Master of Arts in Child Study and Education (CSE), Class of 2013
Current place of work:
The Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study
What is your current role?
Grade One teacher
What led you to this program?
I have always loved working with children. While completing my under-graduate degree, I took advantage of diversifying my placement opportunities and requested placements in macro settings. I came to realize that I also loved this world of impacting change and policies that would have a direct or indirect effect on teachers and children in the classroom. In addition to gaining experience of becoming a teacher, I was looking to select a program that would keep other doors open to me as well. The MA CSE program was the perfect blend of that.
What was your biggest take-away/learning from the program?
I learned so much while going through this program and connecting with so many people, but one of the most important lessons was to always ask questions. When in a practicum placement, I was encouraged to (kindly) question pedagogy, decisions, policies, etc. I stepped out of my comfort zone to not make assumptions about what I was seeing but to seek clarity by connecting with my mentor teachers and my professors. Knowing what was guiding these questions helped to better inform what I was witnessing in the classrooms. I have applied this idea of acting to questions to my own practice, challenging myself to be transparent about my thinking and my teaching.
What did you enjoy about the program?
When I got into the program, I loved the conversations that took place in the courses. The professors were truly interested in learning about what we thought and how we were viewing the education world. They challenged us to take risks, ask questions, jump at all opportunities because gaining those skills would be so valuable when it came time to step into a classroom on our own. The level of support and guidance was amazing!
How has this program/ your profession impacted you?
The confidence I gained through this program as an educator has only grown. I see every day as an opportunity to learn and value the feedback I received from all my mentor teachers and professors. I think you can always be improving in your practice and it is the one thing I love about being an educator, there is so much room to grow! I find ways to challenge myself from year to year, looking at different parts of my program with a new lens and constantly adapting and changing what I am doing. Learning from the children and watching how they respond to these changes are a clear indicator as to whether something worked or not! Having this open relationship with the children where they help to guide so many of the ideas and the directions we go in is very rewarding.
What would you say to a current student?
To someone currently in the program, congratulations! You could not have found a better place to continue your journey. I encourage you to ask questions, to soak in every experience and discover the learning in it, seek opportunities, and build relationships. You have this unique opportunity to learn from incredible educators and be guided by amazing professors, take advantage! Connect with your peers and foster these relationships, you will soon be colleagues. This is the time to put theories into practice.