The Education FOI Alumni Career Panel was kicked off with a welcome from Dr. Tiffany Hunter. She reminded the attendees that, “Every profession goes through a teacher.” She expressed her gratitude for their commitment to the profession and encouraged them along their journey to becoming educators.
These three first-year teachers spoke about their educational journeys while at PVCC and beyond as well as their experiences in the classroom.
- Sophie Pitcher - Third grade teacher
- Annie Zeek - First-fourth grades Special Education resource teacher
- Jay Sloan - Sixth grade Science and Social Studies teacher
What would you have done differently on your educational journey and what advice would you give to use here at PVCC?
Sophie - Do more research on education policy and the different teacher unions
Annie - Build relationships with faculty and students.
Jay - Take every opportunity to be in the classroom. Ask a lot of questions and learn how to interact with children/students.
What is your favorite part of teaching?
Sophie - Seeing students faces and know you are actually teaching them
Jay - Students excited about learning. Students have time to engage in their Passion Project at the end of each day.
Annie - Loves everything about teaching - loves watching her students grow. Loves working with smaller groups in the resource room.
What is your teaching philosophy?
Annie - Creating a safe environment, flexible seating and having an open mind.
Jay - Four pillars: relationships, culture, academic rigor, and mental health
Sophie - Student centered, social and emotional learning and setting boundaries
Describe your classroom management structure.
Annie - Establish a routine the first week of school.
Sophie - Establish routines and procedures to enable students to focus on learning.
Jay - Make things predictable and consistent by establishing routines and procedures.
What is your role in promoting diversity in the classroom?
Jay - Expose students to multiple perspectives. Use literature and stories to introduce students to diverse perspectives.
Annie - Engage students in opportunities that expose them to diverse ideas and cultures.
Sophie - Utilize a morning meeting routine and also promote diversity through selection of literature.
Feedback from the 49 students who attended was overwhelmingly positive. Some of the comments were:
- Hearing from young professionals in the field of education was inspiring.
- I was encouraged by the first-year teacher's love of teaching and I was inspired by the stories of the brand new teachers who just a few years ago were in the same position I am in now.
- Their answers were sincere and I felt that they were all trying to be honest with the pros and cons of being a teacher.
- The panel made me excited to pursue my dream of teaching literature/English. Hearing from the alumni about their experiences and recommendations gave me confidence and ideas that I can use in my future classes as well!