Soon-to-be Newman graduate Kaitlyn Stallard has the unique opportunity of teaching in the same fourth-grade classroom where she was once a student.
While it feels strange to return to her childhood classroom, she said, she credits her co-workers for making the experience easier.
“The faculty has been great integrating me in, and my cooperating teacher is amazing. It’s weird to be in the same classroom I was once in because some things are still the same and some things are different.”
This opportunity has strongly helped Stallard in finding her own teaching style. She stressed the significance of being understanding and keeping things lighthearted.
“Since I have had a few years to figure out who I am as a teacher, I thought I had a style. Turns out, it has changed. I have fourth grade so they need those rules and boundaries. I think my teaching style is humor mixed with empathy and understanding, but with plenty of high expectations. I expect my students to achieve great things, but I also give them the tools to meet those goals. I have my students laughing many times a day because it’s okay to be silly. They need to see their teachers have some humor too.”
Her specific expectations of her students are simple, as much as they are heartfelt.
“I want them to learn that they can be whoever they want. They get to decide the person they want to be, not anyone else. I hope for my students to be anything they want to be. I want them to know that I am here to support them no matter what.”
Stallard explained how Newman has been a big part of being prepared for her career as a teacher.
“Newman prepared me so well for the classroom,” Stallard said. “I decided to be a substitute these last two years of school, and I loved that I was learning relevant content in class, and I was able to immediately turn around and implement it. We are pushed hard, but we are also prepared so much better that all the hard assignments and late nights are worth it.”
Stallard said she loves the smaller size of Newman, explaining that is the reason she is able to have the success she is experiencing.
“I love that all my professors know who I am, they ask me how things in my life are going. They are always there if I have a question. I have loved being part of the School of Education.”
Stallard is incredibly passionate about education; she feels quite at home being a teacher and loves inspiring her students.
“Teaching is a calling. It challenges me every day, but I couldn’t picture myself doing anything different. If you think you want to teach, take some classes, see if you like it. If you realize you aren’t in love with it, that’s OK too. This is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done, but it is so rewarding.”