Teaching at Roma High School in Roma, Texas (on Texas/Mexico border) would be considered challenging by many, for the simple fact that nearly all of the students here are considered at-risk, but what I learned through Duke’s Program in Education was that these challenges also provide a chance for success. Thanks to the training and preparation of the Secondary Teacher Preparation Program at Duke University, I have always felt equipped to meet the challenges I’ve encountered in the classroom. I plan to continue my graduate studies in education starting in the fall of 2010.
I serve as the Development Manager for Teach For America’s Eastern North Carolina site. I work closely with our executive director to design strategy for meeting our funding goals, accessing new donors, and ensuring that current supporters are kept informed of our organization’s impact. Duke’s Program in Education gave me a skill-set that I continue to use. It taught me more about organization and planning than anything else I did at Duke. Through my collaboration with my cooperating teacher, I also learned how to work on a team to make sure our students got the opportunities they deserved. Finally, through the coursework and student teaching, I got the skills I needed to be an effective beginning teacher. Even though I am not in the classroom today, my desire to ensure that all students receive an excellent education will impact everything I do for the rest of my career, and even if I never return to the classroom, my experience there, as a student teacher and a teacher, will be fundamental to my future endeavors.
I am an associate at the law firm of Bose McKinney & Evans in the firm’s education law and labor & employment groups. My current position allows me to work directly with classroom teachers and school administrators to address the legal issues affecting schools, teachers, and students: collective bargaining, special education and discrimination, right to privacy, freedom of speech, government funding and new school construction, among other things. My experience in the Teacher Preparation Program sparked a passion for public education, provided me with incredible mentors, and encouraged me to seek ways to improve education both in the classroom and on a broader scale.
I spent the past four years teaching in DPS and was honored as my school’s Teacher of the Year in 2009. I credit the Program in Education for molding me into a reflective teacher who sets high-reaching goals and pursues skill-building development opportunities. This spring I made the heartwrenching decision to leave the classroom to pursue a graduate degree in Curriculum and Instruction at NCSU. One of the most unexpected benefits of returning to school has been working for the Program in Education as a Research Assistant. I am honing my analysis and evaluation skills as I work on NCATE licensure and program evaluation with Dr. Kristen Stephens.
I am currently pursuing a Masters Degree in Education Policy at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Due to my involvement in the Duke University Program in Education, I am able to bring experiences that I had in the classroom to my current studies by enriching class discussions on issues of school reform and posing new questions that need to be considered when creating policy. The Duke Program in Education has greatly helped me on my path to having a strong positive impact on the future of today’s public schools.
I currently teach at an International Baccalaureate school in Singapore. The I.B. Primary Years Program has a holistic and child-centered philosophy, and the school in which I teach allows me the freedom to plan and manage my classroom as I see best for my students. Although I am expected to devise all of my own materials and decide on my own objectives, I am able to fully enjoy this autonomy thanks to the thorough preparation and rich education I received from Duke. Every day in the classroom and while lesson planning I find that I use the skills I specifically gained from my courses, professors and the resources I was led to. I am so grateful for the encouragement, one-on-one meetings and reflections, and support I received from Duke. Dr. Riggsbee along with my other professors have given me the confidence as well as the planning and reflecting skills I really need to be successful in the classroom and in the type of program I teach in.
I am an upper grade staff developer at the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project. As a staff developer, I work in schools in New York City, the New York area and around the country, supporting teachers with reading and writing workshop. My time at Duke helped me to learn to take risks and try multiple approaches and methods when teaching.