college! In commemoration, our undergraduate students were invited to participate in an essay contest with the following prompt:

Given our rich history, (1) Why do you think it is important that we are designated as a College (for instance, within the University and to our community partners) and (2) Why is our being a College important to you professionally and/or personally?

We are pleased to share the entries with you, please see below for the second-place winning essay by Alli Bernard!


By Alli Bernard

Being a College of Education as opposed to a School of Education means more than just a fancy name change. Our designation as a College places an emphasis on the need and desire for well-trained teachers in the community because it can ensure the best teachers come out of the program. Being a college instead of a school and having students housed in Education as opposed to Arts and Sciences places an emphasis on their teaching degree, as opposed to their second major. This ensures that students are well rounded teachers who have spent time refining their skills in education practices and their chosen major. Equal time is spent in both majors, and in some cases even more time in education. Our faculty have spent many years teaching in schools similar to the ones in which we work and are committed to helping us grow and learn. This shows that not only does Marquette care about the quality of teachers they produce, but also that the community is receiving teachers who are dedicated to the success of their students. The 100+ hours of field work that students complete shows the investment placed on hands-on work, instead of textbook-based learning. We are given the opportunity to practice what we learn in all our classes, and we grow from that experience.

Personally, being a student in the College of Education at Marquette University shaped my college experience. It gave me a close knit group where I know most, if not all, the students in my year because of our small class size. I also was able to know my professors on a personal level, not just as a face in the room. Instead of being in a 100 person lecture hall with a TA, I was in small classes where the professors took the time to get to know us and our interests. By being a college, students are able to bond over shared experiences. It is through those bonds that I believe I made some of my closest friends, because no one quite understands the life of a pre-service teacher like other pre-service teachers. I have been involved in many different aspects of the college, such as being a freshman mentor, working in the Hartman Center, and going on the college’s faculty-led study abroad trip to Peru. I chose Marquette because of the College of Education and itssize, and I believe that I will be happy with this decision for the rest of my life. The college has given me so many opportunities and relationships because it is my primary major, as opposed to being an English major and in a School of Education. I am grateful for all the College of Education has to offer, and I hope that other students find it as helpful and rewarding as I have.




Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Kate Schechtman

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 Kate, one of our current freshmen!

kateMy name is Kate Shechtman, and I am a freshman at Marquette University studying elementary education and English. I grew up in Barrington, Illinois. and have lived in Milwaukee for almost seven months. I have an older brother and older sister who are my best friends; I’m very close with both of my parents as well. My mom has always been my inspiration for my passion. As a child I always wanted to become a teacher and be just like my mom, an elementary school teacher. Growing up I found many other reasons why I wanted to study education, but I have to thank my mom for all the support and courage she gave me.

My favorite educational experience was going to my service learning site last semester. I was able to work with a great group of students and learned a lot from helping them. Although I do enjoy service learning, I am excited for field experience my sophomore year.

Marquette has amazing students and staff. Going back to senior year of high school when I was touring Marquette, every person I meet was so sweet and caring. I felt wanted at Marquette, especially in the College of Education, where I would be seen as who I am and not just another student.

In my free time, I play club volleyball for the women’s volleyball team at Marquette, and I also just joined a sorority which I’m very excited about. Both of these activities have introduced me to amazing people that make my college experience even better. Do not be afraid to try new things or being rejected from an activity. Everyone is very welcoming here and almost everyone finds the right groups/ activities/ clubs for them.

Marquette’s College of Education makes you feel special and unique. I have only been a student here for a little over one semester, and I already feel welcomed and supported!


To My Teachers of the Past

As part of Dr. Melissa Gibson’s class Teaching Middle Secondary Social Science, students are asked to think about social studies in a new light — and throughout the course, their perceptions do shift. Through their blogging during the semester, we can see these changes in the students’ own words. Read on to learn along with our students!

Retrieved from The Ways, © 2019 Wisconsin Education Communications Board.

