Noyce Scholar Profile
Undergraduate major or graduate field of study: Liberal Studies: Environmental Science
Subject area(s) and grade level teaching focus: Math and Science, grades 6-8; Special Education
Category of scholarship/fellowship:
Name of Noyce institution:
William Paterson University
Current academic or teaching status:
School and school district:
Field experience-reading tutor for grade 1 in Passaic School Number 11
I returned to school as a full time student two years ago after raising three children, now three fine young adults. During the years I was working while being a full-time mom, I volunteered as a leader in Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts of America (1988-2007) and in many school and sports activities. I am very happy to be back in school and enjoy being a part of the campus community.
Why do you want to teach:
Teaching has always been my calling. I first attended college to become a Special Education teacher, but left school to have a family. During the years ensuing I remained involved in working with children; first as a classroom volunteer, later as a youth group leader, and finally back in the classroom as a substitute teacher and aide. I find that I am happiest when in the classroom. Last year I tutored high school math at the Paterson Pre-Collegiate Teachers Academy and found that no matter how late I had worked the night before, and no matter how early I had to get up to drive to Paterson in the morning traffic, I always eagerly anticipated my time with my students.
Describe a memorable teaching experience:
While working as a substitute, I spent many hours in a K-1 Special Education classroom working with a wonderful teacher, Maryann Reilly. I spent three weeks as a personal aide to Sara, a 6 year old girl in that class. Sara has CP and uses a wheelchair; she requires physical and academic assistance. Each day she would work on learning the letters of the alphabet, but she was never able to remember any of them. We didn’t know if the problem was visual, as she seemed to have an amazing ability to remember tunes and lyrics, or if something else was interfering with her ability to recognize letters and words. Over the next few months I was often in this class, and often worked with Sara. Then for a time my primary employment provided little availability for me to substitute, and I did not see her. When I returned to Mrs. Reilly’s classroom in the spring, she asked Sara to show me what she had learned. As I showed Sara the flash cards, she knew about two thirds of the letters and a dozen sight words! She was so excited to show me what she had learned! I was beaming as tears rolled down my face, I was astounded! Moments like this one do not come along every day, but many smaller miracles do. Seeing a child become excited about discovering new ideas, understanding a concept, or embracing learning in any way inspires me; it makes me both a better teacher and a better person.
What does the Noyce program mean to you:
The Noyce program has presented opportunities for me to network as well as gather information about teaching options available to me. It has also provided me with the means to work fewer hours each week so that I am able to devote more time to my studies.