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Dear Future Teacher

Advice from Students

Elizabeth Gulden, 2019 Wisconsin Elementary Teacher of the Year

On April 3, 2019, the College of Education hosted a panel of outstanding educators who have been recognized as Wisconsin Teachers of the Year. Their personal stories, reflections, and words of advice were inspiring and greatly appreciated by our audience. We wanted to introduce them to you, our readers, as well!

a Gulden headshot_16Hi! I’m Elizabeth (Liz) Gulden, a kindergarten teacher at Gordon L. Willson Elementary School (G.L.W.) in Baraboo, and I was named Wisconsin Elementary School Teacher of the Year in 2019. Over the past 14 years as a teacher of some of our youngest learners, I motivate and inspire my students’ love of learning by practicing and learning along with them. I am a tireless advocate for young elementary students, ensuring my teaching practices are engaging and developmentally appropriate. And my core, deep-rooted educational philosophy is that learning, above all else, should be FUN!

I actually grew up in Baraboo, and it has been so exciting to come back to my hometown to teach. The timing could not have been more perfect, as I returned just as Baraboo was implementing a full day Kindergarten program and had designed a new Kindergarten Center. My husband and I live in Baraboo, and we take advantage of all that this amazing small town has to offer including: a phenomenal downtown area, the extremely picturesque Devil’s Lake State Park, and of course an annual visit to Circus World Museum. My parents and older brother also live in town still, so my support system here remains strong.

Serving in the field of education is instilled deep within my genes, as my mom is a retired teacher of 47 years. Yes, she taught for 47 years, and most of these years were spent in a third-grade classroom in the Wisconsin Dells School District. Needless to say, I have an amazing role model in her, who I am now fortunate to have serving as a guest substitute teacher for my class of students. Yes, my mom is my kindergarten class’s favorite guest teacher! My dad also loves to pop into our classroom to help us out during Math Workshop whenever he can, and he loves to go on our field trips with us too. I am just so lucky, and I’m sure I’ll never be able to verbalize the impact they have had on me and on all of my students over the years.

Never underestimate the value and power of children at play! Our school playground is nestled within a busy neighborhood community, and after roughly 45 years of use for most of the pieces, it was absolutely time for a safety and equipment upgrade! I set to work championing a Playground Fundraising Committee that took on a multiphase action plan to improve our play space for kids. The committee was comprised of teachers, administration, and parents/community members. Countless hours were spent hosting annual Fun Runs, local restaurant community impact and share nights, book fairs, profitable yearbook sales, and MORE!

In four short years we raised over $75,000, completing our three-phase plan. We no longer have voided areas of our school/community playground, all of the equipment meets safety codes, and there are enough pieces to engage our entire student body (350 students) and the neighborhood children! This is some of the work I am most proud of in my career thus far.

We are still outgrowing our space within our elementary walls, so next on my “passion project” list is the creation of an Outdoor Learning Space for our kids. Our hope is to obtain a grant to construct a mini amphitheater for our G.L.W. students where outdoor learning lessons could take place. The possibilities for the space are endless…reader’s theater performances, teacher read-alouds, local library book talks, Scout meetings, the beginning of a Planting/Growing Club, and more! The benefits of spending time outdoors are substantial: improved mental health, increased cognitive and academic performance, and decreased risk for other health factors.

In 2014 I embarked on my journey to earn my National Board teaching certification. I convinced a colleague to join me in this endeavor, and I was forever grateful to have this support along the way. Saying the process is difficult would be an understatement, but it was also extremely rewarding. Becoming a NBCT taught me so much about myself as an educator through deep reflection, and it made me a much better teacher than I ever thought I could be. My improved teaching practices and strategies had a significant academic impact on my students. The process involved taking a much deeper look at student achievement data, videotaping and analyzing one’s own teaching practices, and a content/teaching strategy-based test.

I have so many favorite educational experiences, some of which were my own experiences and some of which were my students’ experiences. I had absolutely phenomenal student teaching placements in La Crosse, Wisconsin. I am forever indebted to: Deb Bemis (Emerson Elementary), Kathy Shikonya (La Crosse Cathedral), and the entire staff at the UW-La Crosse Campus Childcare Center. These experiences were so rewarding, and I still implement some of the methods I learned even “way back then” into my daily teaching routines.

The kindergarten teachers in our district have completely transformed sight word learning for our students in recent years, improving student reading accuracy scores, and this has been deeply satisfying work. My kindergarten teaching team has increased the number of sight words we teach our students, and we introduce the words using multiple learning modalities. We post the words visually on classroom word walls and also spell each sight word with our bodies, appealing to kinesthetic learners. Each child has a personalized, sight word goal list where he/she is able to track growth in sight word recognition. Whereas students used to master twenty-five sight words within the year, some children are now reading seventy-five to one hundred sight words in the year!

