Meet some educators who have received teacher certification through the department of education at Connecticut College:
Peggy McQuaid '10
Bilingual kindergarten teacher, Regional Multicultural Magnet School, New London, Conn.
After Peggy graduated from Connecticut College in 2010, she moved back to Honduras planning to teach kindergarten, but a week after she got there, she was told she was to be the "interim" principal. She served as principal for three years, which was an amazing experience and huge challenge. After three years, she knew she wanted to get back in the classroom and expand her knowledge as a classroom teacher. She currently teaches kindergarten at the Dual Immersion Puentes Program at the Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London. After dealing with the sometimes-stressful job of being an administrator, she says it is wonderful to be able to be with the students day after day, seeing those little "light bulb" moments. Read below for more about Peggy's experiences, in her own words.
- As an aspiring teacher, how did you choose your major at Connecticut College?
I knew I wanted to study elementary education when I came to Connecticut College. To become certified, you take education courses but have a separate major. Some choose Human Development; secondary teachers usually choose the discipline they will teach. I chose to major in American Studies because I was interested in issues of race and ethnicity, which became my concentration. Through American Studies, I was able to examine these issues by looking at Literature, History, Sociology, Critical Theory and many other varied disciplines. It allowed me to take courses I was interested in, with professors I wanted to work with. Our class discussions centered on race and ethnicity, but because my classmates and I were all studying other disciplines at the same time (Education, Economics, Public Health, etc.), we were all able to contribute something different to the dialogue.
- For you, what were the biggest advantages of studying education at Connecticut College?
For me, education is not just a job but something I feel called to do. When I came to Connecticut College, I had lots of ideas about justice and equality, but was completely unaware of the Education Department's focus on critical pedagogy. When I started to take classes and further my understanding of education as a vehicle of social change, I felt like my ideas were reinforced by what I was reading and learning and that my awareness was further broadened. I am very interested in issues surrounding urban education and English language learners, and the New London community is a great place to learn about these issues.
- Tell us about your semester as a volunteer at a school in Honduras.
I knew I wanted to study education in a more global context and was interested in learning Spanish after a summer camp job with several English language learners. Because I took five AP classes in high school, I had enough college credits to take a semester off to volunteer in Honduras at a bilingual elementary school. It was a great experience and really prepared me for student teaching. It also gave me an entirely different context to view Latin American immigration, especially as it relates to education.
- Describe your teaching experiences.
After I graduated from Connecticut College in 2010, I moved back to Honduras planning to teach kindergarten, but a week after I got there, they told me I was going to be the "interim" principal. I served as principal for three years, which was an amazing experience (and huge challenge!). After three years, I knew I wanted to get back in the classroom and expand my knowledge as a classroom teacher.
I currently teach kindergarten at the Dual Immersion Puentes Program at the Regional Multicultural Magnet School here in New London. After dealing with the sometimes-stressful job of being an administrator, it is wonderful to be able to be with the students day after day, seeing those little "light bulb" moments. Right now, I want to continue working in the classroom and honing my craft as a classroom teacher
Stephanie Timpone '10
High school physics teacher, Daniel Hand High School in Madison, Conn.
Stephanie teaches physics classes to juniors and seniors and introduction to physical science to freshman. ("I love it!) She also had the opportunity to teach lab sections at night for Connecticut College's physics department over the past year. ("An incredible experience to work alongside my former professors!") She also became fond of New London and lives in the heart of downtown.
Liz Kaiser '10
Hispanic studies major with teacher certification
Liz first considered teaching as a freshman after participating in the KBA (Kids, Books and Athletics) program through the College's Office of Volunteers for Community Service (OVCS). She studied abroad in Chile and Argentina in a program focusing on education and social change, and spent a semester student teaching at the Regional Multicultural Magnet School in New London, CT. She hopes to integrate her two focuses of Spanish and education in a career as an elementary school teacher in a bilingual classroom.
Michael K. Kuczenski '09
Middle-school social studies teacher, New London, Conn.
I am currently working at the Interdistrict School for Arts and Communication (ISAAC) in New London in the position that I student taught as a 6-7th grade Social Studies teacher.
Daniel O'Keefe '09
Middle-school social studies teacher in Woodcliff Lake, NJ
Dan majored in history (with a concentration in intellectual history) and received certification in both elementary and secondary education. He did his student teaching in a combined 5th-6th-grade classroom at the Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich, CT. He's currently teaching early American history at the middle school level and a course on major patterns in world history at a community night school for adults. Dan defines his mission as a history teacher as “emphasizing the continuity between past and present for students.”
Emily Taylor '09
Pursuing an M.A., Ed.M. in school counseling
With a degree in American Studies and elementary education certification from Connecticut College, Emily worked at a large New York City public high school as the site coordinator for an after-school program grant and served as the community partnership coordinator. While in her second year at the high school, she aided students in the college application process, leading to her decision to pursue a school counseling degree. Currently enrolled at Teachers College, Columbia University, she also works at the Peace Corps Fellows Program as the service-learning coordinator. As she pursues her M.A. and Ed.M., Emily is constantly grateful for the wonderful education she received from the education department.
Melanie Knight '09
Co-teacher at Greenwich Day School, Greenwich, Conn.
Melanie plans to pursue a master’s degree in speech language pathology and work in the New York public schools as a speech and language pathologist. Melanie majored in theater and studied abroad in London. She did her student teaching in a self-contained classroom (math, reading, science, social studies) at the Integrated Day Charter School in Norwich, Conn.