Future teacher Paola Coste '10 finds new ideas, challenging coursework
1. Why did you choose Connecticut College?
After extensive research, I became confident that Connecticut College was the perfect place for me to study education. Not only did it offer a wide variety of majors from which to choose, it also has a highly regarded education certification program. As a sociology-based human relations major, I have been able to take challenging courses in both education and sociology.
2. How did you come to take education courses at Connecticut College?
The first course I completed was EDU 223, Foundations of Education. From then on, I knew that the education courses were going to challenge and stimulate me personally and intellectually.
3. What specific courses did you enjoy the most and why?
The education course that resonated with me was “Queer Pedagogy,” which challenges the idea of normality in a pedagogically thought-provoking manner. Being exposed to these new ideas and theory inspired me to further examine more deeply the construction of normality within the classroom and school curriculum.
4. What have learned in your education courses and service learning experiences that helped you in student teaching?
All the education courses have had a tremendous influence on my student teaching, preparing me with the literary and pedagogical background resources needed for classroom implementation and the knowledge to be an effective critical educator. Further, the courses have equipped me with theoretical background; I’ve become aware of and can analyze what is operating within the educational system and use this knowledge to provide critical change in the classroom and educational system.
Service learning was also crucial preparation for student teaching, providing the space to implement what I learned in my education courses, and exposing me to many situations that I would not have otherwise experienced. The hands-on experiences have aided my transition from student tutor to student teacher.
5. What was your study abroad like?
Amazing. The experiences I had in India are unforgettable and exposed me to the harsh realities of living in a highly misogynistic society based on religious scriptures. My transition from India back to Connecticut College was smooth because I planned my course schedules ahead of time with the education department’s certification officer of the education department. The support, help, and insight we receive from the education department’s professors is something I value very much.
6. How do you integrate your major and your education certificate?
As a sociology-based human relations major, integrating the teacher certification program and my major was a smooth process. Some courses counted towards both my education and sociology requirements, allowing me to explore other education and sociology courses not necessarily needed to complete either major.
7. Future plans?
When I finish my degree here, I will have teaching certification in elementary education and begin working at my first job. My job title is Child Development Specialist. I will be supervising Head Start teachers as well as working with children of Head Start age who are identified as having some sort of disability or special needs.
The next step will be to pursue a Master of Arts in Education at graduate school, not as an extension, but as an expansion of my education. . . As a future educator, I plan to be open to change in order to provide my students with an accurate representation of the world. I want my students to gain a sense of agency, to be forward thinking, and challenge the systems that operate on a day to day basis in a manner that will positively empower them and those around them.
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