I LOVE creating new dramatic play centers for our classroom. These are so engaging for the kids and incorporate so much academic learning too. Some of the kids’ favorites include our classroom restaurant, grocery store, and vet clinic! It is so fun to watch the kids writing down food orders, adding up grocery bills, and building language skills as they diagnose pet medical “orders” in such authentic learning scenarios. These are some of my most beloved times in our Kindergarten classroom where the kids are involved in imaginative and meaningful play, where the learning is happening almost as if by magic.

 

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Patrick Witt

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 Patrick Witt, one of our post-baccalaureate students studying to be a secondary education teacher!

E8A99178-4CAC-400A-BD2F-3B5C5B9D1F22I am a first-year post-baccalaureate student. My field is broad field social studies, secondary education. I grew up in Whitefish Bay until I was twelve, when my family and I moved to La Jolla, CA. I pledged to my parents that I’d come back to Wisconsin, and I kept my promise!

As an adult, I spent six years in Milwaukee earning my Bachelors and Masters degrees in History. I also returned in the summers of 2011 and 2012 to work with Marquette University’s Freshman Frontier Program. So, I’ve spent a lot of time here. My wife and I moved back permanently last August. In truth, my heart never left Wisconsin. When I’m not in class or working, I love being outdoors, from doing something simple like working on my garden to hiking with my wife and dogs. Anything outdoors is therapeutic.

My family is wonderful. My wife is my best friend and an inspiration. She serves our community as a social worker. Her selflessness and work ethic pushes me to better myself daily.

I enjoy being in the classroom, where I can see theory in action. I love interacting with students and witnessing learning firsthand. In the upcoming academic year, I’m looking forward to going out and implementing what I’ve learned over the last two semesters. I was drawn to the College of Ed because I believe that teaching is my vocation. I’ve always loved MU’s cura personalis philosophical approach.

My content area is Social Studies, but my true passion is history. I love studying, teaching, and writing about history. The study of history is the best way humanity can come to understand our current condition, our problems and our triumphs.

Reflections on my First Year of Grad School

downloadBy Jordan Mason

As spring begins to make its appearance, a semester draws to a close. While there are still a few projects and assessments to be completed, I find myself in awe of how quickly this past year has flown. As a graduate student in the Student Affairs in Higher Education program here in the College of Education, I have almost successfully completed two of our four semesters. In that time, there have been several people and things for whom and which I have been grateful. I thought I’d share a few of them with you.

  • Our top-notch faculty: I have been thoroughly impressed with the quality of faculty I am taught by. Dr. Jody Jessup-Anger is an outstanding wealth of knowledge; she encourages us to think critically and pushes us to explore other perspectives. Fr. Andy Thon brings his years of experience in Student Affairs and on Marquette’s campus to provide us with a better understanding of how institutions of higher education operate. Dr. Karen Evans provided our cohort with a solid foundation of research concepts to utilize in our courses and careers to come, and Dr. Jodi Blahnik of Marquette’s Counseling Center has prepared us to navigate the world of helping students more effectively. I am grateful to our faculty.
  • The opportunities this program provides: I have also been impressed by the immense opportunities available to us as SAHE and COE students. For example, a cohortmate of mine is taking advantage of the opportunity to study abroad in Ireland. Two of my classmates serve on executive boards for higher education organizations. Our practicum requirement ensures we will gain valuable experience in a Student Affairs environment, and the variety of assistantship opportunities allow us to explore our interests and passions. I am grateful for the experiences I have had in the SAHE program.
  • My wonderful cohortmates: Most importantly, I am grateful for the individuals I am experiencing this program with. I appreciate the conversations we have regarding topics in higher education. I appreciate the support we provide one another during a stressful week. I appreciate the laughs and the friendships built to last long after graduation. I am grateful for my cohortmates.

I am grateful every day for choosing Marquette University as the institution to pursue Student Affairs. Thank you, Marquette!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Kathryn Rochford

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 our blog series. Read on to meet Kathryn, a member of our freshman class!

krHi! My name is Kathryn Rochford, and I am a freshman studying Secondary Education and English and minoring in Spanish. I grew up in the very heart of central Illinois in Morton, a small suburb of Peoria, about four hours away from Milwaukee. However, I was born in Singapore and have lived in Washington, Illinois, Denver, Colorado and Morton. This is my first time living in Milwaukee, or a big city in general, and I’ve been here for about eight months now. My family has always been kind and supportive and as I am the oldest of four kids, it was hard to leave them first semester. I have a brother who is a junior in high school, a sister who is a freshman in high school, and a brother in fourth grade currently. My mom stays at home to manage our super busy family but spends a good majority of her time volunteering in my home parish. My dad is the general manager of gas and medium speed engines at Caterpillar, Inc. I am blessed to have grown up in a family that was so close and helped me pursue my passions, whatever they may be.