By Keanna Ross

Growing up, when my teachers or classmates found out my ethnicity, they treated me either as a foreign creature or as if they knew my entire life story: “You people still exist?” “Do you live in a teepee?” (I live in a sturdy house like the rest of my family and my ancestors actually lived in wigwams.) “You won’t have to work as hard for college because you get to go for free!” (If only they knew that my tribe is so poor, they avoid students’ emails and phone calls in order to avoid giving out an $800–$1,100 grant, which I have yet to receive in my fourth year of college.) Or, my personal favorite, “You’re lucky, you don’t have to ever pay taxes!” (Hahaha, I wish!) As you may be able to assume, I am Native American–well, half anyway. My dad is Ojibwe and Oneida, and our family is from the Bad River reservation in northern Wisconsin.

From childhood to adulthood, I have always been very involved in my culture. Though my mom is German, she was always much more enthusiastic about having my sisters and me know our Native half. She would sit with my grandma, my dad’s mother, and learn about all of the traditions; she took us to powwows religiously, learned how to bead, learned how to make regalia, allowed us to dance. When my mom passed away in the fall of 2015, she requested a traditional Ojibwe service at the Congregation of the Great Spirit, the Native American Catholic Church founded by my family years ago. Because of my mother and grandmother, my sisters and I have always been very involved in our culture and always will be. As you can see from this small backstory, my culture is very important to not only me but also to my entire family. I wear Native pride on my sleeve.

Due to this pride, I openly share my background with everyone. This is not a bad thing when people want to become educated. It is a bad thing when you’re a shy second grader, and your teacher puts you on the spot during November because we are talking about the pilgrims and the ‘Indians,’ and makes you the example ‘Indian’ to represent a whole nation. It is a bad thing when you are a senior in high school and you are told by a classmate, “You should be happy the Europeans came! They made this place better,” without having any knowledge of the cultural genocide that occurred.

Along with a HUGE majority of K-12 students, I have only ever been taught small fragments of the truth. We have been taught only one perspective. Imagine the knowledge being passed down as an animal exhibit at the zoo. As students, we have only been taught what we can see when we grab onto the binoculars. We have been focused on only one tiny part of a truth. If that is all we are taught, that is all we grow to know, because we are never taught to take the binoculars away from our eyes and see the rest of reality around us.

This cycle is still happening. Children are being taught a single perspective. This is not only a problem with Native American history being accurately represented but also African American history, Japanese American history (which I have yet to formally learn about), Mexican/American history… world history! As a sophomore in college I took an African history course, taught by an extremely knowledgeable and sweet man from Nigeria. You wouldn’t believe how many times he had to correct students when they referred to Africa as a COUNTRY, or implied that it was tiny, not modernized, or that they felt sorry for Africans. People do not know how huge the CONTINENT of Africa is; they do not know how many diverse countries are in Africa. This professor would always tell us stories about how people would ask– because he was from a country in Africa– if he knew their friend who was located on the opposite side of the continent! This is sad because this is all a result of inaccurate education.

In American schools, we are only taught about the slave trade and of Africans being “primitive;” we only learn about the dehumanizing of these people. When I learned about Egypt in sixth grade, I was never taught that it was a country in Africa; it was never even mentioned. When learning about Native American history, we were taught that the pilgrims and ‘Indians’ had Thanksgiving and that the stealing of homes was consensual. We were told that the Europeans helped the natives. We were taught about the Trail of Tears in high school, but this only consisted of a section of a chapter which was not its focal point. We were not taught that it was wrong of the Europeans; we did not mourn the deaths of millions of indigenous people (not only in what we call America, but also Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, what is now known as Mexico, and also Canada, along with South America, Hawaii, and many many more).


If I could suggest anything to my teachers of the past, it would be to take into account all of your students. Stop teaching the dominant narrative of colored people being less intelligent and less capable. It does not matter what your background is, you can teach history with a broader perspective. You can represent ALL of your students, truthfully. Be open to, not only, learning from your students, but also changing how you teach. Understand that history textbooks were made by white Americans who create them to appeal to a certain audience. Learn with your students, because what you were taught is not coming from a point of multiple perspectives. Becoming the difference in your students’ lives is educating them on different people. It is allowing yourself to stray from tradition. Be the one who helps develop humans who are knowledgeable about the world, instead of the one who contributes to stereotypes.

As an educator you should care about how you are shaping the future. Let’s take the binoculars off and see the entire reality and truth.


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