My favorite educational experience was during my senior year of high school where I had the opportunity to spend two hours a day, three days a week working at the local grade school to help a Spanish-speaking student in his classes. I would translate his classes for him, help him with his homework, and even helped him to learn a bit of English. It was one of the most rewarding experiences to watch him grow in his fluency and understanding of his schoolwork. I saw how much my work impacted him and his family when his mother came up to me one day to express her gratitude and thanks for helping her son. Just hearing how my simple volunteer work impacted their family was heartwarming. It was also interesting because I conversed with her in Spanish only and my friends that were standing around me were like “What just happened?!” and it was fun to impress them like that.

An exciting opportunity I see for this upcoming academic year is field experience. I am excited to be in a classroom during the day interacting with students instead of after-school programs like my service-learning opportunities have been thus far. What drew me to Marquette and the College of Education is the fact that I would be interacting with students almost immediately with my education major, whereas other universities I looked at wouldn’t have me in a classroom until I was a junior. Marquette’s whole mission statement of “Be the Difference” really struck me as unique in my college search process, and I felt it hit at who I am as a person.

Outside of the classroom, I am quite busy! I am currently on the club rugby team with practices twice a week and tournaments every few weekends. I also am a part of the book club here on campus, so I am usually somewhere reading a book. Soccer is also one of my passions and has been for almost ten years now, so I play intramural co-ed soccer when I can. My weeks are usually packed but it’s so fun to be involved in so many things, especially rugby, which was a completely new sport for me! My advice for readers who are interested in any of those activities is to put yourself out there; I did not get as involved first semester, so at O-Fest for the spring I had a mission to get involved in sports/clubs that interested me. It can be difficult to try a new hobby, especially an established one such as rugby, but it can be so rewarding in the end when you do.

My inspiration for my work is the countless teachers and administrators who made a real impact on my development in grade school and high school. Especially in high school, I became close with a lot of the teachers through my work in student council, participation on the varsity soccer team, and the curriculum advisory committee for the district as a student representative. My teachers and administrators would check up on me from time to time, and even made an effort to come support me outside of school at my soccer games, which made me feel like they saw me as a person, not just as a student. I hope to make a similar impact on my future students one day.

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!

 

Celebrating Easter

My Post (48)

On the Tenth Anniversary of the College of Education: Rebecca DeBoer

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?

Read on for our next essay, and you can catch up with all the entries in other posts!

teacherBy Rebecca DeBoer

If you asked me 10 years ago about what I wanted to be when I grew up, I can guarantee that I would have never said teacher. I would have said I wanted to be an famous artist or someone who works with animals. Yet, here I am today; an Educational Studies and Psychology major in Marquette’s College of Education. Over the course of my life so far, I have volunteered and worked with children in a variety of settings. I have learned the joys a child can find in the words of a book, and the fun a child can experience with hands-on activities at a museum. Instead of finding passion in the arts or animals, I have found passion in the idea of helping to develop young minds and cultivating their God-given talents.

Just as I learned and grew throughout these past 10 years about what drove, inspired, and made me unique, so did Marquette’s College of Education. By education’s standing as a separate college, Marquette gives students like me a specialized opportunity at furthering my career, which in turn, furthers my quality of life. Components like Service Learning and internships help expand my experience and knowledge of what is to come in the adult world we are about to take on. Another major importance of having the College is the community it instills. Meeting people within Education ensures you have a community of students and professionals you can turn to for advice or simply a friendly face. Along with the relationships you build comes life lessons. In Dr. Lorentz’s class (my first education class of my life), I learned that “mastering” a talent or idea is never true mastery. As a teacher, we do not always truly know everything. It is okay to not know and accept new ideas. As Education majors, our careers are that of learning about learning, so how can we not ever be faced with developing ourselves along the way?

Having a separate College of Education shows current and incoming students who want to go into the field that there is a place to cultivate their goals and future careers. Through this, we see that the professional importance and personal importance of becoming an educator is intertwined. We as educators (and soon-to-be educators) take our various qualities and passions and put them out in a professional manner, after years of cultivating and “mastering” them. Thanks to the College of Education, we have the ability to “master” this knowledge and grow into the best version of ourselves.

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